Caesar & Cleopatra
English language edition
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Caesar and Cleopatra are locked in a struggle to determine the amount of independence Egypt will have. The decision lies in the hands of the powerful patricians. The players, as Caesar and Cleopatra, use their influence and special actions to win patricians to their side. When a vote of confidence is called, the player with the larger influence wins the voice of a patrician. Each voice brings one victory point. There are additional victory points for the majority in a patrician group, for the influence of a whole group and for a secret influence bonus. Whoever earns the most victory points, chooses the fate of Egypt and wins the game.
This 2 player card game is my favorite among this type. It is based on "influencing" a group of Roman patricians to let Ceasar or Cleopatra (you and your opponent) to rule Egypt. You influence these patricians by laying action cards with a point value either face up (2) or face down (1) on a particular patrician group, and when a vote of confidence is called the winner of the vote gets to keep the Roman patrician in that group. There are several other cards that are played that add quite a bit of variety and counteractions throughout the game.
It is fairly easy to learn, but does require some attention and memorization of cards played, and strategy in outwitting your oppoent. Once you know the rules, a game can be played in 30-45 minutes. The cards are of high quality, and the artwork makes you almost want to pause and gaze at the different pictures printed on them in the middle of a game.
Although it does not have the layers of San Juan (recommended) it does offer its own satisfying gaming experience.
Play this with the modifications noted elsewhere, (less orgy cards and 1 card down option) and it usually is a tight game. The cards are beautiful and easy to hold. Lighter than Hera & Zeus (which my game partner thinks is too chaotic), but deeper than Carcassone, and no comparison to Lost Cities, which I think is worthless. The only down side it the cards need to be banded or they will slide around over the holders. Then again most games are packaged badly, so it's not a big deal. Also the 'immoral' comments are baseless.
I just bought this game last night and I thought it was great. It has some bluffing in it, but I found it to be mostly a light strategy game. The cards are a little risky but it's just a game. They really aren't as bad as the other reviews make it seem. The game last about thirty minutes and I haven't played a better two-player game yet. So, I give it 5 stars!
A few years ago I received the German version of Caesar & Cleopatra for a gift and loved it. I wondered why it didnt become more popular. One year later, it was named the top two-player game in the GAMES 100 annual ranking. Since then, it has received the attention it deserves.
There are several reasons this game rates well. An average playing time of 45 minutes is just right. The game typically finishes with close scores. The vote card at the end of each turn provides a controlled random element that nicely balances blatant luck and pure strategy. The graphics are very attractive with a nice dose of humor added in the names of the Roman nobles. It is average in complexity and can be enjoyed by both casual and serious gamers.
If you rate Lost Cities as your favorite game in the Kosmos two player series, C & C may not be your game. If you are a fan of Hera and Zeus (a very good game), then this game will be a welcome addition to your collection. By the way, I hesitated before buying Hera and Zeus as I thought it would be very similar to C & C. While there are some similarities, I do not find them repetitious.
This is a BEAUTIFUL game, the cards are well crafted. I find the artwork very impressive. It is very hard to find a great two player card game, and this one succeeds. (Have you ever tried [page scan/se=0027/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Bohnanza two player?) The game play is quick and a lot of fun. I especially like the patriarchs card, it adds a great element to this wonderful game. Don't hesitate.
This is an excellent game. It provides two player interaction and competition but still mantains a sense of fun. You and your opponent battle over patricians with humorous names like Lustus Frustus. It is hard to get to upset when you lose a political battle over a praetor named Advocatus Diabolus. Yet the blood pressure still pumps as you figure out clever ways to arrange and rearrange your action cards to deal with your opponent's playing strategies. Better get a Caesar's veto in my hand to counter my opponent's wrath of God. Uh oh, my opponent played a spy on me and got rid of my veto. There is lots of good strategy like this going on. Play a certain number of cards and a vote can be forced. I win a patrician but my opponent can just force the vote back next turn. But what if I force a vote and then use the Roman Castling card to get my legionaire's out of Cleopatra's grasp? There never seems to be an end of the tricks in this game. Just when you finally have your opponent overpowered, your opponent might just use her philosopher to twist things around. A great, enjoyable, and strategic game.
'Caesar & Cleopatra' has been on the market for quite some time now, but for some reason I haven't yet reviewed it, an oversight I am now correcting. Originally available only in German, it is one of many games that have been released in English by the good folks at Rio Grande. Good folks? For all I know, the company may consist of nobody but Jay Tummelson, but the company (and Jay) deserve the highest praise for opening the floodgates of wonderful Euro-games to thirsty English-speaking gamers.
C&C was originally released in the fine [page scan/se=0546/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]2-player line from German publisher Kosmos. Some of the most innovative games of recent years have come from this line, most notably Lost Cities, Hera & Zeus, Kahuna, and this title. Cases could be made for all of these games to be in the top spot, but C&C narrowly gets my vote.
The game is essentially an exercise in bluffing. The players have 2 decks each of equally valued cards. One deck consists of influence cards numbered 1 to 5, while the other consists of 13 special cards that can have a huge effect on the game. Gameplay is straightforward, with players alternating turns of placing 1 or 2 cards and then determining which player gets to take one of the scoring cards.
What makes the game special is the multitude of special touches. The players may literally 'stack the deck' of special cards, and the clever use of these cards will almost certainly win the game. The influence deck contains 2 philosopher cards, which can reverse the results of a vote and give the scoring card to the player with the least influence. There are special bonuses for taking the majority of one of the groups, randomly determined at the beginning of the game, as well as for taking the makroity af any group. The winner is rarely obvious before the final scoring.
C&C sits easily in the middle ground between the simplicity and serenity of Lost Cities and the happy chaos of Hera & Zeus. Simple enough to appeal to the casual gamer, deep enough to appease the discerning strategist. Highly recommended.
Caesar & Cleopatra is definitely one of my most liked card games. It has all the things I want in a 2-player card game. Enough talking--let's get the bad vs. good things:
I don't get the people saying that this game's best strategy is to always play 2 cards open. I've played this games about 50 times, and I'll promise I'd beat up a player using that strategy. OK, the player would probably get the first half of the game. But when all his/her cards have been used up, I'd go in and pick up the pieces. I've seen this happen lots of times.
The game is sure to offer up-times as well as down-times. The way of winning is to try not to be too powerful during your up-times. Then you'll be able to prolong your uptime and thereby get more people on your side. When you're having a down-time then try and use as little force as possible (just relax and play some 1's), this way you'll make your opponent using more cards than you during his up-time, and you'll be able to step out of the game with victory and applause. Don't try and fight your down-times, because you can't win 'em all.
I agree with the previous reviewer who said it's a well thought out game, where the scores are usually close. It is definitely on par with Lost Cities or Hera and Zeus, though perhaps not as quick-playing as those two. Certainly it calls for some good planning, a dash of luck, and some risk-taking too. It is also very replayable.
I must however disagree with the previous reviewer on the issue of the cards. They are very well done, in a different size than usual which gives the game a richer feel. Costing no more than Lost Cities, the game is a better value I feel, in part because the cards are so nicely done.
As far as the complaints about the vote cards go, that's an easy one to fix. Grab some blank counters from that unsused wargame, or even some shiny pennies. Now just put the initials for each patrician group on a counter/penny (Q for Quaestor, P for Praetor, S for Senator, etc.), then put 'O' for orgy on two counters/pennies, and put 'O,R' for Orgy-Reshuffle on one more. Now chuck them into a cup of some sort, shake them up, and instead of turning over a card, draw a counter. When you need to reshuffle, throw them all back in, shake the cup and you're all set. Way easier and faster. We used this method after the second game.
Also, the variant rule regarding removing one Orgy card/counter after 2 patrician groups have been won, and then another removed after the third group is won is a good one to use.
All in all, C&C is excellent. Your money will be well spent on this game.
This game is a wonderful tango for two, with lots of give and take, treachery, and even a little divine intervention. Players try to control votes of the various groups of patricians with numbered cards. On a player's turn they may place one card face down, or two face up, as well as play an action card. These include assassins to take away one face up card from the opposition's stack, a spy to reveal what is in their hand, the wrath of the Gods to destroy all the cards on one patrician group, or, my personal favorite, the Castling card. This one allows you to pick up all the cards on your side for two patrician groups, and redistribute them face-down. Cool!
Once you play a few times, this is a pretty quick game, about 30 min. average for us. The game is satisfying without being cumbersome. This is definitely at the top of my two-player list, even with the Settlers Card Game, an equally good, though very different and more demanding, game. The rules are a little unclear, but the mechanism of the game is simple enough that logic answered any questions we came up with. The frequency of orgy cards is a little frustrating, but are a necessary part of the game. Great game for a good price. Excellent replay value.
A card game where you bid for special card groups on the table using numbered cards of different values and special action cards. You choose which cards are visible and which are hidden. This helps set up great opportunities for your opponent to decide if you're bluffing or not. A strong short term strategy ruins your end game. You must make carefully balanced plans which your opponent tries to outsmart. The winner is usually not decided until the last few cards. The end game is tense, exciting, and swings back and forth from card to card.
C&C is simply an excellent 2-player card game. Each side tries to influence one of 5 types of Roman senators so that when the vote comes up, you win the card. In addition to 'influence cards,' the 'action cards' allow you to play havoc with your foe (by stealing one of their cards or removing one of their influence cards, for example) or improve your relative position by re-arranging or revealing influence cards. Lots of nice touches keep the game varied and fresh, making and each game unique. Beautifully produced on top of it all. Now there's an English langague version, but it's more fun to play the German set so you can say 'I'm going to Kundschafter you!' Don't pass this up.
I have played this game with my girlfriend, a number of times. Especially on Holiday, we like to play it on the bed. When there is an Orgie, nothing happens. Real fun. And the way you can try to think out a plan and you think you know what the other will do is also a very nice feature of this game. Ideal for on vacation, for in between, and it will never be boring.
Since you all read the reviews below, you have a pretty good idea what the game is about. It's great fun to play but tends to drag on in the end. This can increase the tension since your influence cards are running out fast and that final 'vote' cards just doesn't show up. That was the idea but it didn't work out, I think. So, what we (my wife and I) do now is to take out 1 orgy card if two groups of patriciers are gone and take out another orgy card if there is one group remaining. This makes the end part a bit more fast-paced and increases the replayability. It's a three star game with the original rules but a four star with this mod.
Caesar & Cleopatra is a good two-player contest. Players can generally play two cards face-up or one card face-down, giving a choice between outright power or making your opponent spread their resources to cover uncertainty. There are also some reversal and action cards that add a bit of strategy, although Hera and Zeus is the game to get if you want a lot of strategy and combat in a two-player card game. This one is lighter.
I disagree with a previous review. There is no sexual content in Caesar & Cleopatra, and the reviewer's castigations are based on misunderstandings of language. The game has a political theme, in which players seek influence over senators and other patricians. At times, an 'orgy' interrupts voting. The word is not used in any sexual sense; it is a ceremonial rite in honor of a deity and characterized by ecstatic singing and dancing (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary), although none of this has any role in the game. One of the player's cards is a man in a toga labeled 'Gigolo.' Again, the word is not used in any sexual sense; nothing sexual is depicted, and there's no reason to believe the word suggests anything more than a male dancing partner. If you're playing with a child, and they ask what an orgy is, you say it's an ancient Roman ceremonial party.
First the good: This is a very thought-out game for two players. The play is deep but not too deep. The games seem to be rather close, so it's not often that one player runs away with the game. It's got just about the right mixture of strategy, luck, and bluff. It's a fun, balanced game.
Now the bad: The production, while beautiful, is overdone. The pictures on the cards are so large that there's not room to put numbers on the top and bottom like standard cards. Every type of card has a unique back, even the cards that are face up during the entire game. I realize they were trying to go for a top-shelf look, but I would've traded less 'fluff' for a lower price and a pocket-sized box. It's pretty expensive for what is essentially two decks of cards and a rulebook.
My only other complaint is about the 'vote' cards. There are only eight of them and the backs and fronts look virtually the same, so they're more difficult to manage than they should be. Also you will need to shuffle them 6-10 times during a game, which gets tedious. I wish they'd thought up a better mechanic for choosing who is going to vote.
All in all, though, if you want a really well-playing game and don't mind the price, this game is the way to go.
I concur with the comments in the 4-star reviews below, so I won't repeat them here, except to say that this little gem, along with Lost Cities, has rekindled my interest in card games. The cards themselves are beautifully rendered (although I would have preferred historical characters vice humorous names), and there is more strategy than Lost Cities. I like the rule that permits the players to arrange the 13 cards in their respective Action decks to their liking--this reduces some of the inherent luck in card games.
I highly recommend Caesar & Cleopatra to fans of card games, and encourage boardgamers who've shyed away from card games to give this one a try.
Good two-player games are hard to come by. You need the right balance of luck and skill--too much skill and the 'better' player always wins, too much luck and there's little incentive to play.
I think this gets it just right. You've got luck in terms of the order in which your influence deck comes out, but mostly in terms of when the votes are called. You've got a lot of skill in trying to judge what actions you'll need when, when to play two cards and when to play one, when to wait knowing that a vote for a particular type is unlikely to come round for a while...
Contrary to Greg's comments, there are a lot of reasons not to play two cards. Firstly, face down cards are immune from assassination. Secondly, face down cards allow you to bluff your opponent. Thirdly, there are times when you don't want too many cards on a stack--remember, when a stack is exhausted, ALL the influence cards get discarded. Fourthly, pushing a stack in range of a forced vote (say making your side up to 4 when your opponent has 2) makes it very tempting for the opponent to lay two and force a special vote, if they think they can win--or use the Wrath of God when they can't! And finally, the last thing you want to do is run out of cards too early and let your opponent have four or five turns to themselves at the end, able to place exactly what they need where they need it to win whichever votes they need to get the best bonus points.
For me, the mark of a good game is always wanting to do more on a given turn than you actually can--and that certainly applies to this one. So four stars from me (I'm not the sort of guy to give five stars except on VERY rare occasions--so four stars means a good game).
This is a very good 2-player game. It just edges out Lost Cities as my favorite 2-player game at this time. It does not hold up to Lost Cities as a game that you can play multiple times in a session but that is because it is much more strategic and there is a little bit more set up time involved (still minimal though). Who thought politics could be this much fun?
When I first played this game, I lost at least six times in a row. I didn't care, the game play was just so fascinating that I wanted to come back to it again and again.
This classic two-player game is beautiful to behold. The attention to detail in the cards is very high. The cards even tile together to make a background panorama.
The game is as well-balanced as Kosmos' other two-player games (including Kahuna and The Settlers of Catan Card Game). Do you place two influence cards out in the open, or hide just one card secretly? A good strategist will do both during the game to confound the opponent about which cards are high-valued, which are low, and which is the decision-reversing Philosopher.
Although the rules suggest that you sort the pile of action cards before the game, I prefer to just shuffle them and add a little more randomness. There is only a little German on the cards so those who are linguistically challenged will soon learn the actions from the beautiful illustrations on the cards.
The game is always close and rarely ends in a draw (and usually it does only when the players deserve to tie). Because there are only a limited quantity of each value of influence card, a player who gets a runaway start will usually be caught when all they have left are low-value influence cards at the end. Playing aggressively does not always work to your favour, so it is usually necessary to restrain your play and keep your opponent guessing by not revealing everything to them.
The one complaint I have about the game is that my partner and I are always arguing over who gets to play the Cleopatra side, as we both think those cards are prettier. I'm still thinking of buying another set so that we can play Cleopatra and Cleopatra . . .
A very good 2 player game. Players vie for Patricians' votes through a combination of hidden and open card play. The rules are concise and easily learned. Card play moves at a good pace and can get quite involved at the end. There is a fine balance between short term gains and long term goals. The winner is usually not decided until the last or almost the final play. Games are short enough to encourage 'just one more game'. As with most German games, the components are well made. The names of the Patricians are a scream, if you happen to know Latin. If you do not, ask someone who does. The combination of skill, bluffing and just a bit of luck should make Caesar & Cleopatra a favourite when there are just two players available.
To me, this is almost a perfect game. Outsmarting your opponent has rarely been more fun and it is a cinch to learn, so you have to try it. The idea is quite simple: 5 groups of cards (2 groups of three cards each, the remaining 3 groups contain 5 cards) representing Roman patricians are up for grabs. Your hand has number cards from 1 to 5 and perhaps a selection of action cards (e.g., turn cards face down; 'assasinate' an opponent's number card and so on). During your turn you play either a single card face down, or two cards face up in front of a column of patricians. Your aim is to collect as many patricians as possible. At the end of your turn you replenish your hand and you flip a card from the 'Vote of confidence' stack. Most of the time it will be a card representing one of the patricians' groups, at which time all number cards in that group are turned face up and the sum tallied up. The player with the highest total wins one of the patricians and loses his highest number card; the player who lost loses his lowest number card. Of course, there are some interesting exceptions that will make you scream in delight or frustration. And that is exactly the reason why this game is a total winner.
It is hazardous times in Rome. Can you gain control of enough seats in the parliament to push your agenda through? CAESAR & CLEOPATRA is a wonderfully diverting two player card game.
If you enjoy collectable card games but hate memorozing what each card does and hate getting into 'timing' arguments, CAESER & CLEOPATRA is a punch, counter punch game. Each player takes turns laying cards that influence one of 5 legislative bodies. The object is to gain a majority control in as many factions as possible. Secret agendas and sneaky gameplay make each game a heavyweight bout.
It is really difficult to find a satisfying two player game. It also has just enough chance to make each game unpredictable. If you want a great two player game with some UMPH, try CAESAR & CLEOPATRA!
This is an enjoyable game for two--mild strategy with a little bluffing. Each player takes a turn playing up to one special action card and either two face-up influence cards or one face-down influence card. The turn ends with a vote on one of the political groups. The player with the most influence points gains one of that particular type of politician.
When my friend introduced this game to me, however, I found that I kept pulling the "No Vote - Orgy" cards on my turns. So, for the first five or so of my turns, the vote cards kept getting shuffled. Only my opponent had opportunity to place the last influence cards before a vote. Also, we found the handicap of playing on one influence card face down too high a price to pay for keeping our influence secret.
A couple of modifications which made the gameplay a little faster, and kept more uncertainty mixed into the proceedings:
1) Remove at least one "No Vote" card at the beginning of the game. Continue to remove them as you loose political groups to vote on, so by the end you will have only one "No Vote" card mixed in with your last Political group voting card.
2) Instead of only being able to play one influcence card face down, you may choose to play two face down influence cards on a turn. However, you will not be able to play a special action card on that turn. So, your play choices on a turn are: a) play a special action card and up to two face up influence cards on a turn or, b) play up to two face down influence cards on a turn.
With these two minor changes we both found the game to be much more enjoyable, and even a bit more strategic.
Anyway, on to my review, I gave it 3 stars because honestly, it's much like checkers in some ways, when you know your losing in the first 5-10 minutes, you know you'll probably never catch up. The game is also pretty confined to what you can do (option wise that is). The two sets of cards also have no variation of what side you play, they are identical in what they do, play Ceo, play Caesar it doesn't matter.
The up side about this game is that it's pretty short, 2 player game that can be finished in about 10-25 minutes. Overall, if your into card games and bluffing (Not alot of bluffing involved) you might like this one.
Caesar & Cleopatra has the potential to be a light, fun game which encourages bluffing and short-term strategy. Since each player has identical decks, a good memory can also be helpful as you take note of which cards your opponent has played. This card game is on the low complexity side of gaming, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.
I would have to say the depiction of certain characters and the offensively stupid orgy cards don't have much place within the game. One could make a stretch of an argument on their behalf, but I think they're unnecessary and distasteful. But worse than that, the game lacks direction. The start of the game feels no different than the end. Any strategy that exists in the game doesn't survive much beyond your next move. So the flow isn't continuous. This wouldn't be so bad if the game was shorter than it is, but given its length, the lack of momentum in this game is only exaggerated.
There are other 2-player games out there that hook me more than C&C with better flow and without the questionable cards.
I don't want to come across as puritanical, but I bought this game to play with my 12-year-old son, and the first thing that struck me was the gratuitous use of the theme of orgies and casual or even forced sex. Why are the influence cards mostly slaves, gigolos, etc., and why are the 'chance' cards called orgies? Why does one of the patricians have a surname that indicates a bodily orifice? This theme, such as it is, doesn't add anything to the game and certainly doesn't reflect the realities of Roman politics. (Contrary to popular belief, Roman life was not an endless round of debauchery and excess; they were a morally strict people.)
The game has some excellent ideas, but I would find it more enjoyable if I could play it, especially with young people, without feeling a little embarrassed by it.
My wife and I like games. Since we can't always find playing partners, we're suckers for a good two player game.
So we bought Caesar & Cleopatra with enthusiasm. It appears intriguing, got good reviews here, and has great art and theme. And the first few times out of the box, it didn't disappoint. Each turn gives you that 'oh, I need to do one more thing' feeling, forcing tough choices. The first few votes are exciting and hotly contested, since all the initial values are hidden.
But while we enjoy playing it occasionally, neither of us is ever clamoring to play it again and again. By the end of each game, the votes drag on and on (hoping that a vote will occur before the 'shuffle deck' appears again and again.) The 'important' votes seem over, and all you're doing are cleaning up the remaining pieces. We seem to end with 'oh, so that's the end, I guess' 'yup, I guess.' A shrug rather than a rejoicing.
Good to check out, but not a long laster in our book. We're still looking for something as addicting and fun as the Settlers of Catan 2-player card game.
This game was highly recommended when I first discovered German games; I didn't buy it right away, and finally got to try it, and my high expectations were disappointed. I've since played it a few times more, but came to the conclusion that this game just isn't for me.
The game itself is almost like 5 consecutive games of tug of war. Players are trying to gain the support of certain Senators, but they never know exactly when the Senators will decide who to support. So back and forth players play numbered cards either faceup or facedown on the senator groups of their choice. Obviously facedown placement introduces a bluff element, which makes it harder for the other player to know how migh to keep the sum of their strength on that Senator group. At the end of the turn, players draw from a special deck that usually awards a senator to someone, whoever has the highest sum of numbers on that group (which is when facedown cards are revealed.) Play is also affected by some special action cards the spice up game play a bit.
I thought I'd like it as normally blind bluffing is fun for me, but this game just fell flat. I didn't like how back-and-forth it was, it feels a bit on the dry side, and certain aspects of the theme, as mentioned in some previous reviews, really seemed unneccesary. The game itself is about average, but the designer/publisher in using the Roman Senator theme also chose to suggest many of the vices and immoral indulgences of the senators of that era. For me, that makes an average game a poor one.
It has its fans, but I feel that Lord of The Rings: Confrontation, Hera & Zeus, Battle Cry, Lost Cities, and Carcassonne (among others) are all far better 2-player games. And the immoral implications of the cards obviously bothers others as much as myself.
This card game is not a family game; not because it's too complex, but because it's too sexual. There is a constant reference throughout the game to group sex, male gigolos wearing pink gowns, and other sexual content. Therefore, you have to be selective as to whom you play it with.
The other drawback is that the strategy element of the game is very limited. Why is this game getting so many 5-star ratings? It's got a cool theme, but the actual game play, in my opinion, is about 3 to 4 stars. The Settlers card game requires more strategy. Hera and Zeus is more fun.
This is about a 3-star game, but I would dock it one star because of the embarassment factor.
Caesar and Cleo does have flaws in its game mechanics, basically it is because of the boring shuffling of orgy cards. There are suggestions to improve that on the 'net, but at the cost of introducing new elements into the game.
It is not perfect, and I guess it cannot be made perfect for some obscure reason. Worst of all, it depresses the loser. The box lies here in my house, dusty for months. It does not compel one to play again.
There are better games; try Carcassonne.
It's got tension, and some luck, but I think it's over rated. And there is almost no reason not to play 2 cards at a time.
The game could be a lot better.
If this is your idea of a 5 star game, what's your idea of a 2 star game?
Welcome to Rio Grande's translation of this fabulous game, which was included in our 1999 Games 100 in its less accessible German format. As Caesar or Cleopatra, with your own decks of beautifully detailed Influence and Action cards, you fight to gain the support of five groups of Roman patriarchs, represented by columns of three or five cards. You can place up to five numbered Influence Cards on your side of a column. The arrival of an eighth card on either side demands a Vote of Confidence. All cards are turned faceup and the highest total value wins a patriarch and its accompanying Victory Point. You're the champ if you end up with the most Victory Points, including bonuses for collected groups. It's possible to play a wicked Philosopher Card that, when revealed, allows the lowest value in Influence points to win! Action Cards add further uncertainty, with spies, assassinations, and other fine tactics available to thwart your opponent. This exciting and entertaining game usually ends in small margins of victory.