There have been a few games out there that have tried to bring the feel of a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, video game to the tabletop. Heel Turn Games’ new Kickstarter, Radiant: Offline Battle Arena (ROBA for short) manages to do a pretty damn good job of it. Each player has a deck containing a Deity, 3 Conduits, 3 Heroes, 3 Items, and 30 Skill Cards (10 for each Hero.) The game is set up with each of the players’ 3 Conduits layout out side by side to form lanes. Each Deity is placed face down behind their respective player’s lanes and each player’s 3 Item Cards are laid out to the side to set up their shop. Players then deploy each of their Heroes into whatever lane they wish, shuffle their Skill Cards, draw 5 cards, and the game can begin.
Each turn players will go back and forth taking turns using 3 Action Points to move Heroes, attack opposing Heroes or Conduits, level up Heroes, Ready committed Heroes or manifesting their Deity. The end goal of the game is to defeat the opponent’s Deity, so bringing one out too early can lead to disaster. Combat is quick and efficient. A Hero wanting to attack commits (rotates 90 degrees) and either do damage straight to a Conduit, unless the opponent blocks, or clashes with another Hero if they attack a Hero directly or another Hero blocks. Players then play a Skill Card face down, simultaneously reveal, and resolve attack, defense, and any special abilities. Defeated Heros earn the victor 3 Experience points, while destroyed Conduits earn the attacker 2 Experience.
Experience can be used in several ways:
- Leveling up a Hero: Each Hero has a required amount of Experience needed to level them up. Once leveled up their card is flipped over to a more powerful side, allowing them access to play Ultimate Skill Cards.
- Reviving Heroes: During the Revive Phase defeated Heroes can be Revived for 5 Experience.
- Buying Items: During the Shop Phase, Experience can be used to purchase Item Cards from a player’s shop.
Once a player takes their actions the game moves to the Revive Phase where fallen Heroes can be brought back into the game. Once during the game, a Hero can be revived for free. After that, it costs 5 Experience. There’s also an option to revive all fallen Heroes by sacrificing one Conduit. The Shop Phase comes next giving players the option to purchase one of their 3 items. After this, they draw a new card from their deck and their turn ends.
As stated earlier, the goal of ROBA is to defeat the opponent’s Deity. Well, what if they never manifest it? Destroy all 3 of their Conduits and they’ll be forced to. Be warned, though. Each destroyed Conduit gives the opponent different bonuses depending on which ones they’ve included in their deck.
Radiant: Offline Battle Arena is as faithful an adaptation of a MOBA that I’ve seen so far on the tabletop. It plays quick, and really captures the feel of players rushing through lanes, constantly respawning defeated Heroes, and using each Hero’s unique skills to the best advantage. The current rulebook could use a bit of cleanup and reorganization to make it easier to understand the game, but I’m hoping that’ll be fixed before the final game reaches backer. The rules are actually fairly simple and right now the rulebook makes them unnecessarily complicated to understand.
ROBA is certainly a game any MOBA enthusiast should give a shot but it also a very solid 2 player card battle game with plenty of deck customization available right out of the box. Each Hero feels different and complex in their own way with players having further flexibility depending on the Items and Conduits they choose to include in their decks.
A prototype copy of Radiant: Offline Battle Arena was provided for the preview by Heel Turn Games.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.