Did you ever see someone playing a tabletop miniatures game with all those cool painted figures and wish you had the time to read all the rules or learn how to paint well? Or did you used to play tabletop minis games and had to stop because of your busy schedule? Or maybe you play all the time and want a way to get your friends or family members into miniatures gaming too. Well, these are some of the reasons why we're creating Golem Arcana - the digitally-enhanced miniatures game.
The key to Golem Arcana’s seamless connection between the tabletop and your mobile device is the Bluetooth-enabled Tabletop Digital Interface Stylus (TDI). The stylus sends the tabletop game information to your touchscreen phone or tablet, making record-keeping automatic. Important game information is all quickly searchable at your fingertips. Plus, all Golem Arcana figures come fully assembled and painted* so you can start playing right out of the box.
*If you want to paint your own figures, then check out the unpainted resin figures in the Optional Items Menu down the page.
Here are the highlights of a live Grudge Match between two of our engineers. Check it out to see which one lost his beard!
The Golem Arcana Base Game, along with your smartphone or tablet, provides everything you need for a great, fast-playing, two-player skirmish. From there, you can EXPAND Golem Arcana to field larger armies of Golems, create larger battlefields, and play with up to eight players.
Golems are giant magical constructs of branch, bone, and stone which are mastered in battle by combat Mages called Golem Knights and the royal Blood Knights.
Golems are crafted in four size classes: War Sprite, Ogre, Titan, and Colossus.
The world of Golem Arcana was sculpted by the Ancient Ones, who crafted the Golems. While much of their magical knowledge has been lost in the millennia since they ascended, the crafting of Golems is still possible, governed by the few remaining magical Codexes they left behind.
Regardless of the Reward Tier you select, all of these Golem figures are also available for purchase on the Optional Items Menu.
Golem Arcana is balanced by players agreeing upon a point value for the armies they field. Each unit in the game (Golems, Knights, and Ancient Ones) is worth a set amount of army points, so you select the ones you want, add up their value and start playing, And don’t worry about making a mistake - the App does all the math.
There are three types of characters used in Golem Arcana armies: Golems, Knights, and Ancient Ones. They represent three layers of gameplay you can combine to customize your army and create new strategies.
Golems, represented by the pre-painted miniatures on the game board.
Golems are ridden into combat by mighty Golem Knights, who are represented digitally in the Golem Arcana App. Each Golem Knight has a powerful special ability that augments the Golem's - and sometimes the whole army. Part of your strategy in designing a Golem Arcana army is to pair specific Golem Knights with specific Golems to create a beneficial combination of abilities.
Extraordinary Golem Knights, known as Blood Knights, are the direct descendants of the Ancient Ones. Due to their celestial bloodline, and in addition to their special ability, Blood Knights may also channel the magical energy of the Earth - called Mana - to an Ancient One ancestor. In exchange for Mana, the Ancient One will bestow Miracles, Blessings, and Curses to Blood Knight descendants to aid them on the battlefield. Both Blood Knights and Ancient Ones are represented digitally in the Golem Arcana App.
“Blood, Bloodlines, and Golems are the materials from which history is built.”
- Jauti Ishtimesh, Learned Master of the University of Ur
The setting for Golem Arcana begins after the meteoric rise and fall of the Great Khan. In the ensuing chaos, conquered tribes and clans rise up to reclaim their sovereignty, neighboring empires mobilize to reclaim lost territory and honor, all as the heirs of the Khan battle each other for control of the Uruk Dominion.
The Empires, Tribes, and Clans of Golem Arcana are led by powerful Blood Knights whose ancestry determines which codexes of Golems are fielded in their armies.
The World of Eretsu is filled with stories both ancient and new. Yet Golems do not create history. That is the sole purview of people, as you will see in these short Tales of Eretsu.
LORE: THE DARK WITCH
Nadanna inherited her father's warrior heart and fiery crown, but she desires control of his entire Dominion and will happily kill her half brothers and sisters to secure it.
A powerful and proven warrior-mage whose bloodlines trace back to the Urugal and Gudanna Ancient Ones, Raga (Princess) Nandanna has already drawn several of the Empire’s key regiments to herself. She has mobilized them in her efforts to protect the Dominion and to eliminate any rivals for its throne. Jahnu, Great Khan, fathered over 100 children by almost as many wives, but left behind only 4 wives and 27 children - 26 of which Nandanna will need to cow or destroy in order for her to occupy her father’s Saddle Throne.
Read more about the Crown of Uruk in these short tales.
Princess Dasra mobilizes her Golem regiments to seek revenge on The Great Khan by retaking her lands and destroying his heirs in the process.
The thousand-year-old Hamazi Empire’s prosperous northern region is ruled by the Raga Dasra, great-granddaughter of His Highness the Supreme Emperor. Dasra stings from humiliation at having to pay tribute to the Great Khan after the defeats she suffered from the armies of the Lower Empire and seeks to right the scales by capitalizing on the collapse of his Dominion. As sinuous and cold blooded as the snake of her family crest, she carefully calculates every move in her secret campaign to capitalize on the collapse of his Dominion and assume the Empire’s Gilded Throne.
Read more about the the Upper Hamazi Empire in this short tale.
LORE: THE VIPER PRINCESS
Prince, outcast, mercenary, and now as the last of his bloodline, Vanya leads the remains of his tribe against the Empire that destroyed his family and their lands.
“You cannot grow unless you put down roots” was the motto of Vanya’s great-grandmother, who convinced the Samula Tribe to give up their nomadic life over a three hundred years ago. After his wild ways caused his mother to expel him from the tribe, Vanya became a mercenary fighting for outlying Zikia Tribes and Urugal Clans who were attempting to stop the onslaught of the Uruk Dominion. Vanya returned home years later to find his mother dead and her orchards a charred tombstone to his great-grandmother’s vision. Rallying the Tribes’ survivors, he now leads them against the Hamazi Empire whose greed and arrogance resulted in the scorched Zikia land.
Read more about the Samula Tribe in this short tale.
The Blood Mage Rudatha has orchestrated the capture of many of his siblings, for he alone understands the Khan's true legacy.
Raja Rudatha - or the “Spider Prince” as some call him - never leaves the serenity of his library, but his webs of information and influence cover the Dominion like a blanket. Yet land is not Rudatha’s focus, for he alone among his vast number of siblings understands the Great Khan’s true legacy. Where most see only the lands taken from conquered enemies, Rudatha sees in each of his father’s conquests another Ancient One bloodline woven into his own. Each of the Great Khan’s heirs is a weapon, for each represents a different combination of Ancient Ones that he or she can call on for supernatural support in battle. Rudatha plans to collect the whole set.
Read more about the Blood of Uruk in this short tale.
LORE: WEBS OF THE SPIDER
LORE: THE DARK GARDEN
Sudhamra, prince of the people, has converted a rebellious populous into new regiments who unknowingly march to war only to reclaim the Emperor's lost honor.
Born to a Zikia Princess who had escaped from the Emperor’s harem, Sudhamra grew up in the rebellious slums of his people in the Lower Hamazi Empire. Forcibly recruited into the army, he gained glory in battle and rose quickly through the ranks to be the youngest commander ever of the Empire’s elite Western Wind regiment. When the armies of the Lower Empire where humbled by the Great Khan, only Sudhamra’s Western Wind stood tall, but even so, it was a shock when he was selected to be Raja, Prince of the Lower Empire. After 500 years of the Lower Empire being ruled by Princes sent from the North, the people have a Prince of their own and they shower him with undying loyalty. Now Raja Sudhamra marches with the support of his people to reclaim the honor of the Empire!
Read more about the Lower Hamazi Empire in this short tale.
LORE: STRANGE MESSAGES
LORE: THE JADE GUARDIANS
Given as a child to The Great Khan to secure a peace treaty, Izvari returned home to till her father and take his throne. She now seeks justice from those that once called her "sister".
Before he became the Great Khan, he was Jahnu Khan of Clan Uruk, whose ancient enemy was the neighboring Clan Sunu. But Jahnu was not like his ancestors. When he attacked Clan Sunu, it had nothing to do with tribal feuds - he was looking for the lost Codex of the Gudanna. As soon as Jahnu raided the tomb he was looking for, he stripped it of clues and sued for peace with Clan Sunu, agreeing never to attack them again as long as he lived. Bijin, Khan of the Clan Sunu, agreed and offered his daughter Izvari as a gift of thanks. Izvari became one of the Great Khan’s wards and was educated by the Uruk court’s best tutors but she was savagely schooled by the heirs to Jahnu’s Saddle Throne. Izvari may have shed more tears at Jahnu’s funeral pyre than her own father’s but that will not stop her from destroying his children and reclaiming the lost honor of her Clan.
Read more about the Clan Sunu in this short tale.
LORE: IT IS OUR WAY
When you pledge at the Blood Knight tier, just drop us a Kickstarter mail letting us know which character you’re interested in (along with an an alternate), and if it’s still available, we’ll update the image to say it’s taken. Blood Knights are available on a first come, first served basis. Kickstarter tells us when people join a specific tier, so in the event that more than one person choose the same character, we’ll use that info to determine who get dibs.
As you can see, we've developed a wide assortment of Blood Knights with diverse backgrounds, allegiances, and world-views. Please note that we would be happy to change the gender of your character to suit you. Just let us know when you tell us which one you wish to be.
And for those backing us at the Golem Knight level, you get to choose which Codex of golems your knight rides: Zikia, Urugal, Durani, or Gudanna. Again, use Kickstarter mail to let us know and we’ll update the image below to let everyone know how many slots are left in each faction.
The items below are available for purchase right now in the Optional Items Menu.
100% cotton preshrunk ("Ultra Cotton"), crew neck, men (S to 5XL), ladies (XS to 3XL)
Many factions in Golem Arcana boast Elite Units with their own unique back-stories and tactical abilities. These Elite Units of four pre-painted plastic figures each sport their own special edition paint & statistics and come with an Elite Unit banner for their bases to call attention to their special status on the battlefield. Elite Units will have separate army point values than standard figures to ensure game balance.
To purchase Optional Items:
1. Find the stuff you want to buy on the Optional Items Menu and add up the prices
2. Choose a reward tier (if you haven’t backed the project yet) or press the blue “Manage Your Pledge” button (if you’ve already selected a reward tier).
3. Enter the TOTAL of all the stuff you want AND the amount you pledged in the “Pledge amount” box.
In the example above, Robin backed the project at the $110 Warrior Tier and wants to buy a War Sprite for $11, a Titan for $15, and a Colossus for $44, bringing her total to $180.
4. Select “Continue to the next step” and follow the instructions. All you’re doing at this point is “banking” a lump sum to use on figures after the Kickstarter is over.
5. Once the Kickstarter ends, we’ll send you a link to a special backer tool that will contain the lump sum you've already banked. All you need to do then is select the stuff you want!
We're very excited to share our vision for where Golem Arcana can go if we exceed our funding goal. Watch the video below to find out what's possible.
The key to Golem Arcana’s seamless connection between the tabletop and your mobile device is the Tabletop Digital Interface Stylus (TDI).
The Golem Arcana App knows where all your figures are because each figure’s base and the game board are covered with invisible microdots. When you touch a figure with the stylus, information is transferred to the app via Bluetooth technology. The App immediately identifies which figure it is, all its capabilities, and its position on the game board. When you touch the stylus to a new region of the game board, the app instantly knows whether the move is valid or not.
When you touch an enemy figure, the App automatically can tell if the attack is blocked by intervening terrain, what the range modifiers are, what the terrain modifiers are, and applies the benefits or drawbacks from characters’ active magical abilities.
The Golem Arcana App knows all the game rules so you can’t accidentally break them. You don’t need to read a rulebook because everything you need to know is available on screen or with a tap of your finger or your stylus. New players learn the game quickly by following the onscreen prompts and listening to the audio feedback. Record keeping is a snap because the App tracks everything for you. It’s a referee, rule book, and tracking device all-in-one. Together, the TDI stylus and App allow you to focus on what's important: face-to-face tabletop gaming in the exciting new game world of Golem Arcana (more on that later).
But the benefits of connecting your figures and terrain to your mobile device go way beyond automating the rules, eliminating the reference books, and handling all the record keeping for you. Golem Arcana brings features previously found in computer games to tabletop gaming. Features such as:
DYNAMIC SCENARIOS - Download new scenarios (such as King of the Hill, Control Points, and Defense) that keep the game fresh and evolving with new objectives, victory conditions, and terrain conditions. For example, in an Inferno scenario, all forest regions are on fire and do extra damage to any golems knocked into them.
UPDATES & NEW CONTENT - Game mechanics and modifiers automatically update based upon our latest playtest data. No need to keep track of game supplements, errata sheets, or changes - the app does it for you! And we plan on a steady release of new content including: Campaigns, Golem Knights, Blood Knights, and Ancient Ones which will be directly available via in-app purchase.
COMMUNITY - Automatically upload leaderboard data, receive notifications of local events, play in easy-to-run tournaments, and more.
SAVE GAME - Press the button, clear the table, and seamlessly resume play at any time.
And these are just the beginning of the digital enhancements made possible by Golem Arcana’s digital technology. Check out our STRETCH GOALS section to hear about some of the amazing things we can do if the project gets funded!
Note that you do not need to be online to play Golem Arcana. You only need to connect to the Internet to download new updates and content, upload your game results, or take advantage of some community features.
Golem Arcana is early in development so the game mechanics will continue to evolve, the user interface will be iterated upon several times, and the game balance will be changed and refined. If you choose to participate in our Beta Test Group Reward Tier, you can be part of that iteration process.
The video below provides an overview of the deeper mechanics and the kind of strategies and tactics that can emerge from using the Golems, Golem Knights, and Ancient Ones abilities in combination with each other.
PDF of Prototype Rules
Here's a link to a PDF that walks you through the rules that were used in the prototype played by more than 600 people at GenCon and PAX Prime. Note that while they form the foundation of the rules for the final game, there will be many changes between their current state and the final version. Mechanics: The Crunchy Bits
Copyright 2013 Harebrained Holdings LLC. Golem Arcana is a trademark of Harebrained Holdings. Patent Pending. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Risks and challenges
TDI Stylus Technology: The technology that we have selected has been reliable in other products for many years and so far our tests have confirmed its reliability but, as with any technology platform, some level of risk is always present. We consider it to be very low.
Hardware Design and Production: Our working prototypes need to be turned into production-ready designs and we need to develop the Bluetooth 4 adapter for older phones and tablets. This is currently in the initial design phase. We have developed hardware before and have a proven hardware engineering team already contracted for the project.
Overseas Manufacturing: The game pieces will be produced in China and thus may possibly be subject to production delays, shipping delays, and custom delays, but we have experience with Chinese manufacturing and will do all that is possible to minimize these potential risks. We have established relationships with several miniature figure factories and have already started vetting electronics factories for the production of the TDI stylus.
App Store Policies: The mobile App stores occasionally adopt new policies which may impact aspects of the game development and distribution. Should any policies impact our plans, we are confident that we will be able adapt those plans to be acceptable to the App stores.
We've done our best to minimize all the risks as far as possible, and we are always happy to refund pledges if, for some totally unforeseen reason, the game can't be delivered at all.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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