About game:

Thematically, Columbia’s Games Julius Caesar is a two-player game, depicting the later Roman civil wars (49-45 BC). The forces of Caesar are pitted against those of Pompey in an epic struggle on the strategic level.

Mechanically, Julius Caesar is a card driven block game. You use cards to Move, Levy or play an Event – as easy as that but you always have too few options compared to your needs. 13 victory point Towns or Cities (10 are need to win the game) are depicted on the game board spanning whole of the Mediterranean. On the other hand, the game – similarly to Sekigahara but unlike for example C&C Ancients – brings to players very high uncertainty in the battle – do not confuse with randomness. With the strength of units hidden till the last moment before clash and their initiative varying, one can be really surprised by what the opponent prepared for you!

Would you stand-up to the task and manage to defend the Roman Republic against the odds, or would you rather speed up it demise?

Number of players:

Fantastic title for two players with so much hidden information that playing solitaire is really impractical.

Playing time:

Pretty quick game, which initially might take about 2 -3 hours but with time and experience should be playable in 1.5 hours. This is one of the features which make it so attractive to the new adepts of our hobby.


This is definitely one of the easier games to learn – but not to master! I use it pretty often as entry title for the new players or simply new wargamers as it takes literally 10 minutes to explain the basics. However, in order to properly utilize all the possibilities – especially Navies – you need experience.

What I like:
  • Strategy dimension & historical appeal – I love almost all the Rome-themed boardgames; I played a lot of the titles which depicted the struggle between Caesar and Pompey. Still only very few were on a strategic level. Here we can reenact whole Civil War within 2 hours, with all critical theaters present. This is so great!
  • There are really interesting battle mechanics here: we have faster units – like leaders and archers (designed A or B) and much slower but usually more powerful – like legions or navy (C and D). That actually drives the order in battle which is also influenced by the fact who is attacker and who defender – with latter inflicting hits first in each A-D group.
  • What is more, there is a huge dose of hidden information – Julius Caesar brings to players a very high uncertainty in the strategic dimension (event cards) and in the tactical one (battles). That is really great as oftentimes you can surprise the opponent with timely play of interrupting card or bluff with hidden blocks as to what is the strength of his forces.  
  • Beautiful components – in general I am a fan of block games. Here, we have especially nice-looking implementation, with vivid red and green colors, large blocks, distinctive Cleopatra. Very nice looking!
What I do not like or would like to see in the game:
  • Number of scenarios and set-ups – I love the basic, The Great Civil War set-up and its dynamics. I still think there is a place to have more Scenarios – in different moments of the war with maybe some pre-defined cards in hand. That would increase the game replayability enormously.

  • Map – while I love the blocks and appreciate cards, I would really like to see much better, mounted map. I am not aware of any so far and it is probably too long since the game was published to get one – still, that would be nice add-on.
For whom?

As written already above, this is wargame for everybody. First of all, for the new players, who are just making their first steps in the hobby. Accessibility of the rules, time to play, beautiful components – all of this will attract them. Secondly, for seasoned wargamers, who can appreciate strategy depth of this position – and believe me, there is so much options and possibilities below seemingly simply set of rules.

More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures taken during my plays:

Beautiful, large blocks used for game
Julius Caesar trip to Antioch 🙂
A large battle in Egypt between Caesar and Pompey forces. Where is Cleopatra?
One of our face-to-face game and sad end of Caesar
This time a vassal session with Caesar triumphant


Columbia Games published one of the best and time-resistant titles about the Rome ever created. It has one map, one scenario, one set-up. Still, it is such an engrossing and interesting title, with each game going into completely different direction.

Julius Caesar also force the players to think more strategically about the conflict – in the end, you are operating on the whole Mediterranean Sea map. On the other hand it has enough easy rules for everybody to quickly grasp them and enjoy the game almost immediately. Last but not least, this is very interesting game from historical point of view – it really nicely depicts location and disposition of both Caesar and Pompey forces, their strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you will get most of what you are getting! Highly recommended!

More reviews to come!