Julius Caesar: Caesar, Pompey, and the Roman Civil War is definitely one of may favorite block-based, light wargames. When around December I was contacted via Boardgamegeek by Paul who just received that title for Christmas present but had nobody to play with live, I decided to try it online using Play by Email Method (actually, utilizing Discord). So far, I played pretty extensively live and was curious to what extent an asynchronous play is possible. As it occurred, that worked pretty well!

The Game

Before jumping into the session reports, couple of words about the game itself.

Julius Caesar is a game driven by cards, but much fewer types than in C&C Ancients. Map shows whole Mediterranean area and the historical topic is very attractive – Civil War between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. There are really interesting battle mechanics there – with faster units – like leaders and archers (designed A or B) – and much slower but more powerful – like legions or navy (C and D). That actually drives the order in battle which is additionally influenced by the fact who is attacker and who defender.

On the other hand, Julius Caesar brings to the players very high uncertainty in the battle – do not confuse with randomness. With the strength of units hidden till the last moment before clash, one can be really surprised by what the opponent prepared for you.

So without further delays, let us see the session reports!

Session 1

Caesar (Paul) just crossed the Rubicon. The dice have been cast! Pompey (Michal) will try to defend the republic (or rather his position 🙂 )
Turn 1 – the game started pretty historically; Caesar crushed Pompey forces in Spain, the republican armies fled from Rome to Greece and Asia Minor.
Turn 2 – we had some big clashes on water and Pompey’s navy was starting to get upper hand. Caesar moved aggressively toward North Africa and Syracuse while republican forces occupied Byzantium
Turn 3 – a year to remember. The Caesar’s landing in Africa was crushed completely and Syracuse was witness to largest Auxilia battle I have ever seen in that game! In the end, barely, the Pompey forces held.
Turn 4 – Battle of Taracco. Wait, I thought Spain was pacified by Caesar forces?…
…it was until a bold amphibious landing (originating from Africa) did not move against that region, crushed all resistance in Taracco and Carthaga Nova, killed one leader and earned instant victory! (click to enlarge)

That was very exciting game with climax end of Pompey march through Spain. I think we both realized how critical the fleets are. And immediately started re-match.

Session 2

We switched sides and this time I was leading Caesar forces while Paul was responsible for Pompey (click to enlarge)
Turn 1 – not surprisingly, this time it was me conquering Spain. But – despite defections on Pompey’s side – it will take me much longer than planned to mop up this region.
Turn 1 – Invasion in Spain, race to Athens plus Naval battles. Much more exciting than in out first game!
Turn 2 – in essence we had 3 (!!!) battles of Athens. The first two I lost, barely surviving with my Caesar.
Turn 2 – The Spain was pacified, the Athens was witness to first two battles (third, decisive will be a year later). The war of attrition on sea continued.
Turn 3 – a turning point in the war was during third year. Caesar managed to move the reinforcements from Italy to Greece, cut all retreat paths and destroy Pompey’s army – with him.
Turn 4 – time for power consolidation – conquest of Byzantium was not easy, but in the end doable; planning for Africa campaign started, with two landings executed already during this year.
Turn 5 – battle to end the game. Utica – despite many republican forces – was in the end conquered by Caesar. Two traitor legions were fighting against Pompey forces.
Turn 5 – the final situation on map. It was long, gradual ascent of Caesar – for most of the time the final result was in doubt but – as in history – was decided in couple of battles in Greece (click to enlarge)


It was such a great experience to come back to that fantastic title. It is simple and straightforward in its rules, still creating so much strategic and tactical choices and considerations. Each game plays completely differently and one thing is obvious – make sure you have fleets to supply your units and transport them.

Of course, after those two games with Paul we decided to continue and brought next titles to (digital) table. More to come!