Thursday, May 15, 2014

The House of Oscarus

I've been playtesting a wonderful game called "Blood on the Sands" (BOTS for short) for a buddy of mine.  In doing so, I've gathered and built a reasonable ludus-worth of gladiators.  Here is the current ludus (with another 10 or so figures on the way and I'll likely call it quits).

A Wargames Foundry Retiarius (plastic spear from Mantic w/ trident head)  The Retiarius was a lightly armored gladiator outfitted with a trident, net, and a large shoulder guard which served as his only protection.

A poorly painted Wargames Foundry Laquerius with plastic Mantic spear.  The Laquerius was a rare cousin to the Retiarius - using a rope/lasso instead of the more common net, and a spear in place of the trident.

A Brigade Games (Paul Hicks) Provocator model with a plastic shield from Warlord Romans.  The Paul Hicks sculpts are historically accurate but not as nice as the Wargames Foundry sculpts.

A Brigade Games Secutor.  The Secutor was the evolution of the Myrmillo who frequently fought against the Retiarius.  The name, Secutor means "Chaser".  The Secutor differs only in a heavier more rounded helmet (designed to decrease the tangle of the Retiarius' net - a weakness suffered by the Myrmillo with their large crested helmets).

A Brigade Games Myrmillo.  The standard "Heavy" gladiator class, equipped with a common gladius and scutum.  This figure has a plastic Warlord Games shield.

 A Brigade Games Thraex.  I'm not stoked with the paint job on this fella...but he works.  The Thraex was a "Light" class of gladiator commonly paired with the Myrmillo.  When possible, light gladiators would fight heavy gladiators - pairs carefully picked/refined to provide excellent entertainment.  The Thraex has a small shield, and a curved blade called a Sica.
A Wargames Foundry gladiator who was turned into a Provocator by adding the simple chest-plater.  A reasonable figure though I don't favour "non-fighting" miniatures for something like this small gladiator skirmish.

A Wargames Foundry gladiator used as a Myrmillo.  While he lacks some authentic leg protection, fights were often modified by the Editor, the person responsible for the matches.  His short straight sword and scutum shield and his early Myrmillo helmet are easily recognizable.

A Wargames Foundry Thraex who has been converted into a Hoplomachus - my favorite gladiator class.  The Hoplomachus was a light gladiator class which used a spear, small circular shield, and often carried a knife or small sword (lest his spear be broken...).  One of my favorite models.  The Wargames Foundry models are an absolute joy to paint.

Another victorious Provocator by Wargames Foundry.  The Provocator was a rare gladiator type which apparently fought with heavy armor including an additional chest plate/mail.  It is most similar to a Myrmillo in armament.

A marvelous yet imposing Wargames Foundry Secutor.  This figure is a good few millimeters taller than the others, a big brute.

A Wargames Foundry rare Myrmillo - a scaeva - a term used to describe a left-handed gladiator.  While gladiators trained to fight many classes including their own, a rare left-handed opponent would create a challenge outside of normal training.  Plastic scutum as usual.

A Brigade Games Hoplomachus - again with a plastic Mantic spear, small circular shield and an added short sword/dagger.
The assembled Ludus of House Oscarus - vividly coloured and prepared to entertain.  The red markings on the base simply denote the "forward" facing of the miniature when used on a hex map.

The above is a "pontus" that I made - or a bridge.  Seen in various graffiti pieces from the Roman era, a pontus was used to pit a single Retiarius against a pair of Secutors.  While I've zero idea of how precisely a pontus looked, this was created to allow a similar scenario to unfold.  The pontus consists of 7 spaces which match up on a simple hex map - meaning that no changes are made to game play.  Historically it is suggested that the Retiarius may have even had a pile of stones to throw and may not have used his net.  I'll be creating some rules for BOTS and Pontus fights to simulate these events.  More later!

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