02 October 2023

Blood on the Sands at MOAB!

Another year, another MOAB. Busy busy but not too busy for a couple of Horus Heresy purchases, and an opportunity to play this great Gladiator participation game!

Habet, hoc habet!

This game is a real labour of love by Frank, a MOAB legend for putting on amazing games including the fun Africa game that Reilly, Comrade James and I played in 2019 (see here).  He's been developing it for over a decade and its easy to learn, hard to master mechanics make for an excellent experience - see his Adventures in Lead blog here: 


Frank scratchbuilt this fabulous Arena

I also really liked the way the game reflects the differences in fighting styles and equipment of the different Gladiator types (through stats and special moves) as well as more generic skills and traits that personalise your Gladiator.

My first bout was as a net and trident armed Retiarius, trying to keep my Secutor opponent at bay and wear him down so I could entangle him. I enjoyed the dynamic movement the game allows - no boring locked in combat in the centre here, with thrusts, moves and rushes giving players many options and decisions.

My second bout saw me equipped as a Thraex to face off against the Lanista himself, Frank!  Aided by my ability to throw dice badly, he quickly schooled me in the mechanics of pushing back an opponent, trapping against the wall, disarming and falling prone.

You seem to have dropped something important there Paul...

I was clearly an apt pupil! Forced to concede and appeal for mercy, the crowd were in a bloodthirsty mood and I had proved a disappointment. 

The crowd were NOT entertained after all...

Frank administers the coup de grace demanded by the mob!

Overall a throughly in spiring gaming experience. I've tried many Gladiator games over the years and Frank's game was quick to play, had lots of depth, and stacks of character. There are also campaign rules for running a Ludus, but that was beyond the scope of the demo game.

And yes, I had a great time loosing and that says a lot about a game (and who you are playing with)!

Time to bust out some figures and add more fighters to my Ludus!  Thanks for all the fun mate :-)

For those who want to know more about Blood on the Sands you can visit the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/bloodonthesands

Or peruse the long yet awesome thread at the Lead Adventure Forum here (its been going for over 10 years!) https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=51608.0

Thanks to Alan for this pic - I wonder what I had just asked Frank! :-)

Edit: Alan posted his own great blog write up of this Blood on the Sands demo here:



  1. Finally able to post a comment Paul! I feel I have appeased the gods!! Was so great to have you play some Blood on the Sands mate - it is always a pleasure gaming with you. Thanks for blogging about it and hopefully I can put on a proper game for you soon.

  2. It was a great looking game, franks workmanship front and centre with the spectator stand. Wish I had the chance for a game, maybe next time. Great write up Paul.

  3. It was a lot of fun to play and I'm looking forward to their publication (one day). Nice to catch up with you again as well.

  4. Looks great. Hope to see the rules come out at some stage. I'm one with some gladiator figs sitting unused...