Kickstarter Pick: ARENA: Fury of Hellas

By | 05/18/2016
I am sure she has a great personality.
So I have been thinking about this for a while and I wanted to go ahead and make the odd post on Kickstarters that catch my eye. In particular this one – Arena: Fury of Hellas. It harkens back to my love of the old sword and sandals monster mash movies. I mean who doesn’t love those? I’ve already backed it but I think you should to.

From the Kickstarter page itself.
“ARENA: FURY OF HELLAS is simple to learn and play, but it requires strategy and planning to win. Players start with five cards in their hand. The active player may put either a Hero or Monster card into their play zone, called the Arena, with the goal of gaining as may points as possible from each card’s Legendary Value. Most Heroes and Monsters have special abilities that trigger when played, targeting and destroying a specific card or type of card. Play your cards wisely: no one’s Arena is safe from attack!”
A brief intro showing the core mechanics:

Ok the video doesn’t capture the real scheming feel of the game, I was lucky enough to do some play testing on this and it was a hoot. Lots of last minute card switches as players seek to destroy each others plans. The difference between trying to make a balanced force and going overwhelming into either Heroes or Monsters is a fine line.

No so tempting are they?

For me the passion of the creator sealed the deal, a word from Colm Lundberg on how it came about:

“In college (university, school, whatever you call it wherever you are), I studied a degree or pure indulgence, being literature and Greek/Roman civilization (the latter encompassing mythology, literature, history and archaeology). The fascination with ancients myth has been with me since delving through encyclopaedia as a child (imagine – paper-based, not searchable wikis in a book!)

As I was developing Love2Hate, I was also working on ARENA: Fury of Hellas. I wanted a quick interactive game that captured the brutality and interaction of ancient Greek legendary heroes and monsters in the vein of the Ray Harryhausen movies that still rock my world.

I originally had about 80-90 cards in the set, but through 2 years of rigorous playtesting, removing cards which didn’t quite interact and increasing the pace and rhythm of the game, I was left with a 54-card deck. I was at Gencon for the first time ever in 2015 with the wonderful people at Green Ronin Publishing, wandering around slack-jawed in awe, when the wonderful Marc Schmalz (electric publishing guru) introduced me to the inimitable Eric Cagle (production deity).

They seemed to like Love2Hate (which is a still a constant and wonderful experience) and asked what else i was working on. We ended up in an Irish bar (or what passes for one over there–never order Guinness in the USA!) and I took out a very rough-and- ready demo set of ARENA: Fury of Hellas. It seemed to click and we had a lot of fun playing through it.

Eric suggested bringing it over to Wolfgang Baur of Kobold Press to have a look over (Kobolds! Cheap XP! Awesome!) and he really liked it. There followed a flurry of emails, serious statistical analysis to make the game more balanced and pay more fair, which still looks to me like Excel-based sorcery and has me casting circles of salt around that Cagle fella. Then the graphic design kicked in (Marc Radle is awesome) and the superb, stunning artwork by Byran Syme and holy cow if it didn’t look like a proper game. Really – I cannot get over how wonderful the cards look.

The game looks stunning. The added components (Throne of Zeus counter, victory tokens) will be cool. And… let’s just say, the format of the game can be applied to… other mythic settings, depending on how the funding goes!

Now comes the terrifying, nail biting emotional roller-coaster that is Kickstarter. But I believe in this game, I believe the final production will be beautiful and I really think people will have fun playing it.

Thank you for your support and keep it coming so the Gods of Olympus may be appeased and we can get this over the line – I will thank you personally at Gencon 2016!”

So I hope you folks liked this look at Kickstarter, should I do other reviews as I come across games of interest?

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