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Subject: Golem Arcana Preview / Session Report rss

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Harvie Jarriell
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I was fortunate to attend one of the Card Kingdom Golem Arcana Demos as well as the Robot Turtles/Golem Arcana gathering. This is a combination session report and preview from my first game although the pictures are a combination from both events. I will probably be back later to correct any typo's and add more pictures as there is another Golem Arcana demo at Fantasium Comics & Games in Federal Way, WA this Saturday afternoon.

The first thing that jumps out is the size and detail of the Golems, especially the yet to be named Durani Colossus. Each faction’s units had a style to their design that made it easy to pick out what Codex it was from.



After drooling over the Golems for a few minutes one of the people running the demo explained the basics to me. The explanation was surprising short and simple with most of the explanation being about how to use the stylus to interact with the tablet. And with the planned enhancements to the stylus should become even easier.



The board was preset for the demo but the game itself comes with multiple 3x3 tiles that can be laid out in any order to create different and varied battlefields. Whenever needed, I could put the stylus in info mode and by tapping it one something the tablet gave me all the relevant information about how it affected gameplay (i.e. hills extended range attacks by 1 region, how far a unit could move, etc…).

After tapping a few regions to learn more about how different terrain types affected gameplay, I was ready to start the game. Each side was given 3 units and my opponent went first.

A turn consists of each side moving/attacking with all their units in any order as well as using Knight abilities and invoking Ancient one’s powers (if you had enough mana). Ancient ones are a group of people who ascended, but you can spend mana to invoke spells and affects in your favor or to hinder your opponent (the game comes with tokens to put on the board to represent the affects as well). When I needed more information, I put the stylus into info mode and tapped the appropriate thing or when wanting more information about specific numbers (like to hit numbers) I tapped touched the number on the tablet and the game revealed all the modifiers. Every unit had at least two attacks/abilities (each with its own separate recharge timer).



Once my opponent was finished with his turn (he charged his units straight at me with no regard to cover), it was my turn. To move I clicked the name of the unit on the Golem’s base or on the name on the Golem’s card the tablet would show me the spaces I could reach and then I tapped where I wanted to go. If it wasn’t in reach the space I tapped turned red. It is important to note that after a Golem has performed any action (attack, move, knight ability in any order) I have to finish all actions with that Golem before changing to another golem and/or its knight. Most of the time my actions were: move, fire ranged attacks then continue my move and perform melee attacks. The order of actions can be very important as some attacks penalized your opponent’s unit if it hit or gave my unit bonuses on other attacks. Also each region holds up to four small bases worth of units, which can be used to your advantage (assuming your opponent didn’t bring some AOE combatants).

Combat itself is based on d100. You can either roll two 10 sided dice and enter the numbers, or have the system roll for you. Also, doubles always hit, if it’s a double above you to hit number you deal double damage. If the double is rolled below your attack number, it counts as a normal hit. After doing a few rolls myself as I love dice, I just let the tablet roll for me.

After I destroyed my opponent’s Warsprite, and heavily damaged his other two Golems, I think he realized having his units act without any co-ordination was going to lose him the game pretty quickly. He starting using his mana (which starts at zero and we get a little each turn for occupying regions and you gain 1/3 of the Golem’s cost in mana when it dies) to invoke blessings and curses were he expected me to attack from. He then proceeded to kill my Harpy Warsprite. On my next turn, I used a knight’s special ability to make my attacks more effective and finished off his forces. His attempts to put up defenses and fight were pretty good, but my two lightly damaged Golems easily overwhelmed his two heavily damaged ones.

Verdict:
The game is amazing.

Pros:
Game is easy to learn.
The Golems are really beautiful (my cellphone camera doesn’t do them justice).
The Tablet takes care of figuring out modifiers and LOS as well as keep tracking of recharge.
When you look at the army building options, such as choosing knights, Golems, and Anicent Ones, there are a lot of options to choose from.
Augmented Reality, you can point the smart device camera at the board and see stats and affects hovering over units and spaces.
Game supports up to 8 players.
There are a lot of interesting choices to be made like; what Golems, Knights and Ancients to take into battle during army construction; order of unit actions; how best to use terrain to your advantage; where and when to use Ancient powers, Golem and Knight abilities

Cons:
I couldn’t play Bob in the demo (that’s what they call the Durani Colossus)
The prototype stylus doesn’t have buttons so I had to tap the order entry card for some activities. Once the final Stylus is ready turns will speed up even more.
Since a player uses all their units before the next players turn, an epic battle will could have a little downtime when it isn't your turn.

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K F
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Thanks for the review. The game looks really interesting. I am glad to hear the models look amazing, thats one of my concerns with the prepainted nature of the game.
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Paul DeStefano
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Khellian wrote:
one of my concerns with the prepainted nature of the game.


Models being used now are not factory painted.

Final quality won't be known until the game is produced.
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Harvie Jarriell
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They plan to offer unpainted resin versions of the models as well.

Plus I see no reason you can't paint over the default paint job if you aren't satisfied with it for some reason.
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Lucas Castro
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You'd probably want to strip the existing paint off first, so that you don't lose any details of the mini. But that should be easy to do without any risk of damage to the plastic itself, I believe (with paint thinner, I think).

Thanks so much for the preview!!
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Jason Farris
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Spyre wrote:
They plan to offer unpainted resin versions of the models as well.

Plus I see no reason you can't paint over the default paint job if you aren't satisfied with it for some reason.


I see this argument a lot on prepainted games. my counter (and I am a miniature painter) is that I am buying the game prepainted so I don't have to. If the quality sucks, why am I paying more for someone to do a bad job.
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Lucas Castro
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Agreed. However, I hope people's expectations are realistic: factory painted is never going to compare to a professional paint job.

If it's good enough to no be a distraction, I'll be happy. If it's any better than that, I'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Joshua R
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Nice report, thanks! I'm jealous of those in the Seattle area that have multiple chances to see the game in action. I did get to see it at GenCon, but really - it just made me want to play it more.
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Paul DeStefano
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Gnolithic Studio wrote:
Agreed. However, I hope people's expectations are realistic: factory painted is never going to compare to a professional paint job.


However...

Some factory paint jobs are marvelous and beyond the average painter. Confrontation.

Some use effects to make up for so-so painting. HeroScape.

Some are servicable - HeroClix.

Some promise AMAZING and are released to be absolutely disgusting amateur blobs: Warcraft and Mutant Chronicles.

Until we see if these are impressive or abyssmal in final production from, there is little way to know what you'll get.

Warcraft, in particular, promised some astounding paint. And it was crap.

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Joshua R
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Geosphere wrote:

Warcraft, in particular, promised some astounding paint. And it was crap.

I've actually been wondering about that - I'd somehow missed entirely that there was a WoW miniatures game, and saw some photos just a couple days ago for the first time. I was wondering if those were done by hand or if they came like that or were prototypes or what. They were really awful.

Here's hoping HBS finds a quality solution for the painting.
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Paul DeStefano
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reitoei wrote:
I was wondering if those were done by hand or if they came like that or were prototypes or what. They were really awful.


The prototypes promised painting the likes of which has never been seen.

The game had painting the likes of which should never be seen.
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Jason Farris
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Geosphere wrote:
Gnolithic Studio wrote:
Agreed. However, I hope people's expectations are realistic: factory painted is never going to compare to a professional paint job.


However...

Some factory paint jobs are marvelous and beyond the average painter. Confrontation.

Some use effects to make up for so-so painting. HeroScape.

Some are servicable - HeroClix.

Some promise AMAZING and are released to be absolutely disgusting amateur blobs: Warcraft and Mutant Chronicles.

Until we see if these are impressive or abyssmal in final production from, there is little way to know what you'll get.

Warcraft, in particular, promised some astounding paint. And it was crap.




That's pretty much my point. I have high expectations for prepainted figures that have a high entry cost. If they are mutant chronicles quality, I'll move on.
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