Saturday, June 28, 2008

Morituri Te Salutant

I got to Guildford the other week and played a gladiator game using the Morituri Te Salutant rules by Bill Lucas and now published by Black Hat Miniatures.

This is the fourth set of gladiator rules I have picked up in the last six months and I haven't played the others yet (I did play the Paragon Wargames Group Rules for Gladiatoral Combat back in the seventies!) but they would be hard pushed to provide as fun a game as MTS.
The rules use a hex base which makes moving very easy. Combat (and everything else) is done by placing action cards face down and then turning them up in a sort of sophisticated rock, paper, scissors game. This really did get you thinking about what your opponents next move might be and the rules cleverly reflect the real characteristics of the different types of gladiators, for whome there are individual ability sheets. You need a couple of D6 and a couple of D20. There are also rules for campaigns, animals and mounted gladiators but I haven't tried them yet.

The only fault I can find with them is that the gladiator type profiles are a bit limited. For example, the Hoplomachus must be armed with a spear, as they were in the early period. Later the Hoplomachus lost his spear and became a heavy swordsman but I'm sure that is tweakable.

We played three separate combats, including a four player game which added a lot to the interest of the game. These three games took about 2 1/2 hours to play giving a nice length combat. Needless to say I lost every game, mainly because I'm just not very good at games (I was always a hopeless card player, could never understand Cluedo etc) but as I just really like painting I don't mind!

In fact, it's not often that a set of rules actually makes me want to play a game (rather than painting figures) but this set does just that. I have just bought a few more Foundry figures off eBay, including some nice Thracians and a very scary looking female retiarus! Mike used his Black Hat figures (inevitably) and whilst some looked a bit old fashioned some were really quite good and they match up with The Foundry figures (which are still the best) surprisingly well.

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