Recommend
47 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

Ave Caesar» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Seven Good Reasons To Play Ave Caesar rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ave Caesar


Chariot Racing Game For Up To Six Players
Designed by Wolfgang Riedesser
Published by Ravensburger (1989)


 

I was lucky enough to grab a copy of the Ravensburger edition of Ave Caesar a few years ago, in a swap with Shawn Lowe. I can’t remember what I traded away, but I am confident that I got the best of the deal.

I have a regular Monday night game group and we normally have six players. There is a surprisingly small number of Euro-games that are suitable for six players. There are plenty of good games for five or four players but six is a bad number. We often play Alhambra, Medici, Atlantic Star and AVE CAESAR.

I think it is safe to say, without any exaggeration, that there is a real ‘buzz’ around the table the moment I bring out Ave Caesar. The comments go something like, “Oh! Ave Caesar – that’s good!” or “I really like Ave Caesar!” No other game that we play regularly has this effect before the game even starts.

 

Basic Description of Play


The object of the game is to be the first charioteer to complete three laps of the racing arena. Each player starts with a deck of 24 cards (four sets of cards numbered one through to six). Each player randomly takes three cards into their hand and take turns playing a card, moving their chariot the appropriate number of spaces and then drawing a card to fill their hand back to three cards.

Simple?

There are several aspects to the game that contribute to it being a highly interactive, extremely competitive and quite interesting game. In the first place there are several places around the track where it narrows from two lanes to a single lane. Chariots finishing where the track narrows will block the chariots immediately behind, thus causing these teams to miss a turn. At the corners of the track there are walls which separate the two lanes – the inside lane of the track generally has few spaces than the outside lane. Chariots finishing their turn at the entry of a corner will block the chariots immediately behind, thus causing these teams to go the long way around the outside of the corner. What makes this doubly frustrating for these teams is that it is quite possible that if you go the long way around several corners that you may not have enough cards left to actually finish the race. In addition, each chariot must spend at least one turn in the Imperial Alley paying tribute to Caesar. This creates yet another opportunity to block those players behind you.


Strategy???

Reading other reviews of Ave Caesar, there appears to be a tendency to dismiss this as a simple card game that lacks real depth. I must admit that was my initial impression. Having played it sixteen times at the time of writing this review I must admit that my initial impression has been replaced by a genuine admiration for the game design.

In a complete game of Ave Caesar there are four races. Players score points in each race and the overall winner gains the glory. In each subsequent race the horse that place last in the previous race starts off the next race (giving it an advantage) while the horse that won the previous race starts last (which is a disadvantage).

In the game, if there is no blocking, all chariots will finish around about the same time as each other. The key to doing well is to avoid being blocked. At the same time, successfully blocking opponents will give you an advantage.

As you only have three cards in your hand at any one time your choices are limited. Your choices revolve around do I play a card that allows me to block the track OR do I not block the track but block a corner and force other players to go the long way around OR (if you have several small cards in your hand) do I play a small card and let other chariots go past and let them play blocking games while I just try to keep out of the way and try to play a card a turn?

Another factor to consider is that the leading horse is NOT allowed to play a six. Towards the end of the third lap, if the leading horse has a six it may be placed in the situation where it has to pass as it is not allowed to play its six. Sometimes the second placed horse will deliberately try to stay in second place as long as possible just to restrict the leader’s card options.


Reasons To Play Ave Caesar

1. It is a great game for SIX players.
2. It is highly interactive.
3. The game plays in around 75 minutes.
4. Due to selecting from only three cards there is no Analysis Paralysis.
5. You can have up to four winners of individual races as well as the overall winner.
6. It should be a close finish as all players have the same set of cards as each other.
7. It’s FUN to BLOCK other chariots.

 

Ravensburger Versus Pro Ludo Editions

I have the Ravensburger edition. I also purchased the new Pro Ludo edition but have since traded it and kept the Ravensburger game. Both games have the same nicely-moulded plastic pieces for the chariots and coins. The art-work on the cards is probably nicer in the new Pro Ludo version. The maps are significantly different in appearance. The Ravensburger has two race-tracks on each side of the board – the Pro Ludo board has only one board on each side. The Pro Ludo board has nicer art work but, overall, is small and some of the spaces (particularly in the Imperial Alley) are extremely small. Even though the Pro Ludo board looks nicer and comes with prettier cards, I still prefer to use the Ravensburger board (which I guess is why I kept that game and traded the Pro Ludo edition).

If you are looking for a fun time with six players Ave Caesar is the way to go!


arrrh “Dead Men Tell No Tales!”



20 
 Thumb up
1.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
jonathan schleyer
United States
Manhattan Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for this review. I keep holding back on this game because I own Winner's Circle and feel that these games are both racing games and therefore may kind of overlap. Is there a reason to own both?

Provence
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
provence wrote:
Thanks for this review. I keep holding back on this game because I own Winner's Circle and feel that these games are both racing games and therefore may kind of overlap. Is there a reason to own both?

Provence


I have both - my group has just been introduced to Winner's Circle. Their initial response to Ave Caesar was overwhelmingly positive. Their response to Winner's Circle has been lukewarm.

The games are quite different, despite a some slight similarity. In Winner's Circle you are playing the part of a punter and several players will have bets on the same horse - this means that part of the game involves making bets on horses in such a way as to gain the support of other players. While there is a small element of trying to slow-down some horses it is only a small part of the game.

Ave Caesar is all about getting your own chariot over the line - there is no assessing the situation to get support from other players. During the race there is a lot of blocking. The blocking element is fun. Because there is so much blocking, everyone is involved and no-one (in my group at least) takes it personally.

The games feel totally different and Ave Caesar seems to have a much higher level of excitement.

arrrh

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kenneth Sheffield
United States
Aberdeen
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
AC and WC are completely different games. I enjoy both!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
bruno faidutti
France
PARIS
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
Ave Cesar is the best racing game ever.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Miguel
France
Caen
(from Valencia, Spain)
flag msg tools
designer
My best-rated game: Tetrarchia, about the tetrarchy that saved Rome
badge
Try my latest game: Big*Bang, a simple abstract about the first minutes of the Universe
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Amen.

And if you get tired after hundreds of plays, try my Lion variant!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I can tell you why you should have Ave Caesar and Winner's Circle: They are both racing games. My group likes Winner's Circle.

This game seems similar to the games in Wolfgang Kramer's racing series (Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, Daytona 500, and Top Race). If you've played one of them, could you tell me: How is it similar? How is it different?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
unixrevolution wrote:
I can tell you why you should have Ave Caesar and Winner's Circle: They are both racing games. My group likes Winner's Circle.

This game seems similar to the games in Wolfgang Kramer's racing series (Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, Daytona 500, and Top Race). If you've played one of them, could you tell me: How is it similar? How is it different?


Quite different.

In Wolfgang Kramer's series all cards are distributed evenly amongst players at the start of the game. Each card is most likely to move several of the cars. That is it may move the blue car 6 spaces, the green car 5 spaces, the yellow car 4 spaces, etc. When the card is played all cars are moved the appropriate number.

After being given your cards you then select which car you would like to have. Players then play cards. You then take turns playing cards and moving cars. The idea is to play the cards in such a way as to mimimise the advance of the other players' cars while maximising the advance of your own cars.

It is an excellent game but quite different to Ave Caesar. It is very muchy about assessing your cards at the start of the game, selecting a car your hand is suited for and then playing the cards during the race.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
da pyrate wrote:
unixrevolution wrote:
I can tell you why you should have Ave Caesar and Winner's Circle: They are both racing games. My group likes Winner's Circle.

This game seems similar to the games in Wolfgang Kramer's racing series (Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix, Daytona 500, and Top Race). If you've played one of them, could you tell me: How is it similar? How is it different?


Quite different.

In Wolfgang Kramer's series all cards are distributed evenly amongst players at the start of the game. Each card is most likely to move several of the cars. That is it may move the blue car 6 spaces, the green car 5 spaces, the yellow car 4 spaces, etc. When the card is played all cars are moved the appropriate number.

After being given your cards you then select which car you would like to have. Players then play cards. You then take turns playing cards and moving cars. The idea is to play the cards in such a way as to mimimise the advance of the other players' cars while maximising the advance of your own cars.

It is an excellent game but quite different to Ave Caesar. It is very muchy about assessing your cards at the start of the game, selecting a car your hand is suited for and then playing the cards during the race.



I have, and like, Detroit-Cleveland. Ave Caesar seems to be something I'd enjoy. Thanks for the great review.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Am I a man or am I a muppet? If I'm a muppet then I'm a very manly muppet!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There is a auto racing version of this game - Ausgebremst - but it's tough to find.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Watson

Wiltshire
msg tools
Hi Folks,

based on the glowing reports above and in other reviews, I took the plunge and picked up the Pro Ludo version of Ave Caesar. As my vintage Circus Maximus had not hit the table for some while I was looking for a light fast & fun chariot racing game.

Unfortunately in the 3 plays so far we have found it to be an unexciting "going through the motions" card laying procession with few laughs and just a bit of screwage with occasional blocks.

The outside lanes only had more segments in a few cases giving no real penalties or possibilities of running out of cards as hinted at in the rules. The outside lane line to the Emperor lane on one track also posed few issues.

We have either totally missed something critical in the rules, although I doubt it considering their length and clarity, or I am just used to a bit more meat.

So is this one for the younger crowd or easily pleased, or perhaps after a few more beers?

Sorry to rain on the BBQ but I am suprised at this games popularity and rating. Am I alone in this opinion?

Dissappointed Silas in Mourning

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Miguel
France
Caen
(from Valencia, Spain)
flag msg tools
designer
My best-rated game: Tetrarchia, about the tetrarchy that saved Rome
badge
Try my latest game: Big*Bang, a simple abstract about the first minutes of the Universe
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have only played with the old tracks, and enjoy the game a lot. After seeing the new ones, and hearing what others report after play, it seems that when they re-edited the game they changed the only thing they should have not: the tracks. Not only you have 2 instead of 4, but they lead to an easier finish for all players (less fun?).

It is one of the games that, when we run a championship during holidays, we find more or less the same players playing for the win at the last race, so there is some strategy beyond the card laying procession that you have experienced. At least with the old tracks!

But, of course, some beers help...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Maxwell
United States
Arvada
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't checked myself but erailer reports on the reprint said that they changed the tracks making it easier for everybody to finish. For that reason I paid extra to get a Ravensburger version of the game. That one plays tight, especially if everyone is aware of how costly it is to go outside more than once or twice.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Neil Watson

Wiltshire
msg tools
Hi Folks,

thanks for the feedback, I will give it a try with the old tracks and see how this effects the balance.

Best Wishes Neil
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
jonathan schleyer
United States
Manhattan Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That would be great!

Let us know because I was thinking of getting the game but I have doubts based on this thread.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.