Alesia - un Jeux Descartes qui ressemble à de l'International Team

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One "printed in italy" Jeux Descartes

   Alesia is a curiosity: The box size and the 5 part puzzle map make it looking like an International Team game. But it was published by jeux Descartes in 1985 and the rules were written by a French "Gilles Weber". It was probably printed in the Milano's international team factory. On the box is written "printed in Italy". Another detail: the illustrator is Mauro Moretti who was also illustrator of the International team games: Mafia and Magikon.
   What is the story of this game ? Was it a game refused by International team ? Was it a wish of Jeux Descartes to enhance its game design ? A trial of a partnership ?

An uncommon design

   When the bow is open, only the puzzle-map is looking like an international team game. No large plastic box for counters but a red felt carpet which had astonished the testers from "Jeux et Strategie". (N°35)

   The map is beautiful. In the centre is Alesia (in black), on the top of a hill. the Romans besiege it and surrounded it of very visible Fortifications. In the edge of the map are hills except near the "4" zone which is the plain of Laumes.

the counters

   The game includes 156 counters (and not 165 as it was written on the box). Each counter has a combat potential and a movement potential. The large rectangular counters are used for "outside the map" movements of armies.
   Indeed, Alesia battle was including several Gallic armies coming to help a small army cut off inside Alesia.
   Here you can find a recto-verso scan to help you to rebuild missing counters.

the rules

   The rules include 7 page of historical context, 15 pages of rules (with one chapter of optional rules), 1 page of authors notes.
   The author clearly indicates who it was not easy to design a simple wargame on this siege and the associated fights (described as a series of unorganized fights), keeping in mind the need to keep a small amount of counters: it was not possible to put one roman counter in each hexagon of fortification line.
   The goal is to help Vercingetorix to leave the map with a limited amount of loss.
   The game is made of 2 days of 8 turns of 2 sequences of 4 phases ! 1 turn is made of 1 Gallic sequence and 1 Roman sequence of 4 phases - Gallic sequence:
      phase 1: The gallic player moves some counters
      phase 2: The roman player moves some counters
      phase 3: The Gallis player moves some unplayed counters.
      phase 4: The fights are made
   After 8 turns, any not encircled gallic unit is coming back to Alesia or outside the map. The weakened units (turned over) are "healed" to their initial force.

   All the Roman ramparts are regarded as defended even without any counters. The player use a "virtual unit" with a potential of combat of 1 in defence only (and 2 if they are attacked from the outside of the rampart).
   In the basic rules, the only leader used is Vercingétorix: he can enhance the die result within a 2 hexes distance.

Some price (2004-2006):

   Beginning 2005, the game is available as second hand in funagain game for a price of US $ 40 $.

N° EBAY Price EBAY Country Date Remarks
5921970322 EUR 17,16 France 25 sept 2004  
5941474329 EUR 20,50 France 12 dec 2004 NEW
5948980283 EUR 5 France 16 jan 2005  
51665809843 EUR 45 France 20 feb 2005 unpunched
5962805242 EUR 16,05 France 18 mar 2005  
5197495293 EUR 24,99 France 24 May 2005  
5207636135 EUR 29,99 France 21 June 2005 not sold
5216211263 EUR 10,55 France 12 July 2005  
5995968454 EUR 15,50 France 7 sept 2005 not sold
5290779685 EUR 19,50 France 2 october 2005  
8758246917 $ 11,50 France 4 Feb 2006  
8784277948 EUR 29,50 France 30 mar 2006  

The Alesia overview

A game for 2 players (12 years to adult) Game length: From 1 to 3 hours
Level of complexity: "from beginner to expert"
Editeur: Jeux Descartes, 5 rue de la Baume 75008 Paris
Date: 1985
Author: Gilles Weber
Idea: Joel Anthoine
Illustrations from Mauro Moretti
Project manager: Henri Balczesak
printed in Italy
Content: 156 counters, a 70x100cm map, rules book, 1 dice

   Gilles Weber was also translating for Jeux Descartes some RPG books like "Call of Cthulhu" - French exemple on le guide du rôliste galactique .

   Henri Balczesak stayed as a manager in Jeux Descartes and was very active in the game business. For instance an interview (french) on Jesweb. He also wrote some articles on Runequest and wrote the translation of Paranoia. Unfortunately, Jeux Descartes bankrupted in 2004.


Jeux et Stratégie n°35 - Alesia test

"Alesia" game on GMT games  
Caesar at Alesia (Avalon Hill, 1976) with its rule in boardgamegeek
Vae Victis n°21 game site - Alesia with the rule (French).   the game is not available anymore.

A book ? Buy a a 2000 years old book: "The Gallic War" by Julius Caesar himself in your favourite bookstore.

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