Monday, 26 October 2015

Dice and Dying

"You're leaving yourself a bit open mate\"
I haven't managed to add anything to this project over the last two or so weeks but as I realised that I haven't shown many of my figures, nor my novelty dice here's a few pics of each.
First up is one of the less dynamic figures from (Pegasus, I think)
I had to add a scratch-built sword from sprue, though I forget why.
If you're thinking that his arm appears at a funny angle, you're  right, as it's been bent.
If you don't think the arm looks awry then please ignore the above comment.

Useful as a 'light' or medium gladiator imo

The next gladiator in the chain mail trousers and greaves (yes, I know *rolls eyes) is from the Italeri set ( I know this because you get two of them)
I've also bent both his arms into slightly more 'active' poses.
Previously to the above plastic surgery, his shield was held way up in the air, great for a vignette (maybe) but looks a bit foolish in the arena.

The above gladiator and his 'twin'

I did the same sort of thing with the second figure in this pose and I think I've made them look different enough (the skin colours helps too)

Useful as a generic 'light''gladiator

The figure on the left was also the type of figure I used for a retiarius, again he's lightly armoured and I've given him a scratch-built spear, though it's difficult to make out in this fore-shortened view.
The view below shows him and his twin (as a retiarius) still without a net.
I'll be using this figure as a generic 'light' gladiator, probably against beasts as he's armed with a spear.
You can tell by the differences in positioning that one or both have had their right arms slightly bent into different positions.

Spear and trident  armed.
I've been fortunate enough to have now played quite a few one-on-one games with my son and even though we originally got many rules wrong, we're both fairly competent now in knowing what dice to throw and when.
My XV dice- total cost £4.50
The dice shown were bought on a whim from eBay and cost a mere £1.50 (incl. p&p) for a set of five dice. There are two distinct sets, one numbered I to VI and the other having V, X, C, I,  and M on their six faces. I haven't found a use for the yet but who could resist a set of them at that price?  The two sets only come in white and are of very good quality - it has made me wonder about the sometimes exorbitant prices being asked for other dice of a similar quality.
I think that I should have used these in my two games against my son today. In the first game, we each had a lightly armoured gladiator (small shield and gladius); I stumbled fell after a collision and was quickly dispatched after failing my appeal to the crowd. The whole contest had lasted less a full turn (eight phases) and we'd had only three phases of combat!
The second combat we both had fairly similar, but my dice throwing was well above average and I reckon I'd rolled the best gladiator I've ever had. With my superior strength and combat factors, I charged into combat on the first phase of the first turn to quickly dispatch my son's "weaker" fighter". With a swift attack to his groin I inflicted seven wounds on him and the subsequent critical roll dropped his agility rating by 1 (that's gotta hurt). Unfortunately we'd both allocated an identical number of combat factors to our first attacks and they would therefore occur simultaneously!
He managed a staggering roll of 17 'to hit' on his three dice (I'd managed a similar 'good' roll), but the subsequent wounding roll was an instant kill! We reckoned an uppercut that went under his helmet and through his skull did the trick.
So turn one, phase one, attack one and it was all over - we'd taken longer to roll the characters than play the game! Two games then in about an hour - can't be bad.

That's all for this week.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Cruppelarius (?) and 'Minotaur'

Cruppelarius ?
The question mark in the title really refers to the fact that, as far as I can find out, no-one actually knows what a Crupelarius looked like though it seems that everyone is agreed that he was some type of heavily armoured gladiator.
The figure shown here though is not what I purport to be a Cruppelarius, but is a generic 'Heavy' gladiator, who can easily stand in for any such gladiator.
The figure itself is a minor conversion from the vignette in the Pegasus set that I used to make a casualty from (see here).
I've used the gladiator giving the 'coup de grace' as the basis for my 'heavy' gladiator.
Can you spot the surgery ?

The conversion is very simple requiring little in the way of major modelling skills.
The only piece of modelling he needs is a small part of his thigh filling in with some modelling putty (or something similar) but as it's less than a centimetre across it should be within the capabilities of anyone.
In addition to the plastic surgery (teehee) he also needs a sword and a shield.
I made the sword from a piece of the sprue that came with the set and the shield from a piece of thin plasticard.
He's not heavy... He's  my .....

If you're thinking that the sword looks a tad long for a gladius, then you'd be correct if it had been intended as a gladius.
In fitting with the idea that he's a "heavy" a decided to make it a spartha (a long sword basically) for variation if nothing else.

The shield was also a scratch-build from thin card with a boss made from a plastic BB shot cut in half. 
You'll also notice that although he's meant to be  heavily armoured, what passes as armour for his chest and back, hardly covers a half the area.
 In the second photograph above, alongside the vignette, is a standing figure,  in another hopeless (imo) pose for a gladiator.

I converted my version of this figure into a 'Minotaur'.
I think I got the idea originally from a film where a character played by Sean Connery kills such a best (Time Bandits?).

He's still a bit static but I think a little more interesting.
 There was quite a bit of modelling required for this figure and a bit of shopping!
Once I had made up my mind to make this figure  the search was on for a suitable cow's or bull's head (my modelling skills only go so far).
I found a suitable looking piece in a Poundlandworld-type shop (Bargain Buys?)and upon getting it home found that not only was it a good size but that the model cow hollow and even better, it was modelled in two halves that snapped together !
This made cutting the head of the cow into a suitable fit very easy as the whole head fitted over the gladiator's head fairly comfortably which meant I didn't have to cut his head off.
The two horns were made from pieces of sprue that were twisted and filed to shape  before being glued into sockets on the cow's skull.
The hide of the cow, covering the gladiators back was made from tissue paper soaked in pva.
The weapon was another scratchbuild from  sprue a piece of chain (Poundlandworld) and another plastic BB shot to make a flail.
It does give a little more variety to the weaponry in use, although I could have made a much easier alternate weapon such as a maul or mace.

With a little conversion work I now have an additional pair of Gladiators  that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

That's it then for another week, thanks for taking the timeout to look and I do hope you find something interesting here/

Monday, 12 October 2015

News and Games

Regulation starting positions
My eldest son elected to save me the boredom of solo dice-throwing and joined me in a couple  (or three) games of one-on-one gladiator combat ! There was nothing special about any of the three games that we played, but there was a lot of searching through rules for the answer to many questions of  "What happens next" and "How do you do ...."
Despite my half-memories of the rules and the fact that we were trying to play some form of hybrid game using two ever-so-slightly different sets of rules we still managed to have a decent game, lasting slightly over an hour and the basicds of the game were sorted out.
Formation dancing in the second game as we couldn't hit!
 The second game was a week later and between games we must have both had a brainstorm, the game dragged on and on for about three hours without it seemingly having any end in sight.
We had both missed two things that would have brought the game to a conclusion much more quickly. Firstly,  throwing for the number of wounds inflicted (needing a score of '8' or better) is much easier with the  regulation number of  three dice rather than the two dice we had handicapped ourselves with!
Secondly on the odd times we did manage to get a wound we forgot that there is always a chance of there being a critical hit, for additional damage.

The third game was far a more satisfactory fight, though both combatants were fairly weak compared to the two muscle men that we had used in the previous fight.
Even though my gladiator had a fairly low strength for this fight, I still managed to disarm my opponent, (making it three times out of three that I'd done so), but despite this his lack of training mean't he succumbed to his wounds fairly quickly and fell unconscious to the floor. (He was shown mercy by the mob however!)
There were still a couple of hiccups during the game that we had to sort out and a couple of irritating minor misprints in my quick reference sheets and no doubt there will be othersm but at leat I'm rolling dice!

In other news I had reason to be on Boardgamegeek during this last week and had a quick look to see if there was anything happening on the Gladiator front. I was surprised to see that a file I had earlier uploaded had gone, but I was even more surpised that it hadn't really gone, but had been updated!

George Mendoza has added a whole new chunks of gladiator goodness, some I'll be using, some I won't but all is worth persuing.
He has added a few new animals to fight in the arena, an elephant being the most eye-catching  addition and also the rules for animal contests have been overhauled significantly, so much so that they have little resemblance to the originial. This latter point doesn't bother me as I'll pick and choose which bits I'll keep  - as always. There are rules for mounted gladiators that have been added and a new weapon (a lasso) for the laquiarius *a substitute retiarius type). 
The campaiogn system has been overhauled and mostly re-written too but, whilst it looks interesting, for now I'll be sticking to my own camapign rules and pinching ideas.
He has also added a new attribute to the gladiators, one of Luck, which is an easy addition to make and I'll be looking closely in doing so as I like the idea of "appealing to the gods"  - quite thematic.
There are a few other changes, typos corrected etc. but at first glance there is nothing major.

That's it then for this week, not much I know, but I did get some games in !

Monday, 5 October 2015


Prisoner #0001
Following on from my post last week, the other use I put my WWE wrestlers to was as criminals for my arena.
There was a minimal amount of modelling to do on these figures, namely some form of loincloth (which I made from tissue and the 'belt' from thread) and a weapon or weapons. The weapons were roughly cut from sprue and filed to shape  - nothing dramatic, so long as they looked roughly like a knife or sword.
 I did give one a rough shield  which in game terms will be small and half the strength of a normal small shield.
There was also a bit of cutting to do to rid the models of their wrestling boots, so they appear either bare-footed or at least without the heavier footwear of the original wrestlers.
It's probably a bit anachronistic to give prisoners weapons for a 'fair fight' as they were routinely executed without such a luxury afforded to them. In my games though they will have a chance to fight (be it a very slim one).
Prisoner #0002

As was mentioned in my last post these chaps are slightly (2-4mm) than the other figures I have but are still very usable as far as I'm concerned.
Both the poor unfortunate above and his companion to the left are armed with gladius styled weapons made from sprue.
The chap on the left ahs also had his boots cut down to sandals, rather than be bare-footed.
Prisoner #0003

This character (on the right), though not my favourite does at least have some variation in his clothing insomuch as he's wearing a mask! Again very anachronistic I'm guessing, but at least he makes for a distinctive figure.
Prisoner #0004
The last of my four 'convicts' is armed with a longer weapon than the others and is equipped with a shield too.
In game terms he'll  only be slightly better off and will still probably fall victim to a well armed and trained gladiator.

Better view of his sword and shield
All four in the arena
In the full program of events for my arena, these will appear after the morning beast hunts and other animal slaughters but before the main gladiator bouts. They are tagged in with the other 'novelty acts' so that players can always have something to fight if they can't otherwise fulfil the requirements for the second session of the games.

 In other news whilst I haven't been able to make any further progress with this project, (hopefully that will change in the near future) I have managed to fit a trial game in! The game was very entertaining from my point of view and I think my opponent also enjoyed it too (fingers crossed).
I'll probably write a bit about the game next week, but that's all for now.