Posted by: gschloesser | January 1, 1972

Caesar and Cleopatra

A variant suggested by Nick Sauer adds more mystery to this excellent 2-player game from Kosmos.

1)  The following variant was suggested by Nick Sauer and has proven to add more mystery and excitement to the game.

One of the few problems experienced with repeated play was that many players rarely used the one face-down option in regards to placing Influence cards.  It was felt that this sorely limited a player’s actions and it was much more advantageous to play two cards, even if they had to be placed face-up.

Nick suggested the idea of allowing a player to place two Influence cards face down, but in doing so, he forfeited the opportunity to play an ‘Action’ card that round.  This has proven to work nicely and more cards are played face-down, adding to the mystery of the game.

I highly recommend utilizing this option in your playings of Caesar & Cleopatra.

2)  Dennis Snow has suggested the following variant and offers his comments on the use of ‘Orgy’ cards:

One aspect of the game that I am not completely satisfied with is the way ‘Orgy’ cards affect the game.  Near the end of a game, the ‘Vote of Confidence’ deck gets ridiculous:  1 or 2 Patrician groups mixed in with 3 orgy cards, one of which reshuffles the deck. 

The first variant given in the rules tries to deal with this:  remove one orgy card before the game starts — something we always do.  The main problem with orgy cards is that you have no control over when you get them and they can have a big influence on who wins the game.  We experimented with a few variants and came up with the following, which I believe helps alleviate the problem:

THE ‘ORGY TICKETS’ VARIANT

When a player reveals an orgy card, he has two options:

1)  The orgy card has its usual effect and the player receives an ‘orgy ticket’, or

2)  the player redeems a previously obtained ‘orgy ticket’, which allows him to reveal the next ‘Vote of Confidence’ card (shuffling the deck first, if called for).

The idea is that the player actually uses his ticket to attend the orgy and calls the vote of confidence there!

The essential effect of orgy tickets is to reduce the number of orgy cards by half.  The psychological effect is stronger; they take some of the sting out of getting hit with more than your fair share of orgy cards.  They can be stockpiled, too, for later in the game when calling a vote becomes critical and the percentage of orgy cards in the vote of confidence deck has increased.

Since this game is so well balanced, changing anything throws something else off.  One effect of orgy cards is to increase the total number of cards currently in play on the groups and this in turn increases the likelihood being able to force a special vote of confidence when the total reaches 8.  The orgy ticket variant seems to reduce the number of cards in play somewhat, but I would say the effect is minor and does not outweigh the benefits.

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