Welcome to "Adventures in Lead", a blog dedicated to the hobby of miniature wargaming. The figures and terrain on this site are mainly for a campaign set in exotic "Indostan", a distant land bearing remarkable similarities to 18th century India during the Seven Years War. Bits and pieces from other projects may pop up here as well from time to time, including colonials, gladiators, pirates, dinosaur-hunting and even some RPG'ing.
The actual campaign journal and after action reports for the Indostan campaign can be found on their own blog - "Indostan: The Jewel in the Crown", the link to which is found by clicking the small image below-left.
If you do find anything remotely interesting on this blog please leave a comment, it's what keeps these sites going and their authors motivated - Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Morituri Te Salutant - Gladiator Rules

Morituri Te Salutant is a set of gladiatorial combat rules available from Black Hat Miniatures, sold in both book or PDF form. I bought the PDF a while back and only had a chance to try the rules out last Sunday at Dave's new place. 
We quickly launched into a combat between a Samnite and a Thracian, two of the more common of the twelve gladiator types available. The rules were easily grasped by the players and some game tactics were quickly developed. MTS promotes some jockeying for position, which is  really good in a game with only two figures on the whole board. Other rules can result in the gladiators simply walking up to each other and exchanging blows.
The rules IMHO really achieve recreating a gladiatorial combat between two combatants well. Lose the initiative and your opponent controls the flow of the combat. Choose the wrong move and the other guy may  just skewer you. Suffer a heavy hit and the fight is as good as over. Fall down and good luck getting up with your pancreas in place. All pretty realistic results. So all in all a pretty good ruleset.
I have a few gripes. Firstly the rules are a little scattered throughout the book and you need to flip back and forward in search of the more obscure ones - which is admittedly common to many other rule books. The use of tables and matrix's are a little dated, and although they did work, I would have liked to see something a little more elegant. Although the maneuvering of the combatants was good it could lead to some pointless dancing around which resulted in some pretty boring breaks in the action. We were reluctant to just close with the enemy when we knew he could be waiting to cut us down. Again pretty realistic but did it make for a fun game? We also had a go at a multiplayer (3 gladiator)  match as well and had to abandon it because of time, but it was looking like being a long drawn out battle of maneuvering with little real action.
I have created some cards for MTS (something the game was sadly missing) that greatly improves the speed and playability of the game. I am handing them over to Black Hat Miniatures and they should appear in their downloads section in the near future. (They are available now - get them HERE)
So to sum up, I recommend MTS for one on one gladiatorial combats, but anything larger could be a problem.


  1. Great review of the rules. I still need to try out a set for the figures I have. I actually had a chance to pick up Red Sand, Blue Sky at a convention earlier this year. I should've bought it when I had the chance, but the vendor only brought one copy and it was sold by the time I went back for it. Regards, Dean

  2. Hey Dean,
    I've heard good things about Red Sand, Blue Sky but I don't have it. It is available for download fairly cheaply and I do intend on grabbing it soon. The only thing that bothered me was a limited number of rounds determined by a fatigue tracker, which seemed a bit short to me.

  3. Hello. I downloaded your order cards from the Black Hat homepage. They really rock!

    I brought the game to my wargames club, and everybody loves it. Without your cards, I think less gamers would have joined the combats, because they're a bit afraid of secret order writing, but the cards made everything so easy.

    Thanks for your excellent work.

    One little problem I found is the contra-retiarius. Some cards are missing. Could you post the correct pdf, because I don't have the raw version, so it would be hard to make the same cards.


  4. Link to your cards no longer available from Black Hat... All their links are broken. :(

    Can you add a download link here?