Robert B
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Caesar XL (silver rules)

Caesar:
Robert B
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Pompey:
Judd Vance
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Wichita
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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50BC:
Caesar drew Demands for Reform placed in the card in the forum. He played the Antonius card (1 populare) to gain a leader, who was placed in the Rubicon. Moving units, Caesar acquired Burdigala as a new province and then marched on Rome, eliminated the defender, and took over the city.

Pompey started his turn by drawing an event, Allies go Home. Both sides lost an allied unit. During the movement phase, Pompey advanced to Pergamum, Byzantium and Alexandria. He also evacuated Nova Carthago and reinforced Utica with more units.

Caesar drew The Senate card and added it to the forum. Because the supreme leader was in Rome, he drew a second card, which was Optimates Rally. This resulted in even more gold for Pompey. Caesar then added and allied unit in Vercellae and a free legion in Rome, using Antonius’s ability. Caesar then sent his units out and advanced on Nova Carthago, Brundisium, Dyrrachium and Salonae.

Pompey drew the Demand for Action event, which cut the taxes collected in half. He then played Allies Mobilize and gained 3 allied infantry, placing them in the east. Pompey then bought 2 allied units for Utica and marched units to Athens, Massena and Crete.

49 BC:
Caesar started the new year with Populares Rally and gained 2 gold and a promotion to a veteran legion. Caesar also gained a free legion from Antonius, but did not purchase any units due to crippling half-tax from the previously played Demand for Action card. Two legions marched to Massena and defeated a garrison allied unit.

Pompey drew Veteran’s Settlement and added it to the forum. Due to his large gold stores, he spent funds to force march 8 legions and Pompey to Massena where the defenders were eliminated. This negated the Demand for Action card, resulting in full taxes next turn.

During his forum phase, Caesar claimed the Demands for Reform card (2 populares). The Allied Settlement card was added to the forum.

Pompey played Cicero Speaks and took Caesar’s two cards. He then purchased units. At this point, Pompey had a per-turn tax advantage of 25 gold to18. Pompey then marched on Rome with 9 legions and 2 allied infantry versus the defenders of 4 regular legions, 2 veteran legions, Antonius and Caesar, himself. Pompey lost 5 legions and 2 allied in the fight, but Caesar lost everyone but the supreme leader, who escaped to the Rubicon. Pompey was left with control of Rome.


Pompey becomes master of Rome... for a time...

48 BC:
Caesar drew and played a new leader, Lepidus, in Massilia. He then purchased a legion and allied unit. Caesar cleaned out almost all his territories to converge his military on Rome. Only Burdigala, Massilia and Nova Carthago remained in Caesar’s camp. Caesar was able to bring 1 allied infantry, 3 legions and 1 veteran legion, plus Lepidus and Caesar to Rome, versus 3 legions, 1 veteran legion and Pompey. Yet another supreme leader versus supreme leader brawl! The first round of combat went heavily for Pompey, but the second round went for Caesar. Pompey lost all of his units, but narrowly retreated with his life to Brundisium.


Caesar regains the Eternal City

Pompey drew the Rebellion event, which allowed Caesar to place 3 allied units on enemy spaces on the board, negating any reinforcements around the displaced Pompey south of Rome. A Caesarean allied unit, placed through the Rebellion, successfully defeated two opponents to take over Pontus.

Caesar drew Bread and Circuses and lost a gold. He then purchased 2 legions and converged on Pompey and his allied unit in Messana. Pompey is killed in the battle.

Pompey played the Successor card and placed his leader on Alexandria. He then purchased two units and consolidated his position in the east.

47 BC:
Caesar played Brutus as a leader (1 populare) and purchased a legion for Rome. He advanced into Utica.

Pompey won the Defend the Republic card (2 optimates). He purchased units and marched on the defenders in Pontus. He won the battle, killing Scipio.

Caesar claimed the Veterans Settlement card (3 populares), bought a legion, received a legion from the Settlement card and moved units.

Pompey drew and placed Cato (1 optimate) and paid to draw additional cards, adding Latifundia to the forum. He then marched units to Pharsalus and Athens.

46BC:
Caesar added Vox Populi to the forum. He then consolidated his forces in Rome and played Treachery to cause Pompey to lose a veteran legion and also played Cleopatra so he couldn’t collect tax next round.

Pompey drew Ides of March and Caesar was killed. He also drew Provincial’s Citizenship card and added it to the forum. He then spread out his forces to acquire more cities.

Caesar, in anticipation of the Provincial’s Citizenship card (1 populare), spread out and acquired a total of 12 roman cities and next turn claimed the forum card for the 7 net populares victory condition.


The end game

Post Game Thoughts:
This game reminds me of the microgames of the 1980s (and that is a good thing, in my book). Paper maps, sealed in a plastic bag, lots of randomness, attractively priced.

Caesar has the advantage of starting close to Rome, but Pompey has the rich East to himself and gains a gold advantage. Toward the end of the game, Pompey used his gold stores to draw more cards and eventually the Ides of March came up, killing Caesar. It was late enough in the game that I only needed one more populare and one was available in the forum that did not require a supreme leader.

Overall, this was a fun game and after playing, AirJudden and I came up with some different thoughts of how to play and different strategies to try out....next time!
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Justus Pendleton
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"lots of randomness"

Can you elaborate more of what you mean here? I got a copy of this in a maths trade but given Julius Caesar I've never really even looked at the rules for this.

It looks like airjudden has Julius Caesar but hasn't played it but I'd be curious to hear a comparison of the two from the perspective of someone who has done more than just read the rules.
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Robert B
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As for randomness, I am not referring to combat. It uses the standard D6, and I like the combat system. Whoever has the most powerful leader(s) starts each combat round. Allies (light units) start the round, followed by legions and then leaders. It is possible to promote units to make them more powerful. One expects random die rolls in combat games.

I am referring to the SPQR cards. Each turn you draw one or more cards. The cards might be forum cards, tactics, events, leaders... The events could be a barbarian uprising or more gold or some of your military units suddenly appear in your opponent's cities. In the session above, an event card killed my supreme leader - and it is hard to get your successor leader out on the board.

I wasn't necessarily saying this is a bad thing, but the microgame genre usually has mechanics that you have to roll with the punches.
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Judd Vance
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I just got J.C. in the mail a week ago and read the instructions. I really really like block games and it uses the Hammer of the Scots system, so you know that's a good thing. I can't imagine NOT liking it. Barteus and I will play it the next time we hook up face to face, probably some time in March.

The randomness is more extreme than the "god" cards in J.C. (At least I think, not having played it). In J.C, your 3 leaders are already on your side. In CXL, you draw them, so it is possible to have them all on one side. Besides being the J.C.-equivalent of adding a block for the leader, leaders can do things like give you the equivalent of a free 3 C.V. block every turn (putting it into J.C.-terms), or promote one unit (the same as turning a 3 CV into a 4 CV) and free. That can put some wild swings.

Then you draw events, where barbarians rise and if you have units in certain cities, you have to combat them (imagine having to combat a 4 CV neutral-color block ... it's going to wear down your units). Or it could allow you to add 2 CV blocks behind enemy lines.

So you draw cards, and they may be helpful, or they may be bad event (I drew "Ides of March," which killed Caesar, and would have killed Pompei had he been in Alexandria at the time), or you may draw the "forum" cards, which are cards that allow you to claim them for victory points NEXT TURN if you meet the conditions.

This game has an economic factor that J.C. doesn't have. Your controlled cities provide gold and you use those to buy additional SPQR cards (which may or may not go your way, but you have to keep buying them in hopes of getting leaders), or you use them to purchase additional units (such as drawing them from your pool in J.C.), buying forced marches, or paying for units to overstack in cities that are beyond the wintering limits of the cities.

It's a solid mini-game. It's definitely harder to play Pompei, as neither of us have figured out the strategy, although I think we made big headway after seeing the mistakes last game. I'm going to guess J.C. is more fun because I REALLY like blocks and because it is about 2-3 times as expensive.

Put it this way: I have bunches of American Revolution games and if Victory Point Games made one on the topic, I would probably get it. They have a unique twist to scratch a specific itch. You can play the Roman Civil War in less than an hour and have a blast doing it for a cheap price. Nothing wrong with that.
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Lawrence Hung
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The AAR inspires me to get a copy! I played Julius Caesar recently and what a subject to game! Grand strategic level on the struggle of the two ancient giants!laugh
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Steve Kling
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Nice session report. Glad to see people are still playing this game - it is a real gem.
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Daniel Berger
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Quote:
Pompey drew Ides of March and Caesar was killed.

That was actually incorrect. Only the person who draws the card is affected, since the card says "If your Supreme Leader...". The developer confirms this here:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.1dd2e4df/489
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Steve Carey
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Good catch, Dan.
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Daniel Berger
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airjudden wrote:
In J.C, your 3 leaders are already on your side. In CXL, you draw them, so it is possible to have them all on one side. Besides being the J.C.-equivalent of adding a block for the leader, leaders can do things like give you the equivalent of a free 3 C.V. block every turn (putting it into J.C.-terms), or promote one unit (the same as turning a 3 CV into a 4 CV) and free. That can put some wild swings.

Yeah, that's one thing I found to be a little too swingy, so I proposed a variant that you only have 1 subordinate leader in play at a time.
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