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Posted on Dec 10, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“I came to Rome when it was a city of stone … and left it a city of marble.”Solitaire Caesar Board Game Review

“I came to Rome when it was a city of stone … and left it a city of marble.”Solitaire Caesar Board Game Review

Rick Martin

Solitaire Caesar Board Game Review.  Publisher: White Dog Games  Designer:  David Kershaw  Price $48 boxed or Print and Play for $30

Passed Inspection:  Very tense game play; easy to learn; good AI; optional rules provide excellent replayability; nice components; good value for the price; small footprint makes it perfect to play while traveling

Failed Basic: combat system may be counter-intuitive for experienced gamers; barbarian movement rules somewhat unclear

“Solitaire Caesar” is subtitled “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 350 BC to 1453 AD” and if that subtitle seems overly ambitious for a game with only 7 pages of rules plus a page of Designer’s Notes, you are certainly right to think it but the game’s designer, David Kershaw, the designer of Barbarossa Solitaire, has pulled it off beautifully.

The Roman Empire

Solitaire Caesar simulates the expansion and contraction of the Roman Empire focusing mostly on strategic conquest.  Each turn is 100 years.  The map features a point to point movement system and includes many of the kingdoms around the Mare Nostrum as far north as Britain; as far west as Hispania; as far south as North Africa and as far east as Babylon and the Mare Caspium.  Each unit is a Roman Legion or a “civilized” or “uncivilized” barbarian army.  Optional rules include a particularly skilled Caesar or a skilled general but since each turn is 100 years, their affects only last one turn.

White Dog Games makes the game available as either a print and play downloadable version for $30 or in an attractive boxed game for $48.

The game components are as follows:

An 8 Page Rulebook

176 Single-Sided, 5-8″ Counters and Markers

17″ x 11″ Game Board

Player Reference Card

You will need a six sided die or two to play the game.


Solitaire Caesar can be played as a full 18 turn Rise and Fall of the Western Empire and Justinian’s Reconquest of the Western Empire or as The Rise and Fall of the Western Empire or just as Justinian’s Reconquest of the Western Empire.  An average game can be played in 1 or 2 hours.

The game has a Player’s Reference Card of tables which controls Solitaire Caesar’s AI and, by extension, the civilized and uncivilized barbarians mentioned above.  For the purposes of the game, the only differences between the two barbarians, aside that uncivilized barbarians counters are green with a picture of spears while civilized ones have blue counters with a spear and shield design,  is that when uncivilized barbarians conquer a county, they sack its cities while civilized barbarians take over the cities but remove Roman influence counters from them.  The player gets victory points from every city under Roman influence so the loss of a friendly city can keep you from winning the game.

The turn sequence is as follows:

Roman Phase

Build Random Cities – roll on the Build Random City table to see which country

            has a new city built.

Generate Roman Income – reference the Turn Track Table to see how many

            talents you have to grow your legions or build cities.

Raise Legions, Move Legions or Build Cities – each action costs talents from

            your treasury.  Spend your money wisely.

Conduct Combat with barbarian armies-  Based upon the grand strategic scale of the game, combat is handled very abstractly.  Combat results are based upon whether a province or country contains a city or not. Hostile barbarians get combat benefits from the fortified walled cities.  The higher you roll give you worse and worse results for the Romans.  Alternatively, there is also a Combat Results Chart which may be used for larger battles of multiple legions and armies.  Experienced gamers should be aware that the chart may be somewhat counter-intuitive as it shows how many of which army actually survive the combat and not how many of each army were destroyed.  It threw me for a loop at first but I quickly warmed to it.

Solo Tables

Barbarian Phase

Generate New Barbarian Army Groups – Roll on tables which generate starting areas for both civilized barbarians and uncivilized barbarians. 

Move Barbarian Armies – The barbarians move in a point to point system almost like a “State of Siege” game system.  The rules on movement are a little unclear as to whether the army moves 1 province each turn or moves multiple provinces.  If an uncivilized barbarian horde moves into an area with an unprotected city, they loot the city and destroy it.

Barbarian Combat – If a barbarian army moves into an area with a Roman army, battle occurs using the same system as in the Roman Combat Subphase.

Tally  Score Phase

The player gets points for every Roman controlled city on the map.

The game ends if there are no more Roman controlled cities or on the turn indicated by the scenario.  Consult the Victory Point Table to see how well you did.

Invading Britain

Solitaire Caesar has many optional rules including adding an emperor and skilled generals, the use of donatives to encourage your legions, bribery, plague, famine and revolts, etc.  These optional rules really help add to the replay value of this fine game. I would love to see an expansion with event cards and politics thrown into the mix.

This is a solidly designed and fun game. It’s one of my top favs from this year’s reviews.

All hail Solitaire Caesar!

Armchair General Rating:  97% (1% is bad, 100% is perfect)

Solitaire Rating: 5

(1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)

Box Cover

About the Author

A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion and Sherman Leader for DVG and has designed the solo system for Forsage Games’ Age of Dogfights.  Currently Rick is designing T34 Leader for DVG.  In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!