Check our review on this exciting, fast paced new skirmish game from Corvus Belli set in the Infinity Universe.
Aristeia! is a 2 player competitive action point allowance, deck building, skirmish combat game with dice rolling and hex grid mechanics set in a sci-fi anime theme. Each player builds a team of 4 combatants and a deck of Tactics cards. Each round, players take Initiative cards displaying one of their combatants and place them facedown on their player board in turn order. Each turn, both players simultaneously flip over their leftmost Initiative card, revealing which combatant they will activate first. This means players will have to decide in advance in what order they want to activate their combatants.
Whichever combatant has the better initiative, goes first. An activated combatant generates as much Energy as stated on their Character card. Energy is used towards various actions. For example, the Move action costs 2 Energy and allows the combatant to move up to their Movement stat, as stated on their Character card. Most actions are resolved by rolling specific dice, unique to Aristeia!. Each action shows which dice the player should roll to resolve it.
The dice will have a variety of icons which players allocate towards different effects. If the player has enough of the required icons in their die result, the effect happens. There are plenty of other mechanics which work to affect die rolls and outcomes to swing the result towards either player’s favor. Additionally, most combatants have Switches. Switches are bonus effects players can activate if they have the required icons to spend towards the Switch ability. For attack actions and other contested rolls, both players roll and if you have more star icons than your opponent has shield icons, you have dealt damage. Aristeia does a really good job of attempting to mitigate first turn advantage. If you notice above, Major Lunah’s defense attribute uses the blue die, which has the attack star icon. In Aristeia, the defending player can damage the attacking one if the rolls land favorably.
Aristeia! has a lot of moving parts while remaining streamlined and easy to play. Admittedly, at first it seems daunting. But after playing through the first turn or two, it was very simple to follow. I like any game that allows a lot of customization and Aristeia! does a good job on that front. Getting to choose your characters and your tactics cards provides a good amount of getting to fit the game to my playstyle.
The one rule I’m a little unsure of my feelings towards is the Cover rules. A skirmish game should give bonuses for players who position themselves most smartly. In Aristeia! this is done with the Cover rules.
Cover boils down to three required factors. The combatants can not be adjacent. The defender must be adjacent to an obstacle which provides cover and must be able to draw lines from one hex corner of the attacker to 2 or more corners (but less than all corners) of the defender. Being in cover allows the player to roll an extra black die on any combat rolls. In some cases, the attacker and defender will both have cover and will both add a black die to their rolls. Granted, I did not get to play a whole lot, but I accidentally forgot to check for cover several times while playing.
I really enjoy Aristeia!. As someone who plays a lot of Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, I love team games with unique characters where each character plays an important and distinct role in the victory machine. A lot of wartime skirmish games dont focus on the characters and don’t really make each character feel unique. Aristeia! absolutely does not shy away from giving each character a unique set of skills and feel of how they play. I love how all the characters have a bunch of abilities, rather than only one. And because players can build their own team, it really lets players build the sort of team they want to play.
There are only a few qualms I have with the game and they are minor at most. The cover rule is a necessary evil. I wouldn’t want it to be removed from the game, but it is slightly more complicated than I would like. Granted, I can’t come up with a more simple solution, so I can’t take any points against the designers for it. People might argue hex center to hex center is a much easier system. However, with corner to corner, you can get variance in degrees of cover: No cover, Cover, blocked. Using center to center would not allow for this. Not without even more complication, anyway.
The one rule that bugs me the most is perhaps one of the game’s most minor rules: Disengaging. When a player wants to move away from being adjacent to an opposing combatant, they make an Agility roll opposed by the opponent’s Brawn roll. If the agility roll wins, the combatant can move away from the opponent. As far as I can tell, this is the only use for the Agility and Brawn attributes. On top of that, the defending character get bonus black dice for each adjacent friendly character. I understand how this works thematically but this seems really needless and could have been simplified to a standard roll where each player uses the same dice. If you want to show certain combatants are better at Agility or Brawn, give them a bonus to the roll. Both attributes clutter the character cards and sensory overload is the easiest way to get new players to think that your game too complicated.
Also, the game has a variety of status effects that can be imposed. I would love to see this worked into a more important mechanic. For example, a character that gets bonuses if attacking a Dazzled target, but has no way to impose that effect themselves. This would require players to use strategy to make sure they can impose that status on that target, but make sure the opponent doesn’t get the opportunity to remove the effect or hide so the player can take full advantage of the status effect with their characters bonus. As it stands, the status effects are useful but don’t really come up often enough to be a big part of the game.
All in all, my complaints are minor and only for the sake of trying to give a full and proper in depth review. Overall, I highly recommend Aristeia!.
via Corvus Belli
Aristeia! – 59.99€ – Jan 2018
One hundred and seventy five years into the future, the human race has reached the stars. The ancient nations have gathered into immense, international, federated blocks and have divided the star systems proved suitable for human life. The most advanced medicine makes it possible to extend life and, together with the most advanced (and most expensive) technology, almost reach corporeal immortality. It also allows treats such as the most popular extreme contact sport: Aristeia!, a series of high-level, armed combats where death is a real possibility.
Aristeia! is the new sports game and MOBA style by Corvus Belli that allows two players to take the role of a competition team manager in the greatest visual show of the Human Sphere.
The game! will allow players to choose their team and jump into action in the HexaDome, the arena where the definitive contact sport takes place. Players will enjoy the dynamic and spectacular nature of Aristeia! thanks to the exclusive character cards and Tactics cards representing incredible combat feats.
In little more than one hour, players will enjoy a fun game that will immerse them in strategies and tactics that promise to become addictive.
- 2 Players
- 60 – 90 Minutes
- Ages 14+
Join us on Twitch this Tuesday for a live playthrough of Aristeia!