READFIELD — When David Matson was a boy, he spent hours inventing war games — drawing a map on graph paper, making game pieces and writing rules about how those pieces could move around the board and engage one another.

“Just making a game was playing, you know?” Matson said.

He has taken an idea he’s been toying with and refining for years and made it into “Gladiator: Fight to the Finish,” a fast-paced card game for two players to battle gladiator-style to the end at a time when interest in games is on the rise as the coronavirus pandemic has restricted other more social pursuits.

Jeremy Morton, a manager of Game On in Augusta, said the coronavirus has driven renewed interest in games, particularly board games.

“We have seen an uptick in the hobby aspect of board games, where people buy products they buy and paint themselves,” Morton said; card games less so. “Pretty much everything in the nonplugged in game world has seen an uptick.”

The seeds for this particular game were sown years ago when Matson’s father gave him a book on gladiators, which piqued his interest in developing a game around their battles.

Even as he went off to college and started on his path to adulthood, the idea for the game kept simmering in his mind.

“I took a class in fencing to learn more about how sword fighting works and get some ideas,” he said. “It was really fun. I’d like to try it again, although the people who are really good at it, they just wipe you out immediately.”