About game plus historical detail:

Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul is yet one more very interesting Card Driven Game, which is pretty fast-playing, reasonably easy to learn, two-players title touching on the Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. One player plays Caesar as he attempts to gain wealth and fame in Gallia at the expense of the Gauls. The other player controls all the independent tribes of Gaul as they slowly awake to the peril of Roman conquest.


Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul uses many of the core rules and systems which author incorporated in Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. So players are dealt 8 cards at the start of each turn and use their cards to move their armies and place control markers. There are events, operating points, battles and sieges. Plus of course control of provinces and regions.

The game covers the height of the Gallic Wars, the period between 57 BC and 52 BC when Caesar campaigned back and forth across Gaul putting down one rebellion after another and invading Germania and Britannia (you get special VPs for those). Units are individual Roman Legions or Gallic Tribes. Each turn represents one year.

Would you stand-up to the task and manage to prevail against odds, leading the Legions or Tribes to victory over the determined enemy forces?

Number of players:

This is truly great 2-player game. I cannot imagine playing it solo as there is so much suspense in hidden cards, tricks, last moment attacks or events.

Playing time:

Allow around 3-4 hours for your first game – assuming both players are new to this title and you play full game. With experience – but also due to possibility that the war can end with sudden death victory – it should not take more than 2 hours.

Complexity:

I can definitely state that the rules are not overly complex, although we have some cases which requires your attention. And of course, each side has its own set of faction-specific rules and actions which spice-up the game.

What I like:
  • Theme & historical background – I love ancient history, I love ancient Rome and everything connected. This game in such a great and plausible way depicts what happened in Gaul during Julius Caesar conquest – single, strong Roman force, dispersed, not united Gauls, vulnerable supply lines, etc.
  • The asymmetry is very, very well presented here, with both sides having completely different tools for victory but equal chances to achieve one. Also, the cards, events and the way the forces enters the game makes it a complete different experience for each of the sides.
  • Components quality and graphical game depiction – GMT is known for its superb products; still, here we are getting outstanding product, with fantastic map and cards
  • Replayability – due to the initial starting conditions and later on random tribes activation / uprising, the game each time plays differently. Of course, events you got on your hand adds to this enormously.
What I do not like or would like to see in the game:
  • Learning curve – experienced players really get a HUGE advantage over newbies – events are very important here and can completely obliterate opponent if he is oblivious to what can happen. Still, this is easily remediated by a) starting the journey with that game simultaneously with your opponent b) giving the new players leeway (I always do it) and explaining what might happen.
For whom?

Definitely great title for all the fans of CDGs (Card Driven Games) and Mark Simonitch. At the same time ancient warfare fans will find a lot of theme and great mechanics here too!  

More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – some from Vassal some from the actual game:

Map with the actions of both sides in one of our games.
Beautiful, large cards fueling the game.
Multiple tokens for the game.

VERDICT:

I had a chance to familiarize myself with that game deep in the COVID times, paying with my buddy Dave over Vassal. Later it was only better and better. This is another of Mark Simonitch masterpieces, very tense, very close and engaging game where you all the time try to surprise your opponent. The knowledge of cards, events and what they bring is a huge advantage for experienced players, but other than that this is great Card Driven Game.

I can definitely recommend it to the new wargamers, for whom this can be one of the first CDG games ones. It plays easily, quickly and thematically. It is also well suited for more experienced players, especially when playing twice, changing sides, and comparing the results. Highly recommended!