175 years into the future "Aristeia!" (exclamation mark included) is the most popular form of entertainment found on Maya. Originally featuring robotic combatants, it all changed when Shona Carano entered the Hexadome and challenged them with her claymore. Now the sport features almost exclusively human (or artificial human) contenders, and while the combat can get lethal, thanks to advancements in medicine they can be back in Hexadome before the match is over.
It is a two-player board game in which each player builds a team of four colorful Aristos as well as a Tactics deck and the game follows alternate activation sequence (though determined by Aristos' Initiative).Every time the Aristos fight or use their special abilities players roll special dice. Tactics card for the most part allow a player to add more dice to said player’s roll or reroll one or more, but some are more interesting, like allowing a specific character to swap positions with another one or even have an extra attack outside the ones on the character's card.The main point of most scenarios is controlling the active Scoring Zone, one of the seven marked on the board. Combat is more of a tool to achieve this than a goal unto itself, as no Aristo can be knocked out permanently. Number of points for controlling them varies, but the game ends if one player scores 8 points or has more points after 5 rounds. In case of a tie number of Frag tokens (awarded for knocking out Aristos) decides.
Tropes in this game include:
- Action Girl: About half the cast.
- All There in the Manual: And the official website.
- Amazon Brigade: Aristos in Human Fate expansion are all female. Possible in the base game as well, forcing the other team to be exclusively male, but the example teams in the instructions booklet are mixed.
- Artificial Human: Mushashi was specifically (re)created for the sport. It is speculated that Wild Bill may be one too.
- Back in the Saddle: The entire point of Legendary Bahadurs expansion. Final Boss and Shona Carano in particular, as they are both introduced as retired Aristos in the booklet packed with the base game.
- Blinded by the Light: The blinded state is called Dazzled. Prysm utilizes light in particular.
- Blood Sport: All Aristos have a Contender rifle on them, but many also bring shotguns, sniper rifles, swords, claws...
- Infinity fluff mentions Aristeia! Underground, an illegal version of the show that is even deadlier. Señor Massacre notably was a star of it.
- Bread and Circuses: The Purpose of “Aristeia!” the show.
- Cat Girl: Gata and Bixie.
- Deader than Dead: The original Eclypse in fluff, as his Cube was damaged beyond repair.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Sliced to ribbons, burned to death or repeatedly shot in the face? It's just a short timeout in the Infirmary.
- Dual Wielding: Mushashi on miniature, Senor Massacre in his card art. Both using katanas.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Subverted, as all the Human Sphere factions are technically at peace, all the warfare is clandestine and unofficial. For Infinity players it is still an odd sight to see a man clad in Pan Oceanian armor be on the same team with a Nomad hacker.
- Guns Akimbo: Wild Bill's "Twin Pistols" attack and Parvati's aptly named "Submachine Guns Akimbo".
- Kill It with Fire: Smoke and Mirrors expansion added Burning state tokens.
- Leet Lingo: hEXx3r (whom most players simply write down as Hexxer) and Laxmee's action D/B Uff3r.
- Mirror Match: Permitted by the rules, provided you have enough Tactic Cards. Unavoidable in tournaments before expansions were released. Note that having more than one copy of the same character in one team is prohibited.
- Practical Taunt: A Taunted Aristo can only attack the one who taunted that particular Aristo.
- Private Military Contractors: Soldiers of Fortune expansion uses this as theme. Mushashi and Major Lunah became those later in Infinity.
- Smoke Out: Kosmo and Taowu, with the latter having an ability to teleport beside smoke.
- Spin-Off: And Prequel to Infinity. Word of God places it 5 years before the main game. Notably some characters present in both (Mushashi, Major Lunah, Dart, Senor Massacre) are referred to as ex-Aristeia! contenders in fluff, with Lunah having it in her full unit name.
- Sufficiently Advanced Technology: hEXx3r is a hacker, but is often called "The Nomad Witch". An alternate sculpt for her makes her look closer to an actual fantasy witch, complete with an 8-Ball voodoo doll.
- Laxmee is also a hacker, but calls herself a "laibon", a Maasai spirit-talker.
- The Rival: Bixie to Gata.