What're you looking at!
Despite the low rating for this game, my wife and I looked forward to getting and playing this game. After a couple of plays we found that there was quite a bit to this game, and that it was much more than just a dicefest.
The drafting of gladiators for your teams is quite creative with only two players as you can both pretty much choose what you want, and we have tried some pretty cool combinations. Here are the teams we chose for this session.
Sw = swordsman
Pr = prongmen
Sp = spear holders
Sh = shield carriers
Nc = Net Casters
Team 1: Sp, Pr, Sw, Sp
Team 2: Sw, Sw, Sw, Sh
Team 3: Nc, Sw, Sw, Pr
Team 4: Sw, Sp, Nc, Sw
Team 1: Sw, Sw, Sw, Sh
Team 2: Nc, Sp, Sw, Nc
Team 3: Nc, Pr, Sp, Sw
Team 4: Sw, Sh, Nc, Nc
In drafting teams, variety is important. You need a heavy hitter team with a lot of swordsman, a mobile attack team with spear holders and netcasters to double up on your opponent, and teams that work well fighting animals (netcasters play no role against animals).
In our initial set up, we only had contact between two teams, and I was able to place some weaker animals close to my teams.
First the two teams in contact with each other went at it, and my team got wiped out, after only taking out two of my wife's team members.
After that we focussed on animals. Animals are an important part of the strategy in a two player game. It can allow a team to move, or not, and thus force your opponent to come to you. Penny bagged two lions, while got a bear and a bull.
That freed up my heavy hitter team, and they went after one of Penny's lighter teams. I wasn't too successful here, so I decided to work on some more animals, and freed up another team.
Penny was fighting a very tough bear, who just wouldn't die, and took two full hits, reducing her team to two gladiators. This was my big chance! I moved in on the injured team and wiped it out. Then I was able to put two teams on one of Penny's still in the corner. Penny only had two teams left, but having the advantage of an extra team and more movement, I was soon able to ereduce her to one team.
Her last team had some tough animals around it and I had not helped her by fighting any of them. She still had a bear with two shields beside her when I moved in two teams against her. Her last team had two netcasters and it did not go down easily. The netcasters are very powerful against other gladitorial teams, although not so good agaisnt animals.
Finally, her last team was defeated, and I won by a large margin as I still had the remains of three teams to put in my holding pen
The key to victory, however, was being able to move in on her team that lost two gladiators to the bear. Having a team free was crucial, and that is something to set up for at the beginning of the game, by ensuring that you have teams with only one or two enemies adjacent to them.
No doubt there is a lot of dice rolling, but being able to capitalize on your good rolls, and your opponent's bad roles is all tactics and strategy.