Games Workshop excels at miniature skirmish combat games, but not everyone has the time to collect and then play massive battles. Combat Arena takes the battle filled game of Warhammer 40,000 and turns into a rapid gladiatorial game.
Combat Arena Clash of Champions is, as the name suggests, an arena combat game, though of course the arena in question is a double-sided board. The back-story for the game is that various powerful warriors have been abducted by a near-cosmic being called Trazyn The Infinite, a near-god like undead alien who likes to collect things and play with them for it’s grim amusement.
This a game played with dice, custom cards, special models and specific characters. The previous version of this game (Combat Arena), featured Rogue Trader adjacent themed models; character pieces that brought the narrative of Warhammer 40,000 to life but only fit in very niche armies. This new edition features much beefier models which are more useful in other Warhammer games. We get a Necron, a Blood Angel Terminator, an Ultramarine Lietenant and Plague Champion. Or to put it another way, two hefty blokes in power armour, an alien robot zombie and a diseased zombie-like traitor in rotting armour.
Gameplay is quick. You pick a champion, plonk them on the board and then draw cards. Action cards govern how much pain you can bring to your opponents, injury cards track the brutal damage your own hero has taken. Each character has their own card detailing there own specific powers; for example the Lieutenant is a master at melee whereas the Plague Champion can release stinky clouds of filth that injure multiple opponents.
The game has enough counters and just enough elements to be complicated enough to be challenging without being so difficult you’ll need to study ahead of time.
The models supplied assemble very easily, have the right number of very gothic spikey bits and can be painted by anyone at any level of skill. The detail means that there’s plenty of places for contrast paints to pool into, so novices can paint them quickly and get good results. Experienced hands will have the usual amount of fun.
The game’s components are sturdy enough; the game board does need to be used a couple of times so it lies flat, but it’s quite sturdy. It’s also small, and the whole game will squeeze onto a small table, which is great as this is a fun, short game that you’re going to play with other games. Overall, solid Warhammer fun. Thank you to Games Workshop for a copy of the game for review.