Another two player, 20-minute strategy game from Paolo Mori – following on from his previous, well received Blitzkrieg!, which promised gamers that they could play through World War II in, yes, 20 minutes – Caesar! sees players cast as either the titular Caesar or his rival, Pompey, in a struggle to dominate the Roman Empire.

To do so, players draw tokens from their beautifully illustrated bags and use them to claim areas of the map; tokens are adorned with symbols, matching those found on the map, and two numbers, denoting strength for whichever region they’re placed in. Using a token to claim the final space in a region will earn that player a bonus token (giving them a one-off special ability, such as taking an extra turn immediately or choosing to turn an opponent’s token face down). The player with the most strength in the ‘completed’ region will also be able to place one of their control markers in that region – if they own a neighbouring region already, they get to place two. Senate tokens allow players to accelerate the pace of control markers being played and other powers can help with this too.

The player who places all of their control markers first wins. Simple, right?

It’s a fine little game of strategic placement and clever strategy. Knowing when to hold back or simply allow a region to fall into the hands of your opponent is as key as knowing when to push ahead aggressively.

The really cool thing? It really can be played in 20 minutes or less. It does feel a little abstract at times; though a few advanced token types are included to add a bit of depth, it does still feel a little simplistic. However, for those players turned off by the overwhelming depth and options of most strategy games, let alone their playing time, Caesar! is likely to hit the sweet spot of being just enough game – at precisely the right length – for those players.

The inclusion of a solo mode, using ‘AI’ tiles, is a really neat touch and adds quite a bit of value to the game too.

Overall, Caesar! is a worthy purchase for solo players – or players looking for a less complex, but still nicely strategic two player experience. The components are lovely and it’s a very well designed game that takes up neither table space nor precious time to learn and play.

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