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Play as the greatest gladiators in history! Fight deadly duels and lead your gladiator school to victory in this 2-5 player card game
Play as the greatest gladiators in history! Fight deadly duels and lead your gladiator school to victory in this 2-5 player card game
330 backers pledged £16,755 to help bring this project to life.
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Gladiatores Blood for Roses

£16,755

330

Gladiatores (latin plural for gladiator) puts you in control of a famous gladiator school (ludus) of the classical Roman era. Use your fame and influence to bid for the most famous gladiators in history. These star players could earn your school much wealth and glory if you use them skillfully! Use your hired gladiator in epic arena combats - put on a spectacle guaranteed to excite the roman crowds and gain your school the fame it surely deserves!

Winning the Game.  Use the starplayer gladiators most skillfully, impress the crowds the most, outmanoeuvre the other players and show off your best combat skills in the arena events to win! Do badly and the fame of your ludus will dwindle in the eyes of Caesar and the keys to the colosseum will go to your rival!

Here are all the Stretchgoals we have unlocked already. The next one is an awesome addition to every pledge level of the game!

Gladiatores: Blood for Roses plays over 3-4 rounds. Each round is a separate arena event where each player bids their future fame (victory points) on randomly drawn starplayer gladiators. Players can bet on who might win the next fight, plan secret tactics and gain a wealthy sponsor who will help the player in the next event. Each player then uses their chosen gladiator in the next arena battle event against the other players gladiators using unique sets of combat cards specific to each fighter.

Each gladiator character comes with a unique set of combat skill move cards.
Each gladiator character comes with a unique set of combat skill move cards.

There are eight unique gladiator characters to choose from in the base game, each with their own special combat card deck and variable powers. With over 20 combat moves that link together in unique ways, each combat will feel totally different with nearly 100,000 card combinations to explore!

The quick video below shows 2 examples of the rapid card play in action.

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 Example 1: the attacker Achillia starts with a nasty cleave attack that the defender quickly parries away. Then a flurry of blows and counter blows happen before the attacker manages a successful deflect which allows her to stagger her opponent. Example 2: Kalendio the Retiarius thrusts with his spear but is blocked. He shoves his opponent but is bashed with a shield which he swiftly manages to dodge...

With so many card combinations to choose from, every battle in Gladiatores creates this unique and evolving narrative gameplay.

Tactical card play, risk-taking, bluffing, trapping enemies, clever use of gladiator special abilities or just sheer audacity in the arena battles will impress the crowd and gain you the most glory. Plan your moments to strike, use your secret tactics wisely, learn from enemy mistakes, spot and then exploit their weaknesses to get ahead and grab those victory wreaths!

During the game, each player will accumulate victory wreaths that combine at games end for a final victory point score.

Gladiatores Blood for roses combines many well known game mechanisms in a novel way. These include: 

The Praetorian (all in) and Senator pledges (all in x2 game) come with a sponsor pack. It includes a fascinating historical folio exclusive to this kickstarter, the extra unlocked miniatures and some special promo cards as a FREE trial of what will potentially be available in future expansions!

  •  Setup - Short setup time. Takes only 2 minutes!
  •  8 playable characters - 8 unique gladiators with more to follow!
  •  Flexible game length - choose a quick battle (1 round) or settle in for the more strategic season mode (3-4 rounds)
  •  Variable gameplay - each gladiator character plays completely differently, with different combat skills, strengths and weaknesses in each game.
  •  Dynamic combat experience - our nRPS system takes a complex web of possible combat moves and countermoves - like a real sword fight! - and condenses it into an easy to understand and swift to play card game.
  •  Longterm replayability -  Different skill sets drawn each time you play + variable challenges means huge replayability.
  •  Easy to learn - Check out the rulebook section below to see for yourself or watch the videos on our youtube channel.
  •  Fantastic art - from acclaimed illustrators Anja Kryczkowska (Gloom of Kilforth, Evolution) and Brolken (Legend of the Cryptids).
  •  Expansions - We already have a range of new famous gladiators ready to expand your choice, new combat moves and some secret plans we have for future campaign play...!

8 playable characters. In Gladiatores: Blood for Roses you can play eight unique historical gladiators with their own special abilities. Each character uses a thematic set of combat skills that emulate the styles of gladiators that existed during the roman era (e.g. the Secutor, Murmillo, Retiarius, Dimachaerus, Hoplomachus and Thracian). Randomly drawn extra cards complete the gladiator's skill set for the next event making each game an unique challenge.

 WITH MANY MORE FAMOUS GLADIATORS PLANNED TO FOLLOW...

For fun we are taking our gladiator school Ludus Leonidas across Roman Europe, all the way to the colosseum in Rome! Each stretchgoal is a famous city amphitheatre and with your help, we can knock down those stretchgoals and take our gladiators through the regions, closer and closer to the Gold prize in Rome! Follow our progress on this map below...

Gladiatores is the only gladiator themed game (as far as we know) that actually makes you feel as though you are fighting for your life in a blow-by-blow combat. We've designed a combat system that emulates / simulates the cut and thrust of actual combat. Our Card Dueling system takes a complex web of possible moves, counter moves and follow up actions and presents them in a very easy visual and playable way. The cards played in each combat between players creates a narrative flow of 'take that' actions and counter-actions that will keep players on their toes in every game!

 Also, Gladiatores: Blood for Roses is not just a combat game. In fact, the main purpose of combat is to use your star player gladiator wisely to either win the wreath of victory or by impressing the crowd - preferably both! All the glory gained from betting, winning or showing off to the fans during each event gains you victory points for your school, and ultimately a chance of winning the game!

Bidding: A first step before each event is bidding. Gladiatores are randomly drawn for the star player market and each player then gets to bid on one. Other players can outbid an earlier player who then has to choose an alternative. The cost to buy a gladiator is a player's future victory points! Players must therefore think wisely how much they can afford for that star gladiator they really want! See the graphic below for how this works.

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Combat: Each player's school then enters their gladiator into the next randomly drawn event. Each player draws their mini-deck of combat cards specific to their gladiator, and makes ready to fight for prestige, glory and the all important victory wreaths. Combat cards represent single moves a gladiator can make in the fight (e.g. Thrust, Cleave, Deflect, Dodge and Disarm). Many cards also have some 'countering' options written on the card's orange side banners. When another gladiator attacks you, play one of the cards listed on the banner and you break the previous card played against you, making its effects no longer valid. This card and counter-card play continues until a player chooses to (or cannot play another card). The results of the final card then trigger!

Just take a look at the detailed combat exchange below for a good example of this in action:

 Very quickly you will be planning your combat moves like a pro!

By countering the attacker's cards with 'break' cards of your own leads to a detailed exchange of combat moves (much like a real sword fight!) which we call Chaining. Often you can chain your own combat moves, using follow up cards that give you extra advantages (for example like playing a DISARM card after a successful DEFLECT). The following graphic shows this in action...

Card chaining example
Card chaining example

Often players will fight it out in a flurry of cards and countercards, trying to get past their opponent's defenses and strike a telling blow. But, you need to take care! This is not a deck builder. Rather, its a deck destroyer! Your combat deck is your stamina and endurance to survive the event. Spend your cards too quickly and your rivals will pounce on your weakened state!

To win, it's all about watching your rivals moves, choosing your moments wisely and forcing your enemies to use up their cards while holding on to your own... 

 Event Cards: Every round of Gladiatores requires an event card to be randomly drawn. The event cards detail the glory prizes for coming 1st and 2nd, the size of the crowd at the event (number of rose petals = crowd favour) and the conversion of crowd favour gained during the fight into glory (bottom box). The base game comes with 6 events (2 each of bronze, silver and gold level). Each has variable glory rewards.

Glory tokens: The glory tokens gained during events are worth variable victory points (VP). Most players should win at least 1 or 2 glory tokens in each event. Glory is stored on each Player's Wheel of Glory. Being 1st or 2nd to complete this wheel scores big VP bonuses and gives a big boost to your chances of winning the game overall! 

VP collection and Wheel of Glory
VP collection and Wheel of Glory

The Player with the highest VP score after the chosen number of rounds is declared the winner and gains their rightful place performing shows before Emperor Caesar in Rome! 

Watch Ryan's detailed How to Play video here.

The lads at Playing BoardGames recorded a liveplay of Gladiatores in action. Check out their excellent playthrough and consider give them a thumbs up or a subscribe.

 You can also watch a liveplay of the BadCatTribe playing Gladiatores here.

To find out what makes Gladiatores Blood for Roses such a fun game, we encourage you to download the current rulebook by clicking the image below (note the rulebook is not final and subject to change).

Current Rulebook (print friendly PDF - ENG)
Current Rulebook (print friendly PDF - ENG)

You can also download the reference and game setup sheet there too.

Click on the image to try Gladiatores for yourself on Tabletopia
Click on the image to try Gladiatores for yourself on Tabletopia

Want to play a game with the designers? Follow us on facebook and in the comments section to find out when we will next be running a hosted game on Tabletopia!

  •  Help bring this awesome game to life! Being a small indie publisher, we cannot produce this fantastic limited edition game in its present form without your support.
  •  Stretchgoals will allow us to add in more amazing content (such as new gladiator characters, new combat moves and sponsors), improve production quality and improve the game for you and for everyone. 
  •  Backers make a great game greater! We listen to you guys and will work to include some of your great ideas in the final game.
  •  Backers receive more and a better game at a better price compared to what they would get after the campaign through a normal retail edition. 
  •  Shipping will be from warehouses in Europe, USA, (and possibly Canada and Australia also) so you will get your game much faster than through retail and won't have to pay import duties and taxes.
  •  Christmas! is not here yet but our plan and aim is to get the game to all backers ready for the holiday season. Most of our files are already with the manufacturers so turnaround should be very quick compared to most game kickstarters.
Click on the quote for the written preview (NB: prototype copy)
Click on the quote for the written preview (NB: prototype copy)
click to read the review (earlier prototype version)
click to read the review (earlier prototype version)
Review coming very soon
Review coming very soon
click the quote for review (written)
click the quote for review (written)
Click on Mike's face for his high energy review (video)
Click on Mike's face for his high energy review (video)
Click the quote for review (written)
Click the quote for review (written)

BoardGameCoffee did a great preview vid of the game (note that the components shown are from an earlier prototype version).Go and see their video and maybe even show them some love and subscribe.

You can include any of these add-ons by using the big manage your pledge button at the top of this kickstarter page and manually adding the cost of your chosen add-on(s) to your total pledge amount. All rewards can be confirmed for each backer at the Pledge Manager stage after the kickstarter is complete.

Arena Playmat - not final
Arena Playmat - not final

The game is card intensive so the arena playmat (~24x20cm) is a very useful component that helps to keep the tokens and stacks of cards organised for all players during the game. We only use quality neoprene for these and they are very hard wearing but easily foldable.

 This is the replacement Active Player Marker (G1) included in the Deluxe game set. Approx. 70-80mm tall. Miniature comes unpainted. You can add more than 1 miniature if you wish - just increase your pledge using the manage pledge button by £9.50/$12 for each additional model you are ordering. 

Here are three fantastic paint jobs done for us. Please click on the images below and give these amazing miniature painters a thumbs up or like.

We have also unlocked 2 alternative gladiator sculpts! Your choice of which model(s) you want can be confirmed through the pledge manager after the kickstarter finishes. If you want more than 1 miniature, just increase your pledge by £9.50/$12 for each additional model you are purchasing.

We all know that shipping games over 1kg is expensive and with current trade agreements in a state of flux this means that publishers have to be sensible and careful over shipping rates. So we are subsidising shipping to everywhere as much as we can and depending on our final funding amount, we will try to subsidise this further.

UK backers will get FREE postage and all others get the price reduced shipping/postage added when you pledge. All final pledge amounts, add-ons etc and tracked services can be confirmed or adjusted by you within the Pledge Manager after the kickstarter finishes. (Note that some add-ons might trigger extra postage - for example ordering a 2nd game).

For shipping we are working with multiple international partners in USA, CA, UK and EU to find the most cost effective and safest way to get you your rewards. Only 1% of backers from our previous kickstarter had problems with delivery (usually due to changes of address). We will hopefully add Australia-friendly also if we get enough backers from that region.

Shipping costs shown below are for untracked services, based on recommended pricings provided by our fulfilment partners.

HERO PLEDGE       CANADA - £7, USA - £7, EU - £6*, RoW - £15

CHAMPION PLEDGE       CANADA - £9, USA - £9, EU - £8*, RoW - £18 

We will ship to our international fulfilment centres at our cost. Tracked shipping service upgrades and all additional extras (e.g. extra game copies) can be added in the pledge manager after the campaign has finished. We did this for our previous kickstarter with a similar box weight and backers were all happy.

Please note that we do not ship to: Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. 

* Some EU countries will have slightly higher charges due to available delivery services.

The game is 100% finished and components are already being organised with the manufacturer.

Our calculated estimate for delivery of this project is early December 2019 (in time for the holiday season). This estimate covers additional time for final tweaks, last minute changes and problems that might occur. Being our second kickstarter project, we know how to maximise both quality and speed to get a game project manufactured. Our previous project was delivered to all backers before the final estimate date. Delays in manufacture and shipping however can and do often crop up due to many circumstances outside our control. Therefore our deadline for delivery of this project is a calculated estimate. In fact we aim to beat this target by at least a month but are being sensibly cautious and adding in some extra time. We will keep you informed of our progress on all this as we work to fulfilment. 

If you are a bricks and mortar retailer (including cafes that sell games) and would like to support this kickstarter, please pledge at the special LUDUS pledge level. This level is a deposit against the cost of carton/case multiples (5+ games/carton) of this KS edition game (base game or deluxe + all unlocked SGs) at the normal retailer-friendly discount off the KS price (contact us to confirm). You will also get a free demo set with your 1st carton ordered and access to all promo and special additions.

Once pledged, we will then message you to confirm your final order, how many of each version you want, confirm shipping and delivery address after the kickstarter has ended. We guarantee your order will get sent out at the same time as all other backers rewards allowing you to jump ahead and get your order many months before normal retailers will! You can of course contact us through KS messages or info[at]badcatgames.eu to discuss any of this in more detail.

 And here are some really cool Avatars for you to download and share the love of Ludus Leonidas. [Just right click the image and download] + there might be a sneaky peak of new star gladiators coming to the game in the future...

Risks and challenges

This is our second Kickstarter. We succeeded in delivering our first board game, Elemenz, only a short time after our final estimated date and to an excellent production standard. As with all board games there are potential problems during production, shipping and customs delays, but we are used to working now with industry veteran manufacturers, shippers, importers and everyone in between. We have already sent off some of the files for pre-production checks and will be ready to pick up speed and complete the file checking stage soon after the kickstarter finishes.

The game is 100% complete, requiring only tweaking, additional final artwork changes to be added depending on how many stretch goals are unlocked. This means we can be ready to give the final approval for production in plenty of time, so that we can get the games to all of you before the end of the year. We will also make sure that at all stages of production after the kickstarter, we will keep you up-to-date with developments through this project page.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £2 or more About $3

    ARENA SPECTATOR

    The arena crowd chants your name in praise!

    Thankyou so much for your support as every sestertii counts! Join Ludus BadCat as we forge our way to the colosseum in Rome. You will receive all updates as the project develops and can change your pledge at any time.

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    Pledge £35 or more About $45

    HERO level

    MAIN Game.

    You join Ludus BadCat as an experienced Gladiator with plans to dominate the arena and become a famous player.

    FREE shipping to UK and SUBSIDISED shipping everywhere else. Note: We cannot ship games to Russia, Brazil, Khazakstan and Afghanistan.

    Includes:
    • Gladiatores: BASE Game
    • All unlocked Stretchgoals
    • Your name in the Hall of Heroes on our website
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    Pledge £50 or more About $65

    CHAMPION Level

    DELUXE Game

    Join our Ludus BadCat as a famous Gladiator returning to the arena to take a wreath of victory.

    FREE shipping to UK and SUBSIDISED shipping everywhere else. Note: We cannot ship games to Russia, Brazil, Khazakstan and Afghanistan.

    Includes:
    • Gladiatores: BASE Game
    • All unlocked Stretchgoals
    • KS Special 1st Player Miniature
    • KS Special Arena Playmat
    • Your name in the Hall of Heroes on our website
    • KS Exclusive Box sleeve
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    Pledge £75 or more About $97

    LUDUS Edition (RETAIL ONLY)

    For Retail pledges only
    (Bricks & mortar stores only.)

    Pledge at this level as a deposit towards 1+ cartons/cases (5 games minimum) of the KS edition of the game (HERO or CHAMPION level). See Retailer section of the kickstarter page for more info on this pledge level.
    Note: We cannot ship games to Russia, Brazil, Khazakstan and Afghanistan.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $129

    PRAETORIAN level (ALL IN)

    You are an Official Sponsor of the games! This ALL IN pledge level includes the complete CHAMPION pledge level (1 of everything) + the Official sponsor pack of goodies, a Tee of your choice and the Art Print. It doesn't include a painted miniature however or your name printed on a Sponsor card.
    FREE postage to anywhere (except: Russia, Brazil, Khazakstan and Afghanistan).

    Includes:
    • Gladiatores: BASE Game
    • KS Exclusive Box sleeve
    • KS Special 1st Player Miniature
    • KS Special Arena Playmat
    • All unlocked Stretchgoals
    • KS Exclusive: Special gladiator bundle
    • KS exclusive Sponsor Pack
    • Limited Edition - A3 Battlescene art print (signed)
    • KS limited edition T-Shirt (signed) in black or white
    • Your name in the Hall of Heroes on our website
    • Rulebook Dedication
    • FREE POSTAGE to ANYWHERE
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £175 or more About $225

    SENATOR Level

    x2 DELUXE games + FREE worldwide shipping + pro-painted miniature + exclusive stuff

    Join Ludus BadCat as an official Limited Edition Sponsor. Get the full CHAMPION pledge level (Deluxe x2) + 1 of the miniatures pro-painted. You will also get a choice of exclusive T-shirt design, A3 art print of our battlescene, a KS exclusive SPONSOR pack (that will increase in value as the KS progresses) and your latinised name on one of the official Sponsor cards that goes in every game!

    FREE postage worldwide. Note: We cannot ship games to Russia, Brazil, Khazakstan and Afghanistan.

    Includes:
    • Gladiatores: BASE Game
    • All unlocked Stretchgoals
    • KS Special 1st Player Miniature
    • KS Exclusive Box sleeve
    • KS Special Arena Playmat
    • Pro-painted gladiator miniature
    • KS limited edition T-Shirt (signed) in black or white
    • Limited Edition - A3 Battlescene art print (signed)
    • KS exclusive Sponsor Pack
    • FREE POSTAGE to ANYWHERE
    • Rulebook Dedication
    • Your name in the Hall of Heroes on our website
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)