It's pretty woeful.
Very nice book, but gameplay wise, well it's LOTR. You move two models into combat with each other, roll a die each and the highest score wins. Loser is pushed back an inch. Winner rolls to wound and if succesful (which he like as not won't be, normally you need to roll a 6 followed by a 4+) the loser dies. Or rather doesn't die, because all models have two wounds, meaning the whole sorry process repeats ad-tedium.
Only becomes remotely interesting when you fill the arena with models. Like in the movies.
Celtic slaves are best, they have mystical combat powers that mean even when they do lose, the crowd almost automatically spares their life.
The campaign rules section doesn't contain any rules that I can find, just a few paragraphs about value of gladiators. That came as something of a shock, and one that lead me to re-read the three pages twice more before coming to the conclusion that it isn't a campaign rules section, more a few lines you might like to consider when writting your own campaign rules that could be played by real people.
There is a section about chariot racing, but quite what that is doing in there baffles me. Races had bugger all to do with gladiatorial games, and again, the LOTR rules don't provide a very involved or satisfying game even if that's what you're after.
Woeful. Whichever utter Richard decided that LOTR, a game written for 7 year olds, was the perfect vehicle for gladiatorial combat needs a swift kick.
In it's defence though it is a very pretty book to look at.
Glad to back, but I won't be back much because this theme is almost completely unreadable to me.
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