Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Draim Arena

Well, this little gem is going to be the first in my international games series. It hails from Sweden, and in all honesty this review is going to be different from all of my others. The others were meant to be unbiased, but it is not possible here.

Now for the reason I cannot make this review unbiased. I like this game. I mean I really like this game. I got a few of my friends together to play this game, and it has been a long time since we have had that much fun. The reason for that is because of the mechanics that are unique to the game. You will out more about those in the boring section.

Now for the boring section. But before that, I must tell you that the card design is not the standard card, though it can be used in standard sleeves. It is quite beautiful.

In Draim Arena you have two variations. There is the 30 card and the 9 card set up. Both of set you up for a quick game, though we have seen a game last so much longer through player error and evil strategy created by it (the card Lethargy played on your opponent can be smart, but be careful).

In the 30 card variation, the veteran CCG player has access to one resource that will be very familiar. The deck. Though getting cards out of it is a very different process. To do that you have to “Tip” a character. Yes, I said tip, not “Tap”. Tapping goes clockwise, while tipping goes counterclockwise.

One thing that is very unique about Draim Arena is that you start the game with all of your characters, plus the top two cards of you deck in hand. This take a little bit of the chance away. On the other hand, even more is chance is thrown in when it come to the combat. That info will come later.

Now, there is actually a structure to the game, and it is so easy to pick up, but I think I will leave the bulk of for you to find out in the future. I will tell you of the most unique part of the game though, the dice that are needed to play Draim Arena.

In Draim Arena you have two dice. One is called the “Tactical Die” while the other is called the “Battle Die”. These are rolled not only to determine how combat resolves, but which character(s) actually engage in combat. The tactical die is rolled first, this tells you which of your characters (1-4 from left to right) engages in combat. If the number rolled has a pentagon around it, you send forward that many characters of your choice into battle (the character on the left is the one that actually fights unless something very special happens). Of course, if you roll a number that is higher than the number of characters you control, combat does not happen. The battle die tells you what bonuses your character gets, or if they miss or cannot be stopped. My favorite thing to roll is the “Troop” face that lets all of the characters you sent forward to attack at the same time.

Now, there are card that allow you to modify game play, and you can play one of these depending on what phase you are in. Only one of these cards can be played per phase unless the card says otherwise, as is the golden rule.

As I mentioned before, there is a 9 card variation. This is played the same way, but instead you just use a hand of 9 cards, instead of a deck. You can balance it anyway you like, so have fun with it. You can only have one copy of each card though.

If you would like to find out more info on Draim Arena, check out their main page at http://www.draim.com/ . Look out for an English release this fall. If you are wondering how I tried out this game if the English version is not out, let’s just say I know a guy who knows a guy that could get me some proxies. I have not learned svenska, but I would not mind trying in the future.


Anonymous said...

Hi Charon! Glad you like the game!
I am one of the lucky ones. I know svenska (otherwise known as swedish) and I play the game. It really is a great game.

Just on thing. It's always the leftmost character in the troop that fights, not the rightmost. =)

Charon said...

Whoops, I meant to say leftmost. Changing that.