Calvin’s Commentaries: Aristeia

Regular readers will know that the gaming group behind this weekly column collectively has an addiction to miniature wargaming.

If we can move minis around the gaming table doing battle, well chances are we want them.

My personal favourite is skirmish level battles, just a few minis per side for quicker gameplay, and yes a lower cost than war-scale games.

Skirmish games such as MERCs and Blackwater Gulch are simply more accessible.

Recently a number of games have emerged where players each control a small number of miniatures, maneuvering across a board, not so unlike chess pieces on a grid board. Such games are very easy for players to grasp in terms of movement, and are ideal as an entry game to freer form miniature game options.

One of the games played on a hexagon grid board is Aristeia from Corvus Belli, best known for its large-scale battle game Infinity.

With the background of a well-defined gaming world, Aristeia has a build-in heritage to draw upon. The rulebook ‘fluff’ notes,” … 175 years into the future, humanity has reached the stars. The nations of old coalesced into federated blocs who proceeded to carve up any star systems found suitable for human habitation. Technology has advanced beyond our wildest dreams, but its benefits are still available only to those who can pay. Synthetic bodies, artificial intelligence, a data network connecting planets light-years apart, miraculous regenerative medicine … The presence of all these technologies has enabled the creation of Aristeia, the high-stakes contact sport that’s sweeping the Human Sphere.

“Tens of millions of fans keep their eyes glued to their holo-screens for the thrill that this match could be the last for their favourite fighters, some of whom enjoy an unprecedented level of celebrity adoration on Maya. Aristeia is non-stop action and top-level athleticism. Get connected and enjoy.”

There were eight characters included in the base game of Aristeia, but of course, there have been expansions adding more colourful, larger than life, participants.

Two of those come in a box called ‘Double Trouble’. The box adds two characters to the game, Moonchild, a wolf-like humanoid with hand axes, and Lei Gong a modern armour wearing character with some really radical weaponry. Both arrive as single-piece sculpts so there is no gluing, but you will need painting skills if you want them to look truly awesome on the gaming table.

Overall, Corvus Belli is known for great minis, and these two are high on sharp details and great looks.

With Aristeia in general, there is definite strategic depth to explore, and with new characters come new things to bring to the battles.

In the case of the Double Trouble pack, the characters begin with their cards showing the ‘initial profile’ side.

Each character’s actions or automatic skills determine when you can flip their Character card to swap from one profile to another.

The box also gives players smoke to play with.

Smoke tokens affect the visibility in the HexaDome, blocking the Line of Sight but not a movement.

All spaces, even Free Spaces, with a Smoke token block Line of Sight.

Every Line of Sight to space with a Smoke token is blocked.

As usual Corvus Belli has released a dynamite little box for a game that has a higher learning curve in comparison to say comparative games such as Riot Quest of Godtear, but that is because of the synergies to identify and master, and the game looks so good as a bonus, it is one to look at.

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