IDW and Nickelodeon have teamed up to bring the pro-bending arena from The Legend of Korra to your tabletop! Compete as the Fire Ferrets or the Wolfbats (or a number of other teams) as you bend water, earth, and fire in an intense competition.
I haven’t gotten a chance to play it myself (yet), so this isn’t a full review, but I’m really excited for this project and wanted to highlight some of the features.
What Is The Legend of Korra?
The Legend of Korra is a cartoon series from Nickelodeon that aired from 2012 to 2014. It’s a follow-up to Avatar: The Last Airbender, and takes place about 70 years after the events of that series. The main character is Korra, who is the next Avatar, though she needs training in airbending. My family only started watching it together last year, and we’ve really been enjoying it.
What Is Pro-bending?
In the Korra’s world, some people have the ability to “bend” certain elements: earth, water, air, and fire. They can manipulate it and control it in various ways. The sport of “pro-bending” takes place in an arena on a raised platform, with teams consisting of a waterbender, a firebender, and an earthbender. The arena floor has sources of water, fire, and earth discs that the benders use to drive the other team back. The goal is to advance into the opposing team’s side of the platform before time is called, or score a knockout by forcing the other team’s players off the edge of the platform.
What’s the Pro-bending Arena Game?
The Legend of Kora: Pro-bending Arena is a tabletop game designed by Sen-Foong Lim and Jessey Wright and published by IDW Games. It’s for 2 players, ages 12 and up, and takes 30–45 minutes to play. It’s currently on Kickstarter and has already blown well past its funding goal, with just over a week left to go. The pledge level for a copy of the game is $65 plus shipping.
Unlike many Kickstarter projects where stretch goals are added to the rewards based on funding levels, IDW took a novel approach—either because they were confident in hitting the goal or because they were planning to publish this regardless of how the Kickstarter campaign did. There’s only one pledge level for the game (aside from the retailer level), and it includes a bunch of content, but the campaign is revealing a little bit of content every day to showcase what’s in the box. There will be a paid add-on revealed today, but for the most part everything is included in that base price, and will be “unlocked” during the campaign regardless of funding level.
Here’s what we know is included so far:
- 1 game board
- 1 Referee die
- Fire Ferrets:
- 3 Fire Ferret miniatures
- 36 Fire Ferret cards
- 1 Fire Ferret team board
- 3 Wolfbat miniatures
- 36 Wolfbat cards
- 1 Wolfbat team board
- 3 Rabaroo miniatures
- 36 Technique cards
- 1 Rabaroo team board
- 6 Universal Trick cards
- 3 Boar-Q-Pine miniatures
- 36 Boar-Q-Pine cards
- 1 Boar-Q-Pine team board
- 6 Universal Trick cards
- Red Lotus:
- 1 P’Li miniature
- A “stack” of P’Li cards
- 1 P’Li team board
- 3 P’Li Trick cards
- 6 Daze tokens
- 12 Hold tokens
- 6 Yellow Fan tokens
- 1 Momentum token
- 2 Chi markers
- 30 Element tokens (10 each Fire, Earth, Water)
- 18 base game Trick cards
- Foresight Trick cards (6 cards)
- Rule Breaker Trick cards (6 cards)
- 6 Base clips (2 each Fire, Earth, Water)
There are at least 5 more team reveals coming, plus 3 more trick packs, and some additional components.
The Kickstarter edition will have a limited edition packaging, as well as a Championship Game Night poster featuring the Wolfbats vs. the Fire Ferrets.
I got to see some of the models for the bender miniatures at Gen Con, and they look really great—dynamic poses, with the various water, fire, and earth discs in motion. The miniatures are unpainted and have plain round bases, and the colored base clips snap onto the bottom to mark the Earth, Water, and Fire benders for each team.
I really like the artwork on the boards–each team has a logo, and there are stylized portraits of the team members on the board as well.
There are more details about gameplay on the Kickstarter page, but essentially you want to push the other team back and move all of your benders into their half of the board, or else knock all their benders off the board. Each bender has its own deck of cards that allow it to move and place element tokens onto the board. Use your own tokens to cancel out those of an opponent—if you don’t, then you’ll get knocked back a space and the other team may advance. You can also rest to build up chi, allowing you access to more moves, but it may put you in a vulnerable position for that turn.
There are powerful tricks you can play—some are one-time use tricks, and others may risk a yellow fan from the refs. Get two yellow fans on a bender, and they’re ejected from the game, so be careful!
Each team has its own special ability and strengths, but within each team you can also craft your own strategy by choosing what cards to include in each deck, and selecting which tricks to use.
Follow the Kickstarter
There are just 9 days left to go (with new reveals shown each day!) in this short 2-week campaign, and it’s been a lot of fun seeing the various teams and tricks that have been revealed each day. It’s no surprise that the game funded so quickly—there are a lot of Legend of Korra fans out there, and I bet the cool miniatures have attracted a lot of backers as well.
If you like the show and want to experience some pro-bending for yourself, check it out! My kids are very excited for this, and I can’t wait to get it to the table!
For more information and to make a pledge, visit the Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena Kickstarter page!