When I was a child I really enjoyed playing the first console games. We all know that those games were all about being in 8-bit. Fast forward a few years & 16-bit graphics was all the rage. In the past few years, in both video & board gaming, 16-bit art has been booming. Some of the best board games I have played in recent years have some great 16-Bit artwork. On top of representing 16-bit gaming, Battle For Biternia plays like a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). I have played several MOBAs & have enjoyed playing them hours on end. So now these two themes have been combined into one gamed called Battle For Biternia from Stone Circle Games.

Welcome to Biternia. Many generations have passed since the legendary Heroes of Biternia joined powers to create the Con Sol artifact. This elemental artifact contains great power that was used to overthrow the Dark Overlord Arkades. Now the Con Sol has been dismantled & scattered throughout the world. Now the Heroes are fighting against each other to collect the scattered pieces of the Con Sol for themselves. Rumors are abound that the Dark Overlord himself is looking to reassemble the Con Sol to return to Biternia.

Battle For Biternia is a two to four player game, for ages twelve years to adult, & may take an hour to ninety minutes to play. Designed by Chris Faulkenberry & artwork done by artist Fabio Fontes who has done some amazing art for BattleCon.

In Battle For Biternia each player will take control off a team of heroes. These teams will defend their Elemental Bit of the Con Sol. Each turn, each team will get assigned secret orders. These orders will allow the teams to setup up for movement, attacking, & defense. On top of the secret orders each of the Heroes will have their own unique abilities. Like in a MOBA, the first player to destroy his opponent’s Elemental Bit will be the winner.

The game will begin with the Draft Phase. The Hero cards, with their components, are to be placed on the table for all the players to see. The first player, whom of which is randomly selected, will pick  one Hero from the available Heroes. The next player will pick two. This continues until each player has a total of four Heroes. The first player will Ultimately get the last pick of one Hero.

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In the game setup, each player will receive an Action Deck. The Action Deck will consist of twelve cards: four Parry, four Strike, two Dash, & two Defend. Each player will shuffle & draw four cards from their Action Deck. Then each player will secretly choose one power card for each Hero & add them to the hand of four Action Cards. Players will then set the markers on their Tower Mats & Hero Mats to their starting levels & numbers.

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The next phase is the Deployment Phase. The first player will choose one of their Heroes & place the Heroes stand-up in a space containing one of their Towers. The next player will follow suit. Players will alternate until all their Heroes are on the board. No player may deploy more than two Heroes to the ame Tower space.

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After setup players will begin the game. The game is played in rounds. Each game round is played in four steps: Orders, Movement, Action, & Cleanup.

In the Orders step players will simultaneously select their actions that their Heroes will do during their turn. Each player will then be assigned one card face-down to play. If there is a face-up card next to the Hero, the newly played card must overlap the face-up card so the Defense Icon will remain visible.

Next is the Movement step. In this step, each Hero may move one time. A player does not have to move a Hero. Instead that player will pass on the Movement step. The Movement step will start with the first player & will alternate back & forth with the second player until all Heroes have been moved. Any Heroes that are immobilized or defeated can not move.

In the third step, the Action step, will perform the actions assigned to them.

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The first player will choose a Hero & activate their action. Activating a Hero for actions will alternate between players until there are no face-down cards remaining for their Hero. Players will activate the cards in the order of their choosing.

When activating a Hero, a player will first discard any face-up cards already on that Hero. That player will then activate a face-down Action card on that Hero by flipping it face-up. That player will then decide to do one of three things.

Players may decide to use the printed abilities. They may also discard the card & “Farm” the Hero. This allows the player to gather one gold instead of using that Hero’s ability. Or the third & final thing a player may do is to discard the card & allow that Hero to rest. When resting, a Hero will heal 3HP. If that Hero rests in the same space as their Bit then they will gain 6HP.

The most common action on the Action card is to attack. These attacks will either be ranged attacks, which allows that Hero to attack another Hero, Bit, or Tower in the same or adjacent area. Another form of attack will be an area attack. The area attack allows an that Hero to attack all enemies in the same space.

Another action that may be taken, is a Channeled action. This action takes place at the end of the Action step. After all Heroes, Towers, & Bits have been activated, the first player will choose one of their Heroes with a Channeled action card & use its effect. This will alternate until all Channeled action effects are resolved.

Another action a Hero can take is an Interrupt action. This action allows a player to activate this face-down card at anytime during play. The player controlling that Hero may flip over the Interrupt card & resolve its effects. This will immediately activate that Hero.

The last step during the round is the Cleanup step. In the Cleanup step each player will gain two gold. Then each player may level up any number of Heroes by paying the cost with gold from their supply. Each player is then allowed to discard any number of Action cards from their hand & may draw back up to their maximum hand size. Lastly the current first player will pass the First Player marker to their opponent.

The Hero cards that were defeated in that round will cycle into that player’s discard pile. When drawn back into that player’s hand, the Hero card is immediately played back onto the Hero Mat. That Heroes standee is placed into one of the Tower spaces or onto that player’s Elemental Bit space.

Players will attempt to destroy the opposing player’s Towers & Elemental Bit during the game. When a Tower is destroyed, the attacking player will earn three gold pieces & the player whose Tower was destroyed will suffer three damage to their Bit.

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A player can not attacking the opposing player’s Bit until at least one of that opposing player’s Towers has been destroyed.  When a player’s Bit is destroyed, that player loses the game & that attacking player goes on to win.

As action-fighting, RPG-style board games Battle For Biternia was fun. The action & movement programming would leave the players guessing on what their opponents would do on their next turn.

Battle For Biternia definitely felt like a MOBA & was exactly what I wanted in an action board game.

The final art is phenomenal & very clean looking.

On November 7th, 2017 Stone Circle Games launched Battle For Biternia on Kickstarter. You can visit the Kickstarter project here: Battle For Biternia. There are some fantastic stretch goals including one of Runika Zenanen from BattleCon & the World of Indines.

Get ready to defend your Bit & game on!

(Note: All photos are of the prototype components I received to review.)

-Christopher Richter

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