Showing posts with label gladiators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gladiators. Show all posts

Sunday, 2 October 2016

MOAB 2016 - The Saturday

Saturday at MOAB has now become gladiator day for me, with Victor and I having planned an ambitious program of games revolving around the Roman arenas.

As it was, we played and ran some one-off games of Munera Sine Missione then tried a few linked games, although we didn't get as many of these done as we'd have liked. mostly due to the inexperience of some of the players.

Here's Victor looking thoughtful

And a small show in a big arena.

For later games we put on two fights at the same time.

The fight to the left of this picture was one of mine, with my Greek-armed gladiator fighting a Thracian. The Thracian lost his shield, then his sica but came close to beating my gladiator to death with his bare hands a couple of time. In the end, though, he was spitted on a spear.

We also played a game of Ave Caesar. I've played this before, and found the bizarre crossover raceway a complete turn-off for what was supposed to be a Roman arena chariot race. Victor has solved this by doing his own board, but keeping the rules the same. The game itself involves playing cards from a limited deck or possible movement options, where you have to manage when you play your high-point cards and when you play your low. Certain parts of the track allow you to block other players, forcing them to either use cards they don't want to play, or miss a turn altogether. Also, as I discovered, getting out in front early on is bad, as you can't play your highest cards if you are the leader. However I managed a creditable second place, after I messed up a possible game-winning block on the last curve.

I ran two sessions of Machinas. The game involved one or two players selecting vehicles from some pregenerated pairs, rolling for additional features and assigning stats to the drivers, and then being confronted with a juicy target on the dusty roads of the post-apocalypse Austalian outback. Two players could choose to cooperate, but it was made clear that the winner would be the one that took down the target, so an element of competition was expected. I ran the targets; a possible choice of five, ranging from a lone motorcyclist to a tanker.

In the first game Kelly took two cars, Mr Apollo and Rock Lobster, whilst Martin took the flamethrower-toting Anarchist and his motorcycle-riding sidekick. They were chasing the hobo roadster, Tom Sawyer.

Kelly went straight into the attack, bout couldn't line up a clear shot on Tom Sawyer.

It didn't help that, twice, Tom Sawyer brakes failed, causing Mr Apollo to shoot ahead.

Martin went for the competitive approach. Early in the game he flamed Rock Lobster with The Anarchist, seriously damaging it. When Rock Lobster tried to pass The Anarchist's sidekick, the green-haired punk lobbed a Molotov cocktail at him ...

... and he crashed and burned.

With Mr Apollo out in front, Tom Sawyer was forced into some aggressive driving in order to stay in the chase.

The punk almost got him with another petrol-bomb, but Tom Sawyer's driver extinguished the fire and kept control of his vehicle.

The chase kept on for a few turns after that, but eventually the pursuers became worried about their fuel-levels and broke off.

In the second game, Kelly took Mr Apollo and Rock Lobster again, whilst his friend Liam went for the two rat-rod buggies. Their target was the heavily-armed VW Kombi bus, Meeting Mr. Miandad.

Learning from the previous game, Kelly started whittling down the competition, with Rock Lobster wiping out one of the rat-rods very early on.

The chase continued with much gunfire, and a successful attack on the Kombi by an explosive spear. Possibly confused by their success the buggy pulled out of the chase, leaving the way clear for Kelly.

The cars both got ahead of the Kombi, forcing it to try and overtake in order to survive. It failed once, and was rammed by Mr Apollo, dropping back ...

... but a second ailed attempt to pass saw Mr Apollo ram the Kombi off the road, giving Kelly a win.

Both games were great fun, and ran very smoothly. Machinas is terribly random, but creates a good narrative regardless, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I certainly did.

I didn't get much in the way of pictures of other games, aside from this beautiful ACW game (Regimental Fire and Fury), where the troops almost seemed lost in the landscape.

Tomorrow sees me back at MOAB, playing HOTT.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Munera Sine Missione 2.4

With MOAB only a week away, I have finally written up some of the changes that Victor and I have been making to 'Munera Sine Missione'. They can be found in Version 2.4, which you can find linked from my Free Stuff page.

The changes include some adjustments to critical hits, new and modified skills for campaign games and a streamlining of the weapon definitions and traits, as well as minor tweaks to the wording and intent of the core rules. The next version will probably be the one that I finally put the campaign system in the rules. It's about time I did that.

Enjoy, and if you're in Sydney next Saturday, come and see us at MOAB and give the game a try.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Final Gladiator Testing

When I was't out enjoying the sunshine this weekend, I played through some more games of 'Munera Sine Missione' in order to pin down the changes that will be made for v2.4

The changes are now all looking good. I think we'll be dropping Dirty Tricks for now, though, as I still can't the risk/reward balance to work; they'll be something to consider properly when we look at the next version.

Anyway, I took a few pictures. I tried to run Artemisia through a campaign again. In her first outing she fought the barbarian Albia.

She lost, and the crowd had her killed. A short campaign.

Another campaign saw the retiarius Titan go up against the spear-armed Ellenikos.

Titan triumphed after netting his foe.

His next fight saw him take on the veteran Danaos. It was a tense struggle ...

... Danaos was netted, but knocked Titan's trident away.

Danaos escaped from the net, but lost his shield. However experience told in the end, and a spear thrust took down Titan. The crowd were merciful, and Titan will live to fight another day.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Yet more gladiator testing? Does this man have nothing better to do?

Well, these games are pretty quick. That's my excuse. And this mini-campaign was the very tiniest of mini-campaigns. I used Artemisia, who has a sword, light armour a small shield and no helmet. She counts as a light gladiator, so under the Rules of the Arena (in my house) she will only fight those gladiators classed a medium or heavy.

I selected suitable foes for her from amongst my female gladiators, looking to have a bit of a Ladies' Night.

Her first opponent was Marpesia, who was armed and armoured in a similar fashion, but had a helmet. This made her less manoeuvrable, but better protected. Like Artemisia, Marpesia had no skills. Both gladiators smacked each other about, but it was Artemisia who finally fell wounded and sought the crowd's mercy. They liked her, and she lived to fight another day.

Her next opponent was Hippolyte, who had a large shield and a helmet to go with her armour and sword. She was also unskilled, but unlucky dice saw her start with a significantly higher stamina than Artemisia.

Artemisia used her edge in manoeuvre to good advantage. When Hippolyte stumbled, the nimble gladiator slipped round behind her and struck her a terrible blow. It left her bleeding heavily, but she kept fighting.

The fight ranged from one side of the arena to the other. Disaster struck for Artemisia when her sword broke, but she kept fighting, using her shield to push Hippolyte against the arena wall. A mighty blow almost downed her opponent, but she was still left with one wound. She struck back, knocking Atermisia's shield from her hand.

Artemisia was now wounded and her low stamina also meant she was tired as well. She couldn't get to her shield before Hippolyte, stumbling with exhaustion herself, sidestepped and ran her through, killing her instantly.

And that was it. Artemisia lasted two bouts. But I liked her style. We'll see how the Artemisia of a different universe fares another day.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Ellenikos Again

This evening I continued Ellenikos's career in the arena. So far he had fought five bouts, winning four and getting a draw in his fifth.

A few weeks after his epic fight with Telemonius he found himself facing his first truly dangerous opponent - Crixus. Armed with a sword and small shield, Crixus was a veteran of a number of bouts in the arena, and had the skills to prove it - Stamina, Agile, Defend and Veteran. Ellenikos was definitely the underdog in this fight.

Ellenikos went for the aggressive approach, and got in a good early hit, wounding Crixus. But Crixus was a veteran of the arena. he bided his time, and soon knocked Ellenikos down. From that moment our hero was on the back-foot.

He was backed against the arena wall, and with no room to manoeuvre was soon forced to yield. The fight had been entertaining, though - plenty of blood and fancy moves. The crowd were merciful.

Unfortunately things didn't get any better. After a period of recovery Ellenikos was put forward for a rematch with Cupido. However since their last meeting Cupido had acquired a seriously good reputation in the arena, and was one of the best gladiators in Rome - Veteran, Tactician, Stamina, Defend and Crowd-Pleaser were his skills. All Ellenikos could bring to the party was Agile and Attack.

Ellenikos once again scored the first wound - just a scratch, but a good start.

Cupido retaliated by catching Ellenikos in his net.

Try as he might, Ellenikos couldn't cut free. He put up a desperate fight ...

... but Cupido forced him to appeal to the crowd. The fact that he had wounded Cupido was all that saved him. He survived ... just.

It seemed, however, that the mob really enjoyed the bout (and, to be fair, this short write-up doesn't to credit to how tense and exciting it actually was). When Ellenikos recovered from his wounds, they asked for a rematch.

Cupido didn't mess around in this fight. Ellenikos was swiftly entangled again.

Before he could escape, Cupido sidestepped, and thrust with his trident. It went straight into Ellenikos's heart, and he breathed his last as his blood spilled onto the sand of the arena.

And that was it for Ellenikos. At least he fell to a straight kill, rather than via the whims of the baying crowd.

The 'campaign' lasted eight bouts. Ellenikos won four, lost three and drew one. He never became highly skilled or truly famous, but his fights were all entertaining.

This was a useful exercise in trying out the new skills, however, as they really came to the fore in the last three bouts. Both Veteran and Tactician allow a player to adjust the combat dice after they are rolled; Tactician swapping the dice and Veteran flipping one dice. They only work against a foe with fewer skills. Ellenikos was on the receiving end of both skills, and would have purchased one of them himself had he lived long enough.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


This evening I decided to run a linked series of 'Munera Sine Missione' games in order to test out not only the weapon changes but also the adjustments to skills (including two new ones - Veteran and Tactician).

I used the system I outlined in this post in order to determine opponents and how skilled they were. However I made sure that the pool of possible opponents incuded the weapons which needed to be tested. Since these include the two parrying weapons - the scissor and the arbelas - I needed to make sure that my chosen gladiator had a long weapon. To that end I chose Ellenikos, who is armed with a long spear, carries a small shield and wears an enclosed helmet and light armour.

In his very first bout he faced the scissor-wielding Mordax. A wrong move with his spear here could see him deftly disarmed. It happened once, but Ellenikos used the morale-boosting effect of the cheers of the crowd to sidestep and recover it.

In a swift bout he downed Mordax, forcing to appeal to the crowd for mercy. They granted it.

This gave Ellenikos a skill. With the spear being disadvantaged at close range, I chose Attack in order to offset this.

As with the previous campaign, you can assume that a sufficient period of time - weeks at least - has passed between each bout to allow Ellenikos to recover and train.

In his second bout he faced the unskilled retiarius, Cupido. This was a scrappy fight, with both gladiators flailing away at each other with little effect. Cupido was the more inept, though, and his limited armour meant that he was slowly wounded to the point where he had to appeal for mercy. The bored crowd couldn't be bothered and let him live.

Ellenikos didn't get a skill from that bout. In his third bout he faced the barbarian Andromache - unarmoured except for a large shield, and wielding a sword. She had the Defend skill, which offset our hero's Attack.

This fight ranged across the arena, and both gladiators seriously wounded each other. Ellenikos eventually knocked his foe to the ground with his shield, and she was forced to appeal. The crowd thought about it for a bit, but decided she had been entertaining and let her live.

Ellenikos scored a second skill from that bout, and chose Agile, on the grounds that he'd been rolling a lot of ones for AP.

His fourth bout saw him up against the little murmillo, Pugnax. Pugnax was unskilled, and the result was inevitable; Ellenikos outmanoeuvred him and outfought him whilst barely raising a sweat. His armour and shield protected him for a while, but it was soon all over. Badly wounded, Pugnax was forced to appeal, but the crowd weren't interested. he was dispatched.

Again there was no skill from that bout. In his fifth bout the odds finally caught up with Ellenikos, and he ended up facing a gladiator more skilled than he was; the formidable arbelas, Telemonius. This was another gladiator with a parrying weapon, but he was also well-protected with armour.

This was a long fight. Both gladiators ended up seriously wounded, and as it dragged on they became more and more tired.

Sadly I was then called away from the game, but I decided that it would be fair at that stage to call it a draw, assuming that the referee stopped it.

Ellenikos has now survived five bouts, and has both the Attack and Agile skill. For his next skills I will start using the two new ones, Veteran and tactician. In the final bout Telemonius actually had Tactician, but never got a good opportunity to use it; it's a once per game skill, and a suitable opportunity never presented itself.

I will try and continue the campaign tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Gladiator Testing

I've been running a few gladiatorial bouts this evening. MOAB is coming up in October and, once again, we will be running some games of 'Munera Sine Missione' on the Saturday. Over the last year or so Victor and I have been coming up with more tweaks and changes to the rules to make them even better than before, but they need some fine-tuning. I'd like to have a new version of the game available by MOAB, so testing is required.

What will you be seeing? Well, there will be some streamlining of the weapon definitions. Some of them are redundant, and others could do with a rewrite. The end result should see more consistency in how they work, and fewer special cases to remember.

We have also been looking at ways of toning down the effects of two of the criticals, either of which can pretty much end a fight straight away. We think we have a solution now, which balances the need for there to be some form of instant disaster (because it's fun) against games ending abruptly on a single die-roll.

Dirty tricks is another area we are working on. Your gladiators can already work the crowd to gain adulation, which then propels them to greater feats. But we also liked the idea of gladiators who cheat their way to victory, even though it earns the hostility of the mob and risks them being disqualified (or worse) by the referee.

There are a number of smaller tweaks ongoing as well, some of which you'll probably only notice by reading the rules carefully. But trust me, they'll be awesome.

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