Saturday 18 September 2010

"Am I not Merciful?"

It was a very pleasant evening at the club on Wednesday and as usual the banter and the customary ‘show and tell’ was on top form. There were two games underway – a large scale Western gunfight using 28mm figures and a four handed Gladiatorial combat in which yours truly took part and was hosted by the redoubtable Mr. Fox. The game we played was using those very nice pre-painted 28mm figures supplied by EM4 Miniatures as part of their Ludus Gladiatorius series. I am fond of Gladiator based games and they are always great fun to take part in. Ironically, whilst the rules that come with this game are pretty good they are not my first choice set – there are a surprising number around, both commercially available or as free downloads – but in the absence of anything else to hand they are perfectly adequate. This is not a criticism; merely my own opinion!

The action was fast and furious and is worth mentioning because we had a rather strange match up of types. Three of the figures were fairly standard gladiator types but the fourth was a condemned criminal. Basically, he was quite quick and aggressive but poor at defending and his fight with the heaviest and slowest of the combatants was brutal in the extreme. The heavier of the two was having a very thin time of it but in one spectacular attack managed to inflict a dramatic overkill on his less than savoury opponent. The emperor however, was suitably impressed with the pluck shown by the criminal and signified his pleasure by allowing the comatose figure to survive. The downside of this protracted affair, at least as far as the heavy gladiator was concerned, was that in doing so he was left with but a single remaining wound point; such was the ferocity of his opponent’s attacks. Whilst this was going on my opponent and I were trading fairly ineffectual blows – not helped by my character, being the faster of the two, retreating out of range every time he had attacked! This went on for time with my figure generally coming off the worse when the occasional telling blows were landed – the dice rolling had been truly abysmal.

With the demise of the criminal the remaining three combatants faced each other for the grand finale (think of the climax to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!) and so initiative for the coming turns would be critical. On the first turn I was able to position my figure in such a way that it was within range of both my adversaries but crucially out of theirs. By dint of good fortune (better initiative than my opponent) I was able to rush over to the heavy figure (down to a single damage point) and to score the single point required to finish him off before he could react! To be fair, he probably expected this and would certainly not have been able to run away in any event as he was slower than my figure. There was no surprise either when the emperor decided that his performance thus far had been so laboured against the poorly armed criminal (despite the enormous crushing blow he had inflicted) that he was duly given the thumbs down and despatched.

Such skulduggery on my part would eventually reap its own reward as in the interests of time (we were fast approaching the end of the session) the remaining two combatants then went toe to toe for a number of rounds of combat. We traded blows until each of us was left with but a single damage point remaining. It this point however, Dame Fortune finally abandoned me and my opponent delivered the telling blow leaving my exhausted figure to collapse dramatically to the ground. The arena fell silent as the emperor pondered his decision. Then, after what seemed like an age, he raised his thumb (or rather the dice was rolled) and the crowd erupted with cheering. My figure would live to fight another day – once of course, he had healed!

Once again many thanks to Mr.Fox for laying on the entertainment – it was as much fun as ever!

"Strength and Honour."


Paul O'G said...

"The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end...." :-)

Great write-up, I love Gladiator games too. Out of interest, what is your fav rules set???

David Crook said...

Hi Tas,

I always used to enjoy Avalon Hill's boardgame Gladiator which was great fun. I quite like the look of 'Munera Sine Missione' available from under Ancients. Back in the early 80's I used to play Rudis by Tabletop Games quite a lot.

As long as they are fast, easy to use, have provision for figure facing (EM4's rules do not!)and enable us to quote vast chunks of dialogue from any one of a number of Gladiator type films then they are fine by me!

"What we do in the club/man cave, echoes down through eternity....."



Paul O'G said...

Roma Victor!

Anonymous said...

The latter stages of this event are not quite as presented. The said 'Heroic' Gladiator ran all over the arena running from the blows that would otherwise killed him early, only to return to try a ineffective gnats attack when he knew his oponents back was turned.

I think the emperor only spared him for his own private amusement.....

David Crook said...

Hi Anonymous,

I must confess that certain elements you have described were true up to a point...I prefer to think of it as making full use of the 'Heroic Gladiators' natural fleetness of foot..........;-)