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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • The gladiators feel different with unique decks
  • Chaining of the combat cards
  • Bidding mechanism

Might Not Like

  • Very interactive game
  • Combat can feel punishing if you don't have the right cards

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Gladiatores: Blood for Roses Review

Gladiatores Blood for Roses Review

Gladiatores: Blood for Roses is a 2-5 player hand management, bluffing combat game from designer Jason Maclean Jones and published by BadCat Games.

The roar of the crowd is deafening, the gladiators are ready. They step into the arena ready to fight. The gladiators stand at the ready and lock eyes across the sand. Some fancy footwork here, a feint there and a sword smashing on a shield. One gladiator will fall and one will be victorious. Does the gladiator belong to your school or to your opponents? Let's hope that you recruited the right one as your glory depends on it.

Each player plays as a rival ludus (or gladiator school) set in the Roman era. Each player is hoping to impress Caeser by becoming the most glorious fighting school and gain the keys to the Colosseum. To this end, players will bid for the most famous gladiators to battle it out in a card-based combat arena. Each gladiator comes with its own set of unique combat cards which chain together, in sequence, with your opponent's cards. Play cards to attack, counter them with a dodge or counter-strike. Each combatant must impress the crowds with their fighting prowess and skill. Players must outmanoeuvre their opponents with clever card play and abilities to win the prize wreathes, as well as secretly placing bets on the outcome of the fight.

The game is played over a number of rounds that involve three stages

- Bidding - Players will bid for their chosen gladiator

- Combat - The chosen gladiator will fight it out against another by playing cards and using abilities

- Winning - Players will then claim their glory and fame from the event.

My Thoughts

Gladiatores: Blood for Roses is a fast-paced, card combat game where cards can be chained together in a string of fast-paced actions. The cards have actions and abilities and each card can be countered with another card, for the most part. The cards are not only your combat actions but also your endurance. Once you have run out of cards you are out of the combat.

Card Combat

Combat itself is interesting as the gladiator that you bid on and win will determine your combat strategy. Each gladiator has its own deck with different cards and abilities. You can also acquire new cards as the combat progresses from one of three decks. The ultimate aim of the combat and the card play is to earn favour. The more favour you have at the end of the combat the better your rewards. The combat feels different based on which gladiator you are playing with and who your opponent is. I like this variability as it keeps the game interesting and fresh. However, it is worth pointing out that if you are playing against someone who is familiar with each gladiator they might have an advantage against a new player.

The combat is the "meat" of the game and figuring out when to go all out on attack or play a bit more defensively, is very important in determining how well you do. This is even more important in a multiplayer game. If one gladiator has gone all out on an attack and burned through a fair portion of their cards, then they will be weakened for future battles.

Although a combat game, it is all about hand management. The player that does this the best is going to come out on top.

Round After Round

There is a lot of options available to the play in terms of what "type" of game you want to play. You can just play one single event. This is great for a quick gladiator fix. However, you can play multiple rounds/events in a row, which feels like a more satisfying game. This is more interesting because you get to play with more gladiators, each of which have their own ways of playing. This adds more depth to the bidding round. You might have a particular gladiator that you like or want to play with forcing you to spend more than you might normally.

What are your Tactics?

Tactic cards are also another part of the game which give you something else to consider. These are cards that are only available to you once so the timing of when you use them is crucial. Each of these tactic cards will change how the battle progresses in some interesting ways.

The Last Stand

The optional bidding on the outcome, the tactic cards and the sponsors are all things that can be added to the game. This makes it versatile as you can tailor the game to the players. The different gladiators all have unique decks which I really like. Gladiatores is a lot of fun. It can be a quick one and done combat game or you can play multiple events one after another. The chaining of cards together is a great mechanism which adds to the setting of gladiatorial combat. You can also add a bit of banter and trash talking when sending your gladiators into a fight if you really want to get into the spirit of the game.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • The gladiators feel different with unique decks
  • Chaining of the combat cards
  • Bidding mechanism

Might not like

  • Very interactive game
  • Combat can feel punishing if you don't have the right cards

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