Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends is a game by Vlaada Chvatil, published by Czech Games Edition and Z-Man Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be strategically trying to make patterns to summon powerful creatures to destroy their opponents pieces. The player that is best able to manager their pieces and patterns will be declared the winner.
In this review, I will mainly be referencing the basic game. Just a note, there are actually several different variations to the game that can be played depending on number of players and chosen style of play. To begin this version, one player will take the blue Northern Empire deck and one player will take the red Southern Empire deck. These decks are exactly the same. The cards are shuffled and the first 3 cards drawn. The arena board is set up with the side that has the darkened squares in the middle. The task board is set up as shown in the rules with 3 available spots and 1 spot for the task deck. Once these task cards are shuffled, 3 cards will be placed face up and the deck placed face down with the top card face up for future reference. Each player will take the appropriate colored pieces. When playing the full game, the legendary symbol pieces will be used as well. The flare deck is shuffled and each player is given 1 card. When playing the full game, the legendary deck is shuffled and set out, with each player receiving 2 legendary cards. Once set up is complete, the game begins.
On a player’s turn they may take 2 actions, however the starting player may only take 1 action on their first turn. The 2 actions can either be to put a common piece on the board or to use pieces already on the board to summon a creature. Basically what you’ll be doing is trying to match up patterns on the cards with patterns on the board. You will then place the appropriate piece on the board to represent the creature. This could destroy other pieces or do something special. In any case, once the effect of the card is done, the piece becomes just another piece on the board.
One thing that can help you in a come from behind action is to invoke a flare using a flare card. This is sort of a way of catching up. There are two entries on each card. If you’re able to fulfill either or both of the entries, you can use the card to perform one or both of the actions. There’s no need to worry about losing the card as you will be drawing cards at the end of your turn till you have the same amount as you started your turn with. This actually gives you incentive to use every card that you possibly can as soon as possible.
At the end of your turn, you may claim a task if you have performed the actions that the card states. When playing the basic game, this is how you will score points. After all the goal is to be the first to claim 6 points worth of tasks. Once a player has done this the game is over and that player is the winner.
There are lots of really great looking pieces in this game. First off the cards are absolutely incredible looking. The artwork is top notch and blew me away the first time that I looked them. The board is double sided and is really nice and sturdy. The pieces are really thick and sturdy and look great with the different ranks of beings on each one. They’re really easy to distinguish between. The task board and score boards are really nice as well. They’re really thick and have great artwork on them as well. The theme is really very prevalent throughout every piece and part here. There is definitely a feel of arena combat in all of the artwork. The production value of everything here is phenomenal. I absolutely love each and everything here.
10 out of 10
The rule book is an absolute masterpiece. For one, the overview of the game is given by your wizened old master as he teaches you the ways of arena combat. So thematic and absolutely great. There are lots of great pictures throughout each page with tons of examples everywhere. There are pictures and examples of setting up the game. There are rules for the basic game as well as the full game. Later on when you’ve gotten really good at playing those versions, this rulebook gives you even more. There rules for the High Form which is for 2 players or teams. There’s the Deathmatch Duel for 2 players or teams. There are rules for team games. There are even rules for Deathmatch melee for 3 or 4 players. It doesn’t matter how many people you have to play or how you want to play, They have thought of everything. Fantastic. I can’t applaud this piece of writing mastery any more.
10 out of 10
This game is SO much fun. My friend and I enjoyed this one immensely. Even though I lost both times we played, I enjoyed every minute of it. Yes the game is a bit abstract in how it plays, but that didn’t bother me one bit. You will find yourself turning cards around and around in your hand as you try to find that particular match up that you need to summon a creature. Seemed that my friend always found a way to destroy my creature tokens. Booo! The game didn’t take all that long to play, even with the card turning. We played both a basic game and a full game but were unable to ever pull a legendary creature out of the batch. Still I enjoyed this a great deal and so did he. I loved playing the different schools. I especially like the Sylvan school of creatures. I only hope that there will be an expansion for this in the future as there needs to be lots more schools to add to the fun of this game.
10 out of 10
Tash Kalar: Arena of Legends is a medium weight game of pattern building and creature summoning. I really enjoy this game. The artwork is great. The game is a bit of a brain burner, but it’s a fun kind of burn. It doesn’t take a very long time to play. Fans of abstract strategy games or fantasy games in general will love this game. I highly recommend this one. I’m betting fans of Mage Wars and Summoner Wars might even get a kick out of this one. There’s a lot to love about this game. I personally love the different creature cards. It’s really neat to play with the different schools. I only wish there had been more included with the game. Even so, I absolutely love this game. You will too.
10 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Czech Games Edition at their site.
Also check out Z-man games at their site.