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Subject: New is old? I hope so! rss

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Ray Smith
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Chimera Isle looks and appears to be a mix of Quirks and Colossal Arena. Both great games.

Can anyone confirm this?

Great looking game, BTW.
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Kevin Lanzing
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Good guesses! You're on the right track with Quirks, as I learned of this game through my research into "natural selection" themed games. I have yet to play it, though, and it looks like Quirks used a completely different selection mechanic to choose the "fittest" creature. I did take note of the "head-body-tail" arrangement of cards, but experimented with many other arrangements before settling on that one.

This is the first I've ever heard of Colossal Arena. Looks fun, but any similarities must be the result of convergent evolution. Were I to name my biggest influences, I'd go with Apples to Apples and Acquire. No, really!

Thanks for the compliment, although my artist Jonathan Wojcik deserves most of the credit. Like Dixit, this is a very visual game. I knew right away that I needed a competent artist to do justice to the concept, and am very pleased with the results.

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Kevin Lanzing
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I've had the opportunity to play Colossal Arena very recently, so I thought I'd share my impressions of how the two games compare.

Both games could be summarized as follows: "Fictional creatures compete for survival, their conflict mediated and to some extent controlled by the players, who bet on the outcome." There are some pretty obvious commonalities, to be sure. The difference is in the details.

The Setting:
Colossal Arena: A colossal arena. A gladiatorial fight to the death.
Chimera Isle: An isolated island in the Pacific, with unique fauna that compete for territory.
Verdict: There are monsters, and they fight. Otherwise, there is no thematic overlap.

The Combatants:

Colossal Arena: Humans and beasts of myth and legend fight... for profit? To be the best? Because they have to?
Chimera Isle: Freakish animal hybrids. Some resemble real creatures, while others are utterly bizzare. They fight for survival and territory, much like any animal on planet Earth.

Resolving Conflict:
Colossal Arena: players play cards on combatants to make them strong or weak. The weakest combatant in each round is eliminated.
Chimera Isle: players select habitats with different criterion for victory: "strongest", "cutest", "sharpest teeth", etc. Everyone votes in secret for a chimera, the most popular chimera wins the habitat (rewarding its supporters), and all other chimeras decline in population and significance.
Verdict: In both games, players influence the outcome. Often the decision to support or not support a combatant is based on self-interest. Otherwise, the systems are completely different.

The Player's Stakes:
Colossal Arena: players are bidding on the combatants they hope will survive to the very end. In addition, players try to win the backing of as many combatants as possible. Each combatant has a power which only his/her backer can take advantage of. Bids in successful combatants become points. The player with the most points wins.
Chimera Isle: between voting rounds, players invest in the chimeras they believe will survive and thrive. All "shares" in a chimera are equally valuable, but the player who has the most or best distribution of shares is the "patron". The patron scores additional points for the chimera's population at the end of the round.
Verdict: Both games reward holding influence in particular combatants. The degree to which a combatant is successful determines how much that influence is worth (if anything). In addition, both games reward players who focus their attention on a few champions, rather than dividing their loyalties. The biggest difference between the two games is that bidding tends to dwindle in significance in Colossal Arena (as late-game bids are fairly worthless, and each player may only make 5 bids total) whereas the significance of investing in Chimera Isle is a constant.

Flavor:
Colossal Arena: This game would be dry if not for the special powers each combatant "loans" to his/her backer. There are some interesting choices to be made regarding which combatant to support/penalize, to what extent, and at which time.
Chimera Isle: Voting for chimeras may be based on a strategic assessment of the situation, a reasonable interpretation of ecological fitness, whimsy, or some combination of the above. The game you play is largely a product of the players and the way their personalities interact. There's a bit of subjective "art appreciation" a la Dixit, some investment strategy reminiscent of Imperial, and bluffing on a level with Poker. Those people craving special powers like those in Colossal Arena should check out the "Divine Interventions" deck in Chimera Isle: Territorial Expansion.
Verdict: Despite superficial similarities, these are very different games. Many people who enjoy Colossal Arena will enjoy Chimera Isle for some of the same reasons, but for every aspect that is similar, there is something else completely different.
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