First in First of the First ...
The newest Columbia block game was
so new the blocks had to be assembled before play could begin.
Steve Koleszar and Grant Dalgliesh
kill Romans whether they win or lose. Rome vs Rome would
have been so apt.
With a large turnout for the demo of this new game we expected
a good crowd at the following tournament. We weren't disappointed
as 30 players tried their luck in this new trial event. Because
Julius Caesar was so new we had to open seven new games
just to have enough games to let everyone play. The first round
saw ten Pompey wins vs. five Caesar wins. New players, unfamiliar
with the urgency Caesar faces in the first year, accounted for
the Pompey edge. Subsequent rounds saw fewer Pompey wins as Pompey's
edge thinned to 9-8 over the next two rounds. I had to play Grant
Dalgliesh, my co-designer, to reach the semi-finals. It was a
close game but in the end Caesar ruled the day and sent me to
the semi-finals. with a score of 9-5. Grant thought he had the
game won but it dramatically came unglued for him in the last
few card plays.
The semi-finals began the elimination portion of the tournament.
Tom Drueding drew Micah Hultgren and I was the opposition for
Fred Bauer. In Round 2, Drueding tried a new strategy of playing
first with a 4 card (the only one in the deck) and massing his
troops in Rome and attempting to hold it for a Turn 1 win. Micah
was unable to knock him out of Rome in time. In the other game,
Fred was playing Pompey and I cautioned him before we dealt the
cards that if he tried a forward defense he would be smashed.
I played a 3 card and he responded with the 4 card! He tried
to hold me off but was crushed on the second play of the cards
in Year 1. He was forced to retreat and in the end fell to the
might of Caesar by a score of 8-5.
We drew for sides in the Final and Tom pulled Caesar. Tom
is a very aggressive player and he attempted to attack in Hispania
while sending Caesar and two other units east to face Scipio.
His Hispania campaign hit a brick wall and was forced to retreat
and reinforce his army. I decided a few card plays later to attack
also and lost all but two blocks in Hispania. I was able to evacuate
the two units across the strait into Africa. After a few more
plays Scipio was able to attack three of his units but not Caesar.
Caesar was forced to redeploy his units and almost was killed
in Asia Minor. Tom used the map and his knowledge of block games
to get Caesar away and rebuilt him to take Athens. In the last
year I was dealt a Jupiter card that allowed me to take away
one of his blocks accompanying Caesar. Tom had to delay his planned
attack on Athens for a turn but was still able to take it. The
delay allowed time for Pompey and Scipio to assemble an army
near Bzyantium which was able to take back Athens. This trapped
Caesar in Pylos. Pompey was able to get five navies together
in the Mare Internum and was putting pressure on Caesar so Tom
had no choice but to attack Pompey in Athens. He had a unit in
Thessalonika as a reserve hoping to open a retreat lane for Caesar.
I was ready for this and moved one of my five ships into Thessalonika
after him. I also moved a ship into Pylos and Ambracia to make
sure he could not get away. Caesar was forced to fight to the
death. He lost and I scored a VP to turn the tide to Pompey.
Tom still had one block left in the east and got into Ephesus
but he was saddled with the burden of attack in the last turn.
His attack failed and Caesar was defeated by 8-6, allowing me
to win the first tournament of my first game design.