Game Review – Caesar’s Wars: The Conquest of Gaul

I’ve always wanted to try wargames using “chits”, or small cardboard squares and the hubby’s been a big collector for years but I’ve never had the nerve to get into a huge game of Squad Leader or any of the same ilk – so when we saw the Mini Folio games from Decision Games at Origins it was a great opportunity to get my feet wet without getting overwhelmed. We picked up quite a few but started out with this small, easily portable version of a classic battle – that of Caesar trying to take out the Gauls... (no Asterix although I was thinking about it…)

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This game easily sets up and has a single map and a slew of token, representing the Roman Legions and the Gaul tribes trying to defeat them. The initial set up places the Romans in forts and a scattering of barbarian tribes across the land. It’s a heck of a task to unite the tribes and get them to take on the Romans but not impossible…

Gameplay is dictated by event cards. The player draws one per turn and that card will let you know what you can and can’t do. It’ll list the units you can recruit, how many units can move and how many spaces and what restrictions you’re working under. This is a big difference from the usual chit game that lets you basically run wild. It might seem very restrictive from other games but it’s an excellent introduction to the concept where you have a good chance of winning because it helps you decide where and what to move.

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The barbarians have their own leader and he’s a darned powerful one but you can win without having him on the board – and the Romans have their own victory conditions as well – it’s not a case of wiping out the other side. Each turn you draw a card, do what it says and then roll the dice to resolve combat. Six-sided dice are needed and not included with the game but most everyone has some of these around…

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In this game it’s very easy to resolve combat – a table is given for you to roll on and usually on a five or six the unit is destroyed or routed. If routed you flip it over and a second rout destroys it – combat is fast and simple, making this a good way to spend an hour or so.

The only caveat I have is that the pieces are VERY SMALL and this is NOT a game to play in the dim light – if you’re wearing glasses you may want to invest in a magnifying glass or some way to read the pieces better. Many of the tribes have alike names and I almost moved the wrong one more than once because I couldn’t make out the name of the tribe. You may also want to have tweezers on hand to move the groups of chit pieces back and forth.

Overall I enjoyed this and recommend it as a good entry into the chit war game environment. I’ll have something else to say about another great game, Tank on Tank in a future review – but if you’re looking for a cheap introduction I think you might consider Caesar’s Wars as a good addition to your gaming shelf.

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