May 17, 2009

When I grow up, I will be a gladiator

I guess a gladiator project is one of those projects that are on every historical wargamer’s “to do”-list. In my case it’s been on slow-burner for a long time, because I had some trouble finding a rules et that would catch my interest. I wanted something fairly detailed, with clear definition of different gladiator types and most importantly, a system that wouldn’t be based on ‘highest dice roll wins’.

Trusty TMP gave me strong impression that an American ruleset called ‘ Morituti Te Salutant’ was exactly what I was looking for. Problem is that ordering from the States is not something I decide to do very lightly – delivery costs and customs fees often rise the costs to unacceptable levels. However, couple of months ago I’ve found out that ‘Morituri Te Salutant’ were now available from English company Black Hat Miniatures. Even better, they sold it in PDF format, which these days is my favorite way to purchase rules sets.

Black Hat Miniatures was a company that was previously unfamiliar to me, but my first impression of it is very positive – purchase of the rules set was smooth and without any hiccups. First impression of the rules set was even better –combat system is quite detailed and seems to give a lot of room for the players to apply some tactical thinking. Campaign rules put the individual bouts in a larger context and the idea of putting the players in the role of gladiator school owner is simply brilliant.

Having solved the problem with the rules set, I now had to decide on which miniatures to get. Foundry’s line is of course most impressive, but as always, their insane price and delivery costs made me hesitate. Also, there are no mounted gladiators in their range. Yes, I know that they were quite rare, but I wanted at least one or two of them anyway. Black Tree Design has a couple of gladiators, but for some reason I didn’t like the looks of them. There are several other companies that have some gladiators in their product range, but for one reason or another I couldn’t bring myself to ‘pull the trigger’.

Then, couple of weeks ago I found out completely by coincidence that Crusader Miniatures have a small, but surprisingly complete range of figures. This “discovery” was promptly followed by a quick order of about 20 miniatures, which arrived to me about a week later. Picture below shows my gladiator school in raw state. As can be seen, some cleaning up will be necessary, but I’m very pleased with the miniatures and look forward to painting them.

Now, about that gladiator arena…

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