After a long wait, it appears that Arena Rex is finally approaching general release. This seems like a good time to write an introduction to the game.
What is Arena Rex?
Arena Rex is a skirmish game using resin miniatures. Unlike Warhammer 40k with it’s massive model count, this game can be played with just 3 models per side and only requires 30 inches or about 75 cm square to play. It should fit on most dinning tables. Due to the high quality and the classical setting, the models look just fine unpainted, which should give this game some appeal past the normal tabletop crowd.
The game itself is set in an alternate history around the time 500 AD (1253 AUC). Rome has never fallen, and gladiatorial games are common throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. There are some fantasy and mythological elements, however the core of the game is close range combat.
Played in a relatively small area, games range from 3 v 3 to 5 v 5. Traps, hazards, and other obstacles are encouraged. Gameplay moves quickly, with turns alternating between players each time they “activate” an individual model. This keeps the game dynamic. Personally, I find the rules to very cinematic. In particular, the way the game utilizes the crowd as a resource. Winning over the crowd allows you special abilities and tactics. It also acts as a balancing mechanism when things don’t go your way. The crowd loves an underdog after all.
There are four factions in Arena Rex, which are known as a Ludus, or gladiator schools. Here is a brief rundown on each of the 4 ludi:
This is (currently) the largest faction and it contains the traditional gladiator styles and aesthetics. Centered in Rome, these gladiators are closest to their historical counterparts.
Legio 13 contains gladiators from Continental Europe. The styles are slightly more barbaric and their tactics are heavily influenced by the Roman Military.
This faction contains gladiators from the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily Egypt. These exotic warriors are fascinated with death in combat.
A mix of Viking and Native American cultures, these gladiators come from the norhtern areas still beyond Roman rule, but not beyond their influence.
Beasts and Mythological Creatures
Rhinos, Bulls, Giant Scorpions, and Lions are currently available and more are on the way. Nagas, Wendigos, and a Questing Beast make up the mythological side of things.
The miniatures are some of the best I’ve ever seen. They are expensive, particularly for those unacustomed to miniatures gaming, but the quality of the work is amazing. The low number of models required also takes a bit of the sting off as well. Three regular sized gladiators should be around $70-80.
I will be talking about this game more in the future. I plan on going into more detail on the gameplay, individual gladiators, and tactics. Currently the ArenaRex.com webstore is only carrying a single gladiator, beast, and mythical beast/warrior. However, they’ve announced that the full range will be available very soon.