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(TFT) Back.. with a lil wargaming buddy.

Hi guys, I've been incommunicado for a while, celebrating the birth of 
our son, Garrett.  My home pc went tango uniform almost simultaneously 
with my wife's labor pains, so I've been email-less for a long time (750 
messages to delete this morning).  

While spending all too much time in the neonatal intensive care unit 
recently, I started to work on what I hope is an amusing variant for 
Melee-- but I want to make sure it hasn't been done before.  Has anyone 
ever done a Gladiatorial Games (as in Ancient Rome) version of Melee?  I 
seem to recall mention of "Marx Plastic Gladiators" in Vindicator once, 
can anyone out there expound upon that?

I've been working on my own game of gladiator fighting (and management) 
for a few months now (it's a miniatures game called "Gladius!"-- mostly 
for my gaming group's use), and got to thinking that Melee would make a 
nice mechanic for a board game version.  Sure enough, I started 
researching the weapons, armor, and ST/DX limitations and the idea sort 
of pulled itself together.  I was greatly helped by my old friend Larry 
the Gun Toting Psycho dropping by with pristine copies of Advanced 
Melee, Advanced Wizard and In the Labyrinth.  For me.  For Free.  Nice 

Melee gives stats and ST/DX limitations for MOST of the gladiator's 
arsenal (and I could extrapolate those weapons not specifically called 
out).  I had some trouble with handling the net/trident of the retiarii, 
but advanced melee answered this in exquisite detail, as well as giving 
some rules for lassos (for the Laquierias).  In the Labyrinth gives 
stats for MOST beasts a bestiarii would encounter in the arena; it's 
possible to extrapolate a few more (cheetahs and leopards for example).  

The big challenge now is how to implement the gladiator's "piece armor" 
coverage.  Melee/Wizard's armor rules represent a large body area being 
covered by a single material for armor; this is in keeping with most 
FRPGs and late Medieval European tradition.  The Roman Gladiator, 
however, wore very little (well, most of them).  Sometimes, a gladiator 
would wear heavy armor on one leg, and leave the other bare.  Sometimes, 
he would wear a helmet (which doesn't help in the Melee rules at all), 
sometimes not.  Sometimes he'd have a huge rectangular army style 
shield, sometimes just a round buckler, sometimes nothing at all.  I've 
adopted a "build your armor coverage" approach, rather than adopting the 
tactic of specific armor coverage for specific body parts.  
Specifically, I assign a point and a DX penalty value to various armor 
"pieces" that are added to the gladiator's basic load (which is almost 
universally a broad leather belt with some leather straps on the arms 
and legs for minimal coverage.  all else was variable).  The armor 
pieces approach adds to the armor value (sometimes by a matter of a .5 
pts./piece to keep this idea compatible with the Melee basic rules).   
It seems to work well, though I find that some classes of gladiator 
(specifically, the Myrmillons and late Thracians) are somewhat 
overburdened, as well as the Retiarus, who has to pay a Melee rule 
penalty for wielding a net and trident simultaneoulsly. 

Any thoughts on the armor idea?

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