A preview by
Arena the Contest is aiming at the lofty heights of success by being a turn based tactical combat game. But at the same time being a full blooded co-op dungeon fight style game. Normally any game that sets out to achieve this usually ends up failing miserably at one or both of these endeavours. So how does Arena the Contest fare? Lets find out.
First up a disclaimer. The copy of Arena the Contest I received was a prototype version. As such, none of the components were production quality. The creators are planning to have some very nice looking miniatures, the renders of which can be found at their website for the game http://arenathecontest.com/
Games within Arena the Contest take place on a grid board. What immediately grabbed me about this system was instead of limiting the experience. It was in-fact focused much more. There is an almost limitless amount of variety in the set-up options for the PvP game. The rulebook will contain preset configurations. Or the two teams each consisting of up to four players can each will be able to randomly select 4 pieces of scenery each and take turns to place them how they like. This can lead to some nice “bottleneck” areas on the board or some tactical “cover” situations. Play is alternate between the teams one character at a time based on the order of placement.
In the PvE arm of the game you will be able to select from Epic Quest or Boss battle in a quest guide. These will have layouts assigned for each of these games. Where things get interesting in PvE though is instead of the usual “turn order” you normally see in this style of game using things like initiative, speed or just some random number the creator assigned. Dragori games have been quite clever in offering a more tactical approach. At the start of the round the players can choose the turn order of both heroes and villains. And they can even change it during the turn just as long as each character (good or bad) only gets one turn. This can allow for a situation where “Bob the Bard tries to kill a vampire. But due to a cursed die misses with his garlic laced mandolin. So Satsuma the samurai who was about to blow a door open changes his mind and thanks to his enchanted die cleanly slices the vampires head off as it was about to bite Bob” (yes I made it up so shoot me). As you would expect some characters are more proficient than others in differing fields. Healer, Hero, Ranged fighter and close up meat shield. Yes these and others are all evident here.
This is not all though Arena the Contest has another trick up its sleeve. It will also have a campaign mode. This will allow players to gain experience points which they will be able to spend on “Level Up” cards, Scrolls and Artefacts to boost a hero.
Let the dust settle.
Despite not having the finished quality components and only one PvP setting to test. I found Arena the Contest to be engaging and enjoyable to play. The combat experience appears to be well balanced with some nice options available to the player. I was not able to try out campaign mode but some of the text work evident was well written and shows promise for the rest of the mode. Overall I would say that Arena the Contest will be one to look out for as it shows quite a bit of promise in not just one or two but all three modes. Is it different enough to stand out from the crowd and rise head and shoulders above the rest? It is too early to tell. There is a lot here that will feel comfortably familiar to dungeon crawl aficionados, possibly too comfortable? Time will tell.
I received a prototype copy of Arena the Contest to preview. This in no way affects my review or my final thoughts on the game.