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June Hwang Wah
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Extracted from Cardboard Strategyst website

Overview
Caesar is a game dealing with the battle of Alesia, 51 BC. The Roman general Julius Caesar has pursued the Gallic rebel leader Vercingetorix to the fortified town of Alesia. The Romans besieged the place, instead of launching a direct assault. The fortified Roman encampment was subsequently attacked by a Gallic relief force of 250,000 men.

Caesar had to stand his ground, to keep Vercingetorix in and the reliefing force out.

Game Features
The Roman player has certain very definite advantages in this game.

Tactically, the Romans should expect to win most of the battles. The stacking rules are definitely in favour of the Romans, who can stack 3 high against the Gauls, who can stack two. Although the average Roman unit is slightly weaker than the Gallic one, this stacking rule makes the elite X Legion deadly. Furthermore, most of the time, the Romans are on the defensive, which means that they will be sitting on favourable terrain. Add to that the devastating effects of the Outer Works and defensive artillery, it should come as no surprise that the Gauls lose many times more units than the Romans. Lastly, the Romans have the use of two commander units, which allows them to choose the most favourable of 2 (or 3) combat die rolls. This makes them deadly in low-odds combat.

Roman artillery fire during the Gallic movement phase. Missile units and forts may fire. This is an important part of the Roman defense, as attacking stacks are broken down before they can engage the defenders sitting on the ramparts. Destruction or disruption of key stacks may sometimes mean the difference between one column of odds on the CRT.

The Outer Works can be considered one of the pillars of the Roman defense. It rings the Roman perimeter, both on the inner and outer ring. Gallic units ending their turn on the Outer Works in Roman ZOC are required to undergo a special attack, which eliminates them on single die roll of 6. These units are not replacable, since unlike missile attacks, this attack takes place at the end of the movement phase. In every game, the Outer Works will take its toll on more than a handful of Gallic warbands.

Even on the counterattack, the Romans have the advantage. Attacking Romans defeat Gauls automatically on a 2-1 attack if the defenders are totally surrounded by Roman ZOC. This can be potentially devastating if Roman cavalry can be brought to bear. Properly covered attacks can also be thwarted by the presence of Roman commanders. Combat involving Roman commanders make multiple combat rolls, with the one most favourable to the Romans taking effect.

Against this formidable array of units, the Gallic player has only infantry (albeit a large number of them.) It takes a focused and determined Gallic player to crack the Roman defenses.

The first step that the Gallic player must take is accepting that heavy losses is inevitable. Large numbers of troops will be launched in doomed assaults upon the Roman defences. Take heart in the fact that each attack drains Roman resources from key defense positions. Depth of defense in one area may be traded for units to rush off into other threatened sectors. Reserves may be commited to defend against your feint.

If the Gallic player must be generous in committing units to attack, he must be equally cautious in the execution of these attacks. Casualties must be accepted, but careless losses must not be permitted. Gallic forces may be numerous, but they are not inexhaustable.

Flanks of attacking forces must be covered to deny 2-1 surrounded attacks to the Romans. Assaults against forts and other strongpoints if attempted, must be the focus of a determined attack. Remember that even if an attack fails, it can have a permanent effect by the destruction of key forts in an area.

Eventually, an attack will succeed in breaching the Roman defences. When this happens, make sure that there are reserves with which to pry open the Roman defences. If Gallic cavalry manage to enter the defences, they should be used to penetrate deep. This tactic will tie down critical reinforcements from reaching the key battle for a turn or two: time needed for Vercingetorix to make his escape.
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Michel Boucher
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Quote:
The first step that the Gallic player must take is accepting that heavy losses is inevitable. Large numbers of troops will be launched in doomed assaults upon the Roman defences.


Caesar at Alesia is one of my favourite games. I have only played it twice, but enjoyed it immensely.

The trick with the Gaul in CaA seems to be to see beyond the first day and to ensure that you have sufficient reinforcements to take on the defense perimeter on day 2 and pierce through. Consequently, Roman-sapping feints for the Gaul are necessary. "Doomed" assaults must form part of a plan. One of these is the removal of towers. If they can be cleared in Day 1 from two or three sectors, the Roman player will not know where to concentrate his forces.

In the second game I played, we stopped after day one. I had in fact played both sides, starting as the Romans and trading half-way with the other fellow as he was having trouble visualizing what he should be doing as the Gaul. At the end of the first day, losses were remarkably high but, when calculated, represented about 25% of total units for each side. As each side gets about 10% of these back at the beginning of day 2, the ratio would have been maintained. But sadly it was not to be.

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