Caves of Mahtis Living World Scenario Available Until December 3!

The second Living World scenario, Caves of Mahtis is now live and available for play through December 3. What strange things are waiting for you in the Caves?

Living World Scenarios give players the opportunity to affect the fate of the World of Eretsu with every choice of faction, NPC conversation, acceptance and completion of quests, battlefield deal of expediency, and moral choice. Gameplay results are collected from each game and the final results of players’ actions are aggregated to determine the fate of Eretsu. Players can follow the “dispatches from the front” throughout  the two weeks that the scenario is live at @HeraldofEretsu.

Read more about the Living World of Golem Arcana here or browse the user forums here. The Shadow of the Khan campaign’s first scenario, The Battle of Two Rock, has already been recorded in the annals of Eretus History and can be read here.

Play The Caves of Mahtis at home or your local game store for the next 2 weeks only and forge the fate of Eretsu! And, after you play, don’t forget to share your tales from the front on our Forums!






How To Take Down a Jagara Colossus

Zach here again, talking about how to take down the big guy- the Jagara Colossus! First off, we need to admit that the Jagara Colossus is massive – there’s just no getting around that. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s invincible. Here are a couple of fun approaches to try to cut him down to size.

When you think about it, the true strength of a Jagara Colossus is in it’s 18 points of armor which means that even the strongest attack does just a piddling amount of damage. Brute strength just isn’t going to cut it so you need to get a little clever if you want to defeat him. My favorite ways are with armor mitigation using Armor Shred, or by using attacks that do Damage Over Time.

For the Damage Over Time strategy, I like to use a combination of the Assassin Ancient One, the Wildwood Dryad and as many Bramblehorns as you have to field.  Start with the Open Wounds curse from the Ancient One, as soon as you can gather enough mana (good thing those Bramblehorns are fast mana well runners!). This creates a situation where every attack that hits the target will also do 5 points of  DOT for the next 2 turns. If you can cast an Open Wounds curse on the Jagara’s region and then have all your Bramblehorns shoot it with their Scouting Flares, this sneaky combination will actually do a fair bit of damage in the proceding turns.

Since this strategy works best when using a lot of small ranged units, you may also want to take the Prince Ancient One. Using the blessing, Pride of Empire, will give you 5 additional  accuracy points and 5 additional damage points for every ally in the region making a region full of war sprites do some pretty good damage!

Next, you want to utilize the Wildwood Dryad’s Thorn Eruption since it does 10 damage for the next two turns if you’re successful. With that combo, even a Colossus will be in a world of hurt for a couple rounds. Just watch out for the Apocalyptic Blast from the Jagara!

Another way to take down the Jagara Colossus is using a strategy of Armor Shred. For this strategy, you’ll want to make sure to bring the Plague Bringer, Carrion Raptor and the Water Bringer Ancient One into battle with you.

You’ll want to start by reducing the Jagara’s armor by 10 using the Plague Bringers’ Necrotic Grasp. This makes him much more manageable! Next, you’ll want to cast the Water Bringer’s blessing Revitalize. This blessing truly shines when fighting the Jagara since it reduces all of your cooldowns by 2 when you either move into the region with Revitalize or start your turn in that region.

To take the best advantage of this, you’ll want to cast the Revitalize blessing on the Carrion Raptor’s region when your Carrion Raptor is adjacent to the Jagara. Since the Jagara is bigger than your titan, whether or not the Carrion Raptor hits or misses the Jagara with it’s Skewer ability, the Carrion Raptor will be bounced back into its initial region (with the handy Revitalize blessing!). At this point, because the Carrion Raptor technically left the region for the charge, and bounced back into the region with Revitalize, both the Carrion Raptors move and attack will be cooled down. The Carrion Raptors Walk and Skewer abilities are each 1 AP so you can charge 4 times a turn in 1000 point game with a possible 160 damage before armor soak.  One thing to note is that if you hadn’t reduced the Jagara’s armor at all, that damage will be reduced to only 88 which is why it’s important to get in there with the Plague Bringer early and get rid of as much of that armor as you can.

Those are my ideas about how to bring down the Jagara – I’d love to hear if anyone else has come up with different strategies over on the forum!

See you over there!



Anatomy of a Golem

You choose your Golem, your attack, and your target: Tap, Tap, Click, BOOM. It’s fast and fun but what’s really going on behind the scenes? Golem Arcana is a complex hybrid of multiple gaming disciplines. Here’s a glimpse into how we mix our particular miniatures chocolate with delicious digital peanut butter. NERD WARNING: In this blog post I’ll bandy about a few code related terms, but nothing too serious.

The Golem Arcana app is a rulebook and referee, and to that end contains a lot of custom logic around what makes a Golem Arcana game tick. There are a set of hard and fast rules that include things like how Golems move around, how cover works, what happens when you initiate a charge, and a lot more. These rules are well defined in code and easy to understand. If I want to see what it takes to hit a Golem with a particular attack, I can look at one function and see how it works. Showing the entire function would take a lot of space, so here’s a look at the declaration:

GetToHit_Layer 1


This is fine for steadfast rules that don’t change very often, but to really make Golem Arcana work, we need to be more flexible than that. To achieve this, we start with a few definitions.

  • Abilities are anything that can affect immediate change on the state of a game including Golem Attacks, Knight Abilities, Ancient One Powers and even Golem Movement.
  • Status Effects include damage over time effects, Blessings, Curses, Miracles, and even simple buffs and debuffs to Golem statistics like Dodge or Armor. Damage itself is just a negative status effect to a Golem’s Health, and we record the full history of that damage as it occurs.
  • Finally, any object that can be involved in a game state altering outcome shares a common identity, called an Interface. This includes Golems, Knights, Ancient Ones, Constructs, Relic, Regions (the sub-section of a tile), Abilities themselves, and even our Game Model, which is the object in charge of managing the state of the game.

These definitions will provide a solid base we can build on. Designers are ultimately responsible for creating everything you see in the game, but they need a toolkit to work with. This toolkit is includes all of the digital legos that the engineers create. To create a lego out of a piece of code, we use a code technique called reflection. Reflection is very powerful and allows us to define meta-data that describes our code to itself. It does this using a code tag called an Attribute.  Any action that an Ability can execute has to exist somewhere in our code.

In order to find that piece of code and turn it into a lego piece, we tag it with the ‘ActionCapture’ Attribute.

DamageGolem_Layer 1


Once we’ve chosen which code to tag, we push that meta-data to our cloud design tool for our Designers to use when they create an individual ability for a Golem. For you engineers, we’re rolling through every type in every assembly in our domain, looking for our custom attributes. We do this again at run-time, as you’ll see in a moment.

We have simple methods:

SimpleCompares_Layer 1


Very specific game actions:

GolemSpecificActions_Layer 1

And higher level actions:

Popups_Layer 1


We also use this method to expose actions that return some value. These can used as conditionals on an ability or status effect…

conditionals_Layer 1

Or to check the state of a particular item in the game.

accessors_Layer 1

We use one other custom Attribute, ‘ActionExposed’. This Attribute actually exposes the entire contents of an object definition, dissecting and revealing all the parts that make something tick, like a Golem.

GolemDef_Layer 1

When this Attribute is placed on an object, it gives designers access to all of its component parts. For a Golem, that includes current and last location, health and all basic statistics, their Class, all of their abilities, and even whether or not they’ve been activated this round; plus much, much more.

All told, we have 187 direct code captures and 33 fully exposed object. That turns into a lot of options! The combining of those options is likely another blog post, but let’s look at what we do once a Golem has been lovingly built (and tested, and rebuilt, and balanced….).

Once a Golem (or any other game item) has been designed, we need to get that data back into the app so that the player can TAP, CLICK, BOOM their way to victory. Once all data has been entered into our cloud tool, our build server pulls it down in csv format. That csv is converted into a unique definition per object. So even if a Golem uses a little bit of all types of exposed data, at the end of the day, they are an entity unto themselves. We store this data in a format called JSON.

There is the definition of what makes that Golem up:

bramblehorn 1_Layer 1

And definitions for each of their abilities. Some simple:

bramblehorn 2_Layer 1

And others complex:

bramblehorn 3_Layer 1

When the app runs, it reproduces that same meta-data step we ran earlier, cataloging every exposed piece of code, so that it knows where to look for things. Then when a Golem is loaded, that JSON is read and Reflection is again used to hook all of those disparate parts into a single whole. A whole deadly engine of magical destruction, awaiting your command.

Thanks for taking a peek behind the technical curtain of Golem Arcana, and I hope you all enjoy the game!



Why I’m Excited About Living World Scenarios

Hi, I’m Nathan Weisman. I joined the Harebrained Schemes team full time about a month ago to work on communications, marketing and world building.

One of the projects that I work on is the Living World scenarios for Golem Arcana. The first Living World Campaign, Shadow of the Khan, went live last week, and will be continuing through December with two more scenarios.

While the Scenarios themselves work to leverage the digitally enhanced nature of the game, using quest encounters and other mechanics, these aren’t actually what I am most personally excited about. To me, the Living World Scenarios are the most direct way that we, as developers, get to interact with you in the world of Golem Arcana.

When you play in a Living World Scenario, every action you take is being tracked and recorded. Note that I said every action, not just who wins the game. While victory will certainly be tracked, and be important, it will be far from the only aspect of the game that has an effect on the world.

For example, let’s say you were fighting in a story scenario as the defenders of a siege. Mid-way through the battle, you may find yourself confronted with a choice of some kind. For example, it turns out there are group of civilians who are caught in the fighting. Do you leave them to their own devices to escape the fighting, or do you pull a Golem off the front line to help escort them?

Your choices and those of other players will have a direct affect on future scenarios in the campaign and in the fiction. Scenarios can be affected in many ways, from deployment zones changing to having completely different objectives based on the results of previous scenarios in the Living Fiction campaign. In addition to these large changes, you will also see how the interactions you have with characters in the scenarios will reflect past events.

Using the example of helping the civilians again, let’s say you choose not help them flee the fighting yet still won the battle. In the next game, because your faction won the previous battle, you may have a slightly advantageous starting position over your opponent. However, not helping the civilians will haunt you. This could be shown in a character losing faith in your faction, or as a quest where the civilians families have risen up against you.

I also want to mention our new Twitter feed  - @HeraldofEretsu. This is a dedicated twitter feed that will give the story of the back and forth of the battles that are being played out in the Living World Scenarios when the scenario is “live”. Using data from the games being played, I will write tweets that help draw a picture of how the battle is going. For every scenario, there will many different aspects for me to draw from.

Through the Living World scenarios, my hope is that we can create a game play experience that is individually engaging, immersive, and ultimately, very social – something akin to a role playing campaign with your closest few thousand friends.

The Battle of Two Rock, the first installment of The Shadow of the Khan, is available for play through Wednesday, November 12 so be sure to play it this weekend! And then be sure to play the next two Story Scenarios: The Caves of Metis running November 19 – December 3 and The Lords of the Line running December 10 – December 24. We hope you’ll play them all!

The Shadow of the Khan is just the beginning of our plans and ambitions for Living World game play for Golem Arcana and I’m really looking forward to seeing how you all make it all unfold!

gilded band

Durani Empire: The Gilded Band

Wondering why the Gilded Band might be just the right Golems to add to your army? Here’s a great video overview of their individual powers and a peek at the four Knights exclusive to these figures. More information can be found about the Knights in our Searchable Database here.

Available now in the Golem Arcana Webstore!


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

Thanks for your support!



Behold the Colossus!

Debuting this September, hot on the heels of the Golem Arcana launch, is the mighty Durani Jagara Colossus. The Jagara towers more than seventy feet over the battlefield (the model is 6 1/2″ tall!), destroying any obstructions it steps on. It bristles with so many weapons that it requires three Knights to direct them all!

Look for the Jagara on September 17th at a game store near you, or order online direct from HBS.

Also debuting on September 17th is Map Tiles Set, allowing you to carry The War of Blood and Sand to into Eretsu’s towns and villages.




Play Golem Arcana for the Food Lifeline

We’re proud to host Golem Arcana games at the Pre-PAX Sky High Tabletop Play event, benefitting Food Lifeline. On August 28, play Golem Arcana and tons of other fun games from 5 pm til 2 am at the Columbia Tower Club, 76th floor, downtown Seattle. 

This is not just another board game party! Featuring thousands of dollars in prizes from the gaming and food industry, life-sized versions of some of your favorite games, food, drinks, and the chance to match wits with some of the nation’s best game designers, this is the party to be at on the night before PAX! Oh, and it takes place in a swanky private club atop the tallest building in Seattle.

Every cent – that’s EVERY. RED. CENT. – that we raise on this evening (beyond the costs of producing the event) will be donated to Food Lifeline. Rated by Charity Navigator as 4-star charity, Food Lifeline provides food for homeless people in Western Washington and across the nation. 

Visit for more information and tickets to this exciting event!