Yes, this is the Krosmoz, where bored Demon lords sit around and toy with not-so-immortal beings and make them face each other in battles on amazing landscapes! You as the player control your not-so-immortal, but still very cool “Krosmasters,” the very best warriors of the Krosmoz. Each turn you move and cast spells in an attempt to capture your opponent’s Gallons of Glory (GGs). Run out of GGs and the Demon lords laugh, then push the reset button.
In the midst of all this omnipotence, Krosmaster characters can collect Kama, and buy upgrades and use their innate special powers to defeat and demoralize their opponents – giving the feel of an arena battle video game. Welcome to the Krosmoz!
Note: The first time you set up the game, some assembly is required. But once assembled, the components store nicely in the box. Set up for the first game will be a bit longer.
Set the game board on the table, choosing either the “Elemental” or “Pit Arena” environment. Each different arena offers a different layout for scenery in the upcoming battle. Speaking of scenery, place the assembled Trees, Bushes and Crates on each of their corresponding cells, Then place the Kama tokens on every cell that has the Kama icons on them as well as on each Demon cell. Place the rest of the Kama tokens aside. Demonic Reward Tokens are then sorted by cost and divided into two piles face down. The top tile is them flipped over and placed in front of each stack. Now you get to assemble your Krosmasters!
Using the game cards, assembling your team of Krosmasters can be done either by simple choosing them one at a time, choosing them randomly, or by draft. Once the Krosmasters are chosen, take each card, and place them from left to right in front of you in order of their initiative score. (That’s the small number in the lightning bolt on the upper left of the card). This creates your “Timeline” and the order in which your Krosmasters will act on your turn. Now take each Krosmaster figurine and place them within the starting area, usually within the last two rows of cells closest to you on the game board. Give each player six Gallons of Glory tokens and place one GG token to the side of the game board.. This is the “Wild GG” and we’ll talk about that in a bit. With the Demon Lords satisfied with the setup of the arena and the Krosmoz in line, you may begin the battle! Press Start!
Goal: The first player to lose all of their Gallons of Glory, or have all their Krosmasters knocked out must hang their head in shame in front of the Demons of the Hours and Minutes.
There are three major phases in a game turn, and each player must complete these phases in order before play passes to the opponent. They are the Start of Turn, Character Turn and End of Turn.
1. Start of Turn
The tension rises! The first player rolls two dice. If the result shows any two matching symbols, the Demons of Hours and Minutes get impatient, and take one GG from each player. If however the symbols do not match, you can use these symbols to give your Krosmasters “inspiration!” Each specific symbol provides a unique power and can be placed on any Krosmaster you have in front of you. The Explosion icon, for example grants a one-turn Critical Hit power for that character. The Shield symbol grants the Armor Power, and so forth. Just put the die on the character card to remember. If you don’t want to grant your Krosmasters inspiration, (sheesh!) you can collect Kama from the bank. Simply trade in one die for 1 Kama, or both dice for 3 Kama. Kama is good, you’ll see why soon.
2. Character Turn
This is where all the action happens. And everything is based on an action point allowance system. Here’s how it works:
Your Krosmasters each have several key attributes: Movement Points,(MP), Action Points (AP), Hit Points (HP) as well as Spells and Powers. During this phase, you will move and take actions using the MP and APs respectively with each of your Krosmasters in the order of your Timeline. When the APs and MPs of one Krosmaster are used up, or you don’t want to use any more, that Krosmaster is done and you may then activate the next Krosmaster in your Timeline and so on. But what do you use these Movement and Action points for?
Move: You may move your Krosmaster one cell for one MP. You can’t move through scenery like trees, bushes and other Krosmasters (even your own) You can however hop up onto crates! If you want to move away from an adjacent enemy however, you may be “Locked!.” Both players roll dice. If the Opposing player rolls a “Magnet” icon, then you have to roll at least one if not more “Boot” icons to be able to move. If unsuccessful you have to stay where you are.
To have your Krosmasters cast spells or take other actions, you have to spend Acton Points.
Casting a Spell: Most of the time, Krosmasters use spells to attack their opponents. Each Attack Spell has a Cost, a Range, Damage, (which is color coded associated with four different elements) and perhaps an additional effect. But there are also Healing spells, Summoning spells, and Special spells that do all sort of cool things.
When using an Attack spell, you must pay the AP cost, apply any effects, and check line of site if it’s a ranged spell, then roll a die. Most attack spells have a damage value listed, and any “explosion” icon rolled adds to that damage. But hold on a minute! Your opponent gets a chance to defend themselves. They roll one die and any “Shield” results rolled will prevent that much damage. If any damage occurs, Injury markers are placed on the Krosmaster’s card and life goes on. Unless of course the Injury markers equal or exceed the targeted Krosmasters HP. In that case, the Krosmaster is removed from the board and you collect GG from your opponent equal to the defeated Krosmaster’s level.
Don’t forget your Krosmasters may have special Powers at the bottom of the card that affect Damage, and Armor and other aspects of casting spells. You may continue to cast spells as long as you have the AP to do so. But there are a couple of other things that you may want to use those AP for…
Picking up Kama: Little Kama tokens are placed all over the board and picking them up costs AP. If one of your Krosmasters is on a cell with some Kama on it, pay one AP for each Kama you want to pick up. Then place them in front of you. But what will that get you?
Buying Rewards: Ah, what’s a battle without Rewards? In this case Boosts, Buffs and Equipment. If you maneuver your Krosmaster to a Demon cell, you can spend one AP and pay Kama to buy a Demonic Reward. There are Granite Rewards which cost 3 Kama, Jade Rewards which cost 6 Kama, and Jade Rewards which are very cool and cost 12 Kama. Since there are revealed Rewards and face down stacks, you can purchase the visible Reward, or draw from the top and try to get just the Boost, Buff or Equipment you are looking for. Once purchased, the Reward is placed face down on the Krosmaster card of your choice. The Reward can be activated at any time during your activation phase. Once turned face, up the Reward will have a specific effect based on what type of reward it is.
Boosts provide an immediate effect and then are removed from the game. These include bonuses to damage, potions that grant unique abilities and some cool fighting styles. Buffs when activated, grant a temporary improvement to your Krosmaster until the start of your next turn. These include resistances to certain damage types and more styles that grant unique affects during battle. Equipment is a permanent improvement that once activated stays on that Krosmaster card until they are defeated. There are four types of Equipment Rewards: Weapons, which grant the Krosmaster a new Spell, Sets, that grant new Powers, Pets that improve characteristics and Dofus, which are the most effective and powerful rewards of all.
3. End of Turn
After all of your Krosmasters have completed their Activation Phase, that’s it! Prepare to defend yourself against your opponent. It’s now their turn!
So all of this running around and casting Spells, Boosting and Buffing happens until you or your opponent’s Krosmaster either lay defeated on the Arena floor, or one of you has lost all your Gallons of Glory. Game Over.
It is immediately clear that no expense was spared to produce this beautiful game. Kudos to Alexandre Papet, Edouard Guiton, and their entire 2-D and 3-D teams for the work on the art, graphics and truly amazing miniatures included in this game. Everything stores in the box after assembly. One minor note is the crates will have to be secured with glue or tape. But other than that, the production values from top to bottom are off the chart. It’s just a feast for the eyes.
Easy. But wait, isn’t that a 32 page rulebook I see? That’s because the rule book includes 7 tutorial games that walk through every nuance of the game, and actually include reduced sized game boards printed on the tutorial pages so you can play as you learn. After these and some reference pages, the actual rules are only 5 pages long. On the back of the rulebook is a gameplay summary that is all you will need once you have played once or twice. Everything is on the cards, so very little reference is needed.
Who would enjoy this game?
What fun! Everything about this game beckons you to play. The first thing any gamer will notice, and perhaps the reason for its success on Kickstarter, is the quality of the miniatures. They have expression and movement, are cute, goofy and sometimes freaky. They are a pleasure to play with. This style and “shelf appeal” may not be your cup of tea. Every game, no matter the style, must be rated first for the experience they provide: starting with gameplay.
The base combat mechanics of the game are simple. So simple in fact that at times, they may be a bit repetitive. The game employs a familiar combat mechanic that is common in many games these days: The attacker rolls to hit, the defender rolls to block, the difference is the damage taken. Combat is then augmented by the use of the 3-D environment, line of sight, ranged attacks, Powers, and the special effects the spell may have in addition to damage. Perhaps the most unique aspect is the chance to upgrade your Krosmaster mid game.
Using Kama to buy Boosts, Buffs and Equipment, placing them face down and revealing them when needed provides a great variable to the combat system. And there are a wide range of these Rewards. But you cannot simply invest your Kama in upgrades thanks to the unique victory conditions of the game. You may also spend Kama during the game to buy Gallons of Glory. The first GG bought is taken from the one “wild” GG set aside at setup. However, thereafter, when bought, GGs are taken from your opponent. This feels like a financial victory, essentially buying the game out from under your opponent. And it’s this balance and decision process that makes the game strategically deeper. The tactical variables do indeed ramp up when the various special abilities and powers of the Krosmasters themselves are figured in. The interaction of all these elements, give the game experience innumerable variations; especially with the over 40 different Krosmasters that can be acquired to expand the experience. Slather on a thick and colorful layer of theme and you have the complete package: a well thought out, well made, light game experience that is deceptively simple and ultimately enjoyable.
Krosmaster: Arena succeeds on many levels. It’s a good game for adults, but it’s clear that this game excels as a game to share with children or for children. Although the game is recommended for ages 14 and up, it is suitable for children ages 10 and up. It’s very accessible and taps into the familiar “battle” tactical games common in many handheld and console games old and new. But this doesn’t work against the board game. It actually enhances its enjoyment though familiarity. When you play, you get the feeling that this game has a chance to explode into something huge, like some famous Japanese collectible games of the past 15 years. With the current boom in board gamesas a family activity, you can’t help but wonder if the folks at Japanime Games and Ankama have stumbled onto something. All conjecture aside however, you will have a great time playing and collecting Krosmaster: Arena.
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