Caesar tasks you with bringing glory to Rome by building roads to all corners of the known world. You must not falter and you might as well ignore those pesky Gaul’s (Asterix & Obelix). This is the story set up for Caesar’s Empire set in the Asterix universe but you would be forgiven for not realising this is connected to the French comic book as there is so little mention of the titular hero except for a small picture in the corner of the board.
What you have with Caesar’s Empire is a road building / set collection game for two to five players that lasts between 20 and 45 minutes. So, is it worth your time to bring glory to Rome or should you let Rome burn to the ground? Please read on to find out.
All Roads Lead To Rome
Let’s start with the rule book and components as both are excellent. The rule book is clear, short and concise with good diagrams to assist with learning and nice artwork throughout. The components are of an amazing quality, you receive a double sided large board (one side for two to three players and the other side for four to five), one set of roads (twenty five) per player which are beautiful plastic minis of a centurion and two soldiers marching. Five player boards, five point tokens, forty city tokens and forty treasure tokens. It looks amazing on the table and so inviting to play.
What Did The Romans Ever Do For Us
The rules are fairly simple to understand and most people will be able to start playing on their own within a few minutes. On your turn you must build roads so that you connect Rome to a new city. Roads must start from the end of an existing road or from Rome itself and end at a new city not yet claimed. Your roads can start at the end of any other players roads. You may not pass through any unclaimed city or place your roads on top of another road already laid down. Some routes only require you to place one road whilst others will require two. As the game progresses and more and more of the cities are claimed it may be you have to use several roads to get to the city you want. But careful management of your road network is important for scoring which I will explain shortly.
When you reach an unclaimed city you take the city token and place it next to your board and then you take the treasure token and place that on your board. Both of these tokens are how the majority of end game scoring is calculated in Caesar’s Empire. But a big part of this games scoring comes from the roads that are built each turn.
Caesar Is Pleased With Your Effort This Day
After you have taken your city and treasure tokens you score the roads that are used to go back to Rome from that city. Each players road that features scores one point. If there are multiple routes back to Rome you must take the shortest route. Excitingly the road scores are doubled if the treasure token taken that turn was a gold coin.
This road scoring provides a lot of the tensions in the game as you want to reach the highest scoring cities and particular treasures needed to complete sets but you also want to score your roads more than your competitors. Building out towards the valuable locations can provide constant scoring opportunities throughout the game as you know other players will use your roads.
Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Once you have built your roads, collected your city and treasure tokens and scored the roads leading back to Rome it is the next players turn. You continue like this until all cities have been claimed at which point final scoring can commence.
But what about the cities and treasures I hear you cry, well let me explain. The cities are grouped into regions and in each region all of the cities provide different points. At the end of the game you score the points for your highest city in each region. As you collect gold coins you place them on the bottom track of your player board from left to right. The more of these you collect the better the reward at the end of the game. To find out your gold coin score you look under your furthest placed gold coin.
Finally the treasure. As you collect treasure you place each individual treasure along the bottom of the player board track (above the gold track). If you get a duplicate treasure you place it above the same spot. Then at the end of the game you score for how high each treasure is (0 points for only 1, 2 for 2, 10 for 3 and 20 for 4) and then you score for how many unique treasures you scored ranging from 2 points for 2 different types to 46 points for all 8 types of treasure.
Last, but by no means least, is the score for the player who used the least amount of roads (i.e. has the most roads still in front of them) and they score an additional 10 points. Multiple players can score the road bonus.
Tiebreakers are firstly the player with the most city colours, then the player with the most gold and finally the player with the most roads remaining.
Glory To Rome
I hope this review has inspired you to play Caesar’s Empire as it is a fantastic game. I really like it at the higher player counts but it also plays very well at just two which makes for a very tactical game. The constant scoring of roads (doubled with gold coins) combined with the treasure set collection makes for an exciting game. You will have no idea who has fared best right until final scoring.
I have very few negative feelings about the game but I will say that using the Asterix theme seems silly especially as he is not mentioned at all and you can only find him on one small part of the board.
Apart from that I really like this game so go bring Glory to the Emperor, Glory to Caesar!