Up until recently European-style board games (Euro Games) were a sizable, but still comparatively small gaming niche. Most board games in North America consisted of classic board games from the ’50s and ’60s like Monopoly, Life, Sorry and Mousetrap. They were designed with simple rules that were easy to learn and lent themselves well to activities for the whole family. But more sophisticated board games with complex rules that relied less on the chance rolling of dice and more on strategy were growing in popularity throughout Europe. Many of these Euro Games would be imported to the US, or small runs of the would be printed in English by small companies and sold in specialty shops.
For years a small but dedicated board gaming community grew up around these imported games, primarily from places like Germany and France. But then a few of these more adult-oriented games, like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone, crossed over into the mainstream and kicked off a board game renaissance. Several new American companies started making their own more complex games, and board game nights became a social activity among adults, not just a family affair. Crowdfunding has found itself especially attractive to small startups looking to launch new, hot board games, and several popular games got their start on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
A French gaming startup called Anthea Editions has just debuted their brand new Pokémon-like board game mARENA the Elemental Guardians on Kickstarter. They launched a new crowdfunding campaign aimed at the European market, and if the campaign is successful then they plan to bring an English version of the game to the US. mARENA combines popular gaming styles like collectible card games and miniature fighting games with some strategy tabletop game elements as well.
The 2-plus player, turn-based board game has players building animal decks by selecting three 3D printed creature figures powered by elements like the sun, moon, water, fire, earth, wind, flora (plant) and lightning. The player will assign elements to each of the figures, each with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, and they will be kept secret until it is time for the players’ decks to clash. Then, depending on how well the player selected his team from available animal element gladiators like tigers, elephants, yaks or triceratops and combined them with the elements, the winner would use their magic and strategic moves to win the round.
Each game set will include 3D printed animal decks that hold the element gladiator figures and their elemental power tokens, 6 unique 3D printed animal figures and a set of the game rules and pieces. The first early birds can get a single copy of the game for €40 ($45), and then the price goes up to €45 ($51). Anthea Editions is looking to raise €15,000 ($16,887), but they have several stretch goals in mind for €25,000 and €35,000. They estimate that they will be able to begin shipping games out between December 2016 and February 2017. Currently they are ONLY selling and shipping copies of the game throughout the European Union, but if the funding is successful they will be launching an English version.
Here is the Kickstarter campaign video. It is in French, but there are English subtitles available:
The game was made possible by Anthea Editions game designer Henrique and illustrator and designer Céline bringing together several partner companies. They include French 3D printing filament manufacturer SOVB3D, French 3D printer company LC3D, a Franco-German copywriting agency named Stereotexte and digital marketing agency Pearl Design. You can learn more about the game at Anthea Editions here, and check out the full Kickstarter campaign here. Discuss further in the mARENA 3D Printed Board Game forum over at 3DPB.com.