Miniatures Variant
by Patrick H. Lewis


These rules were designed to be used in conjunction with the Gladius card game and 
its supplement Gladiator School by Lloyd Krassner. They provide a way of using 
miniature figures to show the relative distance between the fighters and give the 
game a little more color and realism with only a moderate increase in complexity. 
The only extra equipment need for this variant are miniatures representing the 
gladiators and a rectangular card (the Display) that is divided into three equal 
parts across its length. The divisions of the card should be big enough to hold 
two figures. The card I use for my 28mm figures is 4 1/2" long and 1 1/2" wide 
(12cm x 4cm). It is divided into 3 squares 1 1/2"x 1 1/2" (4cm x 4cm). In place 
of miniature figures, counters, coins, pawns, salt and pepper shakers or any 
other suitable markers may be used just as long as the players can distinguish one 
marker from the other.

How the Display Is Used:

All of the rules of the original game are used, but with the following modifications:

At the start of the game the figures are placed at opposite ends of 
the card facing each other.

During the Maneuver Phase , after drawing and, if necessary, discarding a 
card, the player may announce that he is "closing" with his opponent, i.e. moving 
one space closer to him. If the space the gladiator wishes to move into is empty, he 
may play either an Attack card or a Defense card that he is capable of using, but 
if the space is occupied, he must play an Attack card and that card will be used in 
the following Attack Phase. A player may only make a "closing" move toward his 
opponent, not away from him. The selected card is placed face up on the 
table. A card that isn’t going to be used in the Attack Phase is placed on the 
discard pile. A card that is going to be used in the Attack Phase remains in front 
of the player. 

During the Attack Phase, those fighters armed with a sword or a dagger may only 
attack if their opponent is in the same space. The retiarius (who was the inspiration 
for this variant) may attack at a distance.

If a fighter "closes" with his opponent and enters the same space , he will inflict 
one less damage point than usual if he has a successful attack. A retiarius 
that "closes" to a space adjacent to his opponent may use the Trident Thrust attack 
card and attack from that position, but likewise suffers a one point reduction in 
damage. No attack can be reduced to less than one point of damage. Fighters that 
do not move on the Display inflict the full amount of damage points if they have 
a successful attack.

The Retiarius

The retiarius may use the Cast Net card when he is one or two spaces away from 
his opponent. ( If the retiarius uses the Cast Net card in the same space as 
his opponent, players should visualize that he is swinging the net to trip or 
otherwise hinder his opponent.) 

He may use the Trident Thrust card when he is one space away or in the same space as 
his opponent, however, if he is in the same space, the amount of damage is reduced to 
one damage point due to the difficulty of wielding the trident effectively at very 
close range. He may only use the Dagger card if he is in the same space.

The Withdraw card can be used by the retiarius in his opponent’s Attack phase even if 
he is not attacked. The card is played and the retiarius may move one or two spaces. 
(If the retiarius is moved two spaces, simply place the figures at opposite ends of 
the card.) If his opponent has the Reflexes Attribute, check to see if the card 
is negated. If the card has been negated, the retiarius may not move and the card 
is discarded. (Players should visualize that even though an attack wasn’t made, 
the opponent was able to react quickly enough to maintain the relative distance 
between the combatants.) If the card wasn’t negated, the retiarius may move one or 
two spaces away, however, if the he has taken 5 or more hits, he may move only one space.

The retiarius may also move one space away from his opponent if he was attacked and 
has successfully defended himself using a Leap or Dodge card, however, if he has 
taken 5 or more hits, he may not be moved.

Other Gladiators

The secutor, thracian, dimachaerus, murmillo, and samnite may use the Leap and 
Dodge cards in the same manner as the retiarius. (see above) In addition, the 
thracian may also use his Fleet Footed cards. The restriction on movement in 
regard to the number of hits applies as well.

Other Cards 

All of the other attack cards that may be used by both players (exception: Sand in 
Eyes) can only be used if the fighters occupy the same space. The Sand in Eyes card 
may be used in the same space or one space away from an opponent.

Dear Lloyd,
  I'm still plugging along on the playtesting, and I haven't settled on the 
card selection for the Hoplomachus and the Provocator. The Provocator may be redundant, 
since he seems to me to be very much like a Murmillo or a Samnite. The Hoplomachus, 
on the other hand, seems to be a lot like a Thracian but armed with a spear, and would 
have rules regarding the use of the spear that would be similar to the trident. I'm
having some second thoughts about the reduction in the Retiarius' damage points when 
he attacks with the Trident Thrust card in the same square as his opponent. I think 
that reducing it to 1 point may be a bit too severe. So far, it hasn't been a huge 
factor in the game, but I did want to give the Retiarius player some incentive for 
keeping his distance. (As if there weren't enough already?!) I think my rationale for 
the penalty is sound enough, though. I hate dithering about such things, so I'll let 
it stand as it is. I'd be interested in your thoughts about it. I hope to give the 
rules a good workout this weekend. I'll let you know if I have any major changes. 
It's funny though...I've had several games where the Retiarius is holding a mit full 
of cards that the Secutor needs and vice versa. Frustrating, but fun! 

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