Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! Review

Photo of author

Let’s start by asking you: How often do you think of Rome? If the answer is often, then the board game – Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! is a great choice for you. Especially if you only want to focus on the military aspect of Rome – while the Romans frequently waged war with their neighbors, internal conflicts were just as common. However, none is more famous than Caesar’s civil war, which brought about the end of the Roman Republic. 

And while Roman history is truly fascinating, and I’ll always encourage you to delve into it, I’m not here to give you a history lesson. Instead, let’s dive into the Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! review, and tell you what I think of the game. 

Playing time:20 minutes
Number of players:1 to 2
Complexity:Light game
Genre:Strategy and area control game
Release date:2022
Publisher:Floodgate Game



What is Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes?

Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 minutes is a light strategy game that does exactly what its name implies. It’s a one to two-player game where you’ll fight to seize control of the late Roman Republic in 20 minutes. 

It’s another board game in a 20-minute series designed by Paolo Mori and illustrated by Paul Sizer. PSC Gams was the series’ original publisher, but as of June 2023, Floodgate Games has taken over and will be responsible for all upcoming releases. 

If you ever played “Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes” or the newer “Dogfight!: Rule The Skies in 20 Minutes!” board games, you’ll know what you are getting yourself into with Caesar.

Playing Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes

Don’t be fooled by the game’s simplistic look: it’s a ruthless battle for control of the Roman Republic. If you want to win, you’ll have to carefully pick your fights and strategically place your armies (influence tokens) to gain an advantage and hide your true intentions.

Caesar! Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! token bag and board
Players draw tokens from their bags during the game.

Your friend and you take on the roles of Caesar and Pompey at the beginning of Caesar’s civil war power struggle. While both are known as excellent generals, you won’t be leading your troops personally in battle. Instead, you’ll send your armies to capture key battlegrounds across the late-period Roman Empire (the map isn’t 100% historically accurate!). The winner is the one who uses up all of their control markers first.

There are several ways to go about doing that. The first is the most obvious, by capturing territories. Secondly, when you control two neighboring regions, you place an additional control token on their border space, thereby gaining tactical advantages and fortifying control over your domain. And lastly, you use up control markers by gaining and using Senate tokens. The game can also end if one of the players is unable to place an influence token for whatever reason. 

Playing Caesar! Seize Rome in 20 Minutes

There are other bonus tokens in the game that can increase your small initial hand size of just two influence tokens, give you another turn, or flip the opponent’s influence token or control marker. The game also has poison (removes your opponent’s influence token) and centurions (special influence) bonus tokens that are optional and can be added to the game for additional challenges. The right bonus token, used at the right time, can give a player a tactical advantage.

Each province consists of several border places where you’ll place your influence tokens. Once the last token is placed, the player who placed it takes the bonus token from the province. This has nothing to do with the control of the province, though – that will go to the player who has the highest value of influence tokens there.

This creates a situation where you have to carefully decide if you want to go for the control of the province, hoping that your opponent won’t snatch the bonus token in front of you, or maybe bide your time and wait for your opponent to make a move on the province before swooping down and taking the bonus token and province as well. 

Or maybe you are bluffing and trying to trick your opponent into thinking you are making your move for the province while you are actually thinking several steps ahead and setting up your forces in such a way as to gain tactical advantages in the neighboring regions. 

hangover math meme
Using underhanded tactics in this game isn’t that uncommon. 

Playing Solo

As previously stated, the game can also be played solo. Your opponent is Auto-Crassus. Nope, this isn’t some history-related joke by me -it’s the real name, given by the designer. For all my history nerds out there, yes, all relevant Crassuses were already slain by the time of the Caesar Pompey war, but let’s just say the game believes you can’t keep a good Roman statesman down.

Similar to many other solo board games, Auto-Crassus might be considered to have an unfair advantage. Yet, despite the additional tokens and actions, it still follows pre-defined turn sequences. That said, additional command tiles introduce an extra layer of randomness to Auto-Crassus’s turns, preventing them from becoming too predictable. 

While solo play isn’t bad on its own, the game definitely shines when played against a competent human opponent. An opponent who will do whatever it takes to seize Rome.

Carpe Diem

If I had to strip the game down to its basics, I would say it reminds me of Weiqi, or as it’s more commonly known in the West, Go. This is due to how you have to constantly think about your token placement and style of play. 

You can’t allow your opponent free rein. Instead, you must shadow their moves closely, persistently seeking to pen them in and challenge them wherever you can. Feign attacks and give up positions, all while setting a trap in a different province where you’ll deliver your true strike. All of this in less than twenty minutes, just as the game promises. 

Even though it is straightforward enough for almost anyone to play, the game truly shines when you have someone to play with over several sessions. You begin to discern your opponent’s moves and assess their true intentions. When every token placement becomes crucial, the win will start to hinge on who makes the first mistake. Suddenly, you lose control of half the map and must claw your way back to victory, which is often still very achievable. I never felt like I had no options. Even when my opponent had four tokes and I only had one due to poison.

Caesar! Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! board
I lost the match (blue) because I didn’t have a ship or shield influence token to place.

The main issue in these high-stakes matches is that they often conclude with one player unable to place their influence token, prematurely ending the game. While this is one way to win, I kind of feel robbed of not being able to deliver my final coup de grâce and close my trap. Now this isn’t a dig on the game or anything like that – just a subjective feeling of not having a proper closure in some matches. 

That said, I’ll leave you with only one piece of tactical advice my fellow history buffs already know: whatever you do, do not seek help from your allies in Egypt! 


  1. How many players can play Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes?

    The board game Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! is designed for one to two players.

  2. Is Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes! easy to play?

    Absolutely! The game features straightforward rules, and once you’ve grasped them, playing becomes a breeze.

  3. Can you really finish Caesar!: Seize Rome in 20 Minutes?

    Certainly! The game wraps up in 20 minutes, provided players don’t take too long to take their turns.

Milos Djurovic

Milos Djurovic

Milos started his RPG journey with live-action role-playing, and his geeky hobbies escalated quickly from there. He’s a grizzled Imperial Guard general and still wages an ongoing war against unpainted grey miniatures. Having an active board gaming crew doesn’t help with finding free time, but he doesn’t mind.