We are back from the biggest convention in Madrid, Ludo Ergo Sum 2017. We played a a fair number of games, and we are in high spirits because our new prototype received great reviews, regarding both gameplay and appearance.
More than a thousand people gathered in the huge facility, that had a cafeteria, many shops, and dozens of tables dedicated to prototype showing, a lot of pen-and-paper roleplaying games, miniatures games, board games… and a games flea market (with a impossibly long queue).
On Friday afternoon, in the prototypes area, we assembled for the first time our new, freshly printed board, and received our first players. One of them was none other than Pedro Pedrotronicus, who, at last year’s LES2016, played 4 consecutive games and gifted us with a wonderfully detailed review.
Note: this new prototype still has several provisional elements, such as the CRONOS Board or the minis (which are conversions from other brands).
Four players are divided into two sides, for a game of only one Event, in the rectangular arena. From left to right: Pedro Pedrotronicus with Petauristae (Acrobats) and Alfonso with Sine Scuto (No Shield), are faced against Pablo Ginés with Scutarii (Great Shields) and Elías Ginés with Parmularii (Small Shields).
The battle involves almost all the fighters in each team: 2 Slaves, 3 Beasts and 1 Gladiator by player. Pablo decides not to bribe during the sortitio and its level III Samnita fails the roll… so a not-very-sure level I Secutor takes her place. Other players deploy their Gladiators without any problem: Paegniaria, Retiaria and Provocator, all level II.
Once explained the movement and attack rules, the battle begins!
The first casualty of our new prototype is an orange Slave, who dies devoured by a red Hyena. Pablo’s red team has a good start, but the green team, ignoring his partner’s advice, launchs his fighters against the enemy in a suicidal charge and are decimated. “Thus you will learn to listen to your father”, states Pablo.
CRONOS! Heat weakens all the fighters, suffering 1 wound. Also, a lethal pit opens a few steps away from the green Provocator: the goddess Minerva looks after her protégé, and there are no serious consequences. In the center of the arena, the Lion is attacked by the Leopard, the Retiaria and the Tiger, but its thick skin resists them all.
The moment being right, Pedro’s orange Paegniaria, while fiercely attacked by Elías’ green Provocator, shouts “Jupiter’s Lightning!”, and spends a total of four maneuver cards. But Pablo answers in turn “Fatum!”, to save his partner, so the lightning dies in the sky… and we see the wrath of Pedro, who thunders over such an injustice.
The green Panther, surely because all that noise, gets scared so much that decides, voluntarily, to jump into the pit, taking refuge there.
As if it wasn’t enough, during the following turns, after the discard pile gets used again, Jupiter’s Lightning finds its way to Pablo’s hands, so now he can play the terrible combo Jupiter + Jupiter’s Lightning, and the red Lion kills the orange Tiger. It is the last success of the red and green team, though, being overcome by their opponents in the following turns… even a Lycaon jumps into the pit to finish off the cowardly Panther!
Victory for Pedro and Alfonso!
Our Champions get two Palms each, one for victory (three palms are to distribute, so one of them is divided into Sestertii) and another one for two secondary objectives achieved (defeating the most Beasts/Slaves and Gladiators).
Pedro Pedrotronicus (Petauristae): 15.700 ss
Alfonso Pratchettus: 14.100 ss
Elias Ginés Ultor: 2,200 ss
Pablo Ginés Pater: 900 ss
Asking new players for their opinion, Alfonso recognizes the anguish suffered by having their fighters down to their last wound, and Pablo highlights the streamlining of the combat rules and the maneuver cards. Elías proclaims: “I liked it, and I want revenge!” 😀
This time, Attia Dimacherus sits at the table. She also played the game at LES2016 and supported the KS campaign last year. Attia is a real retiaria, from Ludus Gladiatorium Vulcanum, with great experience in (bloodless) combat. Of course we took a pic of her with our Retiaria! We recognised her right to play with the Sine Scutum, of course.
She was also very well accompanied by her two sons, Hernán and Alonso, who showed us the Roman salute while a score of jedi knights crossed the room with their lightsabers switched on.
On the other side of the table, two Gladiatoris newbies, though experts in many other board games: Pedro (Parmularii) and Alberto (Scutarii).
In the first event, beasts carve some helpless slaves up… and Alonso (who learns the rules immediately despite his young age) is truly sectacular when rolling dice.
Alberto manages to defeat two Slaves, so he earns the Palm for this first Event. In addition to a Gift from Caesar (munera card), he gets truly a fortune.
Attia is a goldmine of practical knowledge about Gladiators, and explains her difficulties to fight with the pugio in the same hand as the Trident: once the net is thrown, her combat style changes, and uses the dagger in his left hand while she leaves behind the trident in her right hand, as a 17th century duelist would do with his sword and maine gauche. She also tells us how she confronts the bulky murmillo or secutor, very heavy Gladiators: best to dodge them when they charge (and trip them if possible).
In the second Event, Gladiators jump into the arena: a Retiaria, a Provocator and a Secutor; they fight surrounded by big felines. The two shield-using Gladiators, ignoring the wild Beasts (although the Provocator, his legs being bitten, has to ignore some very serious wounds), focus on the Retiaria.
“You fear the retiario… that is because you can see our face” says Attia.
Pedro’s Provocator has lost a lot of blood, but he has salvation in hand, in the form of a combo Ceres + Breath of Ceres (which heals nothing less than 6 wounds). However, an Oracle of Juno, consulted by the Retiaria… takes away the Breath of Ceres! The Provocator screams helplessly while the big cats make short work of him, and spectators (specially Alonso) cheer with joy.
So at last we see the traditional duel between the Secutor and the Retiaria, which lasts for several turns: both fighters are well balanced, and the offensive power of the Retiaria is offset several times by the Secutor’s scutum. It seems that it will be a tie!
Finally, on the last turn, a lucky roll full of criticals defeats the Scutarii. Attia and Alonso celebrate their epic win. Both players played their cards well, but the Retiaria wins in the end.
Awarding the prizes, it turns out that both the green and red Beasts survived, so the three players split two palms among them (2,000 ss each).
And, finally, the victory is for the lanista Alberto, who is the richest of the three with 7,900 Sestertii. But that does not take away the (well deserved) “moral victory” from Attia and Alonso 🙂
Alberto Albhargalus (Scutarii): 7,900 ss
Pedro Chetus: 3,100 ss
Attia Dimacherus: 2,500 ss
On Saturday morning we went to the second day of the Ludo Ergo Sum 2017. Before the players arrived, we played a solo game, and Gerardo took command of the Parmularii (Small Shields).
It is a single 12-turn Event, with a team of Gladiators facing several waves of “gray” Slaves and Beasts. Investing their 3,000 ss, and after obtaining a Fors Fortuna, Gerardo Lanarch places on the sand a Provocator I, a Thraex II and an Hoplomaca III, with Jupiter’s help.
The game begins well, but suddenly two waves of wild Beasts attack at once, and the Gladiators find theirselves being defeated by level order.
Once the Thraex II falls, the situation becomes desperate for the Hoplomaca, who tries to take refuge against the arena wall. On turn II, very close to the end of the game, she is knocked down by a Slave II and devoured by the Hounds.
Gerardo Lanarch/Barb Maximus (Parmularii): 4.800 ss
Looking at the victory table for the Solo Game, we find that 4,800 ss… is a “crushing defeat”! Playing against the board is not as easy as it seems… 😀
At the palace of the double axe, two novice players face the already veteran Attia (+ Alonso). Attia chooses this time the Parmularii (Small Shields), Denis the Scutarii (Great Shields) and Eduardo the Sine Scuto (No Shield). At the last moment I join the game (for the last Event of the Games an even number of players is needed) with the Petauristae (Acrobats).
1st Event: Gory Race. The first Gladiator that gets to the center of the arena, dodging a group of Slaves, will earn a Palm. The Gladiators with shield are slower: Attia’s Hoplomaca II moves 5 hexes, and Denis’ Samnita III moves 6 hexes, while Eduardo’s Dimachaerus III and my own Desultor II move 7 hexes each, so they can reach the center in two turns, if they run (+4 hexes)… that is, if the Slaves (or the gods) do not prevent it.
And that’s exactly what happens to poor Dimachaerus, who clashes with a melee made up of red and orange slaves, while the Desultor runs and arrives with ease to the goal, without even having to employ his pole to jump over his enemies. A Palm! 🙂
2nd Event: Enter The Beasts! Gladiators begin the Event in the same position they ended the previous one, and canids enter through the gates. There’s a Palm for the team that defeats more Beasts, and another one for the team that defeats more Gladiators.
The situation is tough for my Desultor, who is being looked upon by three enraged Gladiators, so he decides to run and jump over the blue hounds, to get as far as possible from the center of the arena. “Pavidus!”, all the other players shout in unison.
The flight of the Desultor ends when an unfortunate CRONOS card opens a pit under his feet… he falls in it and is defeated! But no other player is awarded that casualty, and the other lanistae split the Palm for defeating Gladiators, while Attia wins the Palm for hunting the most Beasts.
3rd Event: Two-sided Battle. Parmularii and Scutarii vs Sine Scutum and Petauristae. The Samnita lashes out against the Dimachaerus, but Eduardo’s super combo Jupiter + Jupiter’s Lightning turns her into a smoking crater before she can do anything. Good beginning! Also, due to an oil trap on the way, my fighters are the last to reach the violent combat.
Attia’s Hoplomaca is on a winning streak, and several Slaves fall by her spear, before facing the Dimachaerus in a deadly duel, trying to avenge her partner.
A series of exceptional attack rolls (the last one, 5 Successes and 1 Knock Down against 2 Stand) defeats the Dimachaerus. Watching this, my Desultor takes to his heels, but once again, a pit stands in his way, and he’s finally eaten by the red Lion.
All Gladiators were gone!
After awarding palms (and stealing some of them), victory is, without any doubt, for Attia’s Parmularii. Congratulations!
Attia Dimacherus Retiaria (Parmularii): 19.100 ss
David Thraex: 8,300 ss
Eduardo Laredus: 3,600 ss
Denis Samnes: 3,000 ss
At a wealthy Roman landowner’s private Arena, two new players, Juanma (Acrobats) and Juan (Great Shields) are going to try their luck against Elías Ginés Ultor (Parmularii). This time, Luis will be in charge of the game, with Pedro Pedrotronicus at his side taking good note of everything… because at his request, we are going to try a new rule: the player who draws a CRONOS card will receive 200 ss (and it will not be replaced by another one if drawn before Saluting the Emperor).
1st Event: Venatio. The Beasts performed very well, hunting the hunters. Lycaon’s Juanma stands out, getting 7 successes with 3 atack dice (thanks to critical strikes) against Elías’ green Wolf. Orange and Green share victory, splitting the 1,500 ss prize (700 ss each). Bad luck for Juan!
2nd Event: Ludi Meridiani. The big cats quickly devour the sentenced ad bestias; Juan’s Lion has to eat its own Slave, so he can force a 3-way tie and split the Palm (3,000 ss, 1,000 ss each).
3rd Arena: Munus. Two Gladiators per player, matched up in singular duels. They have a good laugh when Gladiators start to fail their sortitio rolls: the Provocator II with Fors Fortuna and 300 ss in bribes gets a “1” and fails; the Desultor I fails; and Juan’s Samnita II, with 200 ss in bribes, gets a “3” and also fails.
Thraex I vs Paegniaria II
Hoplomaca II vs Murmillo I
Lusitor I vs Secutor II
And the duels begin! The Thraex suffers a “Back off!”; the Paegniaria dislocates his arm with her lasso and runs off to her friend, the Lusitor. The Hoplomaca gets 5 successes with 4 attack dice, not enough to hurt the armoured Murmillo, who then moves to support the Secutor. Facing no rivals, the Hoplomaca steps back instead of attacking, earning herself a few lashes for being PAVIDUS.
In the second turn, the lorarii work hard to try and separate the two Gladiators who have ignored their pairing. The red Secutor, changing his mind, comes back for the Hoplomaca, and is struck down by a Jupiter’s Lightning… shortly before the Murmillo awakens the Wrath of the Gods!
Juan cursed the gods, and we opened the debate about the new maneuver deck. We will have to reintroduce the Fatum card we took out for the new prototype (best not to change those rules that work well!).
In the next turns, the Orange finishes off the Thraex and the Hoplomaca; truly a landslide victory. Salve, Juanma!
Juanma Gratissimum (Petauristae): 11.800 ss
Elias Ginés Ultor: 1,200 ss
Juan Infelicis: 200 ss
rivers of blood
Elías is still eager to roll some dice, and Pedro wants to re-join, so Luis prepares a two-event game with water-filled moats… the most lethal traps! 🙂 It’s true: any fighter falling into the water will be immediately defeated; in addition, the moat borders are slippery (and anyone knocked over while in contact with the moat will fall into the water).
1st Event. Battle At The River. Elías’ Parmularii and Pedro’s Sine Scutum face Luis’ Petauristae and Gerardo’s Scutarii, in an uneven battle; long weapons will show their worth during it.
2nd Event. Savage Island. Gladiators and large Beasts face take their places for an all-out battle in an artificial forest surrounded by water. Luck is on the side of Pedro’s Retiaria II and Laquearius II, with the help of Bellona (6 attack dice each!), and, even if it’s not possible to use long weapons in the forest, they manage to defeat most of their enemies.
Peter Pedrotronicus/Cronus: 15,000 ss
Elias Ginés Ultor: 7,500 ss
Gerardo Lanarch/Barb Maximus: 5,400 ss
Luis Lusitor: 1,200 ss
Wild beasts fight
At the end of this long day of games, we still have time to teach the rules to some more players… but the convention staff let us know that there is no more time for playing today! We leave, exhausted but happy with our participation and reviews success.
Lord of the hill
Sunday morning, while we wait for the players who had reserved a game the previous day, Pedro (red), Luis (orange) and I (green) play a quick game of one Event: 1 Palm for surviving, 1 Palm for killing the most “grey” Slaves (the blue ones in the pic), and 1 Palm for defeating the most grey Gladiators; in addition, and with 3,000 initial ss, our level I fighters cost 500 ss.
The fighters have six bridges to access the island, and if they stumble and fall into the water will be defeated: it’s what happens to my Thraex, knocked over by the Lusitor’s reinforced staff. The center of the arena is quickly filled with fighters.
Although decimated, the Green fighters (all level I) manage to deliver the coup de grace to two Slaves and two grey Gladiators: 2 Palms! When the players we were waiting for show up, sudden death is declared, and with almost no time to count our Sestertii, the last Palm is split among the three of us (1,000 ss each).
David Thraex (Parmularii): 14,000 ss
Adrián Petauristae (Acrobats, orange) and Jose Parmularii (Small Shields, green) sit at the table against my Scutarii (Great Shields, red).
1st Event: Slaves To The Wolves. Despite some fierce or cowardly Beasts, the Event ends in a draw and the three players split up the Palm (1,000 ss each).
With the new system, instead of the orange beast die, whenever a Beast attacks, a maneuver card is drawn and the small beast icon (if any) is looked upon.
Augurs could predict the future by observing the behaviour of the beasts…
2nd Event: Gladiators To The Lions. Surrounded by burning oil, the Gladiators play their maneuver cards. The Panther and the Tiger are first to fall, and the Desultor follows, through divine intervention.
The capricious CRONOS opens all the traps of the board, and the Murmillo and the Thraex, both badly wounded, end up in a duel at the bottom of the pit.
The Murmillo’s gladius final blow breaks through the Thraex’s guard and defeats him but, in a last move (an attack Fumble), the green Gladiator sticks his sica in the Murmillo’s jugular. Both of them fall dead on the pit slabs!
Fortunately, my red Lion manages to survive, obtaining 2 palms for its lanista. But it was a fair draw for the Gladiators!
At the end of the game, José’s review, from Alquimia Juegos, is great: “this is the kind of game my players like”. 😀
David Thraex (Scutarii): 12.900 ss
Jose Alchimia Ludi: 2,400 ss
Adrián Rugiet: 1,400 ss
killing of slaves
The last game of the LES 2017: a Killing of Slaves, but down to only two Events. Four players will take part: Javier with Scutarii (Great Shields), Leo with Parmularii (Small Shields), Alvaro with Sine Scuto (No Shield), and Esperanza with Petauristae (Acrobats).
1st Event: Slaves To The Lions. Each player places 2 Slaves in the center of the arena, and 1 large Beast at their door; whoever gets to kill more Slaves will earn 1 Palm. Javier’s red Lion stands out by deciding to flee whenever it has a good dice roll. The Palm is divided between the other players.
2nd Event: Gladiators And Vermin Fight. One Slave is thrown into the pit with two enemy Beasts, while Gladiators enter through the gates. Green player rigs the programme to make sure his Provocator jumps into the arena; he is going to devote himself to “Foul Play” (his special ability) and tricking everyone with his cards throughout the event.
The blue Dimachaerus jumps into the pit and finishes off both Beasts, making sure his team gets 1 Palm for killing the most vermin. The green Provocator also jumps in. The red Murmillo starts a tiring but unsuccessful race, trying to reach the orange Paegniaria.
The scutum is very heavy, after all!
The red Slave (a natural born survivor) gets surrounded in his pit with three players’ Beasts and two Gladiators… with the Paegniaria also attacking from above with her lasso.
The Dimachaerus and the Murmillo end up fighting at the bridge over the pit: Javier’s red Gladiator is victorious but, from the outside of the bridge, the Paegniaria and both Lycaons watch him hungrily… Victory will finally be for Esperanza, who ends the Event with her Beasts and Gladiator still standing. Great game for the Acrobats!
Esperanza Paegniaria Formidulosa (Petauristae): 12.900 ss
Álvaro Gladiator Foraminis: 8,300 ss
Leo Decipiat: 1,700 ss
Javier Leo Pavidus: 1,500 ss
Thanks to all the players!