StarArena 2003 is the first venture into making playable prototypes that could be enjoyed in the comfort of your home or any other location of your choice. From these custom-made and hand-assembled experimental Game-Portals, the slogan “Playable-Art” or “Art you can play with!” was born. As you can see in the product images, the King-Ring no longer features the Three-Baby-Hero and Brew~Star logos since 2003. The backstory begins to unfold and reveals that you play as ‘One’ of the Guardian Kings, commanding your warriors to battle it out in the Arena.
Another thing that needs to be brought to attention is that the Gameboard was made in 2003. Due to the findings of the StarArena Battle-Box(es), a new packaging was designed and tested ten years later in 2013.
How many have survived over the years, I do not know? What I do remember is that creating these handcrafted Game-Portals was extremely tedious and never received their proper monetary value. The Adhesive-Graphics were hand-laminated color prints, cut out with a scalpel, and glued onto a routed MDF base before assembly. The original version featured an M4 Patent-Bolt as a game-axle to rotate the various levels, but it was somewhat wobbly. All remaining First-Editions still in the possession of their creator were refurbished with sturdy ‘kingpins’ and ‘clickers’ in 2013.
View the ‘The Making Of’ portfolio for the Early-Editions here.
In the link above, you will also find a few snapshots from the process of creating the very first prototypes of the ‘Display-Frame’ or ‘See-Through-Box’. The main reason for showcasing the playable-art was to help onlookers fully appreciate the uniqueness of the game-boards at first glance. Having an “open-frame” allows the owner or spectator to demonstrate and explore the different individual levels of the game board by turning them. Something that sets StarArena apart from the thousands of tabletop games out in the world.