Yeah, so I finally got my hands on SDE: Arena - despite living outside the states.
In my eyes it's kind of a mixed bag, so I wanted to write up a review of the components so other people may know what they are in for.
Nice and sturdy box with a "lift off" lid. Just how I like it. A bit tight since the content is very light.
The artwork is cute and colorful and fits well wit the Arena gamemode. I do feel like the artstyle is slightly off/different compared to other SDE releases, but it's no biggie.
The little window in the lid probably looks very nice for displaying the included mini on store shelves, but by golly does it look bad when I remove the mini to paint it and display it on my shelf.
Unlike any regular old SDE miniature box where you are half expected to throw the box away, this box is made to contain your Arena game. BAD decision to make a window in the lid!
Loose the window and it would be an A+ box
The Plastic Inlay:
The box comes with an inlay with separate rooms for storing your dice, tokens, bunnygirl miniature and two decks of cards. So far so good.
I'm immensely annoyed by the two card rooms though. Am I the only one who puts my cards in sleeves? No? Why didn't they make the card rooms wider and deeper to facilitate sleeves then? Sigh...
Now I have to choose between throwing the inlay out or storing the cards somewhere else.
Another quirk is how the inlay goes on top of the tiles. You have to lift the entire inlay out of the box to reach the tile. But can't I just put the tile on top? Nope, the inlay, despite having shallow rooms, goes all the way to the top of the box.
Add in that the inlay fits very tight in the box AND you have to shake the box to rummage the tile around before the walls of the inlay can slide down past the tile - and you got a pretty annoying inlay.
Who approved the design for this?
The Rule Book:
Mine got a wrinkled cover from the plastic wrapping ... So that's a thing. Don't know if it's common.
But the book itself is very nice. As expected it feels like a modified version of the SDE rule book. Same colorful and richly illustrated layout. Lot's of examples and explanations. It's easy to read and navigate.
Some of the new Arena illustrations are definitely from a new artist. Sorry, but I'm not a fan. They DO set the mood though, with two heroes battling each other and two groups of monsters at war.
What I'm a huge fan of though, is the painted miniature gallery section at the back of the book. What a great idea! Much more like this in the future please.
Same sturdy quality we know from regular SDE. Besides all the regular hearts, potions and status effects we already know, also a few new Arena specific tokens.
Everything you need to play
A full set of regular blue, red, green SDE dice.
Nothing to see here
So we get a full set of brand new loot and treasure cards. These can be stored in your Arena box (if you don't use sleeves) and function as your default Arena decks. But nothing about them are specifically aimed at Arena, so you could easily mix them with your regular SDE cards and use a mega-deck for both games.
The loot cards are as bland as they come, where the treasure cards have a few fun gems. We have a few items that instead of the regular +1G grants +3B. Very nice for reliable healing. Another treasure grants you a 1blue action which bestows you with a 2 mob aura.
We also get a set of quick reference cards - one for each player. Pretty nice. Also the usual terrain reference cards. I use these for kindling.
Aaaand finally we got the hero card for the bunny girl aka "Arena Champion". I only now notice her race is Fennek. Like Freyans, but bunnies?
Her rules a pretty nice. Obviously geared towards Arena. But that's okay.
Only thing is... Why in God's name haven't they fixed the icons yet? The little sword/shield/arrow/wand icons have their white colors set to transparent, which means you can see the scroll behind them!!!
Beautiful. It's a fold out tile at the size of four regular SDE tiles in a square. It's the same artstyle as the Forgotten King era. Forest style on one side and dragon temple on the other.
Only complaint is the dark side of the dragon hoard is too dark. It's hard to really see what's going on besides the grid and occasional doodads. It doesn't quite fold out 100% flat, but I think it will in time.
Another great addition to the game
That's all folks. This was my view on the components of SDE:Arena.
Agree or disagree. Do with this what you want.