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Fight For Glory in Pathfinder Arena

The world of tabletop gaming has a brand new curiosity on its hands. A brand new, officially licensed board game based on Paizo Publishing’s tabletop RPG, Pathfinder Arena, is now being crowdfunded. But this one stands out among other premium experiences thanks to some interesting features.

According to the project’s Kickstarter campaign, Pathfinder Arena is a competitive board game for 2-4 players. Set during the Age of Lost Omens, players choose one of four established heroes from the world of Pathfinder. They have become trapped by an ominous magical entity simply known as “Arena,” Arena poses a challenge to the heroes: pick a champion who will claim the right to escape. With that challenge, heroes become rivals, fighting not just the horrors of Arena, but themselves as well.

While this central premise sounds standard for a high fantasy board game, Pathfinder Arena contains some interesting twists. First and foremost, the Arena itself is malleable and movable. Players can move sections of the board curing their turns to put enemies and traps in front of their competition. Alternatively, these room tiles can be rotated and changed to help you reach unexplored areas for helpful weapons and items.

Sorry dice goblins, you’ll have to build these heroes from the ground up.

That is important since navigating this mazelike arena is central to character-building in Pathfinder Arena. Each character has a deck full of combat abilities, feats, and even magic spells if they have them, as well as certain asymmetric character abilities. To enhance these abilities or draft additional cards into their deck, they’ll collect tokens scattered throughout the board. And enhancing these abilities will be key to victory since combat is completely diceless; your damage and your survivability are completely based on your stats.

With these elements in mind, Pathfinder Arena looks more like a fantasy Eurogame mixed with an elaborate sliding tile puzzle. Not only are you thinking about long-term investments for your character, your very spatial reasoning is brought into question with how you get to your next prize while screwing over your competition. It’s something that some players may have gotten a rough idea when the rulebook for this game became free to download, but is something else entirely with other players at the table.

There are several different backer tiers for Pathfinder Arena. For about $113, you can get an early Adventurer Pledge which will buy you the core game, and all Stretch Goals. Next is theĀ  Champion Pledge for $158, which includes everything from the Adventurer Pledge as well as a Hero, Monster, and Trap Tile Expansion. $186 will buy you the Master Pledge, which includes everything mentioned in the Champion Pledge as well as the Age of Ashes expansion, and the Dragon Expansion. Finally there is an Early Bird style version of all of these tiers. If you back the game within 24 hours of the campaign’s launch you’ll get additional items from these tiers like the inclusion of the Dragon Expansion in the Adventurer and Champion Pledges and a limited run black dragon miniature for the Master Pledge.

The Kickstarter campaign for Pathfinder Arena is live right now on Kickstarter right now. At time of writing it has already surpassed its goal of $56,180 with $79,896 pledged. The campaign will conclude December 13.

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