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Caesar: Epic Battle of Alesia» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Caesar goes 8 with Big V rss

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Ryan Schultz
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Had a blast with four player Caesar: Alesia (AH) yesterday (Clyde L., Bob J., Dan K., myself). This is the Avalon Hill version, from 1976 way back time machine, that covers Caesar's most famous battle with a Gallic force inside Alesia besieged by ten Roman legions which are in turn surrounded by a massive relieving Gallic army. The game has two twelve turn assault periods for the Gauls to try and get the rebellion leader, Vercingetorix (the Big "V"), out of Alesia and off map to safety. The Roman cohorts are toast if caught alone in the open but put them behind defensive ramparts and stiffened by archers, slingers and siege artillery they become very, very tough to tackle. The Gaul's are impressive one-on-one fighters but must accept massive casualties to dig the Romans out of their engineering marvel and open a corridor for Big V to escape in.

The game mechanics are simple and the unique battle situation is incredibly fun to game out. The game rules feature standard Avalon Hill zones of control, which require you to attack everyone you are adjacent to. The Roman cohorts, weaker in individual combat strength, stack three high while the individually stronger Gallic warbands get to pile two high. The odds based Combat Results Table is push and shove at low odds though some eliminations and breakthrough results are possible at the high ends of the odds columns.

The fun factor is even better in multiplayer mode with two players, as Caesar and Labienus, dividing up the 10 Roman legions while the remaining two gamers becoming Gauls, one as Big V leading the inside Alesia troops and the other commanding the much larger relieving Gallic army. Only the outside Gallic commander knows when and where his forces will strike, not even a pre-game conference is allowed, thus forcing the remaining three players to worry, guess and anticipate.

In our game, the Gauls had near perfect play with an outside main strike developing on turn 5 in a weakly held Roman sector. Carefully watching from Alesia, Big V correctly assessed this was the main effort and conducted a sortie to match. To make matters worse, as Labienus I botched my defensive counterattacks twice in this critical area leaving gaps in the ramparts which the Gauls poured through. Caesar was not happy and things were looking bleak indeed for the civilized world. But two key Gaul high odd 5 to 1 attacks with breakthrough potential stalled each with a 6 die roll and a melee result. Caesar, in his red cloak, riding hard with reserves, was able to reestablished an inward and outward facing solid line of cohorts. The overextended and exposed Gauls now started to take excessive troop losses from numerous surround attacks preventing recovery for another assault period try. After this climatic turn, we called it for the Romans after 8 in the first assault period. A very, very close run affair indeed.

This was an impressive play for three reasons. First, Dan as the outside Gallic commander correctly identified a weakness in the Roman lines and executed a well thought out attack plan against it - two diversionary strikes on either side followed by the big assault. Secondly, Bob as Big V correctly assessed Dan's plan (mind you that there is no communication between Gallic players, even before the game begins, and only Dan knew where and when he would attack). Bob also timed his Big V sortie from Alesia perfectly. Finally, Clyde as Caesar correctly responded to the Gallic assaults with the right amount of cohorts in the right place at the right time. For myself, I ate some humble pie for my two botched counterattacks that left holes in the Roman defenses each time.
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Bob S.
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Thanks for the description. Great to read! A close friend and I spotted this game in a store when it came out. Neither of us had the cash alone to purchase it, but collectively we could. It remains our one "jointly" owned game since 1976. (I have it this decade.) Haven't pulled it out in YEARS but your report brings back the enjoyment and consternation this game provided.

(On the side, this report probably better belongs in the "Sessions" forum rather than "General.")

Thanks for posting. Cheers.
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Ryan Schultz
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This game was so intense I did not take all the photos I usually do at the key moments.



Big V waits for the right time to sortie and escape




Is this a diversionary strike or will it build into the main assault?




Gallic losses are minimal early on but this will change once the main assault begins!
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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The Herbie Nichols Project - Dr. Cyclops' Dream
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Great old game; it's been too long since I played it last.

May I recommend that next time you post as a session report rather than simply an article in the General forum? It would be more visible and likely to draw attention, and earn some Geek Gold for you as well.
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Paolo Desalvo
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I'm a feder-allergic and I blame the Klingon for not having smashed the Federation in time to save us from Star Trek serials.
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Really nice report, letting me see this game under a different point of view. Thanks for posting it.
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Bob S.
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oceanweather wrote:


Is this a diversionary strike or will it build into the main assault?


That edge is a particularly hairy part of the board for the Romans. We always tried to make use of it to pester and confound each other, even if for just quick sorties on and off again.
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Ryan Schultz
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Yesterday I had another four player go at Alesia, this time with a Gallic win on turn 9. This is such an awesome game. Very simple rules (IGO-UGO, old fashioned Avalon Hill ZOCs, odds based CRT with a single six sided die) yet the double encirclement play situation is so unique the game is a blast. In our second go Big V got off the map in turn 9 with Caesar surrounded and captured on turn 7.

Our game featured some solid Roman defensive play, brutally beating back two initial Gallic assaults. Yet they can't be everywhere and the third assault met a thin Roman line which quickly penetrated with some lucky attack die rolls. Caesar himself rushed to the threatened sector but was only washed away in the green tide. The Gallic losses were massive yet in the end game, with the ramparts breached, the Roman loss pile began to grow large as well. 

Since Alesia's release in 1976 I have played it 16 times with a nine Gallic to seven Roman win record. Each game has been fun to play. Dan, Bob and Clyde are impressive gamers who caught on to the game nuances early and played a high quality match. I can not ask for better opponents on a pleasant Saturday of rolling dice. Alesia goes back up on my game shelf but I want to get it back on the table. It is that good.
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Gil Hansen
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Ryan,
Do you mind if I ask your method for inserting pics of your game play? I would love to add pics to my AARs but am rather technically challenged in this regard.
Gil
 
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Paolo Desalvo
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I'm a feder-allergic and I blame the Klingon for not having smashed the Federation in time to save us from Star Trek serials.
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Cheroking1 wrote:
Ryan,
Do you mind if I ask your method for inserting pics of your game play? I would love to add pics to my AARs but am rather technically challenged in this regard.
Gil

You do it by using the code [imageid=174006medium], where in the place of "medium" there can be the words "square", "small", "large" or "original". Here, at the bottom of this reply, you can see the result of the code as I presented it above.
The number that you see is the number of the image that you want to show. That number is given to the image by BGG when you up-load it. You have to ways to up-load images: one in your Gallery and one in the official gallery of a game. The one in your gallery is immediate, the one in the official gallery of a game must be approved, but when it is approved it allows you to gain one GeekGold. People can see the images when navigating so, if you want that all the people interest in one game see one your image, you must up-load it under a game.

 
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Gil Hansen
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Thank you for the quick response, Paolo. I will experiment with both options.
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