Today I’ll be unboxing Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery. This is Gale Force 9′s first foray into board gaming. If the art looks familiar it’s because the game licensed the Spartacus tv show from Starz. Let’s get started shall we?
The game includes a board, 4 Gladiator figures, 4 house cards, 26 dice, 62 market cards, 80 intrigue cards, and 148 tokens.. That’s a lot of stuff. The houses are the ones you’d expect if you’ve watched any of the show
A lot of those tokens are coins. But apart from that you have house tokens, favor tokens, injured tokens as well as a champion token and a host marker.
The intrigue deck contains schemes, reactions and guards. Use these wisely to gain the favor of the gods and Rome.
The market deck contains slaves (used to generate income), gladiators, and equipment.
And here’s a close look at a gladiator.
And of course you can’t have gladiatorial combat without an arena!
Here’s a close up where you can see some of the betting options.
The figures are softer plastic than most wargaming figures. This lead to some warping issues as you’ll see. This should be fixable.
The game itself is a fairly simple set of rules. Try to gain enough influence and prevent your opponents from doing the same. One thing I really do like about the rules is a note on the second page about the spirit of the game. Since you’ll be stealing, bribing, lying, and betraying each other things can get intense, the rules clearly spell out “DONT BE AN ASS ABOUT IT.” There are four phases in the game: Upkeep, Intrigue, Market, and Arena.
The upkeep phase starts flipping your exhausted cards. Then injured assets make a healing roll. Finally you balance your budget, slaves give you gold, healthy gladiators cost gold.
The intrigue phase seems to be the most devious of the phases. It starts by drawing four cards. Starting with the character who hosted the last rounds game the players take turns playing schemes, cashing in cards, and using special abilities. When everyone is finished the market Phase begins.
You draw as many cards from the market deck as there are players. These are then bidded on using a blind bid system. Players can also sell and trade their own assets at this time. When auctioning is done the player bid on the right to host the games.
The host gains an influence to start the arena phase. The hose then invites players to participate. If you turn down the host you lose an influence. The more famous gladiators earn gold for their house just by participating. All betting is done just prior to the action fight. If the loser is alive at the end of the fight the host decides his fate with the classic thumbs up or down. Killing a famous gladiator causes the host to lose influence so beware! Winners become more famous.
That’s the long and short of it. Gale Force 9 has put up a website for the game here. I’ve been enjoying the game so far. If there’s enough interest I’ll post a game report.