Golem Arcana is a digitally enhanced miniatures board game by the American game company, Harebrained Schemes. The game earned the tag of "digitally enhanced" due to its use of bluetooth technology to enhance - without replacing - the traditional tabletop model of gaming used in Golem Arcana. Currently the game supports up to 8 players. Golem Arcana Uses a Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy-enabled device (such as a smart phone or tablet) and Tabletop Digital Interface (TDI) stylus, taking advantage of microdot technology to report game information between the figures, cards, terrain tiles, and the app. At this time the game would only support local play (players at the same location) but Harebrained Schemes also has plans to develop a Remote Play feature to allow gameplay via an internet connection.
The basic gameplay starts with players agreeing on a total army build cost, and then each player building an army using a combination of Golems, Golem Knights and Blood Knights , Relics, and Ancient Ones . Once the armies have been selected and placed on the modular terrain tiles for gameplay, the players take turns commanding their units to move, attack, and use other special actions to affect the armies or the game map. During gameplay, players will also collect a resource known as mana which can be used by the players to enable Blessings, Curses, and Miracles--special powers in the game that can have either an immediate or a persistent effect on the game, the map, or the golems. A standard game may feature one of a number of victory conditions, including: Last Man Standing, King of the Hill, or Victory Points/Missions.
The game creators have indicated plans to have variations and "scenarios" developed for Golem Arcana to further enhance gameplay and allow for greater variety in the game. Among possible variants discussed are:
- Colossus AI: Special mode where AI controls a Colossus Golem which players can then fight against either in solo play or co-op.
- Living World Fiction: Scenarios made available that collect real-time data from matches played in the scenario, the results of which would then affect the lore of Eretsu and future scenario offerings.
- Army Solo Play: Special mode to play a solo match against a full AI army.
Because of the enhanced nature of Golem Arcana, the game includes both physical and digital assets that are required to play the game.
The physical assets of the game include:
- Golem figures: Miniatures from various sets or Arcana which are used to form the base of your army.
- Terrain Tiles: Modular tiles with microdots which, when used with the TDI stylus, form the map on which the game is played. These tiles can be arranged either in predetermined configurations or by player discretion.
- Relic Cards: Special equipment and constructs that can be equipped to Golems while creating your army. These Relics are carried into battle by your Golems and have a one-time activation for a unique ability that may have either an immediate effect or create a persistent condition. Some relics activate as a construct, or special unit with its own health and abilities that can be used by its controlling player.
- Tabletop Digital Interface (TDI) Stylus: Bluetooth stylus with a microdot reader, touchscreen stylus pointer, and selection/confirmation buttons. The stylus communicates game data from the golems, control cards, and terrain tiles to the game app for the enhanced play.
The digital assets of the game include:
- The game app: The main feature of the "enhanced" play for the game, the app handles the rules and modifiers for the game, as well as monitoring the gameplay in progress, allowing players to focus on their strategy rather than calculations. The app also includes additional enhancements, such as a "Save Game" feature allowing players to store the status of their game and resume play later.
- Golem and Blood Knights: Digital units used in conjunction with the physical golem miniatures, each knight is assigned to a specific golem. Knights have their own abilities that further enhance gameplay.
- Ancient Ones: Additional digital units used with your army, although the Ancient Ones are not assigned to a physical golem miniature. Ancient Ones grant access to the blessings, curses, and miracles used in gameplay.