Many months ago, Steve, Jeff, and I kickstarted Arena: The Contest, a tactical fantasy battle boardgame with roleplaying elements. A couple of weeks ago our game finally arrived, and we unboxed a truly prodigious amount of gaming materials, including at least two dozen 28mm scale miniatures, several large miniatures including a big dragon and a REALLY BIG dragon, and a bunch of indoor terrain for extra immersion. Unboxing all the swag was a lot of fun, but as with all games, the most important question is: is it fun?
It's a blast. The three of us played the introductory module, a player vs. environment encounter that saw our four heroes (I played two characters, since the scenario called for four good guys to balance the number of enemies) make their way through a lava-filled citadel to battle a number of monstrous thugs. I'm happy to report that the game is easy to learn but admirably complex, with many tactical choices available to players. The game art is gorgeous, hero characters have interesting combinations of abilities, and the maps are immersive and challenging (at least so far). I look forward to trying some player vs. player matches and the main campaign, which introduces roleplaying elements.