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GLADIATOR: The Subject, the Game, & Expansion of the Arena
By: Thomas C. Springsteen

GLADIATOR, one of Avalon Hill's most recent game releases, can only be described as a gaming phenomenon. I have never known a
game to attract such quantities of players from so many other varied subject, scale and period interests. The game, originally released
by Battleline, apparently underwent extensive revision and received the usual Avalon Hill upgrading of components. Perhaps part of
the reason for GLADIATOR's success is its uniqueness in several areas. Its low unit count (normally one man per player) allows for a
wealth of simulation detail without the normal penalty of in- convenient game length. I have had games ranging in duration from two
minutes (Yes, I lost and am still trying to rationalize what happened!) to an awesome duel between two massively armored heavy
gladiators that lasted nearly two hours. Generally speaking, the 15-30 minute playing time indicated on the box appears valid. The
short game duration time allows for numerous engagements in an afternoon or evening of play. As a matter of fact, the playing time
and low unit density have enabled me to playa number of games over my lunch hour, and has generated a lot of interest in the hobby
at the office! The short playing time has another subtle advantage. By gaining rapid experience with the system, players quickly
absorb the rules and are able to concentrate their attention on tactics and opponent's techniques. The result is that a novice player
doesn't remain "trident-fodder" for long. In fact, our game club now has more tough Kirk Douglas/Spartacus types than I care to think
about before entering the arena!

Another area where GLADIATOR is rather unique is its merging of the flavor of currently popular role playing games and the
traditional "wargame". In many respects, it is a hybrid combination of the two. If one plays either of the campaign games, you
discover that your gladiators develop different personalities and reputations that have psychological effects on your opponent as well
as on your own style of play with them (i.e. reckless, cautious, bold. . . ). The character development has one additional and very
interesting result. Garners seem to enjoy watching a match almost as much as participating in one (shades of the Colosseum!!).
Champions and villains emerge, with everyone enjoying witnessing a justly deserving gladiator in the campaign game getting his
rightful due (to the snorts, hoots and chuckles of the spectators). Being both fun to watch and a good simulation, it has enabled many a
spectator to follow the action and become interested in the hobby. The purpose of this article is three-fold. First, I hope to provide
"color" to the game by presenting some of the history behind the subject. This hopefully, since the game is a reasonable simulation,
will also prove beneficial in development of tactics. The second portion of the article is intended to provide someone unfamiliar with
the game with a critique of its components and system. Lastly, the final section will expand the system, allowing players to introduce
new types of adversaries and incorporate a solitaire play option.


One disturbing, and disappointing, feature of the game was its lack of designer's notes. A few rule ambiguities could have been
clarified and additional enjoyment added to a good system, by including a historical section on the subject with appropriate designer
commentary. This section will hopefully void that omission.

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I feel that the purpose of providing the history of a subject is basically two-fold. First, it provides interest, "color" if you will, on the
subject. A large part of gaming is the vicarious thrill and enjoyment that it produces. Familiarization with the situation and atmosphere
of a simulation greatly enhances this facet of the hobby. The second benefit derived from a historical review of the subject is that it
can directly benefit your play. If a game is a reasonable simulation as well, strategic and tactical lessons recorded in history can be
applied with good results to the gaming board.

Few periods in history have received more attention than the Roman Republic. It is one of the most colorful and awesome eras of
mankind's history, as is readily evidenced by both literature and Hollywood. An interesting and unique segment of that era was the
spectacle of gladiatorial games.

Originated in Etruria, in central Italy, the first exhibition of gladiatorial (LAT. Gladius "sword") combat was held in 264 B.C. as a
funeral celebration. The sons of Brutus Pera gave a "spectacle" of three duels in his honor during the funeral ceremony. The Romans,
always great borrowers, were first introduced to gladiatorial combat through the Etruscans. one of their most formidable opponents in
the conquest of Italy. To the Etruscans, the gladiatorial combat was a form of human sacrifice originally associated with the solemn
ritual surrounding death. Once the games were transferred to Rome, however, they gradually lost their religious significance and,
under the Roman social system, were transformed to a very different purpose. That purpose was the gratification of the enormous
urban proletariat, which demanded, among other things, that it should be amused.

Although there were many arenas built throughout the empire, none can compare to the amphitheater known as the Colosseum. Some
historians feel that the Colosseum's name originated from the colossal statue of Nero which stood nearby. Most, however, feel that it
was a tribute to the amphitheater's gigantic size. Begun in the year 72, the inaugural festivities were held in the year 80, in the still
uncompleted amphitheater, which was finished in %.

The statistics of the Colosseum are truly astounding. Occupying six acres, the elliptical structure was four stories (over 150 feet) high,
it measured 620 by 513 feet and enclosed an oval arena 287 feet long by 180 feet wide. Most historians estimate that between 45,000
and 50,000 spectators were accommodated. (Madison Square Garden in New York holds 18,903.) Around the arena, behind a lofty 13
foot protective wall, rose a spacious podium, or marble terrace. The ornate marble seats were reserved for senators, priests, and high
officials. Above the podium was the suggestrum, or high lodge, where the emperor and empress sat on thrones of ivory and gold.
Above them rose tiers of marble seats divided into two main zones: the first for distinguished private citizens, the second for members
of the middle class. A third zone was allocated to the foreigners and slaves, and a fourth to women and the poor. On the roof was
stationed a detachment of sailors from the imperial warships, and it was their task to attend the massive velarium, a colored awning
that protected the audience against sun and rain. Scattered fountains threw up jets of scented water to cool the air. At noon most of the
spectators hurried below to eat lunch. Concessionaires were on hand to sell food. sweets and drinks. Occasionally the emperor would
feed the entire multitude. If contests were held at night, a circle of lights could be lowered over the arena and the spectators. Bands of
musicians performed in the interludes and accompanied the climaxes of the combat with exciting crescendo.

From the first modest Roman "spectacle" involving three pairs of duelists, the games sometimes reached awesome proportions. Gaius
Julius Caesar exhibited contests of such proportions that the senate was impelled to limit the number of contestants. This ruling did not
prevent him from exhibiting 300 pairs on one o\:casion. In 46 B.C., after his defeat of Pompey, he presented a miniature holocaust
that involved 1,000 ordinary gladiators, 60 mounted men and 40 elephants. The largest contest of gladiators recorded was that given
by the I emperor Trajan to celebrate a victory over the Dacians in 106A.D., with no fewer than 5,000 pairs of contestants.

Sham naval battles were occasionally held in the arena or on nearby artificial lakes. The largest of these naval battles, or
was staged by Claudius on Fucini Lake (now called Lago di Fucino), sixty miles from Rome. Twenty-four triremes (three banks of
oars) and twenty-six biremes (double bank), all regulation oceangoing warships, were divided into two equal fleets and manned by
19,000 criminals. The victorious survivors of the spectacle, witnessed by a crowd of over 500,000 spectators, were given a pardon.

A particularly popular spectacle were the "hunts" where wild beasts fought men or each other. The dictator Sulla (93
B.C.) once exhibited 100 lions in the arena; Julius Caesar had 400. In one day under Nero, 400 tigers fought with bulls and elephants;
on another day, under Caligula, 400 bears were slain. Pompey once had a spectacle with 600 lions, 20 elephants and 410 leopards.
Claudius made a division of the Praetorian Guard fight panthers; Nero made them fight 400 bears and 300 lions. After Trajan's victory
over the Dacians, he had 11.000 animals killed in the arena, 3,000 in just two days. At the dedication of the Colosseum, 5,000 animals
died. Many animals were introduced to the arena: elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, lions, leopards, panthers, bulls, bears, hippopotami,
boars, crocodiles and pythons to name but a few. The Colosseum was sometimes transformed into a jungle scene or other terrain by
adding trees, rocks and other props for these battles. In some of the conflicts, one of the pair of animals was attached to a chain staked
to the center of the arena. In others, the animals were chained together-just about any conceivable match was explored. At times, the
restricted arena was filled with a variety of beasts. Specially trained gladiators called and were often matched
against the animals. Both forms of gladiators will be addressed in more detail later. Before the were finally abolished in the
sixth century, many noble species of wild animals vanished from the Roman Empire: North Africa had lost its elephants; Nubia its
hippopotami; Mesopotamia, the lions recorded in Assyrian bas-reliefs; and Hyrcania, its famous Caspian tigers. These, and many
others, had been chased out of their natural habitat or exterminated for the Roman audiences.

Due to the length of time covered by the gladiatorial games, from the first three pairs in 264 B.C. until their abolishment by Emperor
Honorius in 404 A.D. (though criminals were still condemned to fight beasts for at least another hundred years), the nature of the
conflict underwent substantial evolution. At the highest level the matches were exhibitions between highly trained, skilled,
professional gladiators and were more of a sport. Because the gladiators were extensively trained in special schools (Ludi), fatalities
were relatively rare and missus often granted. Sometimes draws were declared and both opponents were allowed to cease combat and
withdraw. In the lowest level, the games degenerated to matches to the death between untrained opponents. Sometimes the victor was
forced to continue combat with a fresh gladiator until only one was left at the end of the day, and he (if a criminal) was sometimes still
executed. One aspect of the period, not discussed in this article, was the wholesale public extermination of particular groups
(especially the Christians) in the arena. The following descriptions reflect the pomp and ceremony of the games in their hey-day. A
typical day started with bloodless duels which were often comic or fantasy related. Women, dwarfs and cripples performed with
weapons often made of wood. The blast of the tuba, or war trumpet, heralded the beginning of the main performance. The spectacle
opened with a parade of chariots carrying the contestants, who were robed in purple and gold-embroidered cloaks. The gladiators
dismounted and circled the arena. Behind the contestants came slaves displaying each gladiator's helmet and weapons. The helmets
were especially splendid pieces of workmanship. They generally had visors covering the whole face, a wide brim, and a lofty ridge on
top which frequently bore a crest of ostrich or peacock plumes. Forced gladiators were escorted i!1to the ring by a troop of
trainers/managers supported by slaves brandishing whips and/or hot irons to motivate fighters who seemed too timid to move forward.

As the procession reached the emperor's box, each gladiator stopped, extended his right arm and uttered the proud and defiant cry:
(Hail, Emperor, men soon to die salute thee!). Suetonius records that once the Emperor

Claudius, a notoriously impulsive and unstable person, answered the gladiators' claim that they were "soon to die" by vulgarly
shouting back "or maybe not", which so offended and unnerved the contestants that they threatened to break off the show. The

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types. Representing the Thracian style of gladiator, this unit is by far the most heavily protected. Of the six styles of armor available
for this gladiator, none leave any portion of the body totally exposed to harm. In addition, he is always given a large shield for
protection, except when facing a retarius, where the rules always call for the opponent to have a small shield. The head region is
totally protected in five out of six cases by a massive helmet, which makes him nearly impervious to damage in this critical area. The
formidable armor allows the heavy gladiator to concentrate nearly all of his efforts (CF-Combat Factors) in attacks rather than
defensive actions. This opponent can be expected to be a very hard hitter and often wins in a single blow or two. He is rarely
dispatched quickly, and usually succumbs to multiple attacks/wounds over a period of time. His two major weaknesses are, ironically,
directly related to his massive armor. Due to the weight and encumberance of the gear, he is very slow (moving only four of the eight
movement phases in a turn) and vulnerable to endurance loss (lowered CF) in an extended conflict.

MEDIUM GLADIATOR -Counters 4, 5 and 6 repre- sent medium armored gladiators. Probably the most
colorful of the gladiators, in both the game and real life, this piece represents the secutor/ myrmillo/
hoplomachus gladiator forms. The actual piece in the game depicts a myrmillo, with his fish-crested style of
helmet. This gladiator is the toughest to categorize. The game allows him a wide variety of armor types,
ranging from relatively poor armor to armor nearly equal to that of a heavy. In five of the six armor styles, one
body area is left totally un- protected. Most areas containing some armor are generally exposed, in varying
degrees, to a well- placed blow. Like the heavy, he is always given a large shield, except, again, when facing a
retarius. The allocation of combat factors toward attack and defense is much tougher for this combatant than the
previously mentioned heavy gladiator. His armor will not give total protection, but excessive use of combat
factors for defense greatly reduces his chances of creating wounds from his attacks. His speed is standard, being
allowed to move five of the eight movement phases in a turn. He has just enough speed to allow maneuvering
for a positional advantage, but not quite enough to stay out of trouble from a faster opponent. His endurance is
good, but will often begin to be a negative factor in the latter turns of an extended battle. The strengths and

weaknesses of this gladiator allows the most opportunity for creative and skillful play for the experienced player-and for a sudden,
fatal wound for the novice.

LIGHT GLADIATOR- Counters 7,8 and 9 portray lightly protected gladiators. Representing the velite form of
gladiator, the art work of this piece clearly conveys the desperate lack of protection. Containing very few armor
options, with the few available being relatively poor, this unit is by far the most vulnerable to wounds. He will
have anywhere from three to five of the five body areas totally unprotected in his various armor combinations.
His shield is almost always a small one. A light gladiator is not destined to survive long. The final turn-to-face
move allowed prior to combat in the game, exposes the light gladiator to terrible wounds
even if he has gained a positional advantage. Often a positional bonus of combat factors
gained in an attack are dissipated by the better armor of an opponent. Against another
light, it is always most critical to deliver the first blow. The light gladiator's two main
advantages are his speed and endurance. He is very mobile, being allowed to move six of
the eight movement phases in a turn. His high endurance can give him an edge in combat
factors over a fatiguing opponent in the latter turns of a lengthy engagement—if he

survives long enough! I would like to offer one slight modification to the rules at this point. If a light gladiator
were allowed to carry a spear/trident for a weapon, he would become a much more interesting and dangerous
adversary. He could use the two-hex range of the spear, his mobility and high endurance to full effect, with less
likelihood of wounds inflicted from close combat. If he were skillful, he could attain victory from a distance. If
he were not, sudden death from close quarters!

RETARIUS GLADIA TOR -Counters 10, II, and 12 represent the special form of gladiator presented in the
Advanced Game rules. The retarius counter is probably the most unique and interesting of the four types. The
armor and weapons in the art work on this piece appear to be historically accurate, but misplaced. 'I (See commentary on box cover art
work.) The game classifies the retarius as a medium gladiator and allows the armor configuration possibilities as his normal opponent.
I believe that this is an error and the reader should reference The Subject portion of this trilogy for the standard attire configuration. I
feel that the entire situation could be most easily rectified by reclassifying the retarius as a light gladiator, with the armor possibilities
of a medium.

The retarius's major advantages lie in his unique weapons. He is armed with a trident, which gives him extended range, allowing for
attacks outside an opponent's reach. The negative aspects of this weapon are its likelihood of breaking when it is parried, and the fact
that it can only be used at half combat strength as long as the retarius is in possession of something in his other hand. The other
weapon wielded by this gladiator is the net. Used to ensnare or unbalance his opponent (it has a range of up to three hexes), it
constitutes a deadly one-two punch when utilized with the trident. The only disadvantage of the net is that when used in an un-
successful attack attempt, it is useless for several phases while it is being recovered. As previously stated, the main advantage of the
retarius lies in his weapon capabilities and range. Being classified as a medium gladiator, he has no speed or endurance advantage
over his historical opponents (also mediums). The suggested reclassification to light gladiator would be more historically correct and
provide him with more clear-cut advantages and disadvantages.

As a final comment on the various gladiators, their armor/weapon capabilities and resulting ad- vantages or disadvantages in combat
may be affected by one other variable. The physical characteristics of the man himself (the game allows up to 36 possible
combinations of ratings for training, strength, agility, constitution and combat capabilities) may alter conventional techniques
associated with any particular class of gladiator. In addition, as the gladiator and/or his opponent have wounds inflicted, strategies may
have to be quickly altered-nothing is forever in the arena!


LARGE SHIELD-Definitely useful and worth picking up, if safe, whenever possible. When destroyed or discarded, it is useless. In
either case a player should be careful not to back over one (or get pushed over one!) to avoid falling. A gladiator who is down near an
opponent had better hope his will is in order.

SMALL SHIELD-Same comments as that of the large shield, except that it should be noted that when a small shield takes damage, it
begins to deteriorate much faster than a large shield.

SWORD-If you don't have one, it is priceless and should be picked up at all costs. If you have a weapon, why bother? Just stand on it!

TRIDENT-Same comments as related to the sword. A broken trident may still possibly be used at one hex range. If you have a mobile,
unarmed opponent, you might consider exchanging your weapon for the increased range of an undamaged trident laying in the sand.

NET-To pick up or not to pick up, that is the question. If you have a shield and your opponent is still armed, I say leave it be. ("Shield
strikes" become body hits when no shield is present-a net won't stop cold steel!) If you are a retarius and still have your trident, I

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would probably not risk attempting to pick it up, but would instead attack from two hex range at full strength with the trident. In any
case, don't get one behind you.

-Rarely used, this counter is used to denote a gladiator that is in a special defensive (?!) stance, or in the
process of recovering from a fall. I have never seen this counter used. It is difficult to imagine a situation where it would be useful or
safe to voluntarily utilize it. In the case of a fallen gladiator, most do not survive long enough to reach a kneeling stance!

THE GAME CHARTS At the central core of the system are the game charts printed on both sides of the sheet labeled "Gladiator
Tables". On the front side, the first two charts outline the standard actions, special actions, and legal combinations of the two, allowed
during the gladiators' movement phase. These two charts act as a quick reference during play, and often preclude the need to thumb
back through the rule booklet.

The next two charts are used to determine the gladiators' armor and physical characteristics prior to entering the arena. The players
determine what class of gladiator they will be representing-heavy, medium, or light. The armor tables for each class list six possible
armor and shield combinations, which are determined by a die roll. The physical characteristics chart contains 36 possible individuals
with varying ratings for training, strength, agility, constitution and wounds. The characteristics are randomly determined by rolling
two dice and cross referencing the result on the matrix of the chart. The information from these two charts is next transferred to the
"gladiator log pad" for easy reference and modification during combat.

Of the four remaining tables on the front of the sheet, two deal with gladiator collisions during the movement segment of a turn. Table
7.5 is used to determine the impact of each gladiator. The impact factor is a result of combining a die roll and two or more of the Die
Roll Modifiers (DRM) listed in the chart. The DRMs reflect the effects of various factors including speed, position, strength, etc. The
gladiator with the higher Impact factor is labeled the attacker, and play transfers to table 7.52 to determine the results of the impact on
the loser, or defender. The defender will always suffer some adverse effects, namely stun factors, which reduce the attack and defense
capabilities (at least temporarily) of the combatant. In addition, he must check for the possibility of stumble in the next phase.

The final chart printed on this side is "8.42-Attack Sequence Chart". In the game, each player may allocate his combat factors to
between one and five attacks of varying strengths; generally, the more attacks allocated, the weaker they are. This chart shows the
exact sequence of the attacks allocated by both gladiators. An attack can reduce or negate one or more of the opponent's following
attacks in a turn. It is, therefore, often most important to deliver the first blow.

The back of the "Gladiator Tables" page contains the bulk of the combat charts. The three most critical tables, and the heart of the
game, are contained on this page. They are the "Combat Results Table", "9.1-Wound & Stun Severity Table" and "9.4-Critical Hits".

The "Combat Results Table" is used to deter- mine the results of an attack by comparing the force of an attack with a three dice roll.
The possibilities include: Bad miss (attacker off balance and vulnerable), miss, shield strike, shield edge strike, parry (with weapon),
special parry (with weapon and shield in combination), and a hit (in varying degrees of strength). Depending on the result of the blow,
various other tables may be consulted.

If a hit is attained, table "9.1-Wound & Stun Severity Table" is consulted. If armor is present, its effect (if any) on a three dice wound
check roll is determined. The wound (if any) severity is assessed, and a final check of possible severe damage is made by throwing
two dice and checking "9.4-Critical Hits Table" (which is full of all sorts of nasty little surprises!). The three combat tables mentioned
above are printed one below the other, with the series of throws and checks progressing smoothly and naturally.

If the attack resulted in something other than a body hit (see "Combat Results Table" commentary), then one or more of a series of
additional tables may be consulted. These tables assess shield damage and/or drop, and possible weapon drop from parry actions. In
addition to these, this side of the "Gladiator Tables" sheet contains a few miscellaneous tables. The tables are used for: stun recovery;
throwing weapons/shields; kicking dropped weapons/shields; possible stumbling as a result of collisions, net attacks or backward
movement over an obstacle; and possible endurance loss effects.

Seven tables are for use by the retarius, who is introduced in the Advanced Game. They cover net attacks (toss, swing or lay) and their
various chances for success and possible results. An entire article could be written on the retarius and these tables alone. Table "18.5-
Trident Parry (P*)", however, is especially worthy of comment. Any time an opponent parries a retarius trident attack with weapon
and shield, there is a possibility that the trident snaps and is dropped. If broken, an additional check is made to determine if the trident
head is still usable. If it is successful, the trident segment may still be used, but at a range of only hex!

The final table on this side of the sheet is the "Missus Chart". This is the "mercy" chart used by a gladiator who is down, but still alive
(for the time being, at least). Basically, the rule of thumb is that the more attack versus defensive combat factors used by a gladiator,
the more chance he has of success. However, it also seems logical that a low number of combat factors allocated to a defense may be
the very reason that the gladiator is using this table!

As a final comment on the tables and charts used in the game, I feel that they offer a good simulation that is also playable. The only
negative (if you can call it that) comment that I have concerning the tables is the reasoning behind the structure of some equations. I
feel that several could have been written in a little more logical format. The equations give the correct (and realistic) results, but the
supportive logic is not always readily evident. A player following the instructions as written, without question, always get realistic
results, and time should not be spent sifting through the reasoning.

THE RULES I feel that the sixteen page rule booklet (including a two page duplication of the "Gladiator Tables" sheet) is excellent.
This is one of the rare products that is not only rich in simulation, but exceptionally playable as well. The game is played by two or
more players, each controlling either a single gladiator or a team of gladiators. The hexagonal divisions on the game board represent a
distance approximately one yard wide and each turn represents approximately 40 seconds (thus the eight phases in a turn equal five
seconds each).

Orders for movement and combat are written on a gladiator log sheet. The log also is used to record the armor and physical
characteristics of the gladiator, and to note any wounds/stun received and their cumulative effects on performance. Movement is
simultaneously plotted and then executed. Collisions are resolved and stun recovery attempts checked. Finally, attacks are executed,
net attacks being resolved first. Combat resolution is basically a two set process. Gladiators in position to attack an enemy
simultaneously allocate the body areas to be attacked/defended, and record the force of each attack. Attacks are compared and
resolved in the sequence indicated in table "8.42-Attack Sequence Chart", and as previously described in the discussion on game

The rules are well laid out, and generally quite easily understood. The Basic Game covers normal shield/sword type combat between
single gladiators. The Advanced Game introduces the retarius form of gladiator and his unique weapons. Also included in the
Advanced Game are provisions for team combat where multiple opponents are simultaneously opposed. Finally, the Campaign Game
allows a gladiator to gain experience (numerous advantages) as he wins contests, but may also suffer crippling effects (permanent,
negative disadvantages) from his injuries. If he survives ten battles, he becomes the Emperor's Champion and gains his freedom. An

Page 11

By Don Greenwood

When I had finished the development chores for the AH remake of CIRCUS MAXIMUS and turned to its sister publication
GLADIATOR, I must admit that I was less than ecstatic. Although both games needed considerable cleaning up, to me there was an
obvious difference. CIRCUS MAXIMUS was a great deal of fun to play and I didn't have to ask twice to find enough volunteers for an
eight player test session. I almost hated to pronounce the game ready for publication for it meant that I no longer had an excuse to play
it. The euphoria ended when I started work on GLADIA TOR. Whereas CM was simple and exciting, GL was convoluted and far too
heavily dependent on luck. A complete rewrite of the rules made it understandable, but not a whole lot more exciting. oh, it had its
moments … mostly humorous ones where playtesting revealed ludicrous circumstances for some poor devil in the arena. We managed
to correct most of the problems but for me it remained a nongame–just something that had to be done so I could get on with other

Heresy? Does this guy still work for AH? How dare he criticize his own game? Well, just because I don't care for it doesn't mean it is
a bad game. Some of my favorite games are firmly entrenched near the bottom of the RBG (Reader’s Buyer’s Guide), and others
which I've written off as worthless receive rave reviews in the hobby press so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some people such as
Mr. Springsteen are so enamored with it. The short playing time and the attendant capability to engage in major Campaign Games
during the course of a single afternoon's play are major attractions. Doubtless old Steve Reeves fans and others of that ilk predisposed
to the vicarious thrill of decapitating a foe with a single swing of an imaginary sword will find it quite entertaining.

For me, however, the game remains too luck dependent. Even the best maneuvers can be overcome by favorable dice rolls and
although that in itself is not necessarily bad, the extent to which it seems to occur is. The players just don't seem to have a strong
enough role in the determination of their own fate—perhaps because the advantage DRMs are diluted by the greater range of a three
dice CRT. That, coupled with the feeling that the game system does not sufficiently reward the commitment of CFs to defense left me
unsatisfied with the end result.

Since publication, however, I have grown increasingly convinced that the combat system could be improved upon by falling back on
one of the oldest gaming mechanics–the matrix. The simplified version below goes a long way towards addressing the imbalance of
offensive and defensive CFs in the game and also gives each player a bit more control over his own fate without undue complications
to the combat system.

The game is played exactly as before except that each player has the option to select one defense
card in place of a two CF defense allocation during each phase. He makes his selection by recording
the letter of the defense card selected in the appropriate defense block (A in block 1, Bin block 2,
etc) during the Combat Factor Allocation (8.3) step. The player may still commit other CFs to the
defense of other body areas normally and he may choose to not use a defense card at all, but he can
never use more than one defense card and must have two CFs to allocate to the purchase of that
defense card as well as meeting all other qualifications for use of the card.

The Duck defense can be used only if the defender is not currently under
the effects of Stun. The Duck defense yields an automatic "No Effect"
result to any attack against the defender's head. In addition, the attacker
is assumed to be off-balance and will be the victim of a + 1 DRM to the
next attack made against him in that phase unless he makes a subsequent
attack before the defender does.

The Block defense can be used only if the defender has a shield. The
Block defense yields an automatic "S" result to any attack against the
defender's chest. Checks for shield damage must be made normally.

The Back Step defense can be used only if the defender is on his feet and
not currently in a Stumble mode. The Back Step defense yields an
automatic "No Effect" result to any attack against the defender's groin.
However, the defender is assumed to be off-balance and must add a -I
DRM to his next attack made during that phase unless the attacker makes
a subsequent attack before the defender does.

The Parry defense can be used only if the defender has a weapon and has
not lost more than two CFs from his arms. The Parry defense yields an
automatic "P" result to any attacks against the defender's arms. Checks
for weapon drops must be made normally.

The Leap Defense can be used only if the defender is on his feet and has
not lost more than two CFs from his legs and/or endurance. The Leap
defense yields an automatic "No Effect" result to any attack against the
defender's legs.

Inclusion of these defense choices
makes the guessing portion of the game wherein you try to outwit your
opponent with the old think-double think routine much more interesting.
This becomes especially true when one of the contestants has been
injured or lost the ability to play a card. A glaring deficiency can be
momentarily protected by massing CFs to the defense of a critical area,
but only at the expense of the attack and no one survives in the arena for
long without attacking. However, with these cards you may hold on long
enough to gain a reprieve and strike a saving blow.

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