It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for the most spectacular show on earth! Iron ironers will again engage in battle with the very fate. Screech metal, explosions and adrenaline! This is the “Steel Arena”!
The speaker died down, the automatic doors of the stadium opened and several gladiator robots appeared on the arena. They were not greeted by the rumble of voices and a flurry of applause – the stadium of many thousands was empty. Only the wind walked between the rows, chasing back and forth stale garbage. People disappeared, leaving not only the arena, but also their huge cities. All around came to desolation, but the program included in the gladiators forced them to go out every Friday to fight.
The participants of the game “Steel Arena” will see the world through the eyes of robots ready to crash, break and set fire to each other for fun to unseen spectators. Check your systems, prepare for battle hammers, saws and guns – the strongest will win!
It will be fun and scary, it will be painful and funny
Each player gets into control of one of four robots, not differing anything except illustration, and four basic module tiles – the simplest weapon, armor and movement and rotation mechanisms. On the table is laid out a field consisting of tiles, reflecting the equipment scattered around the arena. The task is incredibly simple – to inflict as much damage to the enemies as possible, losing as few of their own parts as possible.
Before the battle begins, players take turns arranging their robots on any extreme field tiles, choosing not only the location, but also the direction in which they will be rotated. This is important because the mechanics of the game take into account the direction of the attack – the front armor is more common than the side armor, and the rear of the robots almost always remains unprotected. And if there is an obstacle in the line of sight between you and the enemy, it will not be possible to attack the enemy (only if your weapon does not shoot the canopy). All as in severe wargames!
In his turn the player can perform one of two actions: activate one of his modules or cool all his modules. The principle of activation is simple and understandable: put on the module an overheating badge and perform the action corresponding to the module – the engine and the rotary mechanism allow you to change the position of the robot on the field, and the weapon makes an attack. Armor modules are an exception to this rule, since they do not require activation, but are triggered at the time of attack, reducing damage. While there is an overheating token on the module, you can not reactivate it again. In general, as in the classic euro – put a token on the tile, performed the action.
Naturally, there were combinations. Many modules have special properties – auto-cooling and high-speed activation. Auto-cooling allows you to remove the heating token from the module at the end of the stroke, and after activating the speed module, you can use one more module, which can also be high-speed. The robot’s tablet from the start has these properties, so each robot can perform several actions per turn, increasing their number as new speed modules are received.
But the main feature of the game lies in the richest arsenal. Modules of movement allow you to walk in a straight line, diagonally and jump, ignoring obstacles. The weapon is divided into melee, remote, overheating, shooting canopy, hitting several targets at once and throwing enemies back – each with its own special properties. When a robot takes damage, it loses some of its modules. Shots and strikes literally tear off whole steel pieces from steel fighters! The abandoned tiles of the modules are taken to the attacker as trophies – they can not be used, but they act as victory points when summing up the results of the game. The game ends in one of three cases: one of the participants scored 10 trophies, one of the robots completely destroyed or expired – all tiles left for the game ended. Victory always goes to the gladiator, who collected the most of the enemy debris.
Yes, I almost forgot! If at the end of the turn the robot has 5 or fewer modules, including the central one, it goes into a strengthened mode – the gaming tablet is turned over and the fighter receives additional armor and a bonus to maneuverability. But as soon as the danger passes, the robot will return to its normal state. Thus, the game helps the participants to stretch out longer in the arena and avoid embarrassing situations, when it is profitable for the players to finish off the weak. In an emergency, you can also use the wear rule by reactivating the motion modules and leaving the fire. True, this threatens the loss of overloaded elements.
Display driver has stopped working normally
According to the description “Steel arena” is just a hurricane shooter – every move robots move around the arena, collect new equipment and attack each other, scattering piles of scrap metal. In fact, this is not entirely true. The action is definitely there, but the game is absolutely mechanical – you step forward here, turn aside, shoot, pick up the tile, skip the next turn to cool completely. As in chess – you either make the best move, or do stupid things. If you played games from Rainer of the Book, you will understand what I mean. And everything lies on the surface, there are no complex decisions in the game. But the nuances and subtleties are quite a lot and not all of them are detailed in the rules. In my opinion, a very important point is that the armor works once per turn of each player. That is, if Player B shoots player A and then Player B, the armor is triggered twice. The same story and with auto-cooling – it also works in the course of someone else’s game. But even more interesting is the fact that the one-time armor “Roy” after the application is taken as a trophy to the enemy who committed the attack. So I recommend printing a memo on the game, so as not to forget about these moments.
The game has a lot of random access to the tiles. For example, “Quasar” is an obvious imba, and hand-to-hand weapons are usually less attractive than small arms. The rules provide for a game mode with an open field, but then the batch turns into a puzzle for optimization – a lot of combinatorics, little fan.
Since I started talking about impressions, it’s worth mentioning that the game lacks the atmosphere. I would very much like to see robots have individuality and differ in starting parameters and special properties. And if there were miniatures in the game, it would be very good – both beautiful and functional. Because raising the tokens of robots from the tiles of the playing field and keeping track of who is where and in which direction they turn is not very convenient. It is clear that the publishers tried to make the game accessible, but I want the same!
By the way, publishers have no complaints – the game is made very high quality. Such thick tokens as the robots in the “Steel arena” I have not seen yet in any table. True, with such a thick factory knife coped with barely – from the sides the tokens do not look very much. But the cutting of tiles is good and the box in the box is convenient. With a sense of humor, the designers are also all right – drinking “Friendship”, a sledgehammer “Ivy” and railgan “Forget-me-not” in my heart forever.
“Steel arena” is knocked out of the framework of the usual euro and ametrethresh. It absorbed elements of different genres, including abstracts and wargames. The resulting cocktail will not please everyone, but if you like battles, tactics and not against a random house – it’s worth a try. Definitely one of the best domestic games released in 2016.