In the basic game Gladiator: Fight to the Finish, you and your friends take turns playing the Murmillo class gladiator, with a large shield and straight sword, or the more nimble Thraex, with a curved sword and smaller shield. In Ancient Rome, these two classes each had their own fervent following, sometimes resulting in hooligan rowdiness in and around the arena.
But the most unusual gladiator – the well-known Retiarius, or “net man” – deserves his turn on the sand, and an expansion to the basic game is in the works.
The Retiarius wore almost no armor and his head was bare. He wielded a long and frightening trident and swung a large net. As long as he could keep his opponent at a distance with that trident, or even ensnare her in that net, he was a true danger. But his opponent was the Secutor, or “pursuer,” and should she manage to close in, the Retiarius had little to save himself but his own feet.
The dynamic in such a combat involves more back-and-forth motion, with more attention to the amount of distance separating the fighters. It also demands a new strategy for each fighter, as the Retiarius does what he can to wear down his foe – and the Secutor pushes to strike, before it’s too late.
The expansion employs two new decks of cards and additional rules, and plays as its own stand-alone game. It also adds a new dimension of risk as the players must decide beforehand whether they wish to hold back at a safe distance – or close in for vicious combat.
If you are familiar with the basic Fight To The Finish, I welcome you to participate in the test-playing of the Retiarius/Secutor extension. Stay tuned to this site and to the Facebook page to find out how.
Looks like a decisive moment!
This image is from an oil lamp — a common household object. One wonders where it was displayed, and what conversations it may have inspired.