Gladiatores: Blood for Roses

Gladiatores is a devious bidding and betting combat card game for 2-5 players.
Play as a powerful Editor, owner of one of five famous gladiator schools, vying for control of the colosseum in Rome by attracting the most famous gladiators in history to fight for you in exhilarating arena battles!

Win the game by impressing the crowd, outmaneuvering the other players and showing off your gladiator’s best fighting skills to gain the precious gold glory wreaths of victory!

Each round of the game is an event where each gladiator school gets to bid for a famous gladiator available in the market. The gladiators then enter the arena for a pitched battle to win fame and glory. Hidden tactics, skillful card play, betting on fights, bluffing or just showing off to the crowd, are all excellent options required to get ahead of your opponents, take the champion’s gold wreath and secure the keys to the colosseum.


Gladiatores: Blood for Roses offers no less than eight unique and famous historical gladiators to try out – each with unique abilities and specialist combat moves that change in each game. All main historical gladiator types are represented in game but each of these fighters in Gladiatores blood for roses is a ‘starplayer’ that brings their crowd of fans to favour the school that hires them.

To win, you will need to use your gladiators wisely while holding on to as many victory points as you can. Make side bets on who might win the event, 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 wreaths!

Quick mode.

Gladiatores normally plays over 3 – 5 rounds depending on time available to the players (3 event rounds is standard) and takes ~1hr (once players know the game). Gladiatores blood for roses can also easily be played as a single battle (taking ~10mins/player) when time is limited.

Game Info

Gladiatores launches on Kickstarter in early 2019.

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

Game Contents
8 Unique Gladiator cards
Gladiator market board
5 Ludus boards
5 Ludus markers
5 ludus bidding tokens
144 combat cards (Attack, Defense, Effects)
72 Gladiator specific combat cards
12 Sponsor cards
6 Event cards
25 Ludus specific tactics cards
5 Turn order tokens
20 Wound tokens
24 glory wreath tokens
Active player marker
40 gambling tokens
30 rose petal tokens (crowd favour)
Reference sheet

gladiatores retail box

Game Play

Each player plays a famous gladiator school – each with their own unique benefits. Ludus Capua (shown) for example, increases the amount of fans in the crowd for each fight. This will help the player of this school gain enough crowd favour for extra glory during the game. Other schools might give extra cards for additional special training.

Gladiatores blood for roses offers eight different gladiator specialists showcasing the variations between the Murmillo, Hoplomachus, Secutor, Retiarius, Dimachaerus and Thracian styles of fighting. A wide array of specific combat move cards (such as Thrust, Dodge, Feint etc) split between three combat decks (Attack, Defense, Effect) match each fighting style allowing players to try out each one. Each gladiator has their own unique set of 9 combat moves which is then augmented with a random draw from the combat decks – so each time you play, your gladiator will have different combat skills.

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 Sponsor cards 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.

Here is an example of chaining counter cards:

Each player takes turns 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 a glory wreath. Players betting on the winner also gain glory as do those who have impressed the crowd. Sometimes, it is not about just winning a fight!

Its all for the Glory!

Six different possible events (ranging from bronze to gold) means that each round must be a carefully considered tactical plan – even before your gladiator enters the arena!

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


Winning the Game

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 of victory. At the same time, a player can become rich through careful gambling on fight outcomes and fame from pleasing the crowd in each event. The player with the highest scoring glory wreaths wins the keys to Caesar’s Colosseum arena in Rome and 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, and introduce a campaign (RPG style) progression system to raise your game even further. Take your gladiators around Europe to become the most successful gladiator school in the ancient world!

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