Gladiatores on Kickstarter | In Depth Overview!

| Your Opinion
Category: Age: 12+ 60 - 90 Min 2 - 5 Players 2018

BadCatGames, a fairly new publishing team based in Scotland,  launched their second game Gladiatores: Blood for Roses, on Kickstarter. A fast-paced game focused on combat that uses a mix of mechanics like betting, hand management and bluffing! Let’s take a look at how the game plays and if it’s right up your alley.

Game Overview

In Gladiatores, you take on the role of a gladiator school owner where you compete for glory in the arena.  You can play over a single session or over multiple sessions called “Season Mode”. Each session is a melee battle among the active gladiators, a chance to showcase your deadly skills!

“It is estimated that more than 100 gladiator schools (ludi gladiatori) existed in the Roman Empire with at least one in every major town and city”


Accumulate the most glory and be crowned the best gladiatorial school! Glory can be gained through killing rival gladiators, betting on the winner and by taking the favor of the crowd.

The Gladiators

There are 5 unique gladiators in the base game of Gladiatores. Each comes with their unique combat cards and a special ability.

Basic Flow

To start the game, randomly choose a Ludus school and take a set of player components in front of you. Now is the time to select if either the single event mode or the Season mode, depending on how long you want the game to last.

Setting up the Event

Before playing an event you have to go through these steps:

  • Reveal a new event. Such a card depicts the amount of glory available for this game.
  • Choose a gladiator, taking their deck of cards along with 5 more combat cards from the various decks (Attack, Defense and Effect).
  • Play with the Sponsors Module, where you get to pick a Sponsor card which gives you a unique one-time use effect!
  • Secretly choose 1 of the 5 Tactic cards that your school comes with. Such a card gives you a beneficial effect for the event.
  • Bet secretly on which gladiator will win the fight!

A player’s turn

On your turn, you get to either choose another gladiator to attack or discard one of your cards and draw a new one. To be able to attack an opponent you must have and play an Attack card against them. Then, the defender gets the opportunity to play a legit defensive card as a counter. Most attacks can be countered by specific cards and some can never be blocked! You will both attack and defend until you pass.
The play continuous with the next player’s turn. You will proceed that way until there is only one gladiator left standing, thus ending the event.

Game End

If you are playing over multiple events you just have to reset the game and start over. The only cards that get discarded and won`t be available in future events are the used Tactic and Event cards.

Player Elimination

There are two ways to collapse in a fight, out of exhaustion and out of… death. The first will happen if you end up using all your cards and the second by losing all your wounds (you start with 4). In both cases you are out of the game and can`t win the active event, it’s not an easy life after all!

Gaining Glory (VP)

There are three ways in the game to gain victory points:

  1. Winning the event or being the runner-up will score you points, as expected.
  2. A successful bet, on the winning gladiator, will score you points.
  3. The crowd’s favor. This is a side-mechanic in the game that lets you gather rose petal tokens representing the crowd’s enthusiasm. These petals will grant you victory points according to the active event card and there are multiple ways to gain them. For example, by wounding or killing an opponent, using your gladiator’s special ability and gaining them from certain combat cards. After all, the crowd is here for the spectacle!

Who is this game for?

I believe there are two key factors here, its strong theme and highly interactive nature. So, if you like the gladiators’ Era this game will surely give you the tense feel of the arena fights. Having a lot of “take-that” elements is to be expected, killing each other in an arena wasn’t a peaceful thing, ever. The hand management aspect of the game seems to let you get tactical and have some meaningful choices in battle. Lastly, the small additions of betting and winning over the crowd might give it that extra push for a fulfilling experience.

KS Campaign

BadCat Games created a clean campaign with four pledges. The basic £2 for the support, £38 for the base game, £50 for the deluxe edition and the last one for retailers. The campaign page I find professional and well-made as it contains all the information needed. Their graphics will show you what you get, how the game plays and what reviewers have to say. In addition, the rulebook is available if you prefer to read the whole thing, something many creators don`t offer. Lastly, please note that they can`t ship games to Russia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan.


We also had the chance for an Interview with the creators of the game that will offer you some interesting insights! Make sure to check out their campaign if you find the concept interesting.

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Theofilos K

=Teo K. here= -Freelance game designer. -Ex Game Guru. -Seasonal board game instructor. Topics I like: gamification, game theory, philosophy, phycology. As you may assume, I am a board game addict and will try to share my passion and experience in the Industry with all that love this hobby!

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