Fight Club Arena, by Stephen Hart, paperback gamebook
“This is a complete gamebook. No other purchase is required to play.
You are a human gladiator in a fantasy arena who must fight in single combat against fantasy (very not human) creatures and it’s going to get up close and personal.
Tear the wings of the succubus to bring her down to earth, shatter the leg of the giant to make him easier to kill or focus deadly blows at the head of the ogre to bring him down quicker.
But be careful, they might crush your legs, smash your arm or punch right through your armour. And with each wound potentially weakening you, it won’t be long before they stand over your mangled body and put you out of your misery.
Win through five rounds of combat against different fantasy creatures to be crowned Arena champion.
Each round of combat pits you against a new creature drawn randomly from a pool of three creatures. Over the five rounds this means there are 243 different fight combinations if you were to make it all the way to the end each time. (In other words, there is a LOT of replayability in this gamebook.)
Your opponents range from mutant rat like creatures to hulking giants. Each round, the creatures get tougher, have more special abilities and can hit harder.
Fight Club:Arena includes full rules, creature stats, character sheets, damage trackers and victory conditions. This is a complete gamebook. All you need to bring to the table are some d6 dice (six per person is ideal), a pencil and an eraser and you are ready.
The rules are straightforward whilst still enabling tactical choices, unexpected events (such as your weapons breaking) and fast combat.
One of the key aspects of the combat system is that as a creature takes damage, it’s overall defences are effected. Shattering a creatures arm for example will reduce their overall toughness whilst cleaving through a wing would prevent the creature from flying and reduce their agility.
All of this is easily and clearly indicates on the damage trackers which are unique for each creature.
This means when fighting, you might aim for a weakened limb, not because it will kill the creature there and then but because it will make is easier to kill in subsequent rounds.
Single play requires that you make the tactical decisions for the creatures – just like in the classic Fighting Fantasy games. When playing with someone they can decide to brutally kill you in the way that they choose! When designing the game we factored in the national lockdown that we are under in the UK. This truly can be played and enjoyed solo or with another person.
Between each fight you get the chance to rest, recuperate and re-equip yourself. Combat training is available (although slightly risky it is highly recommended), weapons and armour can be purchased or you can repair your existing armour and weapons. If necessary (it will be) you can visit the healer (although how well that works depends on which physician you are lucky enough to get) and you can even bribe the authorities to let you pick who you fight in the next round. (Thus avoiding the types of creatures you struggle against.)
Each win brings you more gold but items and activities get more expensive so a wise gladiator will save some money for later use.
Not all weapons are equal and when buying weapons it is worth considering that not all weapons are as effective against certain defences as others. Whilst you can own more than one weapon you are limited to a single one to take into the arena itself.
64 pages, A5 Portrait (‘Zine size), Black and white art.”
The SPECIAL condition copy is also MINT and NEW, but it is the first (Kickstarter) printing. It is staple-bound rather than spiral bound, but is otherwise identical to the spiral-bound copies.