I don't know why, but I'm constantly trying new gladiator rules. Everyone seems perfectly happy with the very first ones I trotted out many years ago, "Death or Freedom" by Steve Barber. But, I get to reading reviews and start thinking maybe this one is faster, etc. The lament of the Rules Whore.
Thus, we tried "Red Sands, Blue Sky" by Two Hour Wargames. I actually have the original version, too, but this one 2.0.
It uses some innovative ideas like a simplified grid for the arena. You move by zones and fight if another gladiator is in that zone. Each turn consists of dicing to see who goes first, moving or throwing something, Manuevering to see who gets the upper hand, then Attacking. Sounds easy. Is easy, really.
I had read matches could be quick. Could. Ours lasted forever.
My biggest complaint is there was too much "no advantage, roll again". I think this could be easily fixed with the winner getting an extra die.
These are a fine set of rules, and I could see the the lure for those poor souls doomed to solo play. But, just not for us. I heard countless times last night, "I like your other rules". So, back to Death or Freedom. Why did I ever leave you?
Then we tried "Charioteer!" also by Two Hour. MUch leaner, sweeter game. It solves the problem many chariot race games have with one player getting so far ahead, or so far behind, there's really no point of being in the game. Charioteer fixes it by everyone staying in the pack. It's more about passing, fighting for position. Thus, you only use a straight bit of road. Or, as the rules say, no track at all. We only had time for one lap (cause the dumb gladiators took so long), but everyone declared it great fun.