Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I've tested JUGULA! The next gladiators game

I had promised it , you have it. Tonight's post will be about Studio Tomahawk's forthcoming game, Jugula. Just so you know, the guys from Studio Tomahawk have commited Mousquets and Tomahawks, and Saga. Therefore they have a solid background in novelty about gaming.

Je vous l'avais promis, et je vous satisfais. Le post de ce soir est a propos du jeu a venir de Studio Tomahawk, Jugula. Pour info, est-il besoin de le preciser, ce sont les gars qui ont commis Mousquets et Tomahawks, ainsi que Saga. Bref, du lourd, et du solide question nouveaute dans les systemes de jeu.

While waiting for the doors to open at Warfare, I stumbled upon Fred and Alex, two of the testors. And Fred is also one of my friend. (Salut Fred, pas trop creve?). He told me he would give me a game in priority, before everything was completely set up. So I rushed and sat in front of the minimalist board. Hmmm there must be something worthwhile behind this simple presentation.

Alors que j'attendais l'ouverture des portes, je tombais sur Fred et Alex, deux des testeurs. Je connais bien Fred et apres deux-trois palabres, je savais ou me diriger. Je m'assis et fut d'abord surpris par la simplicite de l'apparence.

A couple of minutes later, I knew the reason why. Everyhting is card driven, including the result of the melees! And there lies the originality. In front of you, you have stats cards with your gladiators' characteristics. Ok, so far, nothing new. But then, you also have a bar with a cursor. This is the Vox populi modifier. You can upgrade it with your cards or some attacks. It will give you bonus in attack and you'll be able to get more cards in your hands. Nice!

Quelques instants plus tard, je sus pourquoi. Tout est joue via les cartes, a commencer par le resultat des combats. L'originalite du jeu est la. Devant vous vous avez les cartes de vos gladiateurs avec leurs stats. Rien de neuf jusque la. Mais vous avez egalement une barre avec un curseur. C'est la vox populi. Vous pouvez l'ameliorer en jouant des cartes ou en realisant des attaques. Cela vous donnera des bonus et vous pourrez avoir davantage de cartes en main,

You win a game if you get 4 points. A wounded gladiator is worth 1 point, and a dead one, 2. But easier said than done. Because if you score only better than your opponent during an attack, he will fall back. You have to do twice as better to wound him... Now you get it. It is very tactical, and you have to place your gladiators in the best position to get good odds. But then you have the dice... Oh, sorry, there is no dice! On each card you have there is a value between 0 and 6. Yup, that's  your d6! It means you'll have to choose between using the card for its value, or for its effects... Nasty. Or you could tempt fate and pick the first card of your deck.

Vous gagnez la partie si vous obtenez 4 points. un gladiateur blesse vous en rapporte 1, 2 s'il meurt. Attention, plus facile a dire qu'a faire, car un simple score superieur repoussera vote adversaire. Il faut faire le double ou mieux pour vraiment faire mal. Il faudra donc jouer tactique pour obtenir les meilleurs modificateurs. Puis vous avez le resultat du de. Oups, desole, pas de de. Sur chaque carte vous avez un score, allant de 0 a 6. ET voila votre d6. Il vous faudra donc choisir entre utiliser la valeur de la carte, ou bien jouer un de ses effets... Ou alors piocher la premiere carte de votre paquet...

Now for the good part of the cards. It's not a secret, a lot of people enjoyed the game during the show. Each card has many options: move a certain number of gladiators, raise your vox populi, make a certain number of attacks( no you can't move and attack), draw cards, use a special ability or buy a prima jugula card ( better cards, very clever idea). The thing is, you can't do more than one action per turn, so choose wisely. And you don't draw cards from your deck. You have to play a card for that. Now THIS is a good idea. And here lies what could make Jugula a good game.

Venons-en aux cartes. Ce n'est pas un secret, tout le monde a pu en profiter. Chaque carte possede options: bouger des gladiateurs, augmenter la vox populi, realiser des attaques (on bouge ou on attaque!), piocher des cartes, utiliser une capacite speciale ou acheter une carte prima jugula (qui sont meilleures). Bref, il vous faudra faire de rudes decisions. Vous ne pouvez faire qu'une action par tour, et vous ne pouvez piocher que si vous jouez la carte... Voila ou est l'originalite.

Now, why this game should be really different? As Alex, the author, said, if you do a simple gladiator game, it will fast become boring. Jugula is not a gladiator game! You are a lannista, and you manage a gladiatorial school! The main goal is to become the most powerful, either through fame, money, political influence... And the game will allow you to manage everything, from the physicians to the lupa ( local prostitute), the training, the upgrades... The more famous you are, the better the arenas, the more money you will earn. But you also have to pay for the upkeep of the gladiators, and other lannista will challenge you, just to try to get your prized men. Yup, everything you might dream about managing a team seems to be feasable. Sounds complicated? Well, apparently not, it should be a reasonnably small book. 

 En quoi ce jeu est-il different d'un autre? L'auteur, Alex, est categorique. LEs combats de gladiateurs, a la longue, c'est chiant. Et la PAF! Jugula n'est pas un jeu de gladiateurs. Vous incarnez un lannista qui gere son ecole de gladiateurs. LE but est de devenir le plus puissant, soit le plus riche, ou bien en etant le plus connu, ou bien en obtenant un role politique. Et le jeu vous permet de tout gerer, du soigneur a la lupa... (miam), l'entrainement, les ameliorations. Plus vous etes connus, plus les arenes seront prestigieuses, et plus vous gagnerez de sousous. Mais il faudra assurer l'entretien des gladiateurs et les challenges de vos adversaires. Bref. Tout ce que vous pouvez imaginer est possible. Et a priori cela sera facile a gerer.

To sum it up, Jugula is a game about gladiators. Yes you can play games and the card system is interesting enough for you to have a good time. But, and it reminds me of Longstreet, the real game will begin as soon as you start your school. I know I will open one. Will you?

Bref, Jugula est un jeu sur les gladiateurs. Le systeme en lui-meme est suffisamment original, mais tout le sel viendra de la campagne. En tout cas, mon choix est fait, je vais ouvrir une ecole.


  1. Hi

    When goes on sale this game?

    To scale miniatures is played?


    1. 35mm. A bit larger than most miniature games if you use their figures. The rules are completely compatible with a smaller scale like 25mm

  2. I just read a review of the same rules on another blog - sounds very intriguing and I've been looking for a set of of rules to get my gladiators in the ring. Thanks!

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