The gladiator combat simulated in First Sword is about as historically accurate, in terms of statistical results, as it is possible to make it based on the limited information available. While it might seem initially strange to design a management game around a spectator sport where one of the two competitors was liable to be killed in the process, the fact of the matter is that the average gladiator had about a 9 in 10 chance of surviving a match. The games were too popular, the convicts were too few, and the slaves were too valuable to allow half the gladiators to die every single time there was a match. Furthermore, gladiators who were not dannati, convicts condemned to fight until they died in the arena, had good reason to anticipate living if they could somehow manage to survive their first few fights. Experience was a tremendous advantage in the arena, and the gladiator who did not die in his first two or three fights had a reasonable chance of living to see retirement. Unless, of course, he found himself matched up against a champion.
"There will be Thraex versus Murmillo, from the Neronian School, and twice a victor, against Tigris of the Neronian School, once a victor. [Another] of the Neronian School, three times a victor and dismissed once standing taking on Speculator, the victor of 69 combats." - Gladiator program found at Pompeii, CIL 4.2508
Some gladiators fought an incredible number of matches. It is recorded that some famous champions fought in as many as 150 matches. There were a variety of different types of gladiators, and many of them appear in First Sword.