Credit to chat-goer xenoaristo for turning me onto this strategy. Anything in italics are things that I’ve contributed as ideas for a better start, but they are not crucial to the point of the opening strategy.

The gist of it is to attempt to buy a strong Gladiator from the Legate and skill him up with three fights before the first scripted battle occurs.

  1. New Game
  2. Skip Tutorial
  3. Click Legate
  4. Wine to 9: bribe him with wine until you only have 9 left.
  5. Buy Gladiator
  6. Gladiator Goods: 10+ Agi, or over 30 combined Agility and Attack.
    1. Agility is more important in the event of a tie.
    2. Be sure to consider how the weapon they have equipped affects attack: Pugia = 7, Wooden Gladius = 9, Gladius = 22, Quma = 28
  7. Click your new Gladiator in the Ludus: Give 1 Coin, Heal, Max AIĀ (Or Max Strength) Training. Upgrade Weapon (Quma) fully. Upgrade Shield (Robust Thraxe.)
    1. Upgrades for armor should generally be based on their weight efficiency, to best utilize evasion. This is why Agility was important, too.
    2. I don’t know how much weight affects knockback when blocking.
  8. Sell your other men. I keep the naked guy.
  9. If you have 165+ coin, Hire the Agent from the Market, and buy all the wine. If you do not have enough coin, just buy all the wine.
  10. Initiate Pit Fight.
    1. If you bought the Agent, Spy on the Magistrate first and then wager 150 coin on the pit fight
      1. Selling the Magistrate secret to the Legate is bonus coin later, as well as some free favor with the Legate if you try to purchase gladiators from him again. It does not have to be the same Legate/Magistrate that you started the game with to be able to sell it. It’s like free money and favor you can cash in when ever that you pay 3 days for. If you really don’t like having the Agent, you can fire him after he returns with the secret, and he’ll have paid for himself. Or he’ll just die, so you won’t have to fire him anyway :D
    2. Winning the pit fight then gives you a boost in starting coin. 150 – 13 for agent – probably 2 for wine = 135 coin profit. Since you would have won 115 coin anyway, it’s effectively 20 coin profit.
  11. Use Pit Coins to upgrade your Main Man
  12. Click Legate
  13. Organize Exhibition
  14. Click Magistrate
  15. Wine as much as you can, until your next wine offering is less than the one you just made. Since the amount of wine needed to appease these old farts doubles with each bribe, the smaller offering won’t do anything.
  16. Organize Exhibition
  17. If you were fast enough, and paying attention to which cards you won from these three fights, you should have enough time to get at least one Jupiter Card onto your Main Man.
  18. Now the scripted fight should pop up. If you are confronted with a lonely Thraex, send your main man out to fight again. Otherwise, Reject the terms. Your Thraex has a high probability to die in this fight and you’ll have wasted your time.
    1. If my naked guy has fewer than 160HP and his Aggro AI is less than his other AI parameters, I send him out to die to maintain favor with whatever old guy.

After the scripted fight, the game begins in earnest, but now you have a really good gladiator to start you on your way!

The early pit fights are incredibly easy, and I might suggest that you send your Main Man into them to rack up AI skill. It maxes out at 100. You could spend time training it in the Ludus, too. Since he’d need 6 or 7 more fights to max it out, then, it’s really up to you how many fights you want to risk him for.

Keeping the Legate happy is important for getting good deals on more Gladiators. This is why having the Agent is good, too: selling those secrets to gain coin and favor, and wagering in pit fights to bolster your purse so you can afford those Gladiators.