Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Gladiators, Arena and First Game of Blood on the Sands


Box of gladiators

28mm and 35mm painted gladiators

Steve Barber Models unpainted resin Gladiator Arena

Blood on the Sands cover - A Quick Start for Plebs

On Wednesday afternoon Craig came over and we played my first game of Blood on the Sands (BotS). These gladiator combat rules by Frank Sultana are still being play tested. Frank who, has posted extensively on the Lead Adventure Forum and his blog Adventures in Lead about these rules, was kind enough to email me a copy of A Quick Start for Plebs. There is Facebook group for those interested in Blood on the Sands. Craig has been involved in the play testing for a while and has a good grasp of the rules and had additional material like the BotS QRS which was very handy.

We played a game using Gripping Beast 35mm Murmillo and Thracian gladiators (designed for Jugulla) with my unpainted Steve Barber Models resin gladiator arena. I have had this arena for about 15 years and some of the stands were damaged and very brittle and had to be repaired with super glue. I still have to bog up the gaps in it before painting it, then there is the audience...

I was pretty lucky with my Action Dice and had the initiative in most turns, and was then able to inflict a slow kill rear leg wound early on. Marcus the Murmillo weathered the storm and inflicted a few flesh wounds in turn. Disaster struck for Titus the Thracian when he rolled snake eyes in an attack which resulted in a Stumble, dropping his sword. After a few anxious dice rolls Titus was able to retrieve it and continue the combat. Marcus was eventually killed after about six turns of back and forth combat.

I have accumulated quite a collection of gladiator rules over the years but BotS exceeds any of these in detail, realism, sheer fun and playability. The card driven Studio Tomahawk gladiator rules Jugulla, have quite a good campaign system for building up a Ludus, but the actual combat between gladiators is quite disappointing. BotS is a really clever set of rules and has me very motivated to play more games and to finish painting my gladiators, arena and audience.

Titus the Thracian makes a Rush Special Attack

 Marcus the Murmillo retreats with
a slow kill rear leg wound

 Titus retreats with a torso flesh wound

 Marcus is eventually killed


  1. Replies
    1. Great fun Ray for one on one gladiator combats.

  2. Impressive gaming with great looking figures.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Michal, the Steve Barber arena is excellent.

  4. Great report Cyrus! Thank you so much for trying out BotS, Impressive collection of Jugula miniatures too.

    1. Thanks Frank. Thank you for developing BotS, easily the best gladiator rules around, and for being so generous in sharing it with play testers!

  5. Great stuff mate. I will pick these up soon I think


  6. Excellent. I've heard really good things about these rules and will be keen to pick up a copy when they are available.

    1. Yes they’re excellent Aaron, really interesting and clever rules for gladiatorial combat.

  7. Sounds like a really interesting set of rules and even unpainted a very impressive arena!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, they are for sure, yes it’s a big job painting it let alone the arena crowd!


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