I decided to run and write up a gladiator campaign using the simple campaign rules I put together for 'Blood, Sweat and Cheers' last week. You can read the rules HERE.
I made a couple of changes to the rules as written.
Firstly, players have less choice over the gladiator they put forward at the start. The Editor of the Games is a fickle creatures and makes demands of each ludus. Pleayers still select their gladiators in order, but first they must roll a D6:
2 - You must choose the gladiator who has taken part in the most bouts.
3 - You must choose a light gladiator.
4 - You must choose a medium gladiator.
5 - You must choose a heavy gladiator.
6 - You can choose any gladiator.
Players chose the second (challenging) gladiator as before, albeit with the restricted matchups based on weight.
The second change is to the earning of Prestige. I like the changes Nic has made in the campaign system that will be in the 2nd edition of the rules, so have dropped the +1 Prestige based on Crowd favour at the end, and added:
+1 Prestige if your gladiator won the bout
+1 Prestige if an unskilled gladiator beats one with a skill.
The first school to reach or exceed 15 Prestige at the end of a round would win. If more than one school did it, then the highest Prestige would win, otherwise ... well, I assume there would be a tie-break bout.
I played the games solo; even though both gladiators have a hidden hand of cards the choices each one makes are generally pretty straightforward. I use a die roll if I feel I can't make an honest decision because of knowledge of the other gladiator's hand.
I set up three schools, run by Primus, Secundus and Tertius.
Primus had the following gladiators:
(Left to Right) - Artemisia (Thraex), Philus (Dimacherius), Rodan (Cestus*) and Memnon (Myrmillo)
*The Cestus class works for unarmoured light gladiators with a whip or similar exotic weapon.
* I used the Dimacherius card, but increased his Speed by 1 and decreased his Armour by 1. This makes him a Light gladiator.
(Left to Right) - Baccibus (Velite), Gracchus (Retiarius), Syphax (Crupellarius), Bremusa (Thraex)
I rolled for the first picks from each school. Primus had to choose a medium gladiator, so picked Philus. Secundus had to pick a heavy, so chose Pugnax. And Tertius had to pick their most experienced gladiator, so could choose any of their four, and went for Gracchus.
Round 1 - Bout 2 - Rodan (Cestus) vs Pugnax (Myrmillo)
Whilst not as slow as the crupellarius, the myrmillo is not a fast gladiator. The cestus is, with his only defence being his speed. Both gladiators moved around each other cautiously, Pugnax using his shield, and Rodan keeping his distance.
The bout went through the deck five times. I was considering a rule for calling bouts a draw; from the fourth deck onwards, each time you get to the end of the deck, check the Crowd Favour. If it is neutral or +1 then the referee will declare the match a draw. Only check at the end of a deck. The rationale is that if the crowd a strongly favouring one gladiator, calling an end to the fight wouldn't go down that well. But if the crowd aren't really cheering then it's OK.
Pugnax earned 2 Prestige for Secundus.
Priscus closed quickly, trusting to his shield, whilst Gracchus tried a sneaky attack with his dagger, a move the crowd loved. Gracchus then went on the offensive.
Soon it was all over, and Gracchus was victorious. Priscus became another victim of the bloodthirsty crowd, whilst Gracchus earned 2 Prestige for Tertius.
The schools replaced their losses. Primus added Culex, a velite, whilst Secundus took on the hoplomachus Alumnus.
Pugnax vs Philus, Vocorix vs Bremusa, Artemisia vs Syphax
This was a really desperate fight at the end; both gladiators were on their last hit and it could have gone either way.
The crowd were disappointed with Pugnax, so didn't spare him. Philus earned a quick 2 Prestige for Primus and added 1 to his Attack (which will make him truly deadly).
Secundus added the myrmillo Hero to his school.
Primus - 5 Prestige