Portable gladiators!

A while ago there was a discussion about portable wargames on the 6mm-Miniatures wargames group of Yahoo Groups. I mentioned that I used to play a gladiators game on the school bus occasionally, using magnetically based figures and a biscuit tin.

Arnstein, one of the chappies in the discussion group, asked for more details - here they are.

The idea

The idea of a gladiatorial biscuit tin was proposed by Hugh Walters in Military Modelling magazine, Vol. 3, No. 8, August 1973, p520, in an article entitled "First, take a biscuit tin...". I was about 12 at the time, liked the idea, and promptly set to work.

The biscuit tin

Shortbread biscuits, with strong Scottish brand marketing judging by the traces of tartan paintwork still visible round the edges of the top of the tin.

I lined the tin with brick paper, scratch built some tunnel portcullis, and put some card with hand-drawn Roman arches round the outside.

The gladiators

Eight lead 25 mm figures, manufactured by Greenwood and Ball, painted with Humbrol enamel paints.

Each figure has some magnetic strip stuck to the underside of the base. I suspect some of the strength of the magnets has decayed over the past 25 to 30 years, but the figures are still serviceable. The magnets do not have to be excessively strong as they only need to prevent the figures sliding around - for transportation I placed them inside a foam square that fits inside the tin.

Of course, if you were to use 6 mm figures, your could reduce the size of the tin from 7" to about 2", You might need tweezers to move the figures! Or you could keep the same tin size and fight a larger battle.

The rules

I mainly used Paragon's rules as they were exciting and simple. The Rudis rules (by Tabletop, I think) were also very good, but more complicated and less suited to short duration games.

And finally...

A big thank you to my old school chums for keeping me entertained all those years ago - wherever you are I hope you are happy and are still gaming!

The gladiator biscuit tin, with a tape measure for scale.

The lid of the tin, with the handwritten rules.

Four gladiators fight it out in the Stannic Arena!

A Myrmillo(?) and a Thracian come to blows.

Packed up and ready to go.