Greetings all! it’s been a little while, but i’m back to talk about a game that I recently tried out at my FLGS called Arena Rex, by Red Republic Games. For those of you out there who are unfamiliar with the game, it’s essentially a 35mm figure system that is based on gladiatorial combat in an arena reminiscent of those you would see in ancient times. The difference with this game is, that while you have predominantly ‘human’ players (characters? victims?) you can also employ beasts into your ‘cohort’ or even gorgons or titans. The prospect of being able to ride a giant scorpion into the arena, or to have a colossal half snake/half human creature fighting for me was too much to resist!
The system is relatively easy to pick up. Games are typically played with 3-5 models each side. The opposing cohorts start off at either side of the arena, and the ultimate goal is to obviously emerge victorious by slaughtering the other side. Throw in hazards like pit traps (instadeath!), obstacles that can impede your movement or indeed beasts like lions that will bite off a chunk, and you have quite a quick paced game that is a lot of fun.
Character stats are all listed on cards that come with each miniature, as well as wound points and an interesting ‘damage tree’ system which can make for some unique, game changing moments when your’e successfully putting the hurt on your opponent. You also start off with a small amount of ‘favor’ – which is generated by the roaring crowds, slaughtering an enemy, trigger events that are listed on the stat cards and so on. These extra dice can be used to buff attack or defense rolls, but you have to use them wisely.
One thing I really liked about the game was the fact you had to think a turn or two ahead. It isn’t just a case of running forward swinging a sword, oh no. Each character gets a ‘free’ move, then anything after that causes them to either be ‘fatigued’ or ‘exhausted’, which can be fatal if you suddenly realize that you have a fatigued model in the open with no support, and a ‘fresh’ opponent within striking distance. You really have to be a little conservative, and a lot creative, with your positioning and timing until your tired models recover.
I only played one game against my buddy Joe, under the watchful eye of Todd who runs/owns Grognard Games in Roselle, IL. It was a lot of fun learning the rules and making mistakes, and seeing how the system works. Check out the video below to get a flavor of the game:
All that said, it was the miniatures that initially caught my eye and had me inquiring about the game. They are simply stunning figures. Cast in resin and exquisitely detailed, I knew I had to get involved. There are several different cohorts to choose from, though you can mix and match between them (although you do get bonuses for having exclusive cohorts). I chose Morituri, as I was really digging the Egyptian flavor they have going on. I have painted up my first character, Tiet-Khebi:
I’m going to go back in and repaint her weapons, because they look way too bland. She was a lot of fun to paint, and I love the dynamic posing that a lot of the miniatures for this game have.
The rules are available to download for free from the website HERE – but I would also encourage you to buy a copy of the rules too. Seriously, they are a meager $7.50! Also, do yourself a favor and go and look at the range of miniatures, like the Medusa…
You will not be sorry!
This game has been around for a couple of years, but I’m really glad that I found it. The low model count and quick learn rules are a win-win for someone like myself who doesn’t have hours and hours to play games. Couple that with beautiful miniatures and you’ve got yourself a winner!
Thanks for reading!