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Could You Be an Emissary of Eretsu?

As the Organized Play Coordinator, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to interact on a daily basis with players who are already so passionate about Golem Arcana that they volunteer their valuable time to encourage others to love the game as much as they do – the Emissaries of Eretsu!

Emissaries are Mentors and Organizers who coordinate events and demonstrations that allow players to get the most out of Golem Arcana. Since just this past May, Emissaries have been out there introducing people to Golem Arcana, and helping us raise awareness of the game.

They have demoed the game in their local (and sometimes not so local) game stores and conventions, arranged unofficial tournaments, helped staff our booth at Origins, GenCon, and PAX and given us amazing feedback on the game and how we can serve the Golem Arcana community better.  They have hosted almost 300 events in over 138 different stores and venues and more events continue to be added to our event calendar on a daily basis.  For a game that has only been available in stores for 6 weeks, that’s more than amazing!!

We ask Emissaries to commit to organizing two Golem Arcana events a month, be willing to respond to local retailer and convention Emissary requests, and share their knowledge and enthusiasm of Golem Arcana with others. In return, Emissaries get advance information about the game and opportunities to give us direct feedback, early access to scenarios and playtest materials, and invitations to Emissary Appreciation Events as they earn points that can be used for both digital and physical rewards. You can see more specifics about the responsibilities and rewards of being an Emissary on our website.

If the Emissary program sounds fun to you, we encourage you to fill out an Emissary application now. We still have spots available but can only sign up a limited number of Emissaries in each geographical area and some already have a waiting list.

We look forward to hearing from you.

John Swinkels – Organized Play Coordinator





The Zikia Water Carrier: Maury Weiss’ Sculpting Process

Hi everyone,

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to take a look at Joel DuQue’s process behind the paintings in Golem Arcana. Now that all the Wave 3 sculpts are complete and ready for production, we asked our in-house sculptor, Maury Weiss, to share his process of creating Golem Arcana’s sculpts.  We have had a number of very talented sculptors create figures for Golem Arcana, but Maury has been responsible for the majority of GA’s figs.

Maury and I had spoken about the idea that Golems are used for peaceful purposes earlier this year. Within the lore, Eretsu’s constant wars mean that such creations are rare; Golems are just too difficult to create to be able to spare the resources for anything other than war. With the Zikia Water Carrier, we thought we would explore what a Golem built for labor might look like.

Here’s Maury to discuss what goes into creating a sculpt for Golem Arcana.




MW: To create a Golem Arcana figure, I use a program called Zbrush. Zbrush is used to emulate a natural, soft-surface sculpting process similar to clay or sculpey. You can use brushes to push, pull, slash, flatten, pinch and build up digital “clay” made of geometry.

To start, I do a quick block-in of the character using the Zsphere tool which allows for quick manipulation of basic cylindrical shapes to create an object.  I think of it as an armature that I can bend into shape as a base for my clay sculptures. With the symmetry option on, any adjustments made to one side is directly translated to opposite.  For other objects you can start with basic geometric shapes. For example, the barrels and wood beam that carries them are made from cylinders and cubes that have been stretched and re-worked.



MW:  Zspheres are then converted into geometry. In the beginning stages of creating a figure, I work as simply as possible with a low density/low polygon mesh since it makes it easier to move the geometry around and focus on big shapes and proportions.  Other details are added using more Zspheres and cubes to block out parts like the toes and horns. These are added as different layers so they can be easily selected and worked on separately.  I want  to get all of these pieces of the puzzle in place as soon as possible to get a better idea if the proportions of the character are working.



MW: Next, I subdivide the geometry of the figure to continue to define its overall form and silhouette further. Subdividing increases the resolution so I can add more details. Often, parts of a golem are made as a separate piece and then later moved into position, replacing old blocked in pieces.

For example, for this character, I worked on the barrels separately. This allows the piece to be centered so I can use the symmetry options. Here I am using 12 sided radial symmetry to sculpt all the planks of the barrel at once. The metal rings are made from squishing cylinders.




MW: Since I’m am fairly happy with my big shapes at this point, I can really begin some sculpting. Before, I was mostly pushing and pulling large portions of geometry. Now, I begin to use different brushes to build up and cut into the clay to define its detail. As the golem becomes more detailed, I continue to catch and correct any other proportional issues I have with the character. I also use a technique called masking. This will allow me to define an area I do not want to be sculpted on or to even extract parts of my sculpt to be made into other pieces.


MW: As I continue to add more detail to the sculpt and define detail until it becomes clean and sharp, the character is really starting to take shape. The overall form and silhouette is where I want it and the detail is filling out nicely. Now it  just needs the final touches.  I start working on the textures and believability of the materials the golem is made from – imagining that he is full of ancient creaking roots, protected by an outer shell of thick bark overgrown with moss and lichen.

Separating parts of the golem into different pieces makes it easier to detail each part individually and pose the character later. I can also increase the resolution of each piece as needed without affecting the rest of the sculpt. This can save on computer performance because, by this point, the geometry is becoming very dense and now only small parts of the sculpt are selected at one time.

MW: Here you can see that all the finishing touches are added to the sculpt and the final detailing is complete.  I had some fun adding a moss texture in the cracks between the vines, bark and smoother surfaces of the model.  I also created a  pattern by painting in and erasing away a mask. By inverting the mask and then using a brush, inflate tool or move tool, the pattern is easily pulled out. Finally, I created some other details like vines and a tree stump to add asymmetry, making the golem more organic and interesting.


MW: After some feedback and revisions from Jordan and Chris, the sculpt is finally ready to pose. My main method is to mask off everything except the section I want to pose, then rotating that section. For example, like bending an arm at the elbow. While doing this I need to make sure that the golem can fit on his base. I also need to leave room for the flag post and align the feet over an area of the base where a peg can be inserted for attaching the sculpt.

For this pose, we went with a look similar to the concept. It was very important that the golem felt like it was carrying a lot of weight. His back is bent far over and the body is in a low crouch with one arm forward on the ground to help with balance and the other reaching up to hold onto its water carrier. After a lot of tweaks to the pose, we had something we were happy with.


Here’s the final Sculpt.  We don’t have any concrete plans to produce the Zikia Water Carrier right now, but we hope you enjoyed this look into the process behind creating the sculpts of Golem Arcana!



The Knights of Eretsu

We have added a database of Golem Arcana’s Knights!  You will find it under the Game tab in the Main Menu. The database is searchable by keyword and you can add multiple filters to aid you in finding the perfect knight to add to your army.

Learn about the powers, abilities, and lives of Eretsu’s mightiest combatants!



We have a new story from our multi-talented Chris Rogers,  Creative Director for Golem Arcana.

Find out what happens as Vahl Kitra, mercenary leader of the Forsaken Five-Hundred, attempts to defile an Urugal temple on the edge of the desert.

And remember, you can always download the pdf so you can read it whenever you want!


Joel DuQue and the Process behind Golem Arcana’s Paintings (Spoiler Alert!)

Hi everyone,

Today I want to introduce you to Joel DuQue. Joel handles the key illustration duties on Golem Arcana, including the map tiles and many of the Knight and Ancient One portraits.

When it came time for Joel to create a piece to accompany our new story, I asked him if he would be willing to share some thoughts about his process and he graciously agreed!  So here is Joel’s breakdown of his process in creating the illustration for  “Forsaken” in his own words. (click on an image for a larger slideshow)



JD: For this illustration, I was given a rough sketch from Chris for the basic idea we wanted to convey. The key directions were rough around the edges warrior, an ethereal older spirit that is fused into him, and a swirling motion with his two blades. Generally, before I even begin sketching I get some good reference images. Even if they turn out to be unrelated in the final piece it always helps me to have something to jump off from. I was also given a short story that introduces the characters and that helped quite a bit in getting a feel for who they are.


JD: Designs for what an Urugal Knight looks like had already been established so while working within those constraints I sketched him out in various outfits and poses.



JD: The initial sketch is all about posing and general composition. The sketch is really loose and helps give it as much life as possible.



JD: Now I refine the sketch a bit and play with the Spectre’s posing. I worked in the details for Kitra to make sure I knew how his armor and gear would play into the movement of the piece. However, I don’t worry too much about small details at this point in the process since things will likely change moving forward.



JD: After the sketch is at a good place, I begin toning the image in grayscale. It’s sort of like an underpainting which is a traditional painting process that provides a good base to build up from. I use grayscale to keep myself focusing on Tone. Once I have that correct the rest falls into place relatively easily. 



JD: More toning, enriching the image with a variance of soft and rough brushstrokes.



JD: This is when I begin adding color. Frank Frazetta’s images were my initial inspiration so it was fun to try and emulate his vibrant colors. In Photoshop, there are various layer styles that yield different results based on how they’re used.  I used a layer style called Overlay and another called Gradient Maps to infuse the tones with a color of my choosing. It’s a lot of push and pull but I feel it’s a really exciting way to work, and it can have some happy accidents. 



JD: After reading more into the character’s story, I decided that the red hues weren’t going to cut it so I went for a cool color scheme of greens and blues.



JD: More color adjustments and painting details of the characters. I also added more lighting.



JD: Looking at the image it was decided that the Spectre’s pose wasn’t working for our story so I scrapped it and went with something new. They looked too much like they were fighting each other so I also changed where Kitra was looking so it makes more sense contextually. With these changes, the composition began to feel pretty contained so I opened up the top half of the image to add in some architecture. 


JD: Finally, I finished rendering out the image and put the final touches on it. I decided to add a lot of smokey effects to really show how powerful the Spectre is as she emerges out of Vhal. 

Golem Arcana is a really exciting project for me. The world is so rich and diverse! Everytime I hear about a new character I want to read their story and find out how they connect to the others. This is an evolving world and it’s going to be really fun to see it grow. 

Thanks Joel!

Click here for a larger version of the final painting, and click here to read more about the enigmatic Vhal Kitra.


Our First Digital Content Update!

We’re excited to release our first Digital Content Update for Golem Arcana. This update is automatic and will apply the next time you launch the app.

Using your feedback and gameplay data as a guide, we have updated the game to give Knight Abilities a stronger game impact, taken a fresh look at Activation costs, and rebalanced the Ancient Ones’ Army Point Values to reflect their true worth in your army.

If you’ve created an army that contains a Knight whose APV has changed or who has been removed from the game, it will display a yellow exclamation point while you are building your army. All you need to do is tap that army and a dialog box will open asking if you wish to recalculate its APV.

Find out more specifics in our new blog post.



Major update to Knights, Ancient Ones & Army Point Values

Hail, Warriors of Eretsu!

This blog post contains the thought process behind today’s major update to Knights, Ancient Ones, and Army Point Values. Because Golem Arcana is a Living Game and our servers are able to collect gameplay data, the more you play, the better information we will have to balance the game. You can expect another (smaller) update around the end of the month.

This update is automatic and will apply the next time you launch the app. More Knights will be added after further testing and additional code support is in place. Those additions will require you to download an app update from iTunes or GooglePlay some time in October.

Golem Knights

One of our goals in revisiting the Knight Powers was to give them a stronger game-impact. However, one of the challenges in delivering on that goal is that some abilities are not worth the same Army Point Value on a Warsprite as they are on a Titan.


Ditallu the Brave, who has the power to gain 5 Armor when her Golem is hit the first time during a Round.

 A great example of this is a bonus to Armor: A Knight with a passive ability that provides 5 extra points of armor would add substantially to the survival of a Titan because it would add to the Titan’s already heavy armor. However, on a Warsprite, the additional 5 points of armor would not provide a significant increase in survivability.

Another example: Effects that improve all of a Golem’s attacks for a duration of time or provide cooldown effects. In this case, a Titan’s 3 attacks (with higher average damage to begin with) would receive a higher benefit than a smaller Golem’s 2 attacks.

We solved these balance issues by associating Knights with specific classes of golems. Now, some Knights may command Ogres & Warsprites, some may command Titans, and others may command all three. The Colossus, who requires 3 Knights to control it, comes with 3 of its own Knights along with a couple of Durani Knights who could scale up without breaking balance.

In addition to Knight abilities, we also took a fresh look at Activation Costs. You’ll notice a lot more Passive Knight abilities, and abilities that cost Mana or Health Points to activate. Broadening the types of activation costs allowed for more variety in Army Point Value as well.


Sudura-Valli, the Trapper

We’ve also rebalanced the Ancient Ones’ Army Point Values to better reflect their relative worth in your army. It probably won’t surprise you that different Ancient Ones now have different values — especially when some have only 2 favors to offer and others have a full compliment of Blessings, Curses and Miracles.

Ancient Ones are now valued according to the cumulative Army Point Value of each individual ability, with some “designer judgment” adjustments if the Ancient One’s value seems greater than the sum of its parts.

Relics & Golems

Since we were already revising the Knights and Ancient Ones, we also took a fresh pass at the Army Point Value of the Golems and Relics based on playtest feedback and the first blush of analytics data we’ve collected so far. As more players join the world of Eretsu and we analyze more data, we’ll revisit APVs again, likely in an October update.

Note that due to a change in how Mana is collected from Wells, the information on one of the Jagara’s relic cards – the one that creates a Mana Well – contains an error. Therefore, the relic card’s information will be overridden by the app. This is the only situation like this we are aware of, and we’re doing our best to ensure we don’t need to override printed information in the future.

What about the Armies I’ve Already Created?

If you’ve created an army that contains a Knight whose APV has changed or who has been removed from the game, it will display a yellow exclamation point in the Army Builder. All you need to do is tap that army and a dialog box will open asking if you wish to recalculate its APV.

We’re Listening!

Soon, the official Golem Arcana forums will open on this web site, and we hope you share your experiences with other players and people curious about the game. The design team really values your feedback – especially in this early post-release stage – and the forums are a great place to tell us what you think!

If you have bugs or issues to report, please send a description (including device and operating system info) to golemreports@hbs-studios.com.

Thanks for your support!