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July 17, 2003

Favorite Games XX

Just a quick entry today, as I'm mostly absorbed in reading through D&D 3.5 just now...

Caesar and Cleopatra started life, if rumor is to be believed, as a preliminary design for a Risk card game, but the license deal fell apart and the game had to be re-theamed. This didn't hurt it one bit, as the game has more of a political feel than a military feel to its style. Two players struggle over control of 21 Patrician cards, divided into Senators, Praetors, Quaestors, Censors and Aediles by use of Influence cards and Action cards. Influence cards represent people used to sway the opinions of the target Patricians (by any means... both factions include pretty boys/girls to appeal to the patrician's baser instincts) and Action cards represent more direct intervention (in the form of specific rule-bending effects). Players choose their initial hand of 10 Influence cards at will, then shuffle the others, and they sort the Action deck based on their strategy, which makes this game significantly less random than most card games.

Play proceeds as alternating turns in which a player may either play cards or discard and replace some or all of their hand. If you choose to play cards, you can play an action card and one or two Influence cards, one face-down or two face-up, played on a faction of your choice. Then you re-fill your hand (with Influence or Action cards, your choice) and draw a card to determine which faction holds a vote this turn. (Occasionally, there will be no vote as the card turned will say all the Patricians are busy at an orgy. Those Romans...) When a vote happens, you turn up all face-down cards, total Influence, and award a card of that type to the stronger party (unless one side has a Philosopher in play, in which case the weaker side wins). The stronger side then gives up their best Influence card played on that faction, the weaker their worst, and play continues.

When the game ends, players score 1 VP for each Patrician taken, plus 1 for taking the majority of any group, plus another 1 for taking all of a group (not easy to do), plus 2 for matching a secret victory condition each is dealt as the game starts.

This game is very fun and competitive, particularly since both players have the same options available (though there is different art and names on each side's cards, the effects are the same) and the only true difference is their secret bonus VP condition (which might even end up the same, if luck goes that way) and the shuffle of their Influence cards. Careful play, particularly in not using too much power to win a card, is critical. Select your initial hand and order of action cards with care, and you'll have quite an advantage.

Funagain Purchase Links
Caesar and Cleopatra

Posted by ghoul at July 17, 2003 06:20 AM

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Now this sounds like a game (at least aesthetically) which I can really get behind.

Posted by: Paul at July 18, 2003 12:25 PM

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