Ludus Gladiatorius
A complete, ready-to-play game from em-4

em-4 has just released "Ludus Gladiatorius", a set of prepainted miniatures, complete with rules, dice, and an arena.

When first I heard of the set, I was full of anticipation: I have a lot of Gladiatior miniatures, and have collected Arena Combat rules wherever I found them.

I have a few books on the subject, have made reproduction armour and equipment, and have even fought in Gladiatorial games with reenactors. You might say I'm a fan.

I'll admit, I was expecting far less: the prepainted miniatures were a given, but I expected a simple toss-away set of rules, and a collection of various dice to throw in the bag.

I was pleasantly surprised. The figures are large 28's, sturdy and well-detailed, ready to be slotted into their bases. The painting is good, in that strongly-shadowed style that is popular at present. To my eye. all they need is to be glued to their bases and some ground texture added.

If you want to keep them in the box they came in, (as a portable arena game) you'll want to keep them loose.

The set is worth buying for the miniatures alone.

What makes the pack stand out is the game components: Along with the 5 prepainteds, there is an arena playmat, counters, 7 dice (unique to this game), record sheets, and the rules.

The rules, while simple at first glance, are interesting and provide for subtlety in play. Combat options give plenty of opportunity to out-think your opponent, and any bout isn't over until it's over. These aren't just move-and-throw-a-die rules.

There is also a promise (hint?) of a forthcoming set with advanced rules (perhaps a campaign system?) and further Gladiator types...

- - Rumbo