After a few days doing some important sitting , resting and recuperation and very little else I had three friends around to help me play-test version 1.3 of Frank Sultan's gladiator combat game Blood on the Sands. .Luckily, given the chance to playtest these rules.I've managed to have six friends give their all in several games - all of which (even given the many mistakes we made) were very enjoyable affairs.
So this week I had one of my two original playtesters and a husband and wife that had never played before.
As we explained how to play the game, we all rolled six characters to facilitate the start of an attempt at a campaign.
My longtime tester, Bilius (not his real name) andmyself were to play the first game, as a learning experience for the two Tyros (newbs).
My Thraex (in the foreground of the photograph on the right) was randomly drawn against Bilius' Hoplomachus.
The fact that I only took one photograph of this bout and nearly two dozen of the second bout speaks volumes of the two fights.
My bout lasted about four to six turns, I think I may have scratched my opponent, whilst he laid into my Thraex, giving him a deep cut to an arm and then another wound to the same arm, ending the match. My Thraex managed his appeal to the crowd.
|Three hexes apart at the start |
The second fight saw a Retiarius (played by Benoic's wife - not his real name) because she liked the model (?), using a net and trident This left Benoic playing the part of chaser - a Secutor.
Each turn an initiative die is thrown, winner getting the hoice tto move first or second, The Retiarius had the trait 'cunning' meaning he added '1' to his initiative roll, but in reality it meant Benoic's Secutor won the intiative twice over the course of about two dozen turns.
Once initiative dice are rolled, six Action Dice (all d6s) determine whether you move (a '1'), attack (a '4') or make a special attack (a '5'). Spec and attacks ial attacks are what they say, they give different advantages.
The retiarius; weapon is a Trident, good for defending and attacking at distance (like the Hoplomachus' spear above).
Given the starting distance between the two gladiators at the start of this match the retiarius could strike with his trident or throw his net without moving (and given the right action dice).
Here's the photographic evidence of the debacle that followed:
|A successful net throw, followed up by a quick attack...|
|...and the secutor is driven back (most attacks make a defender withdraw|
|One of the few attacks the Secutor landed, knocking the Retiarius over|
|In no time, back on his feet, the Retiarius makes the Secutor drop his shield|
|The retiarius has backed off, the Secutor is booed for not landing a blow!|
|The Retiarius attack once more, occupying the Secortor's shield hex|
|Once more, the Secutor is forced back again|
It was about this time in the match that a deep wound was inflicted on the Secutor, the effect of which would speed up his fatigue level until he eventually dropped. - Time was definetly against the Secutor.
|No matter how hard he tried the Secutor, couldn't land a blow !|
|The Retiarius is disarmed, but quickly draws his back-up weapon, a pugio (a knife)|
|Toe to toe and still no blood !|
|(obligatory blurred photograph)|
|Dance aound the Trident|
|The Secutor, not giving up as he bleeds out|
|The Retiarius, despite the presenceof his opponent picks his Trident up...|
|...and backs off, the Secutor has three fatigue points left and is losing two a turn!|
|His next (and last) Action dice roll - no movement possible |
The Retiarius gives the initiative to the Secutor, whom given the roll above can't make any headway towards his opponent. At this stage of the game, he is still covered in the Retiarius' net (he needed a Six to remove it and hadn;t thrown more than one other since the start. It may have been a tactic to lose an action die for being entangled and thereby not allowing the retiarius the use of his net!
|The final turn and the Secutor drops of exhaustion.|
Benoics appeal to the crowdu is successful even given his two disfavour token and much hilarity ensue as one spouse berated the other! The biout took aout an hour and a half (some of which was due to the two particpants having never played before), but was well worth it imo.
I'm hopefully playing again this week, with the same ecellent company and I'll let you know the outcome next week.
That's it though for another week; thanks for taking the itme to visit and as always your comments are both welcomed and appreciated.