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Ave Caesar - Board Game Box Shot

Ave Caesar

, | Published: 1989
21 4 1

"Panem et circenses!" (Bread and Circus Games!) This was the chant shouted by thousands upon thousands of Romans as they poured into the great arenas (circuses) on over 200 holidays per year to enjoy the epic competitions of Ancient Rome. The largest of these arenas was the famous Circus Maximus, erected between the Palatine and Aventine hills. Here, circa 500 BC, spectators were treated to horse-drawn chariot races, in which competitors struggled through 7 laps around a perilous 1200-meter course.

Set in a Roman Coliseum, players use cards to move their chariots around a quasi-variable track. The track itself has bottlenecks and lane-changing restrictions, which make the race interesting for the racers.

Players are required to race three laps, and they must stop to 'Hail Caesar' before they can finish. The game is light, but if you waste too many moves taking the longer, outside-routes on corners, you may not have enough movement to finish the race. Later, the game was revamped into Ausgebremst, with the most notable changes being modular boards and options to reduce the luck.

User Reviews (5)

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Gamer - Level 8
Explorer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
116 of 123 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Et tu, brute.. ”


Ave Caesar is a pure racing game for 3-6 players where the players take on the role of a Roman chariot driver to become Circus Maximus best driver. The game board has two different sides, one in use for 3-4 players and one for 5-6 players. Each player has an own set of 24 cards valued 1-6 which they use to move their chariot. First across the line after three rounds is declared winner.


Although it quite simple it will soon be apparent that it is not. Each track space may only be occupied by one chariot and then taking into account that the track is at most two spaces wide, and sometimes only one, it becomes obvious that blocking is a strategy here. Another important factor to consider is that the movement total of your cards is only 84, which barely is enough to get around the track three times so taking the long route in turns may seem valid but that will also cause you to not finish the race.

At the start of the game you shuffle your race deck and draw three cards. After you play a card you draw a new card to replace it. You may only play a card if you can take the full movement and if you’re the leader you may not play a six. This nifty little detail is actually a key ingredient of the game and I have seen a game lost because of it. When moving you must move forward or diagonally forward, not even sideways. If you’re in a situation where you cannot move you just skip your turn otherwise as long as you can move the number of spaces of any card in your hand you must do so.

In addition, after the first or second round you have to drive through the imperial alley and pay honorage to Caesar. The Imperial Alley is a one space track running parallel to the start area and each player has to pay tribute by delivering a coin to the emperor. You must stop on one of the spaces which in turn can be devastating for players behind you as they may be forced to go drop the tribute due to you playing low cards.


To be honest I’m not a very big fan of racing games, but one of the few I do enjoy is Ave Caesar. Simply for the elegant design, quick turns with little downtime and just the right amount of screw you factor. It plays well with all numbers due to the double sided board, but the more the merrier. Just remember, DO NOT BE NICE (except maybe with small children) and block whenever possible.

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United Kingdom
Advanced Reviewer
120 of 131 gamers found this helpful
“Fun, fast and a genuine classic”

Ave Caesar is one of the games that introduced me to the world of Euro gaming some 20-odd years ago. A friend had one of the original sets, complete with a rough photocopied set of rules translated from the original German. The board looked great, the pieces were fabulous, and the game was quick to learn, easy to play, and offered wonderful opportunities to stuff your opponents in a wild, fast moving Roman chariot race game.

After a long time out of print, the game became available again a few years back. The board has seen a bit of a redesign, as have the cards and the box, but the wonderful game pieces are just as great as ever.

The game play is straightforward. You compete in a series of races around the board, moving your chariot by playing one of the three cards in your hand — everyone has their own deck of cards with the numbers one to six, four times each, which should be enough to see you round the track the necessary three times, with a little margin for error. Cunning play can force other players wide around corners, wasting some of their movement points, or to miss opportunities to pay tribute to Caesar (which is required during each race). With this in mind, a simple race can become very nasty and cutthroat.

The original version of the game had two boards: one for five to six players, and one for fewer. The newer version still has two boards, but these are to provide variety in racing and are both set up for up to six players; as a result races may feel a little “easier” when you have fewer players. That said, the rules suggest a way to have non-player chariots to make the game a bit more unpredicatable.

All in all, this is still a really great game and I have no hesitation recommending this to anyone who fancies a fast, light(ish) game with plenty of player interaction. In terms, the Strategy and Power gamers won’t find much here, but for anyone else, this is an awful lot of fun.

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United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
73 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Grab the reins, whip the horses, and GO!”

Ave Ceasar is a quick-playing game in which the players compete to win a chariot race in the famous Circus Maximus in Ancient Rome. Designed for three to six players, they must complete three laps of the circuit and stop in the Imperial Alley to proclaim “Hail Ceasar!” using a limited supply of movement cards.

The board is double-sided, with a track for three to four players on one and a track for five to six players on the other. Each player receives a chariot, a coin (to pay as tribute to Ceasar), and a deck of cards (consisting of the numbers one through six, four times for a total of thirty-six cards). It is from his deck of cards that each player will draw a hand of three cards that will give his movement options each turn.

This being a chariot racing game, the players can only move forward, either straight or diagonally. This is done by playing a card and moving the exact number of spaces indicated on the card. It must be exact, because if a player does not have a card that will move him the exact number of spaces ahead of him, he cannot move. This happens often because only one player can occupy a space and it is part of the game that one player can block another, both maps being designed with several chokepoints. At other times, a player will find himself forced to play a card and make an unintended manoeuvre because it is the only legal move that he can make.

It is also vital to grab the inside lane on either of the circuits. This is because a player has just sufficient cards to get his chariot round the course three times and salute Caesar the once—and no more. If a player spends too long in the outer lane, then he will run out of cards and with his horses exhausted, be out of the race.

Although it would appear that the race leader has all of the advantages with the open track ahead of him, this is not always the case. He cannot play a ‘6’ card, so will not easily pull away from those behind him. This means that the others can catch him up if they have ‘6’ cards to hand.

Lastly a player must pay tribute to Ceasar. This means that he actually has to stop in Imperial Alley after the first or second circuit of the track. This can really limit his movement options if another player blocks Imperial Alley, forcing him to go around and try again on the next circuit. Of course, should a player fail to pay tribute, then he cannot win the game.

A race in Ave Ceasar is three circuits of the course. The game is a good filler, but can be played as a league and once the basic game has been played, the rules include several variant rules.

Ave Ceasar plays quickly and easily. It is enjoyably frustrating and its simplicity means that younger gamers will enjoy it as a good, quick race game; but seasoned gamers will enjoy turning Ave Ceasar into a cut-throat affair as they whip the horses and attempt to block each other.

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AEG fan
Miniature Painter
US Army Service
121 of 159 gamers found this helpful
“Easy to learn and play”

There are several versions of Ave Caesar, with the classic theme being that of a charioteer while a lesser known version is about racing futuristic jet cars (Q-Jet 21xx).

Regardless of the version, the game is very easy to learn and a game can be over very quickly with 15 minute games being common enough. This makes it a good filler game and, if you play one game of it, it is very likely that everyone will want to give it one more play which is a trademark of a superior game.

Hand management and knowing when to kick it can make some narrow wins very gratifying and close losses something to avenge.

As I mentioned, the game is quite easy to play and my daughter started playing it when she was around 8 year old. So it is also a solid family game.

Ave Caesar is currently out of print.

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Book Lover
I play blue
102 of 156 gamers found this helpful
“Let`s race!”

Using cards you move your horse on a racing track to win the big prize. But during your run you have to pay tribute to Caesar himself, stopping by his balcony. The game contains to tracks, each with their obstacles.

This game is a cut throut racing game. You`ll try to sabotage for your opponents, you`ll try to get a head start in some of the narrow ways, you do your best to perform for Caesar.

I love this game, it`s easy to teach and easy to learn. It`s also a quick game, good for a filler. And it is fun and entertaining.


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