Terrifying fighters. A roaring audience. A gory, stinky fight to the death. Sounds horrid, doesn’t it? Well, believe it or not, gladiator games were incredibly popular in ancient Rome! Whenever one was coming up, the city would be covered in graffiti, giving the date of the show, the names of the fighters and the types of fighting audiences could expect. Your mission is to make a set of battle cards inspired by these posters. You will make a card for each gladiator, listing stats such as strength and speed. When you have a full set of cards, you can use the stats to do battle with friends, ‘Top Trumps’ style! 


Two or more sheets of A4 paper or card

Drawing materials



Some books about ancient Rome or internet access (supervised by a responsible adult)


First you need to create your cards. Check out this picture and copy it onto A4 paper. Mark the lines as we have – these will be your lovely neat gaps where you can add your gladiator’s information. Or you can save the PDF below to print out.


Do some research and find out some ancient Roman names! Add your chosen names to the top line like a title. Below each name, you can draw the gladiators in the big rectangles. There were lots of different types of fighters, and it is worth including as many as you can. Below is a list of six gladiator types, but feel free to research even more if you’d like to! 

Samnite: Wears a helmet and carries a large shield and a short sword 

Retiarius: Carries a trident and a big net to tangle people in

Andabata: Rides a horse and carries a sword and shield, but also has a helmet that obscures their vision 

Dimachaerus: Carries a short sword in each hand 

Essedarius: Rides a chariot and carries a sword or a spear 

Laquearius: Carries a sword, and a lasso to catch people 

Gladiatrix: A female gladiator who could carry any of the weapons and armour combinations above!


Time to add the stats: vital pieces of information a spectator would like to know! Check out our example and copy the words down the left-hand side. 

STRENGTH is how strong the gladiator is

SPEED is how fast the gladiator is

CUNNING is how sneaky and clever the gladiator is

TERROR is how scary the gladiator is

POPULARITY is how popular the gladiator is (which can come in handy when the audience chooses whether they get to live or not!) 

To the right of each word, you can write different numbers. For example, a gladiator might have the number 2 next to the word STRENGTH, and the number 8 next to the word SPEED, to show they are a lot faster than they are strong! Each gladiator can have 20 stat points in total, so when you add all the stats together, make sure they don’t go above 20! 


When all your cards are filled in, carefully cut them out and give them a shuffle. In order for you to do battle, each player must have an equal number of cards. If two people are playing, they should both have eight cards each.

The cards must be shared out facing downwards, so nobody can see what’s on them! To start, each player must pick up one card from their deck, keeping the rest facing down. They must not let anybody else see what’s on this card! One player must then pick a stat and read it out, so they might say ‘CUNNING: 8’. All other players must then look at that stat on their card and read the number beside it. Whoever has the biggest number, wins that round! Every other player must give their card to the person who has won the round.

The defeated cards can be added to the winner’s deck. If there is a draw, everyone must put their cards in a separate pile. Whoever wins the next round wins the cards from this pile, as well as the cards they have just defeated! Keep playing rounds this way, and the person who eventually wins all the cards will be named the ultimate colosseum champion! 

If you enjoyed this brilliant blog, then why not think about a subscription to AQUILA magazine! 

Written by Liam R. Findlay