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Subject: Help playing Caesar rss

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Mike Gingold
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A buddy and I played a couple of games of Julius Caesar today for the first time. Caesar got crushed in both games and neither of us really see how Caesar has a chance to win.

In fairness, the first game was a loss for Caesar because of bad play. However, in the second game, it was not even close.

We found that it was very hard to build troops and that once you started to take losses in combat, you could not recover. We also found that it really did not matter where Caesar attacked. There were not enough build points available to build and expand like in a lot of the other Columbia games (HOTS, Richard III, etc). It was also very hard for Caesar to expand as it takes a long time to get anywhere on the map with the amount of cities and road limits.

Any tips on how to play Caesar would be appreciated. We both like block games. We also both like the quickness of this game and the rules for this game.

Thanks.

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John Lapham
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I'll be very interested to hear what others have to say about this. I played my first game over the weekend and my initial impression was the same as yours. I played Pompey and scored a fairly easy and early victory. Pompey certainly has the advantage of board position after the set-up but Caesar does have some powerful units including Caesar himself (A3) and the 10th legion (C4). After taking another look at the starting setup this morning, two ideas occurred to me. First, it seems critical that Caesar not concede the East. Perhaps the Ravenna legion should be sent east, recruiting auxiliaries along the way, to contest the three VP cities in Greece and western Asia Minor. Second, perhaps Caesar should delay the attack on Rome to concentrate his best units in one city. I really enjoyed my first play of this and very much look forward to playing it again.
 
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My experience has been the opposite - Caesar has always won, and it was Pompey who had a hard time.

Couple of key points for Caesar... Moving into Rome is an obvious choice to begin, but from there, you need to make a choice of going east or west. If you go east recruit the named blocks as quickly as possible, and avoid combat as much as you can. If you go West, you do have those tough units in Tarraco, but you can bypass them if you sacrifice a unit to pin one of his blocks, which makes counter-attacking you a tougher proposition.

Also, don't forget your Navis - amphibious landings in North Africa mean you can threaten to head for Alexandria.

I'll add that if you choose a plan for Caesar, e.g. going east into Greece to recruit all those blocks available there, then you need to spend the cards and commit to getting it done. Moving in and then waiting several turns to follow up just means you're giving Pompey time to react and prevent you from executing your plans.

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Justin Thompson
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Quote:
My experience has been the opposite - Caesar has always won, and it was Pompey who had a hard time.

Couple of key points for Caesar... Moving into Rome is an obvious choice to begin, but from there, you need to make a choice of going east or west. If you go east recruit the named blocks as quickly as possible, and avoid combat as much as you can. If you go West, you do have those tough units in Tarraco, but you can bypass them if you sacrifice a unit to pin one of his blocks, which makes counter-attacking you a tougher proposition.

Also, don't forget your Navis - amphibious landings in North Africa mean you can threaten to head for Alexandria.

I'll add that if you choose a plan for Caesar, e.g. going east into Greece to recruit all those blocks available there, then you need to spend the cards and commit to getting it done. Moving in and then waiting several turns to follow up just means you're giving Pompey time to react and prevent you from executing your plans.



Nicely said!

Just got back from the WBC yesterday. I ran the first tournament of JC and the over all results by round where:

Round one: Pompey (10) wins vs (5) wins for Caesar. (50% where new players who had just attended the Demo)
Round two: Caesar (5) wins vs (5) wins for Pompey
Round three: Caesar (4) wins vs (3) wins for Pompey
Semi's: Caesar (1) win vs (1) win for Pompey
Final: Pompey win Score 8 to 6 with a Caesar being killed on the second to the last card play.

If you are brand new to Julius Caesar playing Pompey is the side you should play. You start with 7 vp's and only need 10 vp's to win. I saw more 10 point wins at the con then I had seen up until this point. In all the games I have played I have not seen any 10 point wins until this tournament. I do believe this is because we had so many folks who had not played a single game or just a few games before they came to the con.

Justin Thompson
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Niko Ruf
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I haven't played JC as often as I would like, but my impression is also that Caesar has a tough time during the first year. He needs to secure 4 VP worth of cities to prevent Pompey from getting a 10 VP victory. Now Rome is easy to get (although if Pompey goes first on a regular move card, he can concentrate enough forces there to try and hold it - haven't seen that played out yet) and Massilia is relatively secure, but where to get the fourth point? Spain is heavily defended and Pompey can usually win the race to Athens or Byzantium if he deploys his ships properly.

I went with Spain in two games so far, and was able to conquer Tarraco with a bit of luck both times. Even if it fails, Pompey may have to reinforce Spain and may lack the moves to take Athens, Byzantium and Ephesus for the win. But Caesar certainly can't rest easy until he has a 4 VP "power base". Once he gets that, the game seems pretty even in my (limited) experience.
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Mike Gingold
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Lafe wrote:
I'll be very interested to hear what others have to say about this. I played my first game over the weekend and my initial impression was the same as yours. I played Pompey and scored a fairly easy and early victory. Pompey certainly has the advantage of board position after the set-up but Caesar does have some powerful units including Caesar himself (A3) and the 10th legion (C4). After taking another look at the starting setup this morning, two ideas occurred to me. First, it seems critical that Caesar not concede the East. Perhaps the Ravenna legion should be sent east, recruiting auxiliaries along the way, to contest the three VP cities in Greece and western Asia Minor. Second, perhaps Caesar should delay the attack on Rome to concentrate his best units in one city. I really enjoyed my first play of this and very much look forward to playing it again.


I played Caesar both times. In the first game, I went for Rome first and then headed to Spain. I did not do much to go after the East and the game was over in no time. The second game, I ignored Rome and Spain and went to the East. I did better, but at the end of the game, I still only had 4 victory points.
 
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If it were true that you learn most from your mistakes, i would be an expert (you should talk to my lady should you prefer to talk to a real one). Anyway - here's how i managed to lose another game to her and what i learned from it - at least i hope i did...

My plan was to
1. Take and hold rome
2. Advance in Spain and hold the line
3. Turn east with amphibious movements and take those juicy vp cities

I immediately took control of Rome with a strong stack including Caesar. Pompey stayed close by and the eruption of a volcano in the vicinity of rome meant that i couldn't clean Italy from the rebellious scum. Anyway - Rome was secure, on to Spain.
Marc Antony turned west and destroyed Pompeys forces on the peninsula... almost.
I thought it wasn't worth the hassle spending precious movement points to go after a few stragglers. Big mistake No 1.

According to my plan, it was time to turnn east. But with rebel forces still in the vicinity of Rome, i couldn't pull forces away from that front. Fighting broke out again in Italy, while The rebel forces started advancing from the east, and... Well, the stragglers weren't just that anymore either.
Lady Pompey controlled enough VPs to win with 10 Points. The last ones were captured by navis (empty vp cities). I'll spare you the details.

What (i think) i learned:

- finish one job before starting another one
- Navis are important
- don't give your opponent easy vps by leaving coastal vp cities ungarrisoned

Great game (with a too small map)

 
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C Sandifer
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One thing that's crazy about Julius Caesar is that Pompey can get to 10 points (and win outright) in the first year - even without Rome. It requires holding Spain, and having a Mercury card doesn't hurt, but with the dice in Pompey's favor it is certainly possible.

In fact, I entered the WBC Julius Caesar tournament this year, and in one of my games as Pompey - when the first year ended - my opponent asked me if I had already won. Looking at my cards, I realized that I could have gotten to 10 points if I had actually tried - I just didn't have the foresight to put the "10 point plan" into motion.

Spoilers ahead! This is what I could have done.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Turn 1: Navis block in Alexandria goes to Mare Aegaeum; recruit in Antioch.

Turn 2: Navis block in Mare Aegaeum lands in Athena. Recruit in Athena, strengthen Antioch blocks if Caesar is looking east or add more blocks to defend Spain if Caesar is looking west.

Turn 3: Use Mercury card to move the two strongest Antioch blocks three spaces to Ancyra.

Turn 4: Move one Ancyra block to Byzantium and one Ancyra block to Ephesus. Strengthen blocks, or do additional recruiting if necessary.

Turn 5: Hold out!


(Note that, with the right cards, Pompey can do other things in addition to the steps listed above; these steps are just the bare minimum needed to win. Entering Rome in the above plan, for instance, ties up Caesar's blocks in the area. It would be suicide, but it doesn't matter if you win in the first year!)

To me, this is just another reason why a brand new player should play Pompey. The above plan certainly isn't foolproof - by any stretch of the imagination - but for a player who doesn't see it coming it can be a terrible surprise. And the fact that it's even possible bothers me a bit. It certainly wouldn't be fun for a new player to lose his/her first game of Julius Caesar in the first year.

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Justin Thompson
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Nice to hear comments about the 10 point wins! I have never lost a game to any person by 10 points. I am sure it will happen sometime but it hasn't happened yet.

Remember folks it was Caesar who crossed the Rubicon. The burden of a 10 point early defeat lies on Caesars shoulders. It is not hard to get 4 points with Caesar. Caesar is a beast and can run thru just about anything you can put up in Byzantium or Athens.

We had a player playing Pompey at the WBC tournament who tried to hold Rome from Caesar. He played a 4 card and moved Pompey up to Rome. The C3 Ravanna block was also brought in and the ship from Utica was brought in as well. He then built a 1 pip balista. In his game the Caesar player backed off and didn't attack. In my semi-final game against Fred Bauer he attempted the same play. He was crushed on the 2nd turn and Caesar took Alexandra by the 5th card play of the first year.

All I can say is think creatively and Caesar will not lose in the first year! Pompey can't hold everything so make a plan and you should do well!

Justin Thompson
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C Sandifer
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Kingmaker961 wrote:
Remember folks it was Caesar who crossed the Rubicon. The burden of a 10 point early defeat lies on Caesars shoulders. It is not hard to get 4 points with Caesar. Caesar is a beast and can run thru just about anything you can put up in Byzantium or Athens.


Oh, absolutely. My comments don't represent a general concern about the game - especially with two experienced players. I'm mostly commenting on how it's possible for an experienced player to take advantage of a less experienced player in year 1. In fact, when teaching the game, I go so far as to point out this fact explicitly.

Of course, "taking advantage of the new guy" is possible in any block game - or in any game, period. It just happens to be easier to accomplish an early auto-win in Julius Caesar than it is in other games. New players who don't know any better can mistakenly ignore the east in the first year - thinking that those tiny 1-point cities can't possibly matter that early in the game. It just so happens that ignoring these cities can result in an instant defeat!
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Niko Ruf
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wkover wrote:
Spoilers ahead! This is what I could have done.


Hardly a spoiler, more the kind of info somebody needs to be able to play competitively. But its good to let people work that out for themselves if they want.

I'd love to discuss first year strategies once I get a bit more experience with the game.
 
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Neil Henning
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I'd love to hear how anyone with Caesar has won because in our last six games it hasn't happened and we have tried many different strategies. Pompey starts strong and has the huge advantage of being the defender.
Please give me some Caesar strategy that has a chance.
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Julius Caesar » Forums » General
Re: Help playing Caesar
I'm no Caesar expert but you have to play first on turn 1, Take Rome, and send your ship in Ravenna to Dyyrachium, level there, and beat a path either to Athenas or up towards Byzanthium. You have levy-ready troops in that part of the world. Shore up Rome as best you can, and get your fleet into the seas. It's touch and go from there.


Maybe those Caesar players should explain their opening moves so we can get a better idea about what you are doiong that is failing.

Secondly, I think its really important to use reatreating effectively. Often you'll fidn yourself staying in a battle too long and get decimated. That has happened to me alot.
 
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