Krosmaster Arena is a 2-4 player game ages 14+. I would have to say that there's a good chance that this age group is pretty close to right. I don't have older kids, so we haven't tried it on them yet. In this review, I will be talking as if it is a two player game. This is the only way I have played it. There is a lot of strategy in this game. There is so much to learn, that there is a tutorial in the rule book. Once you get everything down, it's not too hard to play. (Says the lady that always looses)
Here's what inside of the box looks like. There are these awesome little figures that you get to use as your pieces. The art on this game is amazing! It's one of my favorite parts of the game.
Lets take a look at what is inside. First there is a two sided board
There are some trees that are used as obstacles. They make great hiding places if you need to get away.
There are little bushes that can keep a person further away, but they can be shot over.
There are little boxes you can stand on and also shoot over. We have found these like to fall apart at times. Nothing a bit of glue can't fix if you don't like putting them back together.
These are your Gallons of Glory tokens. Each player starts with 6. One of the ways you can win is to take away all of your opponents GG tokens. When you win the GG you take from the wild pile first, once those are gone you take them from your opponent.
There are 8 dice. Each player gets 4. At the beginning of your turn, you roll two of the dice. If you get doubles, the tension rises which means all players put a GG token into the wild pile on the side of the board. Your other two dice you roll to get powers you can add to your players cards. The boot with the burst means you can choose it to be either a critical hit or a dodge, the burst is a critical hit, the S is a wild, you can choose which power it is. The boot is a dodge, the shield is Armour and the magnet is a lock. After you roll your two dice, you can choose to put them on a character to use as a power. If you choose not to use them in this manner, you can take some Kama instead. If you only use 1 die as a special power, you get 1 Kama token. If you don't use either one you can take 3 Kama tokens.
These are Kama tokens. They are the money in the game. You can pick these up off the board by using one action point per coin. You must be on the cell to pick them up.
These are Demonic awards. You can buy these with the Kama. There are 3 different levels of awards. Granite, Jade and Gold. The granite ones cost 3 Kama's. Jade are 6 and Gold are 12. We have found that these are a pretty important part of the game. They can give you a much needed boost.
You have some +/- MP and AP markers
Hit point markers. There are blank ones that are for 1 hit, 2 hit and 5 hit markers.
Then there are the figures. These are probably my favorite part of the game. They are so neat to look at. They are very detailed for how small they are. Both players get to pick 4 of these to play during the game. Take your figures and the cards that go with them. Line up your cards from left to right in descending order of Initiative. This is the order you will play your characters for each turn.
Each figure comes with its own card. This shows you any special powers, how many movement points, health points, and action points you have for each figure.
Here's a close up of one of the cards. The lightning bolt in the upper left corner has an 8 in it. This shows how fast a character is. The green diamond shows how many movement points they have. The red heart is their health points. The blue star is the action points. The 3 in the upper right corner is what level the character is. The circle with the 1 shows how much spell damage is done to the opposing character. Some spells don't cause any damage. The blue stars next to the spell damage shows how many action points it takes to do that action. On this card since she has 6 total action points and each action is only 3, she can either do both once or do one twice. Each card has a little history for the character. At the bottom of the card it shows the special power(s) they have. The green eye looking things means they have to see their opponent and they can be 1-3 cells away to be hit. The red fist means they have to be in an adjacent square to do that damage. In this case, it's to use their summons token.
Some of the cards have little Summons tokens. Each token has its information on the back. Each different summons token has it's own ability. When these are summoned, they are placed in a cell adjacent to the figure, because the spell has the fist icon. Then they are able to move. These guys have 5 movement points, 1 health and 4 action points. They can attack someone next to them but they don't cause damage unless they roll a critical hit and the one being attacked does not roll a shield.
Next we will talk about the rule book. It has 32 pages full of help.
There are a lot of pages, but there is more awesome art throughout the whole book.
When casting a spell you have to check the line of sight. You can see over boxes and bushes. You can not go through trees or figures. You must be able to draw a straight line from the middle of your cell to the cell your opponent is on in order to be able to hit them. In this picture, you wouldn't be able to hit from corner to corner because there will be trees in the way. (The brown stumps represent trees) You can see on the upper right of the left hand page, it shows how to determine the line of sight. If a character is standing on a box, it increases their long range abilities by 1 cell.
Here's an example of a character standing on the crate to increase their long range one cell. There is also someone hiding behind a tree and another one looking over a bush.
Some figures come with bombs to summon. When summoning these, they are able to be thrown while ignoring the line of sight rules, meaning they can be thrown over trees and figures. They can not land on a cell that is already occupied. When bombs explode, they hit every square around it causing extra damage and causing a -1 AP on each character that is hit, even if they don't receive any hit points.
There is also a list of all of the demonic awards.
And even a little FAQ section.
It comes with some advanced rules and shows you how you can play with 4 players.
Setting up the board. We have found it is easier to put the Kama tokens down first. There are little pictures of the tokens on the board. You put as many tokens on each cell as the picture shows. You also put one on each Demon Cell. (Which I forgot to do so that's not pictured)
Next add the crates, bushes and trees. The trees go on the stumps. The bushes go on the green circles that look like flat bushes and the crates go on the piles of wood.
Now your board is all set up and ready to go.
Next pick your characters and set out all of the pieces. You are now ready to play! The player with the highest total Initiative goes first. Roll for tension and then it's time to move your figures.
This game has a few expansions out. We have only bought one. We also got an extra character from the game store when we got the game. The expansions come in sets of 4.
If you like strategy games with a bit of luck, this game is a great one. It is very visually stimulating. It's fun trying to attack your opponent and then get away before they can get you back. I haven't found a strategy yet that gives you an advantage at this game. You can be winning one minute and loosing the next. Its a great two player game. Each character has its own personality with their own special powers. There is a lot of replayability with the number of characters you can choose from to make different teams.
We are getting Krosmaster Frigost from Kickstarter and I cant wait to see it and give it a try.