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Realm of Cinders – Chapter 3 Results

Hello Golem Knights! The third chapter of Realm of Cinders finished on July 28th, right before GenCon. Yes, that was about a month ago, but it’s been a whirlwind ever since, and we’re only just now able to catch our collective breaths and get this update written.

As you know, all game results are uploaded to our servers, which lets us investigate the data and analyze which factions won the most games, and also, as you’ll see below, sometimes it’s the little side-quests along the way that can also have a lasting impact on the story.

OVERVIEW OF THE SCENARIO

If you need a refresher of the set-up and victory conditions for Chapter 3, please read this blog post.

WINNING FACTION

Like in Chapter 1, we had 2 maps: one for 2 players and one for 3 players. Though this time we used the same map — which made for a pretty crazy big battle, with 3000 points of Golems duking it out in a small amount of space!

Like in Chapter 2, the 2-player map allowed for unequal representation of the 3 factions, so we looked at two angles for wins: 1) the most total wins and 2) the best winning %. The Dominion and Empire were neck-and-neck in the 2 player games, but the Empire didn’t turn their central starting location in the 3 player game into much of an advantage.

  • Faction
  • Dominion
  • Empire
  • Mercenaries
  • % of 2 Player Wins
  • 40%
  • 39%
  • 21%
  • % of 3 Player Wins
  • 38%
  • 25%
  • 38%
  • Winning %
  • 49%
  • 43%
  • 42%

So… as the dust and ash settles in the Mahatavi, the Dominion’s forces hold the decisive advantage around the sacred First Tree, while the Empire forces retreat to their lands outside the Wildwood and the Mercenary forces pull back to the Zikia villages at the edge of the Realm of Cinders. Yet, what will Rudatha do with this victory, so far from Dominion lands?

The Gudanna spymasters have now studied the magical runes of the Mahatavi, formed in the knots and bark, in the branches and roots — after which, an envoy is sent to speak with Vanya, the new First among Equals of the Zikia Tribes. From the Dominion’s perspective, they helped defend the Mahatavi from the invading Empire forces, and remained to protect against any further reprisals from their mutual enemy. Rudatha calls upon the Samula tribe to provide safe passage back to Dominion lands for his remaining troops, per his agreement with Vanya’s mother. In return, the magnanimous Raja Khan is more than willing for the Mahatavi to become the Zikia’s responsibility again. This arrangement is also in the interest of the Great Weald, the Envoy explains, as the Dominion can protect the Wildwood’s southern borders from the new Urugal threat: the Ascendant Wake.

SAVING THE FOREST SPIRITS

Partway through the scenario, uncorrupted Forest Spirits began to appear at random locations around the map. If an army’s Golem entered the Spirit’s Region, it would receive a boon for saving the Spirit from the maddened Cinderborn. The collective Spirits of the Wildwood would remember such actions…

  • Faction
  • Mercenaries
  • Empire
  • Dominion
  • Spirits Saved / Game
  • 2.1
  • 1.8
  • 1.6

As appropriate, the Mercenary Kings saved the most Forest Spirits. It may be many generations before the Realm of Cinders can be healed, if that can be done at all. In the years to come, the Mercenary Kings will be able to navigate the Realm of Cinders more safely, with the protection of the uncorrupted Forest Spirits who remain there.

Perhaps one reason the Dominion was so willing to give back the Mahatavi to the Great Weald was because the Dominion saved the least number of Forest Spirits. These uncorrupted guardians provide little to no protection to the Gudanna from the Cinderborn, making the option of staying long term at the Mahatavi unappealing to say the least.

THE MYSTERIOUS CHILD

In each game, the first player to save 3 Forest Spirits in a row was granted the opportunity to save a mysterious child being protected by the Forest Spirits… for those of you who have been reading our short stories and have read the novella “Shadow of the Khan” — you know who this child really is, and just how badly the leaders of the Empire and the Dominion wanted him.

Only 46% of games saw one of the players given the opportunity to claim the Child, and when given that opportunity, only 50% of the time did that player get a Golem to the designated Region. In the end, the Dominion saved the child the most.

  • Faction
  • Dominion
  • Mercenaries
  • Empire
  • % of Games Saved the Child
  • 17.2%
  • 13.9%
  • 13.3%
  • Success % when Child Revealed
  • 43%
  • 71%
  • 42%

Rudatha has claimed the young boy, known as “Azas”, whisked off to the south on the back of a Corpse Collector — perhaps bound for Prishta, perhaps not. As for what Rudatha will do with the boy under his control… the Spider’s plans are inscrutable and far-reaching.

The returning troops of the Durani will certainly tell tales of what they witnessed at the Mahatavi, and such word will make its way to ears of the Raga, but it will be much too late to do anything about it. Raga Dasra would do anything to get the boy back, yet if he is truly being held somewhere in Dominion lands, only war will bring those lands under the Empire’s control again.

The leaders of the Great Weald do not appreciate why the Dominion and Empire would care about the child, as they only know him as someone important enough to earn the protection of the mysterious Forest Spirits. Perhaps Ajin and Vanya would be motivated by a sympathy for his plight and, following the lead of the Forest Spirits, believe that he belongs under their protection. But practically speaking they have larger problems right now than unraveling such mysteries.


JOIN THE COMMUNITY

Thank-you for participating in this arc of Story Scenarios. We had a lot of fun designing and playing them and watching the data pile up from your game sessions. We look forward to seeing the saga of Eretsu continue, in your capable hands!

Excited about what the future holds for your faction? Discuss the Realm of Cinders on our forums!

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Realm of Cinders – Chapter 2 Results

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Hello Golem Knights! Brian Poel here. Just wanted to open with an apology for such a late update on the results of the Story Scenarios. The second chapter of Realm of Cinders finished on June 30th. Yes, that was LONG ago, but unfortunately between finishing work on Chapter 3, then preparing for and attending GenCon and then right after GenCon flying to China to supervise the final stages of manufacturing for the next releases — I’m only just now able to catch my breath and get this all down on paper.

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As you know, all game results are uploaded to our servers, which lets us investigate the data and analyze which factions won the most games, and also, more importantly, HOW they won those games. As you’ve seen in Chapter 1, it’s not just victory we’re looking at, but the choices along the way to victory or defeat, that are making a difference in the eventual aftermath of the Realm of Cinders.

Don’t worry — even though it’s taken us this long to publish an update here on the Web site, we were watching the data the whole time and the results from Chapter 2 did, in fact, directly affect some of the mechanics of Chapter 3, as you’ll see below!

OVERVIEW OF THE SCENARIO

If you need a refresher of the set-up and victory conditions for Chapter 2, please read this blog post.

“WINNING” FACTION

Unlike in Chapter 1, there was a single 2-player map in Chapter 2. Since this allowed for unequal representation of the 3 factions, we looked at two angles for wins: 1) the most total wins and 2) the best winning %. As it turned out the Dominion won the most and within the margin-of-error for a Tie on Win %.

  • Faction
  • Dominion
  • Empire
  • Mercenaries
  • % of Total Wins
  • 41%
  • 36%
  • 24%
  • Winning %
  • 55%
  • 56%
  • 38%

All that said, simply “Winning” in this scenario wasn’t really the primary goal! It’s true that when the various Faction armies met in the Vinewood, the Dominion won more of those battles — but as explained in the scenario briefings, the true goal was collecting as many Victory Points worth of Charms as possible. More on that below!

THE MAP

Here’s a reminder of the layout of the map for the Chapter 2 scenario. Each of the objective markers on the map represented a possible location of a Zikia Elder, from which the player could acquire a Charm — and such Charms would allow that Faction to navigate more quickly through the mystical labyrinth protecting the sacred First Tree of the Mahatavi.

As the players quickly discovered, however, the fires of burning Zikia villages from Chapter 1 have quickly spread — and the destabilized Mana Wells have brought forth the furious wrath of the Wildwood’s Forest Spirits in the form of Cinderborn! As the Scenario progressed, automatic Fire Damage on the map increased, both in scope (spreading from Heavy and Medium Cover regions to Ground Cover region) but also in severity (from 5 damage a turn to 10 damage a turn).

But players could also accelerate this damage — or repair it — by interacting with the Mana Wells on the map. The Durani Empire had the option of further damaging the Mana Wells, increasing the Fire Damage for everyone. The Mercenary Kings had the option of repairing the Mana Wells, resetting the progression of Fire Damage, but not eliminating it completely. And the Gudanna Dominion could choose to do either, in the service of investigating this strange Cinderborn phenomena for their curious masters back home.

COLLECTING CHARMS

As mentioned above, the goal of this Scenario was collecting Charms — not only for that single game, but also to contribute to the total Charms collected for that Faction across ALL games. Savvy players tried to collect as many Charms as possible and eliminate enemy Golems carrying charms. Even armies that technically lost a battle, but collected a lot of Charms in the process contributed to the success of their Faction.

  • Faction
  • Empire
  • Dominion
  • Mercenaries
  • Ave. Charm VP / game
  • 3.9
  • 3.2
  • 2.4
  • Ave. Carrier Kill VP / game
  • 0.28
  • 0.42
  • 0.63

For those who played the 3-Player version of Realm of Cinders: Chapter 3, you’ll know that the Durani Empire deployed first and deployed at the center of the map, surrounding the giant root of the Mahatavi, with its beneficial healing properties. Story-wise, the Empire used their advantage in Charms to navigate the labyrinth more quickly, granting them time to heal up from all their fire damage before the other armies arrived, and the opportunity to attack first.

While the Mercenary Kings collected the fewest Charms from the Zikia Elders, the Mercs did kill the most Charm Carriers — fitting, when you think of how the enemy Golems acquired these charms. So in the story, the Mercenary forces, so enraged by the violence against the fleeing Zikia Elders, lost sight of the goal of collecting Charms for themselves and instead focused on exacting revenge on those Empire or Dominion forces who harmed the Elders. A righteous cause perhaps, but strategically not as useful.

THE MANA WELLS

We also kept a close eye on what each Faction did with the Mana Wells. Both the Empire and the Mercs had the option to do nothing when entering the Mana Wells, or to Damage (Empire) or Repair (Mercs) the Wells. The Dominion, however, had to choose to do something when entering a Well, Damage or Repair.

  • Faction
  • Empire
  • Dominion
  • Mercenaries
  • ALL
  • % Damage
  • 37%
  • 30%
  • n/a
  • 36%
  • % Repair
  • n/a
  • 70%
  • 63%
  • 64%
  • Ch 3 Spirit Bonus
  • 10 HP / 10 DMG
  • 15 HP / 5 DMG
  • 20 HP
  • n/a

For the Empire, when one of their Golems saved a Spirit in the Chapter 3 it gained an equal amount of Healing (10 HP per turn) and increased Damage (+10 DMG), and the framing of the interaction with the Spirits was that the Golems were saving the Spirits. If the Empire had damaged more Wells, this would have changed that interaction with the Spirits to something a lot more unpleasant, and the bonuses would have been more heavily weighted to Damage bonuses. This tone of the relationship with the Forest Spirits is especially important for the Durani commmander Kopa Vahni, to whom the players reported — their actions are a proxy for Kopa Vahni’s decisions and the overall fate of the invading Durani armies in the Wildwood.

For the Dominion, player decisions also set the tone for the Dominion’s interaction with the Forest Spirits in Chapter 3. With the large majority of opportunities dedicated to Repairing the Wells, Dominion Golems saved Forest Spirits in the next Chapter and gained mostly healing (15 HP per turn) and a small amount of increased Damage (+5 DMG).

For the Mercenary Kings, they were always going to get all-healing from their Spirit interactions in the next Chapter — but all that Mana Well repairing was still an important action to offset any Well-damaging that the Dominion and Empire were doing. While this area of the Wildwood is still devastated with Cinderborn, there are now some Forest Spirits that remain uncorrupted, and available to help the Zikia of the Wildwood brave enough to venture into the Realm of Cinders in the future.


JOIN THE COMMUNITY

Excited about what the future holds for your faction? Discuss the Realm of Cinders on our forums!

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Of Ash and Bone – Update!

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Libir’s ghostly, recently vacant streets now quake as the armies of Eretsu fight for control of the city’s powerful secrets. The Great Weald of the Wildwood has unleashed its fury, establishing control over much of the haunted city. However, Vanya’s rivals from the Realm of Cinders have also met with some success. Raga Dasra has taken almost a fifth of the city on her own, while Raja Sudhamra’s forces are apparently more concerned with stopping Izvari’s Ascendant Wake, and themselves maintain control of only a few blocks. Izvari and her Wake are undeterred by the attempts of both Sudhamra and Raga Nandanna to crush them. Izvari has secured a portion of the city comparable to Dasra’s. As the contest rages on, the Ancient Ones have not seen fit to grant any faction the untold wealth of power hidden within the city’s temples. Perhaps they enjoy the spectacle of the great armies vying for Libir’s lost prizes—one can never assume to know the minds of the Ancients. What can be said is a call across Eretsu summons knights of every arcanum to join the fight for Libir. 

-Herald of Eretsu

Hi Folks,

John here, (Organized Play Coordinator for HBS). GenCon was a BLAST! It was amazing to meet so many of you at our booth, event hall, and out and around the convention. Golem Arcana players are some of the most passionate and genuine that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Running games in the Event Hall and getting to watch people play for the first time, as well as seeing familiar faces, was incredibly rewarding. For a lot of folks (around 560 of them!), “Ash and Bone” was their first taste of Golem Arcana and the Living World format of scenarios. You can find all the details of the scenario here.
Due to that, and the demand for the story involved; we are going to extend the length of time that “Ash and Bone” is available for play. The scenario can still be found in the “Story” tab and will remain available through August 19th.
Look for an update on the state of the battle above (based on the GenCon and home/organized play so far).
Tired, but triumphant,
John