Here's how the campaign works. Each player selects six gladiators - 2 x Light, 2 x Medium and 2 x Heavy. Ideally one of the Lights should be a Retiarius or similar.
The campaign is played in a number of bouts, with fights two or more fights taking place simultaneously in the arena. If your playing area isn't that big, then play a number of rounds. Players should decide if each new round represents a new day or not (it influences how much mercy the crowd have).
For each bout, each player selects one of their gladiators. These are the challengers.
The players then each roll a die. The highest scoring player picks a challenger (not his own, of course) and then rolls a D6. This determines the weight of gladiator that they must match it with:
Challenger is Must Choose
Heavy 1-3 Medium, 4-6 Light
Medium 1-2 Light, 3-4 Medium, 5-6 Heavy
Light 1-3 Medium, 4-6 Heavy
The player should choose a gladiator of the appropriate weight from their stable.
One of the features of gladiator bouts seems to have been to pit types with different weights, fighting styles and equipment against each other, and these mechanisms promote that. So two Heavy gladiators will never meet, and neither will two Light. In most bouts, one gladiator will have an advantage in maneuver whilst the other has more protection. Medium gladiators cover a range of styles and can fight each other, but the bouts should still promote differences - the gladiators should have different weapon/shield combinations at the very least.
(I know certain types were designed to fight others of the same type, but that's for a more specialist scenario. Mixing styles makes for a more interesting game.)
The next player then chooses and rolls, and so on until all challengers have an opponent. Set up the gladiators with each challenger facing their opponent on opposite sides of the arena. Each player will have two gladiators in play. and there should be as many pairs as there are players.
The players again roll a die, with the highest score going first. that player takes a turn for each of their two gladiators. Play then goes clockwise around the table until all fights have been resolved.
Once all fights have finished, award experience to surviving gladiators according to the rules.
In addition the players are awarded prestige as follows:
One of their gladiators beat an opponent of equal or lesser experience +1
One of their gladiators beat an opponent of greater experience +2
One of their gladiators lost to an opponent of lesser experience -1
Wounded gladiators are assumed to recover. Replace any dead gladiators with new ones from the pool, and then play the next bout.
The main decision the players have to make is whether to risk higher experience gladiators in the area and have them beaten by less experienced ones, and whether to give their lesser experienced fighter a chance or stick to those with skills.
In the next post I will look at how you determine if a gladiator is Light, Medium or Heavy.