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Subject: Empires of Arcana is back in an awesome new form! rss

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Thane Morgan
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Empires of Arcana is finally back! http://www.thanesgames.net/empiresofarcana.html



I've got most of the production bugs worked out, so these are for sale as laser cut and laser etched wood, with a few other components. These will be produced in this form until I get sick of it, which I guess will be about 100 or so.

Each game has over 700 pieces for 6 players. It clocks in at $140, which is expensive for a game, I know, but not for a game with so many high quality, hand made pieces!

The box is a beautiful red plywood, also laser cut and laser etched.

The rules are mostly the same, with only a few minor tweaks to the victory point conditions and setup. It still has a solid solo game, and can also be played cooperatively against the goblins.

I've very excited to have this available again, even if it is a lot of work to do it this way.
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Martin Gallo
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Cool news. When are you taking orders? (I am interested.)
 
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Mark Sautman
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thanemorgan wrote:


Anybody else having problems viewing this link?
 
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Ryan
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zautman wrote:
thanemorgan wrote:


Anybody else having problems viewing this link?

It doesn't work for me either.

It took years of yearning for me to get a copy and then only through the generosity of someone who gave it as gift and went to a lot of effort to get it to me. I am very interested in getting the new version, especially with the laser cut pieces but the price will force me to budget for it. Hopefully it is still for sale when I am ready to buy it; don't want to go another many years trying to painfully track it down.
 
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David desJardins
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Strangely, none of us have Thane's Desktop as a folder on our computers.
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Thane Morgan
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http://www.thanesgames.net/empiresofarcana.html

LOL, ok, that was embarrassing, I still had the edit version up on my browser!
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Martin Gallo
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Very helpful. Thanks.

How soon does it ship?
 
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Thane Morgan
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I have several more ready to go! They would ship in a few days.

Basically, I can make about two or three a week once the initial stock is gone. Hopefully I can stay ahead. If not, that will get put on the site.
 
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Mark Sautman
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Is it possible to get some more information on the game to help me decide if I want to purchase it? It's a lot of money and there is very little information available about the game. For example,

1) Are there any differences between the factions?

2) What types of units are available and how do they differ from each other?

3) Are there any differences in the regions e.g., terrain, special powers?

4) What is magic used for?

5) How does combat work - is it simply adding up the total strength and rolling some dice? Any other tactical decisions?

6) Are the goblins mostly just units that randomly appear on the board and randomly attack?

7) What can dragons do?

Thanks
 
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Thane Morgan
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I've been trying to do some video for it, hopefully by the end of the month.

Also, I will put the rules for it up in the next couple days. The rule book needs to be remade into something more graphical, but it is clear. If you would like to message me an email, I can send them to you tomorrow (Tuesday)

It is a lot of money, a lot more than I ever wanted to ask. But it is so time consuming; I need a much faster laser, and the manual work for it is extensive between all the cleaning and painting. There is no way I would offer it like this if it wasn't a proven commodity from its past incarnation.

Let me answer your questions:

1) There is no difference between factions. It is symmetric. We have dinked around with a bunch of advanced rules over the years, including factions with special powers. That is not playtested to any extent.

The same goes for 3). There are rules to playtest for terrain for advanced rules, but for now it is for looks. Also for artifacts/nodes that can be placed on the board.

Combat is much like axis and allies, or shogun. Roll equal to or less than skill for each piece to destroy a unit, enemy picks what is removed. Dice rolls are considered simultaneous. In each round of combat, the player can each cast a combat spell - lightning bolt, resurrection, gate (requiring a gate within range to bring in reinforcements), rescue (to pull a unit out of combat). Some require a die roll to be successful. The opponent can try to counter the spell by spending magic as well, on a die roll of 4 or less, before the caster rolls their die.

2) There are four units, each with their own functions and abilities
Infantry - meat and potato units. They have a low skill of 2. they cost only 1 gold to produce. They move one province per turn.
Cavalry - Skill 3. Move two provinces a turn. cost 2 gold.
Wizards - Skill 4. Move one province per turn, and are immune to magic spells. Only produced by wizard towers.
Dragons - Skill 5. Move 3 provinces per turn, can fly over provinces unless there are enemy dragons there. Cost 3 gold. Immune to firestorm (but not lightning). Only produced at Castles.

Towns produce 1 gold per turn, and allow the production of cavalry and infantry. They also have a garrison of 2 infantry whenever their province is attacked, which are essentially free troops for the duration of the battle. They cost 4 gold.
Castles Produce 3 gold per turn. They are town upgrades, and cost 10 gold. They produce infantry, cavalry and dragons. They have a garrison of 6 infantry when attacked.
Wizard towers - These are neutral structures, in that players can capture them and use them immediately. They cost 5 gold and 5 mana to build, and produce 2 mana per turn. They have a garrison of 2 wizards, and so are very effective on defense. They are also a victory condition, earning a point each turn for the player who has the most towers of three or more. They also produce wizards
Gates - Also neutral structures. Cost 3 mana and 3 gold to produce. They give an income of 1 gold each turn. They allow a lot of tactical flexibility, in that units in the province can teleport up to 3 provinces away, or to friendly gates any distance away. They also allow units to gate into combats that are within 3 provinces away.

A note on buying units - I never liked in these types of games where a player could just drop everything into one territory and hammer across the board. No province can have more than 4 new units built in them a turn; this requires much more planning to organize attacks and reduces the "battle of sledgehammers" effect that these games often have. You can build a massive army, but it takes some planning. It also improves the ability for players to defend their empires.

You also pay maintenance on your units - you can't just hide in a corner and build a huge force while your opponents fight. Expansion is important to building a large army, and gaining magic.

4) Magic is used in 5 ways:
a) Casting combat spells (described above)
b) countering enemy spells
c) building Wizard Towers and Gates
d) Casting sorceries across the map
e) teleporting units up to 3 provinces without a gate

You get mana income for every three provinces you control, plus 2 for each wizard tower. Players typically have 3 - 11 mana income as the game progresses. Magic is powerful, but rarely the game-winning factor. It nudges the odds, gives tactical options, and can be converted to gold.
Sorceries can be cast on each players turn. They are Firestorm (to destroy enemy units), Earthquake (to destroy enemy structures), Siphon Gold (to steal opponents money), Alchemy (turning mana to gold), and Relocate (to move a structure to another friendly territory). Players can counter with their magic. Players can also retaliate if a spell is cast at them.
Sorceries have limited range, with better structures giving better range.

6) The goblins are random, but reinforcingly random. Goblins are like infantry, they are a skill 2 attack. On each turn, players draw one province card for each warren on the board (and a minimum of 3 cards), and roll a d6 to see how many goblins appear there. If there is a warren in an adjacent province, an extra two goblins appear there for each warren. If a province with a warren is drawn, an extra card is drawn and +2 goblins appear there.

But much more frighteningly, if goblins are in an adjacent province that are not already fighting someone, they join the new goblins. This can quickly become a wave of green moving from province to province. If at the end of the turn a province has 10 or more goblins, they settle down and dig a new warren, and get removed from the board.

Whenever the province card discards 15 or more, they get shuffled back into the deck, so players can get short reprieves after a province is defended, but not lasting ones.

Players can attack warrens, but the warren has 3-18 goblins as a garrison. If the players win, they get a nice gold boost for the goblins that were in the warren, so the nastier the warren, the more money collected.

If the goblins get to 11 warrens, they win the game. Players have to balance their attacks on each other with keeping the goblins in check, and defending their territory from goblin raids (or swarms).

Players roll for the goblins in combat. Goblins don't cast spells or ever retreat.

At the beginning of the game, provinces without players or goblins are unexplored. When a player first enters, they roll to see if goblins are present. The goblins act as a barrier to gambit expansion, as scouting in force is much more likely to yield a territory.

6) Combat decisions are numerous. Players have to engage all of their combats with movement before resolving any of them, so allocation of power is always a balancing act. Magic is a powerful factor, as it can kill an enemy, bring a dead unit back, or rescue units that need saving. With a gate, units can be brought into the combat. You never seem to have enough to do everything, so the order you resolve your combats means a lot for what magic is available and what you want to do with it.

7) Dragons are utterly terrifying. They have enormous range of action, and almost always kill when they attack. They can't be burned out of a territory with firestorms, though you can bet your opponent will be throwing lightning at them every turn of combat, so have some countering mana ready. It is always going to have some lesser units to protect them from casualties in battle, but a stack of dragons is going to run over most defenders even if they take a few casualties.

The turn sequence is: All players take income
Goblins do their thing.
Players roll initiative. Each player takes their turn in order.
Players all pay maintenance on remaining units
Player buy and place new units in reverse initiative order. (this counters the advantage of going last, knowing you will have no one attacking you afterwards for the turn. By building first, you telegraph your intentions for next turn, and opponents are able to build knowing where your units will be)
Rinse and repeat, usually for 8-10 turns.

The rules are relatively simple, but the tactics and game variation are enormous. There are several paths to earning victory points, including defeating warrens, owning towers, having high income, and successfully launching 6 or more attacks in a turn.

Players can fight the goblins solo, which is quite tough. The difficulty can be ramped up by adding more starting warrens.








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Ryan
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Sounds like the rules are still the same. Good.

I'd love to buy this game but it's more than I can spend right now. Hopefully you'll still have copies a bit into the future. Until then I'll use Version 1!

thanemorgan wrote:
Players can fight the goblins solo, which is quite tough. The difficulty can be ramped up by adding more starting warrens.

I prefer to ramp the difficulty down by starting with less warrens. Three warrens kick my butt.
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Thane Morgan
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If I can, I try to focus on making the moves and builds on turn 1 to kill a warren on turn 2. The extra gold is then very helpful to get a castle. That is true in the regular game too. It doesn't always work out though. If I haven't taken one out by turn 4 in a solo game, I expect the goblins to run me down.

Only slight mods to the rules were made to bring the pacing to the modern standard. Victory points are easier to obtain early, and the Warlord condition was changed from building an army to using your army, which is better for lots of reasons.

You can still play old school domination rules, too, but the newer rules make it a tight race in a game that ends while power is still ramping up, not after one or more players have peaked. You will be able to use your old printed version with the new rules, nothing has changed there. I will include them with the next website edit.

Oh, and you can teleport buildings now, and teleporting troops is no longer counterable, which often made it an option only for the last player or two in a turn.

I definitely get the cost issues. I really would like to offer it less expensively, but a game with 700 pieces for 6 players is always going to be pricey. Making it by hand makes is more so( I don't even get minimum wage for the time, lol). But the look is so unique, I really think it is worth it
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Thane Morgan
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The rules can now be downloaded here: http://www.thanesgames.net/empiresofarcana.html
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Martin Gallo
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My copy arrived in Eastern MO today. It certainly looks terrific.

In the interest of "helping the next guy" I regret to inform you that the left edge of the box was detached and all of the interior dividers are broken. This is easily repairable with some Elmer's white glue (or some wood glue, etc.). It looks like a lot of time and care as taken in this (you guys should see all the etching! All the pieces are glued and painted!) and it is a shame it did not "survive" shipping intact.

I also recommend placing some paper or p;attic between the mopboards to keep the paint from being scratched during transport (this is a long term suggestion, not just for shipping). I do not know how well these will hold up (not a criticism, just a suggestion as I would hate to "lose" the fineness of the art).
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Martin Gallo
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There is a contest somewhere here on BG for best game cover for 2-15. I think the box for this second edition should be in the contest but there is no photo. My photographic skills are weak, can anybody (hint: Thane) put up a decent picture ov the last etched cover?
 
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Thane Morgan
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grrr... That is annoying. Can you email me a picture of the box? thane.morgan@yahoo.com. I need to go rage against the Post Office. I've intentionally dropped the things to make sure they can survive some abuse. I can't imagine how much force one needs to apply to break the interior dividers from a full box. I'm really grateful they didn't shatter the cover or scratch the boards

I can send you another set if they are fractured. That is ridiculous.

The maps are really well sealed. But maybe some sort of paper or cloth on the back is a good idea.
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Martin Gallo
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I have already started repairs and I did not take pictures first. I am in the process of installing "craft stick" reinforcements to all the interior parts, for my peace of mind.

I recall being surprised when I discovered the breakage because the box was packed pretty tight.
 
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Lee Troutman
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Wish I hadn't found this. I like the game, and the new edition looks marvelous, but it's just too pricey for me.

Mind you, I'm not saying it's not worth it...

Would there be any trade-in value on my version 1?

 
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