In Ave Caesar players race chariots around a track, watched by Caesar himself. The first person across the line after three laps wins, but only if they remember to pay tribute to Caesar on the way…
The board shows the track (or tracks, there are options), broken into various sections. Players take a chariot of their preferred colour and a deck of cards to go with it. They deal themselves three cards and the game begins.
The rules are simple – on your turn, play a card (they are numbered between 1 and 6) and move your chariot the appropriate number of spaces along the track. Chariots can move straight ahead or diagonally ahead; but they MUST move the number of spaces on the card (no more, no less) and they cannot pass through spaces occupied by other chariots. So it’s quite possible to find yourself unable to play a card, as some road hog ahead of you blocks the way. Additionally, the chariot in the lead cannot play a six – this is essentially a balancing mechanism to stop someone running away with the race.
At the start of your second or third lap, you need to veer off the track and throw your coin to Caesar. The game asks that you yell “Ave Caesar!” at this point, but feel free to fly in the face of this if your ancestors were dumped on by the Romans.
That’s pretty much it. Very simple rules belie a chaotic and combative game that is all about getting in each other’s faces.
You need to love a bunfight, and if you do Ave Caesar scratches an itch. I enjoy the odd game, but to me it doesn’t have the replayability of the linked games below – Magical Athlete is more ludicrous, High Tail It! and Snow Tails a cannier affair. But Caesar has its fans too, and I can see why.
High. Very high. It's impossible to play this game without getting in someone's way, whether they - and you - like it or not.
Low. Players play a card (if they can), move a chariot, and potentially hurl acquiescence at the emperor - and invective at each other.
You only ever have three choices. Often less.
If you like the very combative flavour of Ave Caesar, the cards ensure some randomness, and a game doesn't take long.