I thought I'd try something a little different with my gladiators today. I say today, but I've been planning and executing it during the week, and just played it out today.
I made a Pons.
This is a wooden bridge structure, on which a Retiarus would stand, to be faced by two Secutor type gladiators. As well as his net and trident the Retiarius had a pile of stones he could use to fend off his opponents.
I staged this to see what the setup looked like. Nice, huh? It's made from card and matchsticks.
Then I played a game. I used Munera Sine Missione v2.3, of course.
The Pons consists of five hexes in a row. The three in the middle are the Pons proper, and on each end are the ramps. The Pons is two levels above the floor os the arena, whilst the ramps are one level. A gladiator can attack from or onto the Pons, but if they are on a lower level they subtract the difference in levels from their attack roll, and if on a higher level they add the difference. So a Secutor in the arena attacking the Retiarus on the Pons would suffer a -2, whilst the Retiarius fights back at a +2
The Retiarius must remain on the Pons, so cannot be pushed back. There's a small rule change which helps this, which I'll cover later.
The Pons can only be entered through the two hexsides at each ens of the ramps. It costs +1AP to move from the arena onto a ramp, or from a ramp onto the Pons.
The Retiarius has an unlimited supply of fist-sized rocks. These are a ranged attack (4 hexes), but count as disadvantaged (double disadvantaged at 3 or 4 hexes).
I pitted Cupido the Retiarius, against Hero (in the green loincloth) and Ostorius (in red).
Ostorius charged straight in, trying to hold Cupido in combat whilst Hero moved into position. He managed to wound Cupido, but the Retiarus's height advantage soon began to tell.
Hero reached the end of the Pons.
He charged up the ramp and attacked Cupido, who was still engaged by Ostorius.
A single trident thrust finished off Ostorius, and Cupido turned to face Hero.
Hero drove the Retiarius back, dodging the swinging net.
A single sword thrust, and Cupido went down.
I need to play this out again a few times to sort out the balance. I really started the Secutors too close to the Pons - Ostorius reached it on his first turn, and that pretty much held Cupido in place before he could really do anything to prevent it.
In terms of optional rules, I can't see the referee working with this setup (unless he's forbidden from being positioned on the Pons itself), but I did use Working The Crowd.
As for the rule change, it's something more general I'm looking at in order to fix a small bug in the game. Ordinarily, if you miss a gladiator, they jump back one hex. If they can't do so, because of another gladiator, the arena wall, or being on a Pons, they are knocked over. If they are knocked over whilst down, then they are beaten. So if you back a gladiator against the arena wall, your best strategy is to use weak attacks that won't hit, so the misses knock him down once, then twice.
The fix is that a gladiator that can't jump back, doesn't. However if they are attacked from a position where a jump back isn't possible, then the attacker gets a +1. If you can't effectively dodge, then you are easier to hit. I will work this change into the next release of the rules.