Gladiatores: Blood for Roses

Gladiatores is a combat-focused hand management, risk-taking, bluffing and betting card game for 2-5 players.
Play as a powerful Editor, owner of one of five famous gladiator schools, sending your specialist gladiators into deadly events sponsored by powerful roman officials. Each gladiator school chooses which of their gladiators to pitch into battle to win fame and glory in the arena. Hidden tactics, skillful card play, betting on fights, bluffing your opponents to make mistakes or fall into traps, manipulating fight outcomes or just plain showing off to the crowd, are all excellent options required to get ahead of your opponents and take the champion’s gold wreath and a place at the colosseum in Rome before great Caesar.

gladiatores card selection

Gladiatores: Blood for Roses offers five unique gladiators with unique abilities and specialist combat moves that change in each game. Make side bets on who will likely win the fight, set your Gladiator up to take a fall or gain glory by showboating to the bloodthirsty crowd. All is possible as you reap in the glory!

Single or Campaign mode.
Gladiatores can be played as a single battle between matched gladiators (taking ~15mins/player) or in Season mode where players gain glory over 3 – 5 separate battles using some or all of the gladiator types in their school. Only those who can complete their wheel of glory will be famous enough to perform before great Caesar in Rome – while those who fail will be left behind in the arena dust!

Game Info

Gladiatores launches on Kickstarter in early 2019.

Age: 14+
Duration: approx. 20-90 mins (15 mins/player for the single game)
Players: 2-5 (base game) – most fun with 4 or 5
Price: TBC

Game Contents
5 Unique Gladiator cards
5 Ludus markers
144 combat cards (Attack, Defense, Effects)
45 Gladiator specific combat cards
12 Sponsor cards
6 Event cards
25 Ludus specific tactics cards
5 Turn order tokens
20 Wound tokens
Glory tokens
Active player marker
25 Gambling tokens
30 rose petal tokens (crowd favour)
Combat Reference card

gladiatores retail box

Game Play

Gladiatores uses a set of different gladiator specialists (with unique abilities) including the Murmillo, Hoplomachus, Secutor, Retiarius and Thracian with a wide array of specific combat move cards (such as Thrust, Dodge, Feint etc) that allow players to feel the visceral struggle of tactical close combat as they fight to survive, claim victory and glory.

Combat cards and Hand Management

Combat uses an innovative but simple ‘counter-card‘ system to resolve combat moves, allowing cards to be chained in complex but intuitive sequences of attack and counterattack. Variable tactics can be employed and devious Sponsors add secret strategies to each combat. With careful but audacious planning, these abilities can dramatically change the expected outcomes of battles and make all the difference to the glory gained when blades flash and the blood flows.

A game lasts five (or less) rounds (events) depending on the number of players and time available. Each round, players get to choose which gladiators take part in the fight (1 per player), which secret tactic they will employ and place secret bets on who is likely to win the fight.

Here is an example of chaining counter cards:

The combat then begins with each player able to target any other available gladiator on one-to-one trades of blows and counterblows until a gladiator suffers enough wounds that they are out of combat. The last gladiator standing after these grandes melees is declared the winner of the event and gains the glory wreath (a wedge token worth variable victory points).

Its all for the Glory!

There are six different possible events (1 randomly drawn for each event being played), with players entering one gladiator for each of these events. Each event is worth either bronze, silver or gold wreaths and the size and wealth (glory) in the crowd varies between each. A player winning the event will gain the 1st prize (a double size wreath) while the runner-up will gain the 2nd place wreath (normal size). All players also have a chance to gain glory from impressing the crowd (gaining favour/petal tokens) which also converts to these glory tokens after every combat.

Glory tokens are worth variable victory points (VPs) and are scored at the end of the game.

The glory tokens are placed on each player’s Glory Wheel. The 1st player that can complete this glory wheel (that is, fill in all the spaces) by the end of the game gains an extra bonus of 10VPs, while the 2nd player to do the same gains a 6VP bonus to their score.

Winning the Game

Event card

To win the game, a player must use his gladiators and abilities wisely, gaining as much fame and glory as possible in the arenas to win the glory wreaths (wedges) for each match. At the same time, an Editor made rich through careful gambling on fight outcomes and fame from pleasing the crowd can gain enough extra glory wreaths to win a place at Caesar’s Colosseum arena in Rome and win the game!

Here are just a few of the reviews heaping glory on Gladiatores: Blood for Roses so far…

We plan to expand Gladiatores in the future with new gladiator types, new combat moves, additional unique sponsors, challenges, introduce a Campaign (RPG style progression system) and even Star Players that can raise the profile of the gladiator schools who they choose to represent!

Join the gladiatores newsfeed here for updates and info about extra cards and new expansion releases for this highly entertaining game.