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Author Topic: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...  (Read 171949 times)

Offline Ray Rivers

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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #945 on: September 17, 2022, 04:27:32 PM »
A fantastic backdrop for gaming!  :-*

Well done!

Offline Muzfish4

  • Mad Scientist
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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #946 on: September 18, 2022, 02:43:22 AM »
Looks terrific, mate!

It must really enhance the playing experience.

Offline Furt

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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #947 on: September 18, 2022, 08:41:09 AM »
Thanks all.  :)

It must really enhance the playing experience.

Yeah it certainly enhances the experience and makes it much more of an event.
“A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.”

http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com/


Offline Eithriall

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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #948 on: September 18, 2022, 09:55:38 AM »
 :-* Whoa, fantastic arena! Nice job.

As said before, I wish to write some thoughts about the last version of Bots and if you are not allergic to chance and love the oiled chests of gladiators then this game is for you.

I really love the new version of this game as the atmosphere of the Bots I knew is still there, because the game really tries to take into account the historical and cultural dimension of the gladiature. I like the changes that have been made to the rules. The disappearance of skills and the defense system with dice and parry tokens are good things but let's have a closer look.

The theme first of all, approached with a real historical approach far from the clichés conveyed by the cinema or other supports. I love ancient history, I love Roman history and I have a passion for gladiators as you may have seen in the ancient messages of this subject. And very clearly, Frank managed to integrate a multitude of details and historical information giving the game a real historicity without taking the risk of disgusting the neophytes.
This approach is felt both in the rules of the campaign, as well as in the technical approach of the fights.

Let us talk about the rules, which are pretty straightforward, well written and not confusing. I am not an anglophone by birth, but the rules leave little room for interpretation. With my daughter we didn't have any problems understanding and playing the game.

The gameplay is very fun and once the rules are assimilated, the game is very fluid and rather fast. The central interest of the system is in the action dice that solve the actions of the characters. This is always the time when my daughter is the most excited, more than when we are throwing dice to attack or defend. Therefore, the use of custom dice brings this phase of play more enjoyable.

The fights are tactical and violent and the fear of bleeding and hypoxia always present, because the fatigue system is well thought out (having forfeited dice is quickly disabling). Of course, there is still a lot of chance in attacking and defending dice, but the system of double 6 and double 1 brings its share of uncertainty. The system of parry tokens is excellent and often requires thinking about their use when the opponent’s attack is weak.

Special attacks are very interesting and add an extra dimension to the thinking leading to the tactics to adopt. We have greatly abused some absolutely necessary attacks in our opinion (Circling, Driven, Heavy), others are to be used at appropriate times (Disarm, Aimed, Relentless), finally we have not yet had time to test some of them (Feint or Throw sand).
Class attacks are also very interesting. Reflecting well the peculiarities of each armatura. Again, we have abused of some of them (ha! the famous Thraex's Hook Around or The Extended Lunge of gladiators using spear or trident).

The whole favour/disfavour, fervour/apathy system works very well. During our tests, no one received apathy token because our fighters have always taken risks by staying in contact or close to the opponent (perhaps too much sometimes). It is clear that combatants are always looking to make the show and to please the public, they know that their life can depend on it. The "play to the crowd" and "provoke" tables are part of the show.

The campaign system is well thought out. The gladiator set-up system is simple and efficient, and the moments when you have to roll the dice on the Munus and the fight event tables always give you a little chill. I really appreciate the addition of the Editor when the opinion of the crowd is divided. Even if that didn’t often save my fighters. I still understood Frank’s desire not to completely stick to the historical reality and to «kill» a little more gladiators than in reality... Players must be afraid for their protégé.

The artworks are great and the overall design of the different sheets really nice (my only regrets are the epic artworks of Dr Mathias on the previous version). 

To me, this game need a pro edition!
I would love to have a great illustrated and well written booklet, some nice cardboard sheets and custom dice...and in my wildest dream some beautiful historical 35mm miniatures. An perhaps more armaturae (as the Scissor, Dimachaerus ou Crupellarius, even if their existence is not very well attested).
« Last Edit: September 20, 2022, 06:04:49 AM by Eithriall »
"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”Robert E. Howard, The Tower of The Elephant, 1933

Offline Furt

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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #949 on: September 20, 2022, 12:03:39 AM »
Thanks very much for the review of where Blood on the Sands stands in your opinion at this point Franck.

Your efforts play testing and documenting it here on this post is most appreciated. It is such a big thrill for me to see people playing and enjoying BotS again!

The artworks are great and the overall design of the different sheets really nice (my only regrets are the epic artworks of Dr Mathias on the previous version). 

Of course the artwork used in the play test document is used without the author's permission - just an example of what would be required and style I find appealing.

When I was redesigning BotS one of my biggest concerns was the fact that I'd be no doubt making Dr Mathias' amazing art obsolete. Although there have been changes the "gladiator dolls" are relatively the same so there is a possibility that Dr Mathias' designs could well still be relevant. 

An perhaps more armaturae (as the Scissor, Dimachaerus ou Crupellarius, even if their existence is not very well attested).

I have early drafts for Dimachaerus, Crupellarius, Scissor (Arbelas) and Veles classes, but they would unlikely be part of the main game. As you say they would of course be more embellished than the more well documented types. The trick is making them interact seamlessly with the existing gladiators.

Offline Eithriall

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 324
  • Ars longa, vita brevis
Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #950 on: September 20, 2022, 06:24:23 AM »
It is such a big thrill for me to see people playing and enjoying BotS again!
No doubt! This game is enjoyable and needs a nice outfit to be perfect.

Of course the artwork used in the play test document is used without the author's permission - just an example of what would be required and style I find appealing.
Ok, I get it. Are you in search of an illustrator ?

I have early drafts for Dimachaerus, Crupellarius, Scissor (Arbelas) and Veles classes, but they would unlikely be part of the main game. As you say they would of course be more embellished than the more well documented types. The trick is making them interact seamlessly with the existing gladiators.
Ok that's fine. I was talking about this add to get some more fun and vary the gameplay even.

Offline Furt

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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #951 on: September 20, 2022, 08:51:44 AM »
Ok, I get it. Are you in search of an illustrator ?

Depending on where I try to take this, possibly yes.

Offline Muzfish4

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 923
Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #952 on: September 24, 2022, 04:06:23 AM »
Played a (very) quick bout the other night.

Just for a changes – and to give the Shadowforge figures an outing - it was ladies night at the Ludus for the classic match-up of Murmilla vs Thracia.

Scorpia donned her fish-crested helmet and squared up against Furia.  Their respective western (Gaulish for Furia) and eastern (Egypt for Scorpia) origins didn't matter as both fighters were gaolbirds in the arena for former misdeeds. Scorpia was a hard hitter being both Strong and Brutal but the crowd adored her for it. By way of contrast, Furia was large but her size belied her lithe moves (and cancelled out her Defence -1 from Large) as she was also Agile.


Above: Contestants face off - Furia does not like the look of Scorpia

Things went wrong for Furia straight away as Scorpia had moved with confidence as she strode onto the sands and this intimidated her. Not to be put off, she gained the jump on Scorpia but resolved to play the long game and incurred some boos from the crowd while she gathered her thoughts and recovered her temporarily forfeited die and elected to stay put and incur a disfavour token.

Scorpia seemed to be playing a very different game as she advanced and led off with a feint, drawing out a defence die and followed up with a flourish, quite literally. It looked a little awkward (hit roll of 6) so Furia didn't use her Parmula and swayed out of the way, but misjudged and ended up wearing a stab to the head. The helmet helped, but couldn't stop the blow drawing blood. The crowd liked this and Scorpia then played on it to ham it up and acquire a fervour token while the Thracia withdrew shaking her head furiously to get the blood out of her eyes.


Above: Scorpia's playsheet - plenty of tokens in play but all works well

Scorpia was still playing the arena crowd for laughs and in so doing again lost the initiative. Furia decided it was time for a bit of an offensive and threw a series of attacks at the Murmilla. Standard attacks, a circling attack and the Thracian specialty of hooking around  were all successfully fended off by the big Scutum. Scorpia was sizing up her opponent as she weathered the storm and noticed a deficiency in technique in the way Furia overextended her Sica when striking and responded with an aimed strike that hit and hit well with the Parmula a vital second too slow in defence (attack roll of 10 versus modified defence of 7) the aimed attack had some options where it wanted to land and the lead arm looked the best bet. The straight blade of the Gladius cut through armour, flesh and bone like butter (damage roll of 10 +2 for differential of 3, + for Large and +1 for Brutal) and was a straight-outmkill. Furia lost her arm and her life as the savage blow had her pumping out her lifeblood onto the sands while Scorpia exalted in the adulation of the crowd.


Above: the fatal blow is about to land

Match to Scorpia in less than two rounds. She walks out of the arena with 5 experience, so remains a Tiro but the fans seemed to like what they have seen so far and she may have a real future in the Ludus Marius.

Thoughts

•   The game went well and played pretty instinctively. This opponent had played earlier editions before but like the changes to the v1.4.

•   My opponent was playing for the mid-game and prioritised getting a full dice pool and retaining his stable of parry tokens over putting in an attack in turn one. The disfavour token didn’t end up mattering but putting in a couple of unanswered attacks early on really helped me.

•   Feint remains a very effective attack in drawing out a defence die/parry token and informed my opponent’s decision not to parry what ended up being a nasty head wound – and allowed me to gain a fervour token from the Flourish attack.

•   The rules allow for matches to be concluded pretty quickly, so not all games are predictable by length. This gives good variety in that things can go wrong pretty quickly, so every decision is important. No point playing for the mid-game and ignoring the here-and-now of the early game.

•   The playsheet works well but my arts-and-crafts are a bit crap in that the circular tokens are by no means neat.

•   The playsheet is great and saved leafing through the rules – especially for newer players.

•   Question: Most special attacks are described as making a ‘Standard attack’ – can this special attack be supplement with another attack Action die (i.e. a ‘4’) before the roll to add +1 to the attack roll or is this option only for ‘standard attacks’ made using an Action Die of ‘4’?

Another good game generated by BoTS and the speed in which a result was reached suggests that the game is by no means formulaic and poor decisions/poor luck  early on can make recovery  very difficult.

Offline Furt

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Re: Blood on the Sands **NEW** Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...
« Reply #953 on: September 29, 2022, 11:56:05 AM »
Just got back from Chicago Muzfish4 and read your report. I've had a few bouts go this way for sure and end even quicker than yours did.

I have those Shadowforge minis too.

Question: Most special attacks are described as making a ‘Standard attack’ – can this special attack be supplement with another attack Action die (i.e. a ‘4’) before the roll to add +1 to the attack roll or is this option only for ‘standard attacks’ made using an Action Die of ‘4’?

Yes, you can boost any attack roll by spending a "4" for a +1.

 

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