Arena of the Planeswalkers is a tactical miniatures wargame for 2-5 players, inspired by the Magic: The Gathering card game, taking place on various planes of the Multiverse. There have been three installments in the franchise, taking place on the planes of Shandalar, Zendikar, and Innistrad.
- 1 History
- 2 Playing
- 3 Expansion packs
- 4 Contents
- 5 Gallery
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Arena of the Planeswalkers is co-developed by Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. Introduced under the working title Magic the Gathering Strategy Board Game, the definite name was announced in February 2015. The game became available at select retailers on July 1, 2015 and more widely available on August 15, 2015 for around $30. The design of the game is by James D'Aloisio, Ethan Fleischer and Craig Van Ness.
- The players customize the battlefield by designing the map, placing terrain and powerful glyphs.
- The players each play one of several planeswalkers. They summon armies, cast game-changing spells, and try to outmaneuver their foes on the battlefield.
- You complete arena objectives to establish board control, you position yourself to launch your final strike.
Relation to the TCG
- No prior knowledge of Magic is needed to play the game.
- Arena of the Planeswalkers is a standalone experience from the TCG. Many familiar concepts will be present, but streamlined for the board game.
- The game is not played with Magic: The Gathering cards, but it pulls directly from Magic lore and includes references to many classic cards.
Relation to Heroscape
The game uses many of the same tiles and mechanics as Heroscape, which was designed by Craig Van Ness as well. Heroscape was an expandable turn-based miniature wargaming system originally manufactured by Milton Bradley Company, and later by Wizards of the Coast itself, both subsidiaries of Hasbro. After taking over Heroscape, Wizards of the Coast issued new products with a Dungeons & Dragons theme. The game was discontinued by Hasbro in November 2010. The game is played using pre-painted miniature figures on a board made from interlocking hexagonal tiles that allow for construction of a large variety of three-dimensional playing boards. The game is often noted and lauded by fans for the relatively high production quality of the game materials, in particular the pre-painted miniature figures as well as its interchangeable and variable landscape system.
- The board is built up from modular pieces
- There are certain terrain rules for different terrains (e.g. water)
- Some pieces create a vertical dimension to the terrain
- Some pieces pose objectives and goals
- Ruins block the way and also block lines of sight
- Each player chooses a planeswalker
- Each planeswalker has access to one color of mana
- Each player has a card deck (12 spell cards) with spells that interact with the played creatures (these cards look similar to, but are not Magic cards)
- Each player starts with his or her planeswalker at the back of the board
- When a 'squad' is summoned, in the next turn only one unit (either the planeswalker or the squad) may be moved.
- The goal is to eliminate the opposing planeswalker, or to control a certain part of the board
- Elongated 'Squad stat cards' are the stat sheets for the figures on the battlefield
- Combat will be determined by both players throwing a certain number of dice
Each player selects one or more "units," where a unit may be a unique and distinct hero, or an entire squad of generic figures. Hero cards are associated with a single figure (e.g. Liliana) and squad cards are associated with a set of two or more figures (e.g. zombies). A given player may only have one of a unique unit, be it hero or squad, in his army, but there is no limit on how many copies of a common unit may be selected.
Unit stats are:
- Point Cost
- Damage Dice
- Defense Dice
- Line of Sight/Damage Box
Each unit also has signature moves and abilities, often referencing commonly found mechanics in the original Magic: The Gathering.
Battle for Zendikar
Arena of the Planeswalkers: Battle for Zendikar was released in January 2016 and retailed for $19.99. The expansion unlocks two new planeswalkers - Kiora and Ob Nixilis - and new spells and squads for these characters. Kiora is the first character in the game to draw upon two colors of mana. Kiora is the first multi-color Planeswalker; she can field both green and blue colored creatures and spells. The set also includes the first hero creature, the terrifying Eldrazi Ruiner. The Eldrazi are colorless creatures and can be summoned by a Planeswalker of any color. Furthermore, the set features a 1 player vs. many battlefield scenario in which players fight against the massive Eldrazi Ruiner to save Zendikar.
Battle for Zendikar, while not playable by itself, adds great diversity to either of the starter packages. The more pieces there are, the greater the freedom and diversity in choosing planeswalker, army and spell cards.
Shadows over Innistrad
Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad was released on August 1, 2016 and retailed for $29.99. Unlike its predecessor, this set can function as both an expansion to the existing base game or a standalone game. The game introduces new twisted terrain, powerful planeswalkers - Jace, Sorin, Nahiri and Arlinn (both as a human and as a werewolf) - and deadly battlefield scenarios.
Shadows over Innistrad, like Battle for Zendikar, includes an assortment of new Planeswalker and Hero figures, as well as new spell cards for players. There are four new Planeswalker cards, three of them multicolored, and so the diversity is far greater than the previous installments in the franchise.
Original board game
In the box are be:
- 6 modular board pieces
- 4 plastic terrain pieces (2 x 3 hex and 2 x 1 hex sand tiles)
- 4 plastic glyphs (Knowledge, Movement, Power and Toughness)
- 2 temple ruins
- 5 painted Planeswalker mini figures (Gideon, Jace, Chandra, Nissa, and Liliana)
- 5 Planeswalker character cards
- 60 spell cards
- 30 squad mini figures (3 Kor Hookmasters, 3 Rhox Veterans, 3 Illusionary Projections, 3 Leyline Phantoms, 3 Blightless Reavers, 3 Restless Zombies, 3 Blazing Firecats, 3 Flamewing Phoenixes, 3 Elf Raners and 3 Pummelroot Elementals)
- 15 army cards
- 1 20-sided die
- 10 combat dice (each having three sides with crossed swords, two with shields and one blank side)
- 30 damage counters
Walmart bonus version
An expanded version sold at Walmart included the following bonus items:
- battlefield scenario
- 5 foil versions of the original 5 planeswalker cards
- 8 terrain pieces (1x 7 hex, 2x 3 hex, 2x 2 hex and 3x 1 hex sand tiles)
- 2 glyphs (Power and Toughness; doubles of the ones in the original game)
- 2 painted Planeswalker figures (Kiora and Ob Nixilis)
- 2 Planeswalker character cards
- 15 spell cards
- 3 hero figures (Eldrazi Ruiner, Kor Aeronaut Captain, Merfolk Roilmage)
- 11 squad figures (3 Eldrazi Scions, 3 Malakir Bloodchasers, 3 Goblin Javelineers and 2 Path Wardens)
- 9 army cards
- Battle for Zendikar Board Game Expansion Pack Guide.
SOI Expansion / Standalone
- 5 painted Planeswalker figures (Jace, Sorin, Nahiri, Arlinn (human) and Arlinn (werewolf)
- 4 Planeswalker character cards
- 48 spell cards
- 4 hero figures (Avacyn, Ghoul Vanguard, Necro-Alchemist and Mad Prophet)
- 15 squad figures (3 Avacynian Inquisitors, 2 Lantern Geists, 3 Skirsdag Cultists, 3 Bloodline Nobles, and 2 Kessig Rangers that can transform in 2 Kessig Ravagers)
- 5 army cards
- 8 dice
- several 2-sided map boards
- 3 Cryptoliths
- 9 sand terrain tiles
- 2 glyphs
- Red wound markers and augment tokens.
- ING.com (February 11, 2015), Magic the Gathering Board Game Summons Title, Box Art
- Blake Rasmussen (February 25, 2015). "Arena of the Planeswalkers". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (July 1, 2015). "Arena of the Planeswalkers — The Battle Begins Now". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 16, 2016). "Who was involved with creating Arena of the Planeswalkers?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Truth (November 3, 2010). The Death of Heroscape? Heroscaper.com
- Alex Ullman (August 28, 2015), Arena of the Planeswalkers expansion is coming, Gatheringmagic.com
- James Whitbrook (October 7, 2015) The Magic: The Gathering Board Game Is Getting A New, Gigantic Monster To Play With, http://toyland.gizmodo.com
- Anthony Karcz (October, 2015) Pre-Order the ‘Magic: The Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers’, ‘Battle For Zendikar’ Expansion, geekdad.com
- David Leavitt (February 26, 2016). Hasbro announces 'Shadows Over Innistrad' for 'Arena of the Planeswalkers'. Boston Magic the Gathering Examiner
- Brad Minnigh (Jul 27, 2016) Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad Review. MTGGoldfish