Thursday, 29 April 2021

Gladiator Campaign - Part 2

 You can read Part One of the campaign HERE.

Round Two of the campaign saw Primus having to pick their most experienced gladiator, so the crowds got to see Ombos again. Secundus was asked to provide a heavy gladiator, so the novice Murranus was sent out to fight. Finally Tertius got a free pick so I randomly selected Hippolyta.

The pairings saw Murranus against Publius (who had killed his predecessor), Hippolyta against Artemisia and finally, in a rematch of their Round One fight, Ombos against Varica.

Round 2 - Bout 1 - Ombos (Thraex) vs Varica (Barbarian)

This was a quick fight. Ombos quickly wore down Varica with a few Glory attacks, and then a lucky hit saw them flat on the sand.

Ombos moved in quickly and delivered a telling blow. The crowd were very much behind the thraex at this stage, and did not grant mercy to Varica.

Ombos picked up 2 Prestige for Primus, whilst Tertius would be looking for another gladiator. This was Ombos' second bout, so he became skilled and opted for +1 Attack.

Round 2 - Bout 2 - Publius (Veles) vs Murranus (Murmillo)

Publius had defeated Murranus' predecessor in the previous round, so the murmillo was out to avenge his team-mate. Publius tried the same strategy as before; a few quick crowd-pleasing javelin throws and then into a close fight with their cheers behind him. It didn't work as Murranus responded with a kick and shield-charge which saw Publius out for the count. However the crowd were merciful, so Publius earned 1 Prestige for Primus and Murranus picked up 2 Prestige for Secundus. This was Publius's second bout so, despite losing, he acquired a skill and, like Ombos, went for +1 Attack.

Round 2 - Bout 3 - Hippolyta (Murmillo) vs Artemisia (Thraex)

This was a brutal slice and dice fight, with both gladiators ended up wounded.

But it was the nimble thraex Artemisia who emerged victorious, to give Secundus 2 Prestige. Hippolyta survived to give Tertius 1 Prestige.

So at the end of Round two, Primus had 7 Prestige (three wins and only one missio defeat), Secundus had 6 Prestige (three wins) and Tertius had 3 Prestige (three participation trophies).

On to Round Three. Tertius replaced the deceased Varica with another barbarian, Bregans. And the editor decided that he wanted to see him fight, as Tertius' least-experienced gladiator. Primus had to offer a heavy, so was restricted to Syphax, whilst Secundus had to put forward his only light, the sagittarius Teucris.

These were the pairings: Syphax was matched with the dimacherus Herminia, whilst Bregans faced the murmillo Murranus. And Teucris was up against the popular Ombos. This bout would be the first where the winner could gain 3 Prestige, for not only winning but for also beating a skilled gladiator with a non-skilled one.

Round 3 - Bout 1 - Syphax (Crupellarius) vs Herminia (Dimacherus)

The thing with the dimacherus is that they are all about attack. Their speed is fairly average and their defence fairly light, so they need to keep up a series of strikes in order to avoid being hit. Herminia got far too few strike cards early on and couldn't easily compete with the well-armoured and implacable Syphax.

At one point she did manage to trip him, which is always bad for the slow gladiators, but he used his shield to knock her feet out from under her as well, and bought time to stand up.

Anyway, eventually he knocked her down and she didn't get up. The crowd had wanted to see some skillful swordplay from the dimacherus, and hadn't got it, so they weren't merciful. This left Tertius looking for another new gladiator. Meanwhile Syphax picked up 2 Prestige for Primus.

Round 3 - Bout 2 - Ombos (Thraex) vs Teucris (Sagittarius)

Like the dimacherus, the thraex is very much about attack. The sagittarius is very much about evading their opponent with their lightning sped, and hoping for the Glory cards needed for shots.

Ombos got all of the Glory cards. He quickly hit Teucris for a couple of light wound, slowing him.

Teucris did manage to open up a gap, and even got in a couple of shots with his bow, but to no avail.

Ombos closed up and Teucris was defeated. The crowd were still out for blood, and weren't merciful towards the archer.

Ombos earned Primus another 2 Prestige, as well as scoring his third win.

Round 3 - Bout 3 - Bregans (Barbarian) vs Murranus (Murmillo)

There would be no subtlety in this fight; it would be a simple hack, bash and defend. Murranus got lucky early on, wounding Bregans and slowing him down, thus robbing him of his only real advantage over the heavy murmillo.

The fight ranged back and forth, bit Murranus kept his nerve and took down the barbarian. However the crowd had been entertained, and were inclined to mercy. Bregans earned 1 Prestige for Tertius, whilst Murranus earned 2 prestige for Secundus, as well as a skill for himself. He increased his Speed to 3.

Secundus picked up another sagittarius, Toxaris, whilst Tertius decided to try a hoplomachus and recruited the Greek, Danaos.

So at the end of Round Three, this is the status of the three schools

Primus - 11 Prestige

Publius (Veles) - 2 Bouts, +1 Attack
Ombos (Thraex) - 3 Bouts, +1 Attack
Alumnus (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts
Syphax (Crupellarius) - 1 Bout

Secundus - 8 Prestige

Artemisia (Thraex) - 1 Bout
Victor (Crupellarius) - 1 Bout
Murranus (Murmillo) - 2 Bouts, +1 Speed
Toxaris (Sagittarius) - No Bouts

Tertius - 4 Prestige

Albia ('Veles') - 1 Bout
Hipployta (Murmillo) - 1 Bout
Bregans (Barbarian) - 1 Bout
Danaos (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts

Tertius' school is where gladiators and prestige go to die, but Primus is now in a position to win the campaign in the next round, if his gladiators win both of their fights. 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021


Since I'm taking my gladiators out in pubic, I decided I needed a slightly more attractive arena than the ones I've been using up until now. At MOAB I could draw on Victor's lovely models, but I was looking for something quick and easy. So I'm experimenting with this for now.

More pictures as I progress.

Gladiator Campaign - Part 1

I've had 'Blood, Sweat and Cheers' out again this weekend because, if all goes well, I will be running it as a demo/participation game at a local show in a couple of weeks, and I want the game solidly ensconced in my head before I do so. I thought I'd run through another campaign, similar to the one I ran last year, and using the rules HERE and HERE (which are basically the rules in the 2nd Edition of the game, with a few tweaks of my own - mostly to do with weight classes).

Once again I set up three lanista - Primus, Secundus and Tertius, and randomly selected four gladiators for them - one each of light, medium and heavy and a fourth of any weight.

Primus got (left to right) Publius (Veles), Ombos (Thraex), Alumnus (Hoplomachus) and Syphax (Crupellarius).

Secundus was offering Teucris (Sagittarius), Artemisia (Thraex), Hermes (Murmillo) and Victor (Crupellarius).

Finally Tertius ended up with Albia ('Cestus'), Herminia (Dimacherus), Varica (Barbarian) and Hippolyta (Murmillo)

I used the system where each school was restricted in their initial pick of gladiators by the whim of the Editor. For the first round, Primus had to put forward a light gladiator, and chose Publius, Secundus their least experienced gladiator, with a random roll selecting Victor and Tertius being allowed a free choice and going for Varica.

The matchups were a free choice, and I ended up with the following pairings: Publius vs Hermes, Alba vs Victor and Varica vs Ombos.

Round 1 - Bout 1 - Publius (Veles) vs Hermes (Murmillo)

The games started with a classic light vs heavy matchup as the nimble veles Publius faced the murmillo Hermes. Publius got great cards from the start and was able to dodge his slower opponent whilst throwing javelins at him.

With the crowd behind him, the veles got more confident, and went toe to toe with the murmillo. Hermes was on the back foot the whole bout and was quickly defeated.

With the crowd solidly behind Publius, mercy was unlikely, and Hermes' career was over.

This gave 2 Prestige to Primus, and Secundus would need to find a new gladiator.

Round 1 - Bout 2 - Varica (Barbarian) vs Ombos (Thrax)

For those that are wondering, a 'Barbarian' gladiator is basically a murmillo with a lower defence and a higher speed.

Varica closed quickly and a fierce sword-fight ensued. Both gladiators took flesh-wounds, much to the delight of the mob. 

Ombos was knocked down, and a win for Varica looked likely. But the thraex had fight left in him and managed a vicious crowd-pleasing slash from the ground to wound Varica and buy the time to stand up.

Ombos pressed his advantage, and soon defeated Varica. However they had put up a good fight and the barbarian was spared by the crowd.

This gave Primus another 2 Prestige, whilst Tertius picked up 1 Prestige for Varica's having survived.

Round 1 - Bout 3 - Victor (Crupellarius) vs Alba ('Cestus)

This was the very end of the extremes in terms of a matchup, with the heaviest gladiator allowed fighting the lightest. However Victor went in hard from the start, and Alba couldn't get her act together when it came to evading her heavier opponent.

A couple of wounds early on saw Alba slowed, and as she tried to evade across the arena in order to buy herself some breathing-space, Victor caught her with a passing blow and she collapsed, defeated.

Victor's win earned 2 Prestige for Secundus, whilst Albia gained 1 Prestige for Tertius.

Secundus replaced Hermes with another murmillo, Murranus

So at the end of Round One, this is how the three schools stood:

Primus - 4 Prestige

Publius (Veles) - 1 Bout
Ombos (Thraex) - 1 Bout
Alumnus (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts
Syphax (Crupellarius) - No Bouts

Secundus  - 2 Prestige

Teucris (Sagittarius) - No Bouts
Artemisia (Thraex) - No Bouts
Victor (Crupellarius) - 1 Bout
Murranus (Murmillo) - No Bouts

Tertius - 2 Prestige

Albia ('Cestus') - 1 Bout
Varica (Barbarian) - 1 Bout
Herminia (Dimacherius) - No Bouts
Hipployta (Murmillo) - No Bouts

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Variant Gladiators for 'Blood, Sweat & Cheers'

I did a post last year where I went through some designs for alternative gladiator types for 'Blood, Sweat & Cheers', based on some of the more unusual types in my collection.

Yesterday I put them together onto cards, and you can download them HERE. They're not as pretty as the cards in the original game, but they are good enough to display the information. As you can see, the GLORY abilities are lifted from existing types. Maybe over time I may mix and match some or create ones of my own, but I didn't want to break the balance of the game too much.

Anyway, I hope you find a use for them. Any thoughts or comments on new types or changes to abilities are more than welcome.

Friday, 23 April 2021

For A Few Billion Suns More

Caesar and I played 'A Billion Suns' last night - his first go at the game. I took the time to explain the rules, because it's a game that's unforgiving of early mistakes, but eventually we got set up and started.

I chose to play at Scale 4, which actually made a real difference to how the game flowed compared to the Scale 3 games I'd played with Catherine. We ended up with three tables, and I broke out my new black cloths (which I may decorate at some stage, but are good enough for now. With one exception). The tables were 2' x 4' and two 3' x 2'. Contracts were the lucrative Rhexis Harvesting, Demolition and Mining. The big table had a couple of asteroids and three facilities, Table Two had the Pearl, an asteroid and a facility, whilst Table Three had a single asteroid.

The problem with the black cloth? It really confused my phone's camera sensors, so the photos were appalling. 

Here's Table Two, with the Rhexis Pearl in the centre. This contract can be easy to score, so we both committed ships to it; I went for medium utility ships on the hope they'd weather the storm around the Pearl better than the Caesar's more numerous light utility ships.

On Table Three I sent in a single utility ship to mine the asteroid there. Caesar responded by jumping in a flight of fighters. He planned to use them to soften up the asteroid, hoping to jump one of his utility ships from Table Two in later to pick up the ore. There's a limit on how many utility ships you can have in play, and all of Caesar's were committed to the Pearl.

Of course what happened is that his fighters blew up my utility ship.

He also jumped in fighters on Table Two, and took put my utility ships there. This gave him uncontested access to the Pearl on the first round of the game.

I didn't take any photos after that. I jumped in replacement ships on Table Two, and managed to contest the Pearl on round two, but Caesar managed to get the crucial catalyst and scored the whole contract himself. There was a fair bit of fighting involved though; I sent in some gunships to take on his fighters, and they scored a reasonable amount of damage on them, leaving him with only one wing. However the gunships were lost too. They successfully covered the crucial utility ships though.

On Table Three I tried to mine the asteroid again, but the fighters there saw me off. 

Caesar was the only one to start on Table One, sending a single bomber wing, with powerful torpedoes, to soften up the asteroids there. However he switched to the facilities when he realised that the Mining contract wasn't likely to pay out by the end of the game.

The third and last round of the game saw a flurry of activity around the facilities, as blowing them up was the only viable source of revenue. I sent in a few fighters, but didn't manage to destroy any of them. Caesar jump-hopped his fighter from Table Three to Table One, and used them to take out one facility, whilst his bomber wing took out a third. Finally his fighters destroyed the facility on Table Two, to give him a near clean sweep on that contract too.

Anyway, Caesar's company ended up with a tidy profit, and I made a massive loss.

Basically I under-committed on the first turn, and suffered for it, having to spend the crucial second turn trying to get back into the game. The Rhexis contract seems to be a key one to go for, since if you can get it the payout is straightforward. It becomes difficult if it is contested, though, and can be a bit of a gamble. Caesar's use of fighters was masterful; he had just enough to achieve what he wanted, and positioned them to make any movements by my ships dangerous due to reaction fire.  So it was a well-deserved win for him, in his first game. And I need to remember to spend more at the start.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021


You've probably realised over the past few months that 'Flamme Rouge' is currently one of my favourite boardgames. Whilst I'm not that interested in cycling (or, indeed, sport in general) I do like a good game, and it certainly delivers all the thrills of a race with what I understand to be enough flavour of the actual thing to keep the fans happy.

Anyway, I've been hunting around for the Peloton expansion for the game, and the other day found a copy available here in Australia. So I ordered it. It arrived yesterday.

It expands the basic game by adding two more riders, plus their card decks, taking the player count up to six. It also adds some cards to allow you to run 'bot' teams for solo play (or to pad out multi-player games). And there are new track sections. These include a wider start area for the increased cyclist count, as well as the new cobblestone and supply zone sections. The formers are narrower stretches of rough road which prevent slipstreaming, whilst the latter are wider areas which have a minimum move distance regardless of the card played, so help the pack.

Here's a race set up with the full complement of cyclists.

Catherine and I played a couple of games using it in the evening. We ran one team each and then used the bot rules to run the other four - two bots each.

The extra cyclists really add to the game, making for a more dynamic pack and offering more slipstream opportunities (along with more chances of being blocked).

The first race we ran had a couple of stretches of cobblestones, along with a few very small ascents and descents. Even on the initial rush from the starting line the pack broke up.

And it stayed spread out through the first set of cobblestones and past the first ascent. I was playing red and Catherine blue, so you can see that we got stuck at the back. Black was the powerful Peloton bot, which is a tricky opponent to beat (but which is limited to one team per race).

The final stages still saw a lot of fragmentation. I had worked one of my riders within striking distance of the leaders though.

Closer to the finish ...

... and a final surge saw half the riders racing for the line.

Black won it, but my red cyclist came from the back of that pack to claim a cheeky second or third place.

I didn't record the second game, aside from this one picture. It saw a tighter pack towards the end. The course had a single huge ascent near the beginning, with a sprint over the remainder. The ascent broke things up a little, and caused a number of riders to burn crucial cards, whilst the sprint saw the pack reform, with all of the riders in the peloton for the final run to the finish. However the ascent had cost everyone dearly and teams were running out of cards on the final moves to the finish. Most teams wobbled exhausted over the line. I managed a fourth place with one rider, but my other didn't do so well. Catherine finished with both her riders in the middle, so we gave her the win out of the two of us.

Anyway, if you have Flamme Rouge then this expansion is well worth getting for it.

Monday, 19 April 2021

'A Billion Suns' - Painting Continued

I based and undercoated most of the first batch of ships and objectives for 'A Billion Suns' yesterday. There's two fleets of the smaller ships there; larger ships will be in the second batch, since it doesn't look like they appear until you play the higher scale games.

Here are some jump points; enough for two players.

The ships. I'm still not quite sure what colour schemes I'm going for with them yet.

I still have a few vessels and similar to make for some of the contracts, including facilities and the awesome space-kraken. 

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Burlesque Update #19

In my last update I said I was performing in a couple of shows during February, and I now have a few pictures to share. They were taken at the Burlesque Muse 2021 competition in Canberra, courtesy of CaptaVitae Photography and Stuart Bucknell Photography.

Here we are all lined up on stage for the announcement of the winner (Spoiler: It wasn't me)

Now show would be complete without a backstage selfie. This is me with (left to right) Stella Doubleshot, Miss Jossofine and eventual runner-up Lola Lust

In the previous post I said I was also performing in Wollongong. The only performance photo I have from that night is what we call a 'pasty shot', and one generally doesn't share what are basically the final reveal pictures on social media because you want audiences to come to a show and see those. But here's another backstage selfie, featuring Miss Patsy Declined, Shazza from Sanga and, in the background, Faerie Cake

Both shows were fabulous to perform in, with good-sized audiences even allowing for our moderate COVID restrictions. At the end of this month I'm taking my act up to Sydney, as the regular burlesque shows there are starting up again.

And as well as shows, we have classes slowly starting up again as well. This was taken last weekend at a silk fan workshop Catherine and I went to, run by Canberra performer Jazida.

(Photo by Mae De La Rue)

Stay tuned for the next update!
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