Golem Arcana – Part 1 The Game

So what is Golem Arcana?

Golem Arcana is a digitally enhanced miniatures board game by Harebrained Schemes that uses the power of a Smart phone or Tablet to deliver an experience that is unique and engaging. So what does that mean?

Basically to me it means Golem Arcana is a hybrid system of a physical board game with an electronic interface.


In the Core Box Set you get the following:

* 6 Prepainted miniatures
* 6 Double sided map tiles
* 1 TDI Stylis
* 6 Golem cards
* 2 Control cards
* 2 Dice
* Tokens
* 1 Lorebook and quick start guide


The electronic part comes in the form of a free App that’s available from either ITunes or the Google Play Store. The App is your electronic rulebook, Army builder, allows you to check for nearby events and thanks to the last update even allows you to create your very own scenario’s.

So what is it like? You might ask…

At its core Golem Arcana is a point based army building board game. 2 players assemble armies based upon an agreed point level (500, 1000, 2000 or 3000 points). These armies are comprised of Golems, Knights (sorcerers who pilot the Golems into battle), Ancient Ones (the gods of the game world) and Relic’s (magical artefacts that are carried by golems). Who then fight a scenario. Sounds simple but its not.

Where Golem Arcana excels is that it takes the army building options of a game like Warhammer 40k and combines it with the synergies of a game like Warmachine. So when building your army you could take a 50 point Golem with a 0 point knight or you could take the same Golem with a Knight worth X points, add a Relic worth Y points and an Ancient One that costs Z points. Suddenly going from Meh to Ka-pow. While building your army you have so many choices and options you won’t notice your points going.

During a game the Golem Arcana App is your rulebook. It let’s you know if you have line of sight to your opponent. Advises you on legal movements of your Golems. It keeps track of damaged dealt and received. Blessings and Curses in play. Players Victory Points. As well as allowing you to check the cooldowns on all your Golems abilities and special attacks etc.


Based on the point limit of a game players have a set amount of Action Points. In a 500 point game you have 6 AP’s (Action Points). Action points can be used whatever way a player wants. They can be used to move golems once or multiple times, used to have a Golem attack once or multiple times, used to activate multiple Golems etc. Action Points are a finite resource and how you manage them is key to victory as there is a build up associated with using your Golems. An example of how it works is:

In the above picture is a Winged Preserver. It’s Lightning Bolt ranged attack costs 1 AP to use for the first time. If you wanted to use it again it would cost 2 AP, a third time would cost 4 AP of your 6 AP, and that’s before you activate any other Golems.


Mana is an important aspect in Golem Arcana. Mana is needed in order to activate the abilities of Golem Knights and in order to use the Blessings and Curses of the Ancient Ones. Mana can be obtained in a couple of ways:

* from Mana Wells (the glowing circle in the above picture)
* a portion of Mana can be recouped from a destroyed Golem
* some in game events offer mana for a price
* any unused action points are converted to mana at the end of your turn

Mana is primarily harvested from mana wells. By having a golem occupy the region a well is located in, each turn you receive a portion of the mana but each well has only a finite amount to be harvested. Blessings and Curses of the Ancient Ones are fueled by mana. Both a Blessing and a Curse can be placed on a region (except water), so you can buff your Golem in a region while Debuffing an enemy Golem.

Overall I find it a great game to play with friends and family. The game is very friendly to first time players. There are beginner scenarios, as well as scenarios for all point levels making the game accessible to all skill levels (my 7 + 10 year old daughters can play the game against me very well). The only downside I have towards the game (but it’s not really a downside) is that it wants me to spend more money but I’m happy enough to do this.

– from The Man Cave


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