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The arena in the 75th Hunger Games was set up like a clock.

Is this the first time game makers used this idea or were past arenas set up in a certain shape or way or was this special for the Quarter Quell?

  • The first quarter quell the district get to chose who gets to be in the games. – user58866 Jan 7 '16 at 19:28
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Each arena is different from the last. The one in the first book was a mix of forest and grasslands, not unlike Katniss's home turf; Katniss sticks mostly to the forested areas, as do most of the tributes, but Thresh (one of the District 11 tributes) takes to the fields, which are his home turf.

Previous arenas, described from the first book, have been everything from deserts to jungle to snow-covered tundra. In all the Games, a critical part is surviving the arena itself, in addition to beating the other tributes. The majority of arenas had some nasty joke played on the tributes; in one case (Haymitch's Quarter Quell Games), the arena was a beautiful garden, a paradise, until it was learned that pretty much everything in the arena was designed to kill the tributes, from poisonous plants to muttations. Halfway through the Games the only drinkable water source became the site for a volcano eruption. The snow landscape actually wasn't a very entertaining Games, as the tributes spent most of the time huddled in shelters until they all froze to death. Since then, arenas with climates on the extremes of human survival (hot, cold, wet, dry) have generally had some trick to staying alive (like the spile Katniss's group gets in her second Games to get water out of the trunks of the trees). Katniss's first Games arena, by comparison, was a relatively normal stretch of land, very close to what she was used to dealing with every day while hunting. The major survival problems were cold nights (no problem for Kat) and relatively sparse water (slightly more of a problem; she nearly died of dehydration sickness before finding a pond).

Haymitch's Quarter Quell, in the paradise arena, had as a "soft" border a ring of brush. Beyond that was a short distance of relatively bare ground, and then a cliff all around.

Haymitch won his Games first by travelling in one direction, straight as he could, until he reached the edge of the arena, and then learning that there was a force field off the end of the canyon that would throw you back in should you try to commit suicide by just leaping off the edge. In the final battle, he dodged an axe thrown by his opponent, which then came hurtling back into the arena off the force field, killing its thrower.

The one for the Third Quarter Quell was very different; this Quarter Quell was a "tournament of champions" (although officially nobody was supposed to know that until President Snow opened the envelope), and so the arena was specially designed to be both small (to force the tributes together), and extra tricky to test their stamina. In addition...

Plutarch Heavensbee, the Head Gamemaker, was in on the outer Districts' uprising, and thus on Katniss's group's escape from the arena. He designed the arena not only to have the predictable events that occur every hour, but to have the fatal weakness of providing enough power to the lightning tree to feed back into the force fields, overloading the entire arena's artificial systems. Finally, he put the spool of wire into the Cornucopia so that Beetee could spring the trap.

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During the last Quarter Quell, while we don't know the specific shape per se, it's implied to be different; Katniss and Peeta don't recognize this arena from their tape viewings, and there was stated to be a drop at the edge where the force field was in place. In fact, it's implied that no two arenas are the same, as they are maintained as tourist locations open to all for visiting yet each new arena is meant to be a total surprise to the contestants and viewers.

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