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:

HTH Deck Add-On (+ Add-On Summary)
about 7 years ago – Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 12:48:05 PM

Just one update today, I promise. Unless we fund before midnight, in which case you'll definitely (briefly) hear from me again!

Add-On Summary

Along with your copy of the game, the following add-ons are available:

1. Famous Gladiators = $3 each / $10 set of 4

Each famous gladiator has a character card plus two unique Attack cards and two unique Defend cards. Total of 5 cards per gladiator, or 20 cards for the complete set of four.

2. Barbarian vs. Dire Wolf = $7 (or free!)

There are two character cards based on artwork from our "sister project" Immortal. The god Tyr is a barbarian and Fenrir Wolf is a dire wolf. Each of these two character cards is supported by five unique Attack cards and five unique Defend cards for a total of 22 cards. You may add this mini-deck for $7, or if you back both GQR and Immortal at the $49+ level, then you'll receive this free (plus the $5 Roman Pantheon free from Immortal).

3. **NEW!** HTH Deck = $12

Details about this new add-on below. 30 cards usable by any gladiator to supplement his deck of Attack and Defend cards.

4. Add All Three = $25 (or $20 if supporting Immortal)

All three add-ons (Famous Gladiators, Barbarian vs. Dire Wolf and HTH) for $25, or if you're getting the Immortal-art deck free, then Famous Gladiators and HTH for $20.

5. Shipping

Yes, shipping is effectively an add-on in support of the project funding. I started the project not collecting it, but many backers have added it to boost our total. Thanks for the help if you do this.

6. Roleplaying Games

Digital copies of lots of great RPG material is available both as a pledge and effectively as an add-on. Dozens of books are only $2 each (and will never be so low again!). The current rulebook for the classic King Arthur Pendragon (a platinum seller on DTRPG!) is only $5. Links to lists of these books are toward the bottom of the main project page.

Some Sample Pledges

Not saying you can't do math, but here are a couple examples, starting with a Case #1 that probably applies to the majority of you (since shipping to USA, EU and Canada is all the same!):

Case #1: Full version of the game ($50 or $55) + all three add-ons (+$25), plus shipping in the USA (+$18). TOTAL = $93 or $98 (depending on Early Bird status)

Case #2: Full version of the game ($50 or $55) + backing Immortal at $49 or more + HTH Deck & Famous Gladiators combo (+$20) + shipping to EU (+$18). TOTAL = $88 or $93 (depending on Early Bird status) to GQR & $49+ to Immortal

Case #3: Full version of the game ($50 or $55) + Famous Gladiators (+$10) + King Arthur Pendragon rulebook PDF (+$5) + shipping to Canada (also just +$18!). TOTAL = $83 or $88 (depending on Early Bird status)

Now: The New HTH Deck Add-On

The Hand-to-Hand Deck is a supplement to Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis. This 30-card deck will allow you to conduct boxing matches or wrestling matches or no-holds brawling between either the two trained boxers and two trained wrestlers included or with the gladiators included with main game. If you want your matches bloodier and a bit more deadly, equip your combatants with cestus, the ancient equivalent of brass knuckles, or go to the extreme and arm them with spiked cestus. Expand your day at the arena with the Hand-to-Hand Deck, using it for matches before the main events or to settle disputes between the gladiators in your stable by letting them brawl, without armor or weapons.

Sprint to the Finish

We've broken through $19k, so just $1k to go before Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis is funded! So close! Thank you everyone for all your help, all your pledge managing, all your questions.

This game is the start of something really fun. Jim has spent countless hours perfecting these first four gladiators. I'm anxious to set him loose on all sorts of new stuff.

Immortal is also nearly within $1000 of funding, and I'm definitely pulling for David over there as well. If you back both games, please remember to message both David and I so you're certain to get your free cards!

Two final things...

Go become a fan of GQR on its BGG page.


Become a fan of Nocturnal Media on Facebook.

about 7 years ago – Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 09:22:24 AM

This is a fun update, so I hope you have a moment to wade through it. There's a lot here to benefit you too, so dig in!

I'd like to draw your attention to Immortal, another tabletop game project that's currently live on Kickstarter. I've communicated with project creator David Sanhueza for several days now, and we've had a lot of fun putting together something special for the backers of both our games.

First, though, let me remark on what an odd parallel David and Immortal are to myself and Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis. Both projects have the same deadline, virtually the same funding goal, have been within a $1000 of each other for weeks, and in a fashion, both deal with immortals. In David's case, true immortals, and with gladiators, men who sought to be immortalized upon the sands. Like myself, David is a serial backer of other projects on Kickstarter (100 projects) and we've both already had a few successful projects of our own.

Importantly, Immortal is a card-based game with a subject matter I believe will appeal to most people interested in Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis.

Given those parallels, it's only natural that something cool would result, right?

Gladiators in Immortal

Immortal and Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis are sharing a few pieces of artwork with the other project and both games are adding new content for our Kickstarter backers. Immortal is incorporating the artwork for two of the Famous Gladiators, Flamma and Spartacus. I don't have completed artwork to share, but he's previewing sketches of these two gladiators in his own update, and here they are for your benefit as well. (Color versions are not finished.)

Flamma, the famous secutor.
Flamma, the famous secutor.
Spartacus, the famous thraex.
Spartacus, the famous thraex.

Immortals in Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis

In return, we're using the awesome images of the god Tyr and Fenrir Wolf that appear in Immortal. A Norse god and a mythological wolf don't have a logical place in the authentic historical basis of Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis, but Jim and I reasoned these two characters from Immortal make a really fearsome barbarian and dire wolf (an Ice Age survivor, no doubt!).

Here's what Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis graphics designer Aileen Miles did with the artwork:

Tyr as Barbarian
Tyr as Barbarian
Fenrir as dire wolf.
Fenrir as dire wolf.

Aileen also created this card back for our special mini-deck, GQR: Barbarian vs. Dire Wolf:

New Deck is a $7 Add-On

This new mini-deck is available as a $7 Add-On. It features these two character cards, plus five Attack and five Defend cards for each of them, for a total of 22 cards. The only other thing you need to stage this battle is the same 50-card Arena Action Deck that's used for the gladiatorial contests. The barbarian and dire wolf will be designed to battle each other, and while Jim has indicated they won't work flawlessly with other gladiators, I know I'll give it a try anyway!

Also a New $18 Reward

This mini-game deck is also available as it a stand-alone $18 pledge reward. This is for the 11-card barbarian, 11-card dire wolf, and 50-card Arena Action Deck. This is not a substitute for the nuanced game of gladiatorial combat that Jim has developed over the last year, but for backers who are currently Spectators, or perhaps for backers of Immortal who want to try Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis but don't wish to support another entire game right now, it's a less expensive option that will still be very valuable and appreciated support for our project.

Or Get it Free

Better news still, if you pledge to support both Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis at any level that includes the full version of the game ($50 reward and higher) and you also back Immortal at the deluxe game level or higher ($49 reward), then I'll send you this new 22-card deck as a free bonus. So, if you're already backing Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis then add Immortal, and if you're already supporting Immortal, do the same for Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis and this Add-On is free for you.

Note: If you back both games, PLEASE message both of the projects. This will make it easier for David and I to confirm the mutual supporters.

Note that Immortal also ship customs-friendly to all the same locations as Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis, so international backers are in good hands with David too.

What About the Add-On to Immortal?

Immortal is also gaining a new Add-On as a result of this arrangement. David is creating a new Roman Pantheon Pack using our images from Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis and some artwork from the existing Greek Pantheon. This is a new 18-card deck that he's offering as a $5 Add-On to Immortal.

And there's good news from David as well! If you back both of these games at the levels mentioned above ($55 and $49 or higher), then you also receive the Roman Pantheon Pack as a free bonus.

That's $12 of Add-Ons to two games as a free bonus in thanks for your support!

We Appreciate Our Backers

Kickstarter is a community of supporters, and while your pledge support is the most important and obviously irreplaceable, I'm glad that David and I could work something out that benefits all of our backers... and hopefully each other's project as well.

So please consider backing Immortal and thus gain this new $7 Add-On to Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis as a free bonus AND the new Roman Pantheon Pack for Immortal as a free bonus! If you're not interested in the full game of Immortal, then even $1 in that project's Tip Jar is a big help. Every pledge helps boost a project's visibility to other potential backers.

Ultimately, I hope you'll have fun with GQR: Barbarian vs. Dire Wolf. None of this effort is worth it if no one gets to enjoy the games!

Short Link To Immortal

Flavorful Attack and Defend Cards
about 7 years ago – Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 07:01:27 AM

We're busy putting lots of pieces together to make a big final push starting Monday morning, but you're so used to being inundated with updates from me that you may be suffering withdrawal. Can't have that!

So, how about a list of some of the Attack and Defend options for each of the gladiators? This list gives you some idea of the kinds of maneuvers at the disposal of these warriors and keeps you in the gladiatorial mood!

The Retiarius

  • Net Toss
  • Net Whip
  • 2-Hand Trident Thrust
  • Leaping Trident Thrust
  • Shield Pull
  • Dive and Roll
  • Spin and Trident Counter
  • Trident Weapon Pin

The Secutor

  • Strong Gladius Thrust
  • Shield Bull Rush
  • Shield Foot Slam
  • Gladius Forward Slash
  • Shield Rush and Thrust
  • Attack Trident or Spear
  • Escape the Net
  • Shield Block and Counter Thrust
  • Protect the Flank

The Murmillo

  • Shield Blast
  • Leaping Gladius Thrust
  • Frenzied Gladius Attack
  • Gladius Backhand Slash
  • Duck and Counter
  • "Testudo" Defense
  • Shield Block and Drive

The Thraex

  • Quick Sica Thrust
  • Sica Flank Swipe
  • Sica Double Slash
  • Stunning Shield Swing
  • Shield Smash and Thrust
  • Shield Block, Spin and Thrust
  • Deflect and Move
  • Sica Block and Shield Counter

Q&A 3: Movement/Facing & Murmillo v. Thraex
about 7 years ago – Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 06:28:03 AM

In response to Q&A 2, backer Casiodorus posted this comment:

I would like more explanations about facing and movement, since I found the beta-rules confusing enough considering the ways the opponent who is NOT in control can react by moving and turning. And I think I got the feeling of the way retiarius and secutor fight each other, but I would like to know more about thraex and murmillo, please.

Designer Jim Trunzo responds:

The beta rules posted contained a Movement Table that had yet to be finalized and I have no doubt that part of the confusion was caused by contradictions in the rules and that table. Of course, that has been addressed but I intend to make both Movement and Facing clearer, and include some diagrams and so on. Let me try to quickly summarize the basics:


1. Each gladiator has Movement attribute of between 2 and 5. The numbers represent the maximum number of hexes that a gladiator can move on his turn.

2. Assuming that he has no obstacles in his way, he can move in any direction and change the direction as often as he wishes within his movement allotment. Of course, if he changes directions, he changes facing as well.

3. Basic movement limits can be augmented by paying the price of a loss of stamina. A gladiator may run or even sprint to move extra hexes but the exertion costs him dearly if he attempts to do so frequently. For example, let’s say a “heavy” gladiator (light, medium and heavy classifications are determined by the amount and type of armor worn) has a Movement Attribute of 2. However, he decides that rather than move with normal speed, he is going to run and move an extra hex to close the distance between himself and his opponent. Running costs him the loss of two (-2) stamina points, according to the Movement Table.

4. Moving backwards brings with it the risk of tripping and falling; the faster a gladiator attempts to move backwards, the greater the risk.

5. Once a gladiator moves adjacent to an opponent, he is considered “engaged” and movement changes dramatically.

6. One exception to #5 presents itself when more than two gladiators are on the sand. If a gladiator is already engaged with an opponent, a third gladiator could move past him to get to a fourth gladiator, even though the third gladiator passes through an open hex adjacent to the two gladiators already engaged to do so. A diagram will be added to the rules to illustrate this possibility.

7. Movement options that present themselves once a gladiator is engaged with an opponent include specialty moves like “Gain a Flank” and “Break Contact”. Both give a gladiator certain benefits but bring with them risks, including presenting a gladiator’s back to an opponent and suffering an “attack of opportunity” or failing to gain a flanking position and either suffering a defensive penalty or losing control.

8. Other movement is implied or covered by either the Attack or Defend cards, like rolling away from an attack or dodging or leaping in the air, and so on.

9. Basic movement can be decreased by leg wounds that affect mobility.

10. A gladiator whose stamina reaches 0 is considered exhausted and unless he regains stamina, he can’t move, other than to make a facing change.


1. A gladiator may make a single facing change each time he moves into a new hex. He doesn’t have to and if he is traveling in a straight line, he wouldn’t want to do so.

2. If a gladiator does not move from the hex which he occupies at the beginning of a turn and is not engaged in combat, he may make as many facing changes as he has movement hexes. Therefore, a gladiator who has a Movement Attribute of two and doesn’t move out of his current hex can make up to two facing changes. If the gladiator has a movement rating of 4, he can make 4 facing changes.

3. A gladiator who is adjacent to an opponent may make a single facing change at the beginning of a turn. This must be done prior to a Control Check. This rule prevents one gladiator from gaining a flanking or rear advantage and automatically keeping it as long as he maintains control.

Those are the basics of movement and facing. Special instances not covered by the above may occur but will be covered separately in the rules or explained on the Attack/Defend cards that create the circumstance. For example, a successful Bull Rush, where the gladiator plows into his opponent with his shield, might result in an opponent being knocked back a hex. The attacking gladiator may move into the hex just emptied as part of the Bull Rush.

The Murmillo and the Thraex

It’s difficult to explain all the nuances of this pairing, but I’ll at least attempt to give some insight into a bout between the two. The murmillo is considered a heavy gladiator in Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis and the thraex is classified as a medium gladiator. The extreme differences in armor, movement and physical makeup found with the retiarius (a light gladiator) vs. secutor (heavy) pairing isn’t nearly as evident when a murmillo takes on a thraex.

The armor differential between the thraex and murmilo isn’t as important as the difference in the shields they used. The murmillo’s shield was bigger, heavier and unwieldy. Still, the thraex is more mobile and his curved sword, the sica, is designed to maximize the chances of a thrust or slash working its way around the edges of the murmillo’s shield.

When the two men fight in Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis, the Thraex’s attacks already have the sica advantage built in via increased accuracy and To Hit numbers. There are also special attacks available to the Thraex that play into his strengths.

While some of the tactics of the retiarius can be used when playing the thraex, you’ll find far less movement taking place between the thraex and the murmillo than between the retiarius and the secutor. Still, subtle movement will be in play as the thraex tries to gain the advantage of flanking moves.

Another big difference is between the helmet’s of the two heavy gladiators. The helmet of the secutor was so tight as to be claustrophobic, and the two tiny eye-holes virtually eliminate peripheral vision. The secutor’s hearing was also impaired by the helmet he wore so no audible clues about movement and position of an opponent could be discerned. Not so the helmet of the murmillo, whose range of vision and hearing were as good as that of his opponent, the thraex. What game players need to keep in mind is that the Romans, as a general rule, didn’t care who won or who lost as long as they were entertained by exciting and competitive matches and a “bit of blood”. Not that the crowds didn’t have their favorites; they did, both by name and by style. However, the emphasis of the main bouts was competitiveness. That’s why the pairings matched two styles whose strengths and weaknesses offset one another.

In the case of the thraex, who didn’t move as well as the retiarius, they gave him more armor; in the case of the murmillo, they didn’t handicap him with the helmet that the secutor was forced to wear. Murmillo vs. retiarius bouts occurred but it was both infrequent and undesirable because the heavily armored murmillo, without the penalty of the helmet worn by the secutor, had too much of an advantage. In fact, the secutor was a spin-off from the murmillo to make a match between a heavy gladiator and a light gladiator more competitive.

Finally, a word on the “bit of blood” statement above: a gladiator show was usually a day-long affair. Without going into all the stages, the major blood-letting was done earlier in the day. Criminals were brutally executed in one way or another (some disgustingly inventive); captured enemy soldiers were given near useless weapons and set upon by highly skilled and heavily armored gladiators; enraged beasts tore each other apart or were offered weaponless offenders to gnaw on. But once the crowd’s bloodlust had been sated, they wanted a different kind of spectacle.

They wanted what we are trying our best to give you: skilled, tactical combat where bloody wounds and even violent and sudden death could occur but were secondary to thrilling fights between trained gladiators, the rock stars of their day.

In Conclusion from Stewart: This may be the final extended Q&A that Jim has time to respond to prior to the end of the project. By all means, if you have specific questions then please pose them and I will answer or get an answer!

Happy Down Under & Original Artwork Pledges
about 7 years ago – Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 10:50:21 AM

Hey! Sorry for all the updates, but I'm busy here putting things in place to make a strong final surge to fund Jim's great gladiator game.

More Shipping News: Everyone Everywhere

I've sorted out about everything I can to get the best rates I can for everyone everywhere, and that now includes, well... everyone everywhere. In particular, you gamers in Australia now have much reduced shipping rates. Only $30 for the full version of the game! I can only match US shipping rates for Canada and EU, but hopefully the marked reduction in the shipping fees for everywhere else will encourage more widespread support for Gladiator: Quest for the Rudis.

New Pledges: Original Artwork by Brian LeBlanc

GQR artist Brian LeBlanc has completed illustrations of eight of the sixteen (not counting the Famous ones) gladiators. These are the four Tyros and four Secundus Palus gladiators, all shown on the main project page (though remember, the Tyro Retiarius is currently shown backwards — he's actually a right-handed net-thrower!).

All eight of these original illustrations are now available in new pledges that include a copy of the full version of the game! Each piece is about 8x10 inches and while it ships separately from your game, that portion of the shipping is included in the pledge. Please message me should you desire the original artwork of more than one of these gladiators. I will make arrangements with you to include an additional amount in your pledge and then I'll remove the appropriate pledge reward options.

This is a great opportunity for gladiator fans in general to secure some excellent artwork featuring historical warriors, and it's a wonderful way to help us reach our funding goal.