Reviews for Alea Jacta est
AGEOD comes to the ancient worldDaiMonPaul | March 29, 2013 | See all DaiMonPaul's reviews »
Alea Jacta Est is the latest game from AGEOD, a company that specializes in turn-based operational wargames. The AGEOD system has a very steep learning curve with somewhat poor documentation (i.e. the tutorial teaches you the interface, but not what to actually do on a turn), but if you're willing to put in the time to learn the game, you will be rewarded with an excellent strategic experience.
If you've played an AGEOD game before, then Alea Jacta Est will be familiar to you, as it plays similarly to other games developed and published by the same company, including Revolution Under Siege, Rise of Prussia, and Birth of America. If you've never played an AGEOD game before, then Alea Jacta Est is a good place to start, as it's probably the most accessible game published by the company. The game allows you to take command of one side of several wars taking place in ancient Roman times, the most notable (and lengthy) scenario being the civil war between Caesar and Pompeii. You organize your troops, move them around, promote generals, decide on various political actions to take, and set combat stances for your soldiers which help to dictate whether they will engage an enemy force if they come into contact with it. Battles are automatically resolved by the computer, and the battle reports you are presented with are extremely in-depth and detailed.
The game's interface is a pretty one, and it functions quite well. The game looks and plays like an old school board game version of a wargame, and it simply works. You make your moves, click the "end turn" button, and then the moves of all the different factions/players are resolved simultaneously. This means that planning is crucial, as once you click the "end turn" button, your legions carry out your orders (or fail to) without your direct control. If you're looking for a tactical simulator (a la the Total War battles), then this is not the game for you, but if building an army and directing it on an operational level sounds appealing (a la Risk or Axis & Allies, but much more complex and set in ancient Roman times), then this game is worth looking into. The AI is challenging and will often win, but the most fun way to play the game is against another person via multiplayer. Alas, the game only offers play-by-email as an option. This does work well, but it's also a bit of a hassle to do and a quite inelegant solution to multiplayer. AGEOD, however, has built an excellent game, and if you're willing to put in the time to learn how to properly play it, you'll get much enjoyment out of it.
Highly recommended, but only for players who like detailed wargames. Others may find it boring, overwhelming, or be totally lost.