Caesar in Gaul

Caesar in Gaul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This game was initially intended to be an expansion to Avalon Hill's Caesar's Legions. It has turned into much more than that. It has so many distinct features to it, the only recognizable part that remains are the counters. Caesar's Legions was a captivating game and pretty successful for Avalon Hill. It broke the mold of their traditional WWII games and the traditional combat chart that they used. There were two short comings with the game - there were only five scenarios, and there was no campaign game.

Caesar in Gaul covers a much shorter time period, which makes a campaign game more adaptable. At present it has nine historical scenarios. The rules are more complex as is the combat system, but it remains an intermediate level game, and is highly suited for solitaire play. It has become the sequel game that Caesar's Legions players have always wanted.

This game was not on my list of things to do, it developed in response to requests for variant counters to the Caesar's Legions game, and it got out of hand.

The first major change from Caesar's Legions was the combat chart. It had a 3-2 odds column, but no 2-3 column. This was going to be necessary for Gaul forces to attack Roman Legions. After some mulling over the original d6 chart, a 2d6 chart was developed. With morale being such a major importance in ancient battles and the presence of leaders to rally routed troops, new combat results types were created. The new combat chart has worked out very well.

The new map added an impassable terrain type, fortified villages, and Roman towns. There are a lot more tribes in this game, and morale for each of them is tracked in the campaign game.

Historically, Caesar often marched around Gaul with 6 legions, and Labienus with 4. Most battles were fought with these numbers. The old stacking rules needed to be thrown out. The game has no stacking limitations, instead, a battle board has been introduced as a playing aid that limits the number of units that may directly combat each other. This also adds some additional realism to the battles, and a bit of tactics that you do not get with attacks being simply 'this stack against that stack'. For ancient battles this new combat system works very well.

Supply was a major factor in the historical war. Introducing supply to the game adds a lot of maintenance, and it occasionally causes problems for the Roman player. Light and fast Gaul units can harass rear areas. Legions can be reduced by lack of supply, and the Roman player is occasionally required to raze neutral villages to get them. The Roman player may take more conservative moves and actions due to supply concerns. Supply makes an excellent optional rule for the game.

As for the game map, we really wanted the entire Rhine to be visible, but the German threat needed to be simply that, a threat. There was no way to keep the map scale and include the river fully on the map. This is the battle for Gaul, after all, not Germanica. There were a lot of tribes to place on the map also, and no way to determine which could produce which types of units. The variable forces chart became a necessity, and using 2 dice for results, tribes could have a large strong force, a normal force, or an insignificant one. By adding resources to the larger tribes and giving them additional forces, a distinction between stronger tribes and weaker ones became possible - (in all probability). Aquitania needed to be a much weaker area. Crassus subjugated these tribes with only a legion and a half plus some auxiliaries and a few allies. Reducing the number of tribes and forces was necessary for Aquitania. One of our play test scenarios had to be Crassus in Aquitania, and it worked out nicely.

We tried to use provincial borders from the same time as Caesar, later provincial lines separated northern Gaul from southern. Other games on this subject seem to have missed this point. Any real distinction between the two provinces had to come later after the war in Gaul.

Some counter modifications just seemed natural. Caesar's Legions provided 2-8 and 3-6 Cavalry units with no double cohort unit types for them. After some thought, additional 'variant' counters were developed for the game - missile units. These units certainly existed in these historical battles, but Avalon Hill's original game Caesar's Legions either ignored them or assumed that they were incorporated into the legionary elements. Adding archers, slingers, and velites to the game may add a distinct advantage to the Roman player. If used in conjunction with the 10 cohort legion optional rule, the game might be fairly easy for the Romans. The exotic elephant mercenary variant counters were a wild card thrown in for pure entertainment. Had Caesar actually been able to deploy elephants in a battle, the Gauls would surely have routed.

We could not introduce politics to the game with out money. The money aspect of the game works much smoother than the political aspects, there is a lot of solid data for the application of money to the game. Historically, Caesar had the full support of Crassus and Pompey early on as part of the First Triumvirate. Support wained over the years with the Death of Crassus in 53BC and Julia in 54BC, Pompey's wife and Caesar's daughter. There were always 70 senators that opposed Caesar at all times. With a membership of 600, it seemed only practical to divide them by 10 to arrive at a 31 vote majority to pass or block motions. We assume that each year, the senators that were opposed to Caesar, would want to call him back to Rome to stand trial for his war in Gaul. Some of the tribes he fought had treaties with Rome and had paid tribute in the past. This political action by Caesar's enemies was not actually presented each year, but it was a constant threat that Caesar had to be prepared for. Eventually they succeed and Caesar was compelled to march his legions on Rome.

This game has traditional unpunched game pieces, and a hard mounted board that folds up into a box. There are 120 game cards, 700 counters - mostly double sided with reduced unit values, a 22x28 mounted game board, and 28 pages of rules + 9 scenarios.

The Deluxe version of the game is mounted on simulated black leather backing, and includes a double set of counters, including the variant counters. They are numbered and signed by the designer. The Basic version of the game is mounted on black buckram, with a single set of counters, and no variants.

The second edition rules have taken longer than anticipated. A lot of new material has been added to them. A careful re-read of them is necessary, some subtle changes have made a large impact to the game. The combat and winter phases have been spelled out in greater detail to eliminate confusion, and the material has been reorganized so you can find things where you would expect them.

The second edition game ships with a quarter page of additional double sided counters - 12 more Concealed movement markers, die roll modifiers -5 thru +5, Germanic Runes, Over Run, Battle location markers, odds from 1-3 thru 5-1, and additional lower number siege markers. You also get a copy of the computer game - Crassus in Aquitania, the 4th scenario.

 

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Historical Links

Here are some historical links that we used to develop the game:

Caesar's Commentaries in English:
Link

A free PDF download book called: Caesar's Gallic War
Link

Another free book called Julius Caesar:
Link

Tribes of Brittan:
Link

Tribes of Gaul:
Link

A summary of the Gallic Wars:
Link

A small page on the history of the Roman World:
Link