Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis, arena combat for 1-4 players

Created by Nocturnal Media

Each gladiator has a unique card deck in this huge board game where historical accuracy meets thrilling tabletop tactics & action.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis LIVES!
over 5 years ago – Mon, Nov 26, 2018 at 01:57:35 PM

Hello, my name is Jim Trunzo, the designer of Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis. 

Contact Me At: [email protected]

I’m contacting all owners of the game for three reasons: (1) to let you know that the game has not been abandoned; (2) that there are more products in which you might be interested to add variety to your game and get more use out of it; and (3) to inform you that a stand-along (or companion) product entitled Lanista: Gladiator II is in development.  

Some of you might know the story behind Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis and the tragedy that happened soon after the second Kickstarter campaign. However, many of you may not. Briefly, Stewart Wieck, sole owner of Nocturnal Media, produced several of my game designs, with plans to do several others. Nocturnal Media was expanding rapidly, and Stewart had purchased part ownership in a game store, and he had either purchased the rights to a number of defunct games, with the intention of reviving them; or entered into deals that brought companies under Nocturnal Media’s umbrella. 

Nocturnal Media’s future looked bright. Stewart, age 49, apparently in good health, went to fencing class for a light workout. He completed his workout and dropped to the floor. Stewart, to the shock of all, passed away at that very moment.  

After all those involved with Nocturnal Media recovered from the tragic death, we had to move on. My game designs no longer had a producer. In lieu of money owed, I received the rights to my games and all unused stock. With over 1800 games sold and 250 still shrink-wrapped, I’m of the belief that there is still an audience for the gladiator game. To that end, I’ve published a website, to support the product. 

The website contains a number of free downloads that are essential if you still break open the game for a match. The downloads include all the errata that was going to go into the second edition of the game; has unpublished rules for the use of animals against the Bestiarius; and rules for the use of the Noxii, those unfortunates who are condemned to death in the arena. The Bestiarius and the Noxii were part of an expansion that included the Hoplomachus and the Dimachaerus, all still available. Eventually, a free download of revised rules will become available. Currently, I keep five or six copies of each style of gladiator decks in stock. Along with those, are card decks for Persus and Ferro, two legendary gladiators who have won the Rudis but continue to fight in the arena. Other products available include a set of 32 rated gladiators around whom you can build a stable of gladiators; a deck of famous gladiators, who lived and fought in the arena (including Spartacus); and extra Arena Action Decks. 

For a brief time, as an introduction to Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis, I have lowered the price of the game from $59.99 to $39.99 plus postage. This price drop will remain in effect until January 1, 2019. 

Lanista: Gladiator II is a companion game in some sense but a stand-alone product for those who are more excited about running a ludus than just fighting bouts in the arena. In Lanista: Gladiator II, you are put in charge of a school for gladiators (the ludus) in the hinterlands of the Roman Empire. Through shrewd business moves, development of feared gladiators, political maneuvering and back-stabbing, your goal is to gain enough Prestige Points to eventually move into a grand ludus near Rome and have your gladiators requested as “entertainment” in the Colosseum of Rome itself.

Lanista: Gladiator II can be played by 1 to 6 players, but the sweet spot is 3 or 4. It has the kind of depth that you find in true role-playing games, including marrying (for either love or position), having children and building a dynasty. 

The game has over 100 Events that guide the action: outbreaks of disease, complete rules for conducting a slave rebellion, and decisions that go into shaping your persona however your like. Be an honest businessman and show your loyalty to Rome by reporting those who would fix the games; or bribe Roman nobles to make sure your gladiators will have a primary spot in the next arena contests. Be a cruel taskmaster and impress the Romans and earn Prestige, but possibly pay for your cruelness by inciting your gladiators to revolt. Be a more benevolent Dominus and reward those who help your ludus prosper, but potentially earn a reputation for being soft and easy to manipulate. How you role-play your lanista is up to you. 

Combat takes one of two forms in Lanista: Gladiator II: quick combat that allows you to fight contests in five minutes or melees involving a dozen gladiators in fifteen minutes. The other form of combat is to use Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis to decide the outcome of a gladiatorial bout. Mix and match: use the quick rules for combat in Lanista: Gladiator II to narrow the field and save the blow-by-blow excitement of Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis for major matches involving your very best gladiators. 

Hire better trainers to improve you own gladiators. Purchase improved armor and weapons. Pay someone to taint the food of your opponent’s gladiators right before a match. Buy beautiful tapestries, jewels, and statues to upgrade your home and, when entertaining important guests, impress them with your exquisite tastes, possibly earning Prestige Points with every decision you make. 

However, without question, your most important task will be managing your sestertii. Everything costs money. Keeping your school running, paying taxes, buying new slaves, repairing your home and your ludus, putting physicians, teachers and guards on retainers. It’s always something. Managing your finances will cause you more stress than watching your gladiators in fights to the death in the arena. 

Thankfully there are many ways to earn coin, although having your gladiators be victorious in the arena is the best way. Investments and gambling can fill your coffers, too. And that’s good because going into debt is a dangerous and ultimately costly experience. It’s a risky practice to borrow money from other player lanistas, to seek out loans from the money merchants, or to visit the Black Market in the dark of night if you’re desperate and can’t come up with enough sestertii any other way! 

Lanista: Gladiator II can be played in as little as an hour or, in an extended campaign, for months at a time. More details on Lanista: Gladiator II will be provided on in the days to come. In conclusion, I hope that my efforts will provide those of you who backed Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis and its follow-up more variety of play and more enjoyment of my game design. Fill free to contact me if you have any questions by messaging me through the website.


Shipping is preparing to start!
over 6 years ago – Tue, Nov 07, 2017 at 09:25:04 AM


Please finalize your address in BackerKit! We'll begin shipping the add-on decks in the next few weeks!

If you've lost or need to recover your survey, please go to this link:


New Jim Trunzo Game!
over 6 years ago – Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 01:36:08 PM

Hi folks!

We wanted to reach out and let you know that Jim Trunzo has a exciting new game on Kickstarter!

You can see it HERE!

Thanks for all your support!

New Gladiators Available for Pre-Order
almost 7 years ago – Thu, May 04, 2017 at 08:35:37 AM

Ferro, the Widowmaker. The second Legendary Gladiator.
Ferro, the Widowmaker. The second Legendary Gladiator.


If you missed the 1-week project last month for new gladiator decks, then you can still place a pre-order for them via the BackerKit pledge manager:

Also available through this pre-order page are all of the currently available decks (and copies of the core game) at a slight discount from the rates on our website. So if you set Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis aside for a time, now is a great time to come back to it and prepare for the new decks!

If you place an order for currently available items only, then please send me a message via Kickstarter or email Nocturnal Media at [email protected] to let us know that your order is ready for shipment. We'll get it packed and shipped pronto!

All orders will also include a free copy of the errata cards we printed to replace a handful of cards in the core game and some of the expansion decks.

In the mood for something less intense than GQR?

Please consider supporting our 15-minute play-time micro-game The Moods of the Mad King that's on Kickstarter now.


New Gladiators on Kickstarter Now!
about 7 years ago – Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 02:56:57 PM

One Week Only!

We're live now with a project to introduce new gladiators to Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis! But it's for one week only, so please look now!

We're adding five new decks!

  • Bestarius — a gladiator who fought wild animals.
  • Dimachaerus— a rare, poorly documented dual sword-wielding foe.
  • Hoplomachus — dressed like a Greek hoplite and armed with shield and spear.
  • Noxii + beasts — criminals and prisoners forced onto the sands, often to face animals like the bear, bull and lion included in this deck.
  • Ferro "the Widowmaker" — our second "legendary" gladiator.

We also have a series of stretch goals that will offer up to 76 more gladiator cards!

If you've enjoyed GQR then I hope you'll support the new project and spread the news.