Galactic Gladiators Review
Developed by Strategic Simulations (Part of the RapidFire line)
Review By Chris Smith
The Space Gamer #59 (January 1983)

Designed by Tom Reamy
Twenty-eight page rulebook, disk, players' aid card
Teams may be saved

This game depicts man-to-man combat in the far-flung future. Players square off, commanding teams of one to ten fighters each. Utilizing a wide assortment of weaponry, the teams fight to the finish in a bar, a spaceship, or outside. The players must determine their team members' individual actions secretly at the beginning of each turn and then watch the action as it plays out.

After decisions have been made about team composition, weaponry, armor, and battlefield choice, the characters must be placed on the game grid, either randomly or by player choice. Then begins the first turn, which is usually the longest turn of the game - it's the first opportunity you have to view your opponent's team. Commands available allow a character to move, dodge, attack, move and attack, reload a weapon, rest, change weapons, or (if all else fails) surrender. Objects strewn about the battlefield, called "blocks," inhibit movement but may sometimes be fired over. (Blocks can also be destroyed by heat ray guns, which apparently have no other function.) Characters which are killed or knocked out are taken out of the game.

This game has two very strong points: secret movement and freshness. The secret movement aspect is handled simply by entering your team's actions while the other player looks away from the screen; the importance of guessing right can be pretty high.

By "freshness" I mean that no game is like another. Players choose between seven regular character species, seven special character species, a subroutine for creating the monster race of your choice, twelve different types of weapons, three sizes of battlefield, and three types of terrain blocks in any combination, and your choices of battles become quite varied.

Ironically, the game's worst problem also involves secret movement. The characters follow orders too closely. If you tell character A to attack character B, but during the next movement phase the intended victim runs away and is replaced by C, A will still attempt to attack Beven though it is patently impossible. This mindless adherence to orders takes a little away from the game.


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