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"Gladiator do these rules suck" Topic

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beowulfdahunter03 Jul 2008 9:13 p.m. PST

One of the guys brought in the Gladiator Wars rules and we all gave it a try. I had played it before and had problems with the rules, well I tried it again tonight and yeah…the rules suck.

Heavy Gladiotrs have no real advantage, they do not hit hard, and one hit and they loose effectivments.

Light Gladiators move everywhere, activate twice as much as heavies and can defend with thier speed makign them just as good as good as a heavy.

Things are laid out wonky.

Charts call for efects in the rules like stunned that do not exist.

So are there any decent Gladiator rules out there for 25/28?

kyoteblue03 Jul 2008 9:19 p.m. PST


Bardolph03 Jul 2008 9:26 p.m. PST

That was helpful.

Try to find a copy of Gladiator, the old Avalon Hill boardgame. It used stand up, cardboard "miniatures" anyway, so real minis work just fine, and look better.

Two Hour Wargames has Red Sand, Blue Sky for gladiatorial combats. Haven't played it but I really like the other rules from THW I have played.

Pictors Studio03 Jul 2008 9:46 p.m. PST

The Rattrap production rules work pretty well for gladiator combat if you leave out the non-combat skills and put a couple of other skills like throw sand in there.

SpuriousMilius03 Jul 2008 10:10 p.m. PST

My friends & I have had a lot of fun with "Habet, Hoc Habet" from Flagship Games.

JJS00103 Jul 2008 10:38 p.m. PST

Try Rudis. Not sure if still in print, but provided an excellent game

Martin Rapier04 Jul 2008 1:09 a.m. PST

I used to have a lot of fun with the old Paragon Gladiator rules, long OOP though.

Parmenion04 Jul 2008 1:40 a.m. PST

Have you tried Ludus Gladiatorius from eM-4?


Here's a TMP thread about it, with further links within:

TMP link

Frothers Did It Anyway04 Jul 2008 1:47 a.m. PST

I like Ludus Gladiatorius but it's very beer 'n' pretzels and might not be what you're after, beowulfdahunter. Mind you, it's cheap so you might care to try it anyway, even if you don't care for the rules you can use the figs for any other set.

Black Hat Miniatures04 Jul 2008 2:02 a.m. PST

Have a look at our set Morituri Te Salutant – they have some depth in the combat system and try to represent the different Gladiator types through different abilities.

Available as a PDF:


Court Jester04 Jul 2008 4:17 a.m. PST

So are there any decent Gladiator rules out there for 25/28?

Yeah… but they never saw publication.

Mikhail Lerementov04 Jul 2008 4:22 a.m. PST

I'll second Morituri. We play them as our only gladiator rules and like them. I've tried GW and one light gladiator killed six opponents heavier than himself. GW uses the "quality dice" system that all the authors other rules systems use. He literally cut and pasted up rules sets to fit different eras with very little in them to distinguish one set from the other. In Samurai Wars he refers to "gladiators". There are several other sets that were done for, I believe, Old Glory to provide rules for their various mini lines.

MTS is a long game to play if you play a mass battle, but relatively quick if you play it one v one. It is simultaneous combat with a matrix to determine whether your chosen attack hits your opponent. It is played on a hex board, although there is also a set called Swordplay by the same author that has a "free play" section in it to allow you to use measured movement. It would adapt easily to MTS. Pay close attention to multiple combat rules if you do mass combat with MTS. It takes a bit of work to understand the chart for multiple combats.

Red Sand, Blue Sky has a unique system for exhaustion and works best in a one v one. Your figure has a pool of dice and you can use up a certain number when you attack. When you're out of die you have to rest. It isn't as detailed in the combat as MTS though.

I have HHH but haven't played it yet so can't comment beyond saying I've heard good things about it.

Em's Ludus game comes with the five painted figures, a set of rules (very simple) and a hex map of the arena. Good rules if you are introducing someone to gaming, but not enough "meat" for my tastes. I do like the figures however.

Deserter04 Jul 2008 4:54 a.m. PST

"Munera Sine Missione" is a free set of rules for gladiators, that I used to play and liked.


Grimmnar04 Jul 2008 6:19 a.m. PST

And no one mentions Arena Games. Played em since the beginning and love em alot. In fact, i see it as the most used rules, planned and pick-up games, at the HMGS-E cons when i go. Gotta say something about them. :-)


mashrewba04 Jul 2008 6:38 a.m. PST


I printed these off but haven't got round to playing them, but the look good.

Brent2751104 Jul 2008 7:21 a.m. PST

I second Arena Games! Can't bet them….

Mathion04 Jul 2008 7:32 a.m. PST

After playing Arena Games, I stopped looking for other rule sets for gladiators. They are that good.
And most of the OG "war" games are cut-and-paste messes. Lucifer's War, Roadkill, etc. They took a great mechanic and tried to shoehorn it into all of their West Wind mini lines.


smcwatt04 Jul 2008 7:47 a.m. PST

I'll second "Munera". Tight rules with an "Appeal to the Crowds" chart and a sensible advancement chart for vets.


beowulfdahunter04 Jul 2008 9:09 a.m. PST

Thanks for the imput guys. I am actully looking for something beer and pretzel, only that I want things to be somewhat more balenced.

legatushedlius04 Jul 2008 9:51 a.m. PST

Even I picked up the Morituri Te Salutant rules in about five minutes. Each one to one game lasted 20-30 minutes (but that involved me looking up a lot of stuff as I hadn't played it before.) Suffice to say I played three games in an evening and bought a copy of the rules there and then.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP04 Jul 2008 10:04 a.m. PST

Who publishes Arena GAmes?

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP04 Jul 2008 10:08 a.m. PST

Thanks too for the good advice. I have been collecting pre-painted, plastic, 70mm gladiators and wanted some rules. I cannot find "Arena Games" on google, is there a specific name for the gladiator rules? Or if that is the rules name, what is company name?

"We who are about to die…"

Thanks too for the good advice. I have been collecting pre-painted, plastic, 70mm gladiators and wanted some rules. I cannot find "Arena Games" on google, is there a specific name for the gladiator rules? Or if that is the rules name, what is company name?

"We who are about to die…"



Saxondog04 Jul 2008 11:49 a.m. PST

I own pretty much every thin mentioned above and a few more besides.

I prefer "Morituri Te Salutant". Ran a campaign that met monthly for about a year and a half. Pretty much all of the guys who played liked them as well. There is some decision making and some randomness and in a good ratio.

NOT good for large mass fights though.

Saxondog04 Jul 2008 11:51 a.m. PST

OH, I might add. The originally mentioned rules might work better with a bit of work. I found them to be mostly poorly organized and with a LOT of work to redo a few things, they might have promise……maybe.

beowulfdahunter04 Jul 2008 12:26 p.m. PST

True sax, but if I am buying a set of rules I do not want ot have to do work to make them not suck.

mashrewba04 Jul 2008 12:35 p.m. PST

Bob – do you ever fight these guys against Postmen, Firemen, Road workers, Nurses, kittens etc?
Love Play Mobile!!!

freewargamesrules04 Jul 2008 2:17 p.m. PST

Arena Games can be found here:


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP06 Jul 2008 7:39 a.m. PST

Hey mashrewba, I have used some of those civilian body parts to make conversions. Boudacia, queen of ancient Brits, is from a nurse,
on right

Your comment makes me think that these Playmobil figs would be good for zombie games. I just need to figure out what to use for the undead. Maybe just regular figures, repainted with greenish faces? There are police and lots of civilians as you note. Weapons too from the Cowboy range -- pistols and rifles, at least.

mashrewba06 Jul 2008 9:03 a.m. PST

I have a great big box of these in the attic that my son or daughter never really played with…
…but I do!!

GypsyComet06 Jul 2008 12:32 p.m. PST

I think it's Habet hoc habet that has the local con ringing with cries of "Pool of Blood! POOL OF BLOOD!" from all involved.

hdemarcellus26 Dec 2008 11:29 p.m. PST

I'm trying to decide between buying Flagship's Habet, Hoc Habet and Black Hat's Morituri Te Salutant. Can anybody compare the two in terms of feel, realism, playability, etc.?

vonkluge Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2009 2:46 p.m. PST

I have purchased 4-5 different Gladiator rules sets over the last 3 years, an arena, and all of Foundry's Gladiators! This year I finally got around to painting some and playing a game! I have just tried "Morturi te Salutant" or "MTS" rules from Gladiator games that are now owned by Blackhat miniatures. The game is great! Takes about 30 mins to figure it out and start playing but after a first game of 1.3 hours we were doing a turn a minute. Most games will not last the 24 turns ours did! 12-15 looks about right. Our first game had lots of rule book checking but we pretty much found answers to everything. Bottom line is Steve and I played a complete game (me just squeaking out a victory after getting very bloody myself!) in just over an hour with me having studied the rules before hand and he never seeing them before the game, had a good time. Our first moves took about 5-10 minutes a piece to complete and at the end we were flying at 1-2 minute turns! Once we get the rules and moves down I plan to use a "Chess timer" to make play more exciting and this will also help to influence the crowds / emperors decision for a thumbs up or thumbs down plea! The rules are not overly complex but do have a "depth" to them lacking in other simpler sets. Gladiator combat while being simple on one hand (mostly one on one combat in a terrain less space) is very complex on the other (to men trying to out think and out maneuver each other) and the author Bill Lucas has captured this very nicely. Play has you trying to figure out what your opponent is going to do and select a move to counter it if defending or if you are attacking, a move to get around his defense. The move you pick is linked to an initiative number based on the moves difficulty. This number, your gladiators base initiative number, and a die roll decides who goes first. The real gem of the rules is the "move conversion" system, this allows you to convert your planned move into a "limited" number of counter moves. By have a counter move you eliminate silly results like two gladiators both turning and running away from each other, or both raising their shields to defend. The few results charts are easy and help eliminate any paperwork. Results, damage, and wounds are treated in a more generic way than most rules. I like that because like the author states, Gladiators were defeated by being worn down and hacked away at bit by bit more often then the sudden disabling strike, although that strike can also happen in MTS. He just does not do the "bad gash to right leg" Gladiator "one less hex move per turn" or "severe cut to left arm" "no shield use" type of results that often ad a level of complexity not needed. Instead the damage is generic, Nick, Cut, Wound, and the results from number of those you receive ads up resulting in initiative loss, hit point loss and a degradation of your ability to cause damage coupled with a lessening ability of defending yourself equaling an easier chance for others to get a hit on you! Very elegant and one can easily imagine the damage from the blows. I also found myself connecting in my minds eye the moves of the gladiators from turn to turn and found that they made complete sense and flowed naturally. It made me think the author must have had some training in fencing! The rules also have a very nice campaign system and will allow animal fights, mass combats, and mounted gladiators!

Like I said I have limited experience with the rules so far and I will add to this report as we gain more by playing. The rules do have some faults although minor for me. Version 2.0 had no index, version 3.0 does but it's more a page heading type and if you wanted to look at a particular like falling down you might not find it. Something's could be better organized and more examples of combat "with pictures" would be icing on the cake! There are Character sheets for all the different classes and they are good but could use a little more work to make them excellent. I have been playing wargames for over 20 years and seen a lot of good and bad rule sets. I would give this one a very solid 8.2 on my scale!

Check my site for more info as we play this.

Bill Witthans

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