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Friday, March 15, 2013

Through The Ages - Card - Julius Caesar


This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.
Julius Caesar
History
Of all leaders of Rome, perhaps none is as well known as Julius Caesar.  Born into an elite family in July of 100 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar's immediate family was not particularly political.  Upon his father's death, Julius Caesar became the head of his household.  He was nominated for the position of High Priest of Jupiter, a position where he could not sleep 3 nights outside of Rome, touch a horse, or look upon an army.  This fate was averted, however, when his Uncle Gaius Marius lost a political struggle to Lucius Sulla and Julius was forced into hiding.

The Roman Republic would never be the same.

Caesar joined the military where he won the second highest military decoration possible.  He set to return to Rome in 78 B.C. when news of Sulla's death reached him, where he lived in the Lower Class neighborhood and became a lawyer, the wealth of his family having been confiscated by Sulla.  While sailing across the Aegean, he was captured by pirates, and, at his own urging, was ransomed for twice what the pirates initially thought was a good price.  Upon reaching home safely, he raised a fleet, capture the pirates and had them put to death.

Upon his return, he began an ascent into politics.  He rose steadily through the political ranks, forming alliances as necessary.  Eventually he achieved the rank of governorship, but deeply in debt he decided to money the old fashioned way: military conquest.

First he defeated the Gauls, where he learned to conquer each tribe one at a time rather than all at once. Caesar's conquests were not without defeats, but his military career was more successful than those of other governors of the time.  The actual number of enemy killed by Caesar is unknown as his own propaganda inflated the numbers, but it is known he defeated many Germanic tribes and eventually landed in Briton.

Meanwhile, Civil war erupted in Rome, with an eventual victor being Pompey.  Pompey ordered Caesar to return to Rome.  Caesar, fearing being jailed by Pompey (an old political compatriot and now rival), brought a legion of troops with him.  Again, Rome fell into civil revolt.  Caesar took control of the city and began using his army to defeat his opposition.  Ruthless in his reign, Caesar tracked Pompey to Egypt, hired assassins to kill Pompey, then the assassins killed after they had succeeded.

Upon his return the Roman Senate bestowed Caesar the honor of "Emperor for Life".  In Caesar's case, this "life" was to last only one year.  However, his political reforms were tremendous to the Romans.  Debt was reduced through pardons, foreignors made citizens, and pardons issued.  He was immensely popular, and when he was assassinated, Rome again fell into disarray.  His great-grandnephew would use Caesar's popularity to raise an army of commoners against the professional soldiers of the "corrupt" senate.  This relative of Caesar was successful, and the people crowned him "Emperor Augustus Caesar", the first emperor of the Roman Empire.
Game Stats
Julius Caesar is a popular leader, and it is easy to see why.  The game statistics below show, while Julius does not guarantee a victory, he does provide a huge boost.  His boost in odds is the single largest boost of any leader in the game.  This confirms the importance of military options early in the game which may be exploited later.  His power seems somewhat lame at first, but if used properly, his abilities pay for themself.
Opinions

ulius Caesar is usually the first, or second, leader chosen.  The ability to draw an additional military card is huge, but not overwhelming.  If a bad card draw or poorly timed military failure disrupts the plan, Julius will not recover.  Those who fail with Julius usually use their military superiority too early, failing to give their economic engine a proper boost.  Therefore, although Julius boosts your military strength, do not neglect the economics.  Despite the statistics, I still prefer Aristotle over Julius Caesar, but that is more a personal taste and is debatable.
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