Now in our FINAL 24 HOURS! We're very close to funding and WILL make this game a reality.
You might start by reading a beta copy of the rules (now very beta as they are a couple weeks old), or watch this video that demonstrates some basic game play, or tackle this brand new 26-minute video showing some of the game's complexities in action.
After you've been convinced (thanks!), you may decide to pledge $55 for the full version of the game. You might then opt to add $10 for the four Famous Gladiators (one per type of gladiator, each with special Attack and Defend cards), add $7 for GQR: Barbarian vs. Dire Wolf Deck, and then add the appropriate amount for shipping ($18 for the US, EU and Canada). That's $90 total pledged to the Secundus Palus reward. We are very grateful for your support!
& More since we launched
Here's some of what you've missed if you've not been with us for 28 days:
REDUCED SHIPPING FEES TO EVERYWHERE! Shipping is now guaranteed to be customs & tax free world-wide. In addition, I am matching US shipping prices for Canadian and EU backers.
GAME DESIGN VIDEO! Game designer Jim Trunzo discusses GQR with Patrick Stephens of TableTopTorch in this video.
WATCH THE EXAMPLE OF BASIC PLAY VIDEO! Examples of a miss and a hit in combat of pleading for life at the end of the contest. (Then read Update #10 for answers to backers' questions and comments about the video.)
ROLEPLAYING GAME PDF's! See the bottom of the project page for details.
LINK TO THE BETA RULES! These rules are a work in progress, but this is the most recent version. Download now from Dropbox.
FAMOUS GLADIATORS AVAILABLE AS $10 ADD-ONS! Details near the bottom of the project page and complete information in Update #6.
Our Sister Project
Interested in an epic card game where you wield the powers of the gods? Then take a look at Immortal, our sister project. We have a cross promotion with them described in this update. Get free stuff from both projects when you support both games!
Forget what you think you know about gladiatorial events! Contests between gladiators were not free-for-all events. Like athletes of today, gladiators adhered to specific rules, such as backing away from a wounded opponent. Within the context of those ancient rules, gladiators waged thrilling battles, and you'll recreate the same excitement with the detailed, yet simple and playable rules developed by Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis designer Jim Trunzo (co-designer of the Avalon Hill classic, Title Bout Championship Boxing).
A rudis (as seen in the game's logo) is the wooden sword given to a gladiator who has earned his freedom by dint of his success in the arena. The blade of the rudis is carved with the names of all the foes the gladiator defeated en route to earning his freedom.
Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis is a board & card game designed for 2 to 4 players. Moment to moment the contest requires tactical decisions of movement, positioning and the selection of your attack and defense, while important strategic options always loom, such as how much of your stamina to expend as you risk becoming fatigued.
The gladiatorial contests in the game offer a very detailed simulation of many aspects of the historical battles, but gameplay itself is not slow or tedious as a result. That is, despite an enormous historical fidelity, Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis plays quickly and easily like the best modern board games. This is due in large part to the innovative card-based game play. There are no dice, no books full of tables to consult, no other resource whatsoever to consult except for the cards themselves.
There are a lot of cards! Each type of gladiator has a unique deck of about 45 cards. But all the cards are all designed and coded in such as way as to keep play moving. The full version of the game includes nearly 300 cards, and this total will grow dramatically as we hit stretch goals. The first major goal alone adds another 50 cards to the game! We even have an 80-card deck planned if the project can push past the stretch goals already listed below.
Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis is a deluxe board & card game that comes packaged in a solid 11.75x11.75x2" box. The box (see image above) is stuffed with these contents:
- The Scorepad is fifty 5x7" sheets.
- The Rulebook is full-color, and currently planned at 16 pages of 3.5x6" format.
- Game Board is 15x15" with an arena space 12x12".
- The final count of counters in undetermined, but we show here the 48 that we know for certain (three positions each for the 16 combinations of ranks and types of gladiators.
- Gladiator Decks: Four in total. See below for details of the gladiators.
- The Summa Rudis (referee) Deck allows players to make the battle's referee take an action in favor of his or her gladiator.
- The Fate Deck offers interesting ways to affect the battle.
- The 50-card Arena Action Deck along the bottom is the resolution system for the entire game. It replaces all the dice, charts, etc. that the game might otherwise require.
NOTE ABOUT THE STARTER SET
The full version of the game is the one that we really want to produce, but we understand that might be more gladiator than you want. Therefore, we're offering two different "starter sets". Each set is three decks of cards and is built on a traditional pairing of gladiators as they fought in the arena. Choose either the secutor vs. retiarius or the murmillo vs. thraex. In either case, the Arena Action Deck is included too. As noted in the rewards to the right, if the Arena Action Deck is upgraded to 100 cards via the stretch goal, then the decks included in these starter sets will be boosted as well.
Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis features two pairs of traditionally opposed gladiators, the net and trident-wielding Retiarius versus the juggernaut Secutor, and the acrobatic Thraex versus the Murmillo and his enormous shield. It's possible for any of gladiators to face off, but the majority of battles in ancient Rome pitted traditional foes in pairs like these.
Complete details are provided for four levels of each of these gladiators:
- the raw and inexperienced Tyro
- the competent and professional Veteranus
- the seasoned and deadly Secundus Palus
- the champion Primus Palus
All sixteen gladiators are depicted on individual character cards, their game details and equipment both set to reflect their experience and skill. To demonstrate the difference in the quality of their equipment, depicted below are the Tyro and Secundus Palus versions of each gladiator. The illustrations are accompanied by a bit of information about the type of gladiator and how he matches against his traditional opponent.
- The Secutor, constantly advances, staring out of the two small eye holes of his helmet, as he looks for his traditional enemy, the Retiarius. This claustrophobic helmet, like the tall heavy rectangular shield, has rounded and smooth edges in order to deny the Retiarius’ net a chance to snag and disarm or entangle him. But to thwart the sharp prongs of the Retiarius’ trident, the helmet has only two small eyeholes. With no peripheral vision and muffled hearing, the Secutor must keep the agile Retiarius in sight. The path to victory for the Secutor lies in his ability to rush the Retiarius, bashing his foe with his shield and skewering him with the deadly gladius. The Secutor is aware that he must do it soon, else the heat from the sandy arena floor and the weight of his own shield and armor sap all his energy.
- The Retiarius, clad in little more than a loin cloth and leather belt, whirls his net in circles about his head as he darts in and out, awaiting the chance to throw the net and entangle the aggressive Secutor. The Retiarius probes and feints with his offhand trident, playing a deadly game, hoping to tire the Secutor and pouncing when the latter leaves an opening in his impressive defenses. Dance, move, and whip the net at the Secutor’s head and legs. Gain his flank or better yet, his back, but avoid the Secutor’s impervious shield that can knock the Retiarius off his feet, making him the easy target of a quick thrust of the Secutor’s gladius.
- The Thraex, recognizable by his griffin helm, the symbol of the avenging goddess Nemesis, twirls his deadly sica, the razor-sharp curved sword, its angle designed to work past the Murmillo’s large shield. The Murmillo’s heavy armor is designed protect vulnerable targets, but the Thraex is all about attack, attack and attack again. Even the Thraex’s parmula — small, round and easily maneuvered — is as much a weapon as his sica. The shield can slam into his enemy and the edge can cut if given the chance. The Murmillo wants to crowd him, to hide behind his large shield and disguise the direction from which he’ll strike, but the Thraex is fleet-footed and not entirely without protection himself. Greaves cover him ankle to mid-thigh and his helmet covers his head as completely the Murmillo's. And let the Murmillo advance! The sica may have a short blade, but it’s designed to do its most deadly work in close!
- The Murmillo, the stylized fish cresting his encompassing helm, its faceguard allowing him to see the quick Thraex in front of him, stalks his opponent. Holding the heavy scutum in front of him, the Murmillo advances, confident that any head-on attack by the Thraex will be futile. The Murmillo keep his right arm tucked behind the large shield to hide the direction of the Murmillo’s eventual thrust with the gladius he wields in that hand. Eighteen inches of sharpened metal, but the Murmillo knows that only two inches of the blade are required to pierce a vital organ. Without warning, the Murmillo moves forward in a burst, closing the distance, thrusting his gladius, but the Thraex blocks with his parmula and counters with the deadly sica, forcing the Murmillo to huddle behind his shield. Safe, the Murmillo smiles. The Thraex cannot avoid him forever.
Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis eschews traditional methods of play like rolling various dice, alternating turns, and ignoring small combat details. By doing just the opposite, using an Arena Action card deck, using a special Control Factor to determine who takes what action, and weighing every aspect of both one-on-one gladiatorial combat and wild melee combat, Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis revives, in both historical and dramatic fashion, the ultimate form of man-to-man combat — fights to the death in the arenas of the Roman Empire.
This game will be one of the most versatile products on the market. While it is designed as a one-on-one game to be used with the gladiator counters provided or your own painted miniatures, it is equally as impressive from both a playability perspective and an enjoyment aspect as campaign game. While you may at any time decide to pit any two gladiators against each other, there is a wealth of enjoyment in the process of building your ludus. This aspect of play will eventually be strengthened with new decks (perhaps available as part of the game now with stretch goals), but even the current version of the full game includes rules for developing your gladiators from lowly tyros earning their first victories to become a primus palus, or first sword.
No matter the type of play you choose, the heart of the game is tactical combat. Project updates will explain other aspects of play, but for now consider this example of an exchange of blows between traditional foes secutor and retiarius.
A Note About "Attack" or "Defend"
It's worth noting that for purposes of this example we presented Thexos' chances to hit based on his Accuracy before we drew the Arena Action card to determine whether the Attack or Defend card would determine the outcome of the action. This way seemed easier to explain. However, during actual play, the Arena Action card is drawn first, and in this case, if the card had indicated "Defend (4)" instead of "Attack (4)", then we would refer to Lucanis' Defend card to see that he would need "AGI+6" to successfully defend. If his defense was unsuccessful, then Thexos' attack would still hit.
We've run out of space for all the project information, so please see Update #7 for details about the FLGS Ambassador program.
Shipping can cost quite a lot for big, heavy projects like this game, and Kickstarter currently adds your payment for shipping toward the funding goal. This is a problem because project creators then turn around and pay this shipping fee to others and those funds are then not actually available to go toward paying for the project itself!
For this reason, SHIPPING IS NOT INCLUDED in your pledge(*). This has the added advantage that you do not need to pre-pay for shipping months in advance of the game's completion. I will use BackerKit for the surveys at the conclusion of the project, and via BackerKit I'll request a shipping payment from you.
(*) Except the $9 art card pledge, which has shipping included.
The good news is that despite the size of the game, shipping is fairly cheap in the US and now I have also found the means to offer relative affordable options everywhere in the world. All copies of the game will ship to you customs & tax free GUARANTEED.
Shipping rates are posted below. The first number provided is the shipping cost for a single starter set and the second figure is the cost for a full version.
- Asia $22 // $30
- Canada $14 // $18
- Europe & UK $14 // $18
- Mexico $22 // $30
- Oceania $22 // $30
- South America $26 // $35
- USA $14 // $18
You May Add Shipping
If you wish to go ahead and include your shipping charge with your pledge, then please do so. I understand that this is simply easier for some people. This is also a means by which you can help us achieve our funding in the final days and hours of our project.
Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis is already a huge game, but we have ambitions for much, much more. There's a huge list of components that will be free in the Kickstarter edition only!
** Please note that not all the stretch goals apply to the starter sets. Only the $55 full version of the game includes everything here.
Based on feedback from our backers, the first stretch goal will now add 16 cardboard miniatures to replace the die-cut gladiator counters. For the moment, these figures will come with rectangular bases, but I am seeking a supplier for a hex base that will work. There will still be a sheet of die-cut counters for items like dropped weapons and shields. (NOT included in the starter sets.)
A major component upgrade! The Arena Action Deck used to resolve all actions in the game is a 50-card double-sided deck. At this goal we'll print single-sided so the deck is 100 cards strong! (Included in the starter sets.)
We have no shortage of additions to the game! Indeed, Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis will eventually include every type of gladiator who engaged in combat and fought for fame, wealth and freedom, including gladiators called Beastiari versus wild animals in the Great Hunt, criminals assigned to death, mounted gladiators, female gladiators and war chariots will all receive due attention.
We're now offering four Famous Gladiators as project Add-Ons! A "famous" gladiator is one in rank above even the champion Primus Palus. These are gladiators you have heard of, like Spartacus, and others, like Marcus Attilius, who you need to hear about. There is currently one Famous Gladiator per type, so one secutor, one retiarius, etc.
A Famous Gladiator Add-On consists of five cards per gladiator. There is the character card with stats for the gladiator You will use this card in conjunction with the usual deck for that type of gladiator, so use the Thraex deck with Spartacus. In addition, each of these warriors has two unique Attacks and two unique Defend cards that are added to the gladiator deck.
You may add one Famous Gladiator to your rewards for $3, or add of four of them for $10. Please just adjust your pledge, e.g. $65 total for the full version of the game (non-Early Bird) and all four Famous Gladiators.
For details about the individual Famous Gladiators, please see Update #6.
Nocturnal publishes roleplaying games in addition to the card and board games that we have recently funded o Kickstarter. Our two lines at the moment are King Arthur Pendragon, the classic RPG by Greg Stafford that is considered among the every best roleplaying games of all time, and the Scarred Lands fantasy RPG setting that we co-publish with Onyx Path Publishing. I co-created Scarred Lands about a decade ago while I was an owner of White Wolf.
I'm offering the PDFs of the outstanding books from both these RPGs at amazing prices to help fund Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis. If you are an RPG fan then you cannot miss this opportunity! If you're not an RPG fan, let glory in how those who are are helping fund and achieve stretch goals for this great gladiator game. Fan of both? Then you're sitting very pretty!
Here's a look at the offers for both games.
ALL of the Scarred Lands PDFs are available for only $2 each. From the classic setting books like Hollowfaust: City of Necromancers and Mithril: City of the Golem to huge setting and character books like Scarred Lands Campaign Setting: Ghelspad and The Wise & The Wicked, and also including the entire lines of Creature Collection, Player's Guides, and Relics & Rituals.
These are all outstanding sourcebooks for any fantasy RPG, but especially for players of D&D and Pathfinder. There are even two books for the ore general fantasy fan not interested in the Scarred Lands, Relics & Rituals: Olympus and Relics & Rituals: Excalibur. The latter moves us neatly on to...
King Arthur Pendragon (KAP)
Almost all of the King Arthur Pendragon books are also available at amazing prices. Of greatest note is the current edition of the rulebook, KAP Edition 5.1, is available for only $5! If you're not familiar with KAP, then this is the place to start, and a good link to follow to learn more about the game in general.
All of the supplements for the first four edition of the game are available for just $2 each. In fact, any KAP book priced less than $10 is now available for just $2! Want to see how KAP has evolved? Then pledge $7 for King Arthur Pendragon 1st Edition and add the new Edition 5.1 as well. All of the original classic supplements like Saxons! and Land of Giants are included in this list.
Finally, all KAP PDFs regularly priced between $10 and $30 are available for just $10. This is the best price you may ever see for recent titles like Book of the Estate and Book of Battle 2nd Edition. Perhaps of greatest interest here is one of the most amazing RPG products ever produced, and the singular winner of the 2007 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming, The Great Pendragon Campaign. You owe it to yourself to click the link for that excellent work. In it, you'll learn things like this: King Arthur becomes Emperor of Rome in 527 A.D. And you thought there was no connection to Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis!
How to Pledge for RPG Books
Feel free to mix and match from the two games lines and between the various pledges. They are listed as separate awards to help sort these for fulfillment after the project, but if you want the latest edition of KAP ($5) plus two Scarred Lands books ($2 each), then you may select the "Current KAP" pledge but enter $9 as your pledge total.
Send me a message if you have any questions on how to structure your pledge.
Of course, you may treat any of these as add-ons for Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis. Already a KAP player and you want the game of gladiatorial combat, the four Famous Gladiators, and The Great Pendragon Campaign? Select the "Secundus Palus" pledge and enter $75 as your pledge total.
Risks and challenges
Given my familiarity with Kickstarter and years of experience as a publisher at White Wolf and now Nocturnal Media, there's very little standing in the way of producing this game. Only an act of God (act of Jupiter?) can slow us down. Even then, given game designer Jim Trunzo's unquenchable desire to see this game perfected and in print, I'm not certain even Jupiter can stop us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)