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Spartacus Dungeon Keeper Variant

By Greg “Hosehead the Bloody” Highnote
ghighnote@highnotez.com
Ver 1.20 - June, 2015
Purpose
Even with the Blue Dice Variant, Arena Combat is highly predictable in instances
with unbalanced opponents, and it is arguably boring in comparison with many
one-on-one combat board games. This predictability and simplicity can be
viewed as an intentional game feature; i.e., stronger gladiators always win, so
use cards and money to keep them out of the arena, or keep them in for a
guarantee of victory, gold and influence.
However, some game groups are comprised of more casual players that aren't
motivated by winning at all costs, such as games between friends and family or
‘mismatched’ players (e.g., spouses, kids playing with the adults, players with
little gaming experience, etc.). In these instances, a group may wish to
decrease the predictability of arena combat to give an additional fighting chance
to all players, or just spice it up with some new action and surprises. The
Dungeon Keeper Variant is designed for this group dynamic, as it decreases the
predictability of arena combat through the appearance of random animals and
equipment in the arena, with an additional variant for bribes to slightly modify
the results. By allowing the animals to move and attack, the Variant can help
break up long runs of dancing and kiting. It also keeps non-combatants
interested (they can be assigned the Dungeon Keeper role), and it makes arena
combat more varied and exciting.
This Variant can double the length of the game. Time-sensitive groups can
offset this by starting the game with Influence at 7 or 8 instead of the usual 4.
It also requires additional work and can result in a very crowded, messy arena
during combat (especially in a Primus). Lastly, it can result in a complete
reversal of a battle from its non-variant outcome, (a dominant gladiator can be
killed by a lion popping up next to him), so only use it with people who can
handle that sort of thing (to put it in game manual terms, this variant is not
designed for use by or with asses).
But for those wanting a little more excitement and random action at the sacrifice
of predictability, read on.

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.. or use your own pieces... I Either mark the board. mark and use spare gold pieces.. Objects: For the objects. The die-rolling part of the DK role has proven to be a fun for our grandchildren who want to be involved in the game. assigned to the 3:00 and 9:00 areas (clock coordinates.. and they start the game fresh and unharmed (except any favored/champion.. but are too young to play...A. Appearance Spots: [i]ala[/i] the movies Gladiator & Hunger Games..... A copy of a printable counter sheet is attached in the Appendix. generate an object pool of miniatures or game pieces to reflect one each of the four animals and six equipment items listed on the Object Placement Table. these are two one-hex 'trapdoors A and B.. tokens remain with surviving victorious animals)...... Page 2 .... If no such player exists or declines. aka 'ferocious/bloodthirsty'. pass the administrative duties to the Host (make them earn that influence point).. .. except as set forth below for objects appearing at a trapdoor hex currently occupied by a player combatant or object.. with the starting spots I at 6:00 and II at 12:00): .... II .. .. Choosing the Dungeon Keeper: After all combatants are chosen in a given Arena Phase.B ... These spots do not impede or block movement. These ten Objects are always regenerated each Arena Phase regardless of how they were used in prior phases. select a Dungeon Keeper to handle the administrative functions called for by this Variant...Set-Up This may be done at any time by assigning appearance spots to the game board and setting aside animal & equipment counters. The DK should be chosen from any player not hosting or participating in combat (to keep them involved in the game)..

and consults the following table: OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) 1 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 None This Turn Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) 3 A Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 4 B Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 None This Turn Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) 6 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) Page 3 . the DK rolls 3 Dice: 1 red. (It was found in playtesting to be too influential and time-consuming if allowed more than once per Arena Phase). either add or subtract one (bribing player’s choice) from the roll of any one die by the DK on the Object Placement Table. but keeps with the nature of the game. Placing Objects Procedure: At the beginning of each Combat Phase.Bribing The Dungeon Keeper Procedure: At the beginning of the first Combat Round only. Of course. This is done using the Host Bidding method of a bidding round of gold in closed fists (with ties resolved by repeated rounds & dicing off a zero-bid round). one time during the entire Arena Phase. 1 black and 1 blue. This portion of the Variant is optional. the successfully bribing player may further ‘negotiate’ with the other players to determine when and how they exercise that modifier. all players (not just the combatants) may attempt to bribe the Dungeon Keeper. The winning player’s gold goes to the bank. before any dice are rolled. prior to rolling for initiative. The successful bribing player may.

only one die may be so modified during the entire Arena Phase. Equipment not in play (this can include equipment previously used in the current Arena Phase that has been recycled) = place that dungeon equipment item on the Red Die letter trapdoor hex in the Arena. Blue Die: Only use if black die indicates equipment. or possessed by a player combatant but not yet used) = No object appears this Combat Round. or they may pass and use the bribe on a subsequent Combat Round (or not use it at all). Equipment already in play (in the Arena. Ignore red & blue dice. ignore.in killing any animals left in the arena). Animals DO NOT reappear if they have already appeared in an Arena Phase. and the Arena Phase ends in the current round.Immediately after the roll of the dice. resolve the outcome: Red Die: A-B = The trapdoor hex in the arena where the object appears. After applying any bribe modifier. A player combatant occupying or passing through the same hex as the equipment may pick up that equipment (put counter on player combatant card). the successfully bribing player may modify the roll of any one die by adding or subtracting one from its number. Ignore blue die. Animal already in play or defeated in combat in this Arena Phase = No animal appears this Combat Round. Dungeon equipment CAN reappear once it has been used if it is rolled again. otherwise. (Playtesting determined that these two rules help a sole remaining player combatant . None This Turn = No object appears this Combat Round. Proceed to equipment column to see if dungeon equipment appears. Again. Page 4 . the bribe is forfeited – it does not carry over to a subsequent Arena Phase. If the bribing player passes in the current Combat Round.usually wounded by then . if not done so in a prior Combat Round. Equipment = No animal appears. Ignore black & blue dice. Black Die: Animal hasn't appeared in this Arena Phase = Place animal on the Red Die letter trapdoor hex in the Arena.

in all other instances animals and player combatants cannot move into a hex occupied by the other. The dungeon equipment may not be picked up by a player combatant until the animal moves off the hex or is defeated in combat. equipment item or player combatant. Immediately perform one round of combat between the newly appearing animal and any one piece occupying that hex (dicing off if necessary) and apply the results immediately before proceeding with the Combat Round. any other player may move into the hex with the unused equipment item and pick it up. Other player combatants and animals may still move next to and attack these combatants. Once the player combatant moves off the hex or is defeated in combat. or not take it and leave it in the hex. This is in addition to any regular attacks performed. Place any dropped dungeon equipment items in the same hex as the player combatant. This is the only time an animal may stack with other animals and/or player combatants -. If an equipment item appears in a trapdoor hex currently occupied by a player combatant.Stacking Issues This Variant has the following limited exceptions to the standard stacking rules: Animals Appearing In An Occupied Trapdoor Hex: If a player character and/or other animal is on the trapdoor hex where a new animal is to appear. they may stack.locked in combat to the death and neither may move or attack elsewhere until all enemies in the hex are defeated in combat in subsequent Combat Rounds. Animals and player combatants cannot move into a hex occupied by another animal and/or player combatant. The stacked player combatant and/or the animal(s) are considered engaged . Equipment Appearing In An Occupied Trapdoor Hex: If an equipment item appears in the same trapdoor hex as another animal. they may stack. Page 5 . A player combatant may drop any unused dungeon equipment items during its movement (they still cannot drop any original game equipment cards). underneath the miniature. Movement And Stacking: Animals and player combatants may move through and end their turn on a hex with dungeon equipment. but they may not move into the trapdoor hex occupied by the stacked player combatant and/or animal(s). they may stack. that player must immediately elect whether to take that equipment (remove the equipment piece and place it on the corresponding player combatant card). If an animal appears in a trapdoor hex occupied solely by dungeon equipment.

the DK uses the following list to determine its actions. it must elect to go first (the DK may not declare a player combatant or a different animal on the board to go first). low die roll is targeted for the move. This applies to the serpent as well . -1 to the roll if the target animal or player combatant is wounded. -1 to the roll if the target was attacked by the same animal in the previous Combat Round). it still attempts to close. and it’s initiative is determined the same as above (it must beat all player combatants in both player teams to go first. Page 6 . A player who wins initiative may not declare an animal to go first. Animal Movement And Combat: When it is an animal’s turn in the Combat Round.Animals General: Animals are considered "dumb animals. Each animal rolls separate." in that their actions are governed by simple. This animal control concept is important so that animals’ actions can be accurately anticipated by the players when choosing their player combatants’ movement and combat actions. Animals do not team in a Primus. it goes last after all players have gone). The effect of players' initiative rolls otherwise remain unchanged. it goes last. The DK never exercises any independent (or influenced) judgment when controlling them. proceeding with each paragraph in order: (1) If the animal is not adjacent to any other animals or player combatants. an animal must roll faster than all player combatants.even if it is in range to attack. otherwise. Initiative: Animals on the board at the start of any Combat Round (including the one in which they appear) roll for initiative in the same manner as player combatants (whether using regular initiative rules or the blue dice variant). yet strict rules. Animals either go first or last (they do not go between player combatants). If an animal wins initiative. the DK must move it up to its full movement allowance in an attempt to move next to the closest animal or player combatant (equidistant target pieces dice off. To win initiative. If it does not.

When a choice between multiple hexes arises during the move of an animal. the DK should dice-off between the different spaces (with the -1 wounded and -1 previously-attacked modifiers above). until speed is reduced to one. Then against the higher of attack or defense until both are equal. an animal victory. just like a player combatant. a new animal of the same type may be used in subsequent Arena Phases. -1 to roll if attacked by the same animal in the previous Combat Round). spd) is reduced to zero. It may not reappear in the same Arena Phase.e. When one or more attributes (att. Page 7 . (3) Then (where attack and defense are equal) taken randomly from either attack or defense (dice off). If an animal wins an Arena Phase. Then back to (2) above.(2) If the animal is adjacent to only one animal or player combatant (or within the attack range in the case of serpent) it attacks that animal or player combatant. the animal is removed from play. then move per (1) above. Animal Victory: When a player combatant/team defeats the other player combatant/team in the Arena. (3) If the animal is adjacent to 2 or more animal(s) and/or player combatant(s) (or at the same range in the case of serpent). (4) If combat removes all adjacent player combatants and/or animals. Animal Wound Priority: follows: (1) (2) Each wound inflicted against an animal is applied as First against speed. the equidistant pieces dice off and the low die roll is attacked (-1 to roll if wounded. if the DK or any player declares an “issue” as to which hex should be entered. def.. it must still defeat all animals remaining in the Arena to be victorious. This may result in a situation where there is no victorious player combatant(s) – i. Players may not 'officially' wager for an animal victory (but may do so between each other). However. all wagers for victory of either player combatant are lost. and the animal still has its move remaining that Combat Round.

even if the player's turn is later in the round (e.Animals And Wagers: The victory/injury/decapitation of an animal does not count towards wager payoffs (animals are just ‘killed’. Dungeon Equipment Interplay With Equipment Cards: Dungeon equipment may be used freely regardless of the equipment cards possessed or used by a player combatant. But Recyclable: All dungeon equipment is "one use only" (otherwise it overly devalues the equipment cards). If a ferocious or bloodthirsty animal appears in a subsequent Arena Phase. All animals are available at the next Arena Phase. if the trap door opens and gauntlets appear in the same hex as a player combatant.. at their original strength. It may then reappear in the arena if it comes up again in a subsequent roll on the Object Placement Table (playtesting determined this to help a sole remaining player combatant .g. Ferocious & Bloodthirsty Animals: At the end of the Arena Phase.have a fairer chance to kill remaining animals). Function Like Equipment Cards: Except for its "one use only" limitation. that player must immediately declare whether the combatant is taking any of the equipment. Any injury/decapitation of a player combatant by an animal does count towards wager payoffs..e. just like a gladiator. This must be declared immediately. Camping Benefit: When a player combatant is in a hex occupied by dungeon equipment. right after the DK die roll. Any animal surviving an Arena Phase (i. with the third maxing it out (as 'bloodthirsty' – use a champion token). remove all animals from the board. they should be able to pick them up and defend with them even if they don't go first in the combat round).usually wounded by then . Once a player combatant uses a dungeon equipment item. cumulative for each victory. with no distinction made for the manner in which they are defeated). 2 gold per token up to 6. dungeon equipment is otherwise used in the same fashion as equipment cards: Page 8 . any house (or both houses of the team in a Primus) whose player combatant kills it collects tribute from the bank. Simply put: don’t count animal deaths when determining wager payouts – only count player combatant deaths. from an 'animal victory') gets a ‘ferocious’ token placed on it (use favored tokens). it is returned to the pool of available equipment for that Arena Phase. Single Use.

. It may only be used offensively . Throwing Knife: Count the range excluding the hex occupied by the attacking player combatant and including the hex occupied by the target...it may not be used when defending to inflict a wound against an attacking player combatant or animal.. dungeon equipment may be Page 9 . There does not have to be a clear line of sight (i. Breastplate: The player combatant may ignore one wound from the outcome of an enemy's attack roll against it.e. Iron Fist: The player combatant may reroll one attack die of its choosing during its attack. It may not be used after initiative is rolled to make a losing initiative roll into a winning roll.it may not be used by an attacking player combatant to force a defending player combatant or animal to reroll one defense die. Dungeon Equipment In A Primus: In a Primus. it may add one wound to the outcome against a defending player combatant or animal.. there may be an intervening animal or player combatant between the attacker and defender’s hexes – these are large hexes and everybody is moving. It cannot be used by one team member to assist their teammate in the teammate’s turn.e. It may only be used defensively . Odds & Ends ‘Guarding’ Dungeon Equipment: Any player combatant and all animals on the same hex as dungeon equipment must be defeated in battle or move off the hex before another player combatant may enter a hex and pick up the dungeon equipment. whether that wound comes from the roll of the die or the effect of a card. Gauntlets: The player combatant may reroll one defense die of its choosing during its defense against an enemy. [b]before[/b] dice are rolled). However..Bastard Sword: After the player combatant resolves its attack.it may not be used when defending to force an attacking enemy to reroll one attack die. It may only be used offensively .). dungeon equipment can only be used by the player combatant physically possessing it in that same player combatant’s turn. Blinding Oil: It is used in lieu of an initiative roll (i.”). A player combatant may refuse to move off a hex with dungeon equipment (“You get it over my dead body.

players usually needed this edge by the time they got to this point).. camp out on trap door hexes with no fear.”). (This seems obvious.transferred between team members by using the ‘normal’ rules for dropping and picking up the item: The player combatant possessing the dungeon equipment ‘drops’ it into its hex and moves off of it. move. and any unused dungeon equipment is removed from the player combatants.. Page 10 . if it is clear in such instances that with the right dungeon equipment the sole remaining player combatant or team would defeat the animal with no chance of losing. then cut to the chase . Animals & Dungeon Equipment: Animals may not pick up. but since the game rewards devious/original thinking. They are returned to the dungeon equipment pool so that all dungeon equipment is available for the next Arena Phase. Being An Ass Towards Animals Allowed: A sole remaining player combatant/team attempting to clear remaining animals may do all the ‘evil’ things otherwise frowned upon in player vs. Clean-Up: At the end of the Arena Phase. Looting The Dead: If a player combatant is removed from play (yield. then immediately declare them victorious. any dungeon equipment in the Arena is removed. player combat. don’t drag things out if not necessary. ‘rest’ (not move). or use dungeon equipment.g. “Sure a serpent can wear gauntlets. and/or keep outrunning the animal(s) to allow for additional dungeon equipment to appear (In playtesting. and it is available to be picked up. Similarly. it is included to avoid arguments – e. They may dance with and kite animals (a good reason to save a second movement die when possible). Accelerate When Outcome Obvious: When a single player combatant/team is left. then the other team member moves its player combatant onto the hex with the dropped dungeon equipment and picks it up during that player combatant’s movement phase. decapitation) any unused dungeon equipment remains on the board in the hex where they died. injury. If it is clear that the sole remaining player combatant/team can indefinitely ‘wait out’ the appearance of dungeon equipment (e..g.give them their choice of the dungeon equipment and proceed directly to combat. by outrunning the animals).

If the players cannot agree between two sets of Animals or Charts. The second four animals (Rhino. The Deadly Animal Set reverts back to the Default Animal Set at the end of the Arena Phase. Tiger. Serpent) are deemed the 'Default Animal Set'. the Variant has animals with lower attributes and a lower frequency rate. Wolf. Page 11 . use the weaker animal set or lower-frequency chart. suitable for more casual gaming groups.Appendix – Varying The Variant Two portions of the Variant can be adjusted to fit a group’s individual game style: (1) Attributes of the animals. this bribe must be used [u]before[/u] the Dungeon Keeper rolls the dice. and the bribe may not subsequently be used to modify a die roll for the duration of that Arena Phase. and (2) Frequency of appearance. Animal Sets Option A: Alternate Animal Set #1: Stronger Animals. The entire Deadly Animal Set may appear regardless of how many of the Default Animal Set have appeared in the current Arena Phase (no mod of the rule is necessary because it is still the same that no animal may appear more than once per an Arena Phase). Bear. Bull. as described below. As proposed. Unlike the die-modifying bribe. replacing the original four animals with the new ones. These can be modified through the use of a different Animal Set or Object Placement Chart. the players should agree beforehand which Animal Set and Object Placement Chart is used. the player possessing the bribe may use it to upgrade to the Deadly Animal Set. Crocodile) are deemed the 'Deadly Animal Set'. This exhausts the Dungeon Keeper bribe. Substitute these animals for the first four animals: Rhino (5-2-3) Bear (5-1-4) Bull (4-1-4) Crocodile (5-2-1) (Courtesy of Mattias) Option B: Using Both Animal Sets. In lieu of using the Dungeon Keeper bribe to modify a die roll. If the Variant is used. The first four animals (Lion.

A separate sheet for each is included for ease of use: Page 12 . Attached is a variant counter graphic that may be printed out on cardstock for counters: Object Placement Tables The frequency that objects appear can be varied by modifying the appearance spots on the Red Die Location column of the object placement table.This option has worked well in playtesting against later arena phases & primuses with tougher gladiators.

SPARTACUS – DUNGEON KEEPER VARIANT OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE #1 Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) 1 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 None This Turn Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 3 A 4 None This Turn Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 None This Turn Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) 6 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) Appearance Location A = Center Hex Boardmap: II A I Page 13 .

Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) 6 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) Appearance Location A = 9:00 B = 3:00 Boardmap: II A B I Page 14 .SPARTACUS – DUNGEON KEEPER VARIANT OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE #2 Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) 1 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 None This Turn Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) 3 A Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 4 B Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 None This Turn Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .

Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) 6 None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) Appearance Location A = 9:00 B = Center Hex C = 3:00 Boardmap: II A B C I Page 15 .SPARTACUS – DUNGEON KEEPER VARIANT OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE #3 1 Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 A Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) 3 B Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 4 C Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 None This Turn Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .

Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) 6 None This Turn Appearance Location A= B= C= D= 2:00 4:00 8:00 10:00 Boardmap: D C II I A B Page 16 .SPARTACUS – DUNGEON KEEPER VARIANT OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE #4 1 Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 A Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) 3 B Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 4 C Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 D Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .

SPARTACUS – DUNGEON KEEPER VARIANT OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE #5 1 Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) None This Turn Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 A Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) 3 B Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 4 C Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 D Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) 6 E Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) Appearance Location A = 2:00 B = 4:00 C = 8:00 D = 10:00 E = Center Hex Boardmap: D C II E I A B Page 17 .

SPARTACUS – DUNGEON KEEPER VARIANT OBJECT PLACEMENT TABLE #6 Red Die (Location) Black Die (Object) Blue Die (Equipment) 1 E Equipment (Per Next Column) Weapon – Bastard Sword (+1 Wound) 2 A Lion (3-3-3) Weapon – Iron Fist (Reroll 1 Att Die) 3 B Tiger (3-2-2) Special – Throwing Knife (Range 3) 4 C Wolf (2-2-2) Special – Blinding Oil (Win Initiative) 5 D Serpent (2-1-1*) *Range 2 Armor .Guantlets (Reroll 1 Def Die) 6 E Equipment (Per Next Column) Armor – Breastplate (Ignore 1 Wound) Appearance Location A = 2:00 B = 4:00 C = 8:00 D = 10:00 E = Center Hex Boardmap: D C II E A B I 6 = E = arena center hex. Page 18 .