The Great Khan is dead, plunging the world of Eretsu into total war. The Khan’s heirs fight amongst themselves for control of his shattered Dominion as the Durani Empire mobilizes to regain lost lands and honor. Their most fearsome weapon are Golems, arcane war machines created and mastered by powerful sorcerers.

As the world of Eretsu descends into chaos, now it’s your turn to take command of a Golem army and fight for honor, glory, or riches.

The Best of Both Worlds

Golem Arcana offers a whole new way to play tabletop games by harnessing the power of your smartphone or tablet. As you play, an app on your phone or tablet serves as a sort of referee, freeing up the players to concentrate on devising strategies to crush their enemies and give their friends, on the other side of the table, grief. Thus, Golem Arcana combines the tactile and social fun of a tabletop game with the accessibility and constant updates of an online game. It’s the best of both worlds, offering up a unique experience that neither could deliver on its own.

The key to the game’s seamless connection between the tabletop and your mobile device is the Bluetooth-powered Tabletop Digital Interface (TDI) Stylus. You can tap any of the game pieces with the stylus to send information to the Golem Arcana app running on your smartphone or tablet. The app adjudicates the game, helps the players understand the rules, manages record keeping, and provides the kind of dynamically evolving gameplay previously found only in Internet games.

Getting Started

  1. After you download the Golem Arcana app from iTunes or Google Play, your next step is power up the TDI Stylus and connect it to your smartphone or tablet. Follow these simple instructions.
  2. The TDI Stylus ships with batteries already installed. Remove the red tab to allow the batteries to make contact.
  3. On your smartphone or tablet, make sure that Bluetooth is enabled.
  4. Turn on the stylus by momentarily pressing the power button. You’ll see the light on the stylus blink blue.
  5. In the Golem Arcana App, tap “Stylus Manager” from the main menu and then tap “Scan.”
  6. Once the App locates your stylus, a default device name (a random string of numbers and letters) will appear. Tap the stylus’ name on the screen.
  7. The App will request a four digit PIN number. The default PIN number is 0000. Use your device’s keyboard to enter the default PIN and tap “OK.”
  8. Once the stylus is connected, you should enter a custom name and PIN number for your stylus. This is important to do so that you can identify and pair with your stylus when other styluses are close by, such as at Organized Play events or conventions.
  9. If your device “loses” the stylus during play (by walking too far away from the table, for instance), the App should automatically re-pair when it detects the stylus again. In future games you only need to select your personally named stylus and enter your PIN to pair it.

Using the Stylus

  • The TDI stylus connects Golem Arcana’s figures, cards, and map tiles to the game’s App.
  • When tapping a Golem card, the Control Card or a Map Tile, point the stylus straight down.
  • When tapping a Golem figure’s base sticker, put the stylus on the board at roughly a 45 degree angle and slide it forward to tap the angled surface of the figure’s base.
  • When touching the screen of your mobile device, turn the stylus around to use the conductive tip on the back of the stylus.
  • The Tutorial Scenarios included with the Golem Arcana App will walk you through how to use the stylus to scan and activate the various playing pieces and their individual capabilities.

If your stylus stops working:

  • First, try rebooting the Stylus. (Power it down by pressing and holding the Power button. The stylus’ LED light will flash red, then go out.) Press the Power button again to restart.
  • Next, try replacing the batteries.
  • If neither of those steps gets you up and running, try restoring the stylus to its factory defaults by pressing all three buttons (Confirm (the large button), Page (the small button) and Power (the tiny button)) simultaneously and holding for several seconds.

Stylus-Diagram

Using the Control Card

The Control Card provides access to deeper levels of information and gives players the ability to make selections without using a mobile device’s touchscreen. Of course, if your mobile device is handy, you can it use it for any of these functions.
You can tap the Control Card to:

  • Get an Army Status report. Tapping “Army Status” brings up a report on your own Army; tap the arrows on either side of the Army Status icon to toggle between your army and your opponent’s army.
  • View the Ancient Ones in play and access their powers. Tapping the Ancient Ones icon brings up the first Ancient One in your army. Use the arrows on either side of the Ancient Ones icon or the Page button on the stylus to advance between your Ancient Ones and, ultimately, those of your opponent. (You can view your opponent’s Ancient Ones so you know what you’re up against, but you obviously can’t access their powers!)
  • View the game map. If something happens to displace your game pieces (cats!), you can check the location of all Golems, Mana Wells, and other status effects by tapping the Map icon on the Control Card. To “zoom” into a specific part of the map, use the stylus to tap a region in the area of interest.
  • Make a selection. Whenever the Golem Arcana App asks you to make a selection, tap the appropriate Rune Symbol on the Control Card rather than tapping the screen of your smartphone or tablet.
  • Enter dice rolls. The Golem Arcana App can roll the dice for you, but you can roll the dice yourself if you’d prefer. If you choose this option, after you roll the dice, use the number icons on the back of the Control Card to enter your dice roll. You’d tap the “0” icon, then the “7” icon to indicate a dice roll of 07, for example.

Getting Help

If you need a quick refresher on key game rules or how to use the TDI stylus, touch the icon to open the “tray” located on the left side of the Golem Arcana app and tap the Help button at any time.

Game Setup and Basics

Every game of Golem Arcana begins by choosing a scenario. In addition to the collection of scenarios it ships with, the Golem Arcana app automatically downloads new scenarios regularly.

Your choice of scenario determines several things:

  • Opposing Forces: Each scenario specifies who is fighting whom. Some scenarios specify the exact composition of the opposing armies, but most just assign each side an Army Point Value and require players to build their own armies.
  • Victory Points: At the end of the game, the army that has accumulated the most Victory Points is the winner. Each scenario specifies how the opposing forces earn Victory Points.
  • Game Length: The scenario description will tell you how the game ends–it may last a set number of rounds, continue until one side has no more Golems on the board, etc.
  • Board Configuration: The six double-sided map tiles included with Golem Arcana can be set up in many different configurations. The scenario description will show you how to set up the board for this particular battle. Other map tiles, in addition to those included with the Base Game, are sold separately as expansion sets. The scenario description will let you know if you need any expansion tiles to play.
  • Deployment: The scenario description will also specify where the Golems in the opposing armies begin play. In some cases, the scenario will place each Golem in a specific map region, in others the scenario will specify Deployment Zones, leaving the players free to setup their Golems anywhere within. Some or all of a each player’s Golems may start off board at the beginning of the game to enter later, as specified.

Building an Army

Although some scenarios are fought between pre-defined armies, most require you to build an army of your own. You build armies with the Golem Arcana app and then save them so you can call them up later and use them in scenarios.

Every scenario that asks you to build your own army specifies an Army Point Value (APV). There are four APV sizes of battles 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 points. Every Golem, Knight, Ancient One and Relic you place in your army has an APV of its own. Only an army with forces totalling 500 points or less can be used in a 500 APV scenario, etc.

Before you start to build an army you must assign it a Faction. Your choice of Faction determines which Golems (and, ultimately which Knights and Ancient Ones) you can add to the army.

  • Gudanna Dominion: Gudanna, Zikia and Urugal Golems can fight for the Gudanna Faction.
  • Durani Empire: Durani, Zikia, and Urugal Golems can fight for the Durani Faction.
  • Mercenary Kings: Zikia and Urugal Golems can fight for the Mercenary Kings Faction.

Golem Sizes

Golems come in four different sizes: Warsprite, Ogre, Titan, and Colossus (from smallest to largest). A Golem’s size has various effects on movement and combat.

The Player Turn

Golem Arcana is played in a series of Rounds. Each Round consists of two or more Turns, one for each player. Each scenario specifies which side takes the first Turn.

Beginning a Turn

At the beginning of each player’s Turn, the app automatically conducts an Upkeep Phase, handling and calling players’ attention to any necessary upkeep tasks, including:

  • Location based Victory Points are earned.
  • Mana is harvested from Mana Wells and the Wells are flipped over or depleted.
  • Damage from ongoing effects (like poison) take effect.
  • Ongoing status effects are resolved and, if expired, removed.
  • Cooldowns are reduced

Activating Abilities & Action Points (AP)

After the app resolves all the necessary upkeep, the rest of the your Turn consists of activating your army’s various Abilities.

Each Turn, you receive a pool of Action Points (AP), you can use to activate your Golem’s Abilities. The size of the AP Pool depends upon the total Army Point Value of the armies in the scenario.

AP Pool Table
APVAP Pool
<=5006
501-10008
1001-200010
2001+12

Every Golem Ability has an associated AP Cost listed on the left of side of its descriptive “widget.” This is the cost you pay to activate the Ability. During your Turn, you can use your entire AP pool on a single Golem’s Abilities, or divide it among several of your Golems. You can also activate a single Ability more than once on your Turn so long as you have sufficient AP remaining (but see “Cooldown,” below). Any AP you have remaining at the end of your Turn are converted to Mana (see below). You cannot accumulate AP from one Turn to the next.

Golem Abilities are divided into two general classes: Movement Abilities (Walk, Fly), and Attack Abilities.

Ancient Ones and many Knights have Abilities you can activate as well. Ancient Ones Abilities cost Mana to activate (see Mana and Ancient Ones below), not AP. Knight Abilities can cost AP, Mana, or Hit Points to activate (ie. activating the Ability damages the Golem the Knight is piloting).

Once you no longer have enough APs remaining to activate another Ability (and you’re finished activating Knight and/or Ancient One Abilities that don’t cost AP), your Turn is over. During your next Turn, you’ll receive your full AP pool all over again.

Cooldown

Golem and Knight Abilities are powered by arcane magical energies. Whenever you activate a Golem or Knight ability, its magical energies begin to dissipate, accumulating Cooldown.

Whenever you activate a Golem or Knight Ability during your Turn, that Ability gains one or more pips of Cooldown and its current AP Cost doubles. If this is the first time you’ve used that Ability during your Turn, you gain 1 or 2 Cooldown pips (Movement Abilities gain 1, Attack Abilities gain 2). Each subsequent time you use an Ability during your Turn, it earns a single additional pip of Cooldown regardless of its type.

You can check the amount of Cooldown an Ability has currently accumulated and its current AP Cost by accessing its info screen in the Golem Arcana app.

An Ability’s AP Cost doesn’t return to normal until all Cooldown pips it has accumulated are cleared. At the beginning or your Turn, during the Upkeep Phase, each of your Golem and Knight abilities clear a single pip of Cooldown.

Cooldown Example 1:

  • A player triggers the Bramblehorn’s Walk movement Ability at its standard AP Cost of 1. Walk accumulates 1 Cooldown and its AP Cost increases to 2. The player doesn’t use the Bramblehorn’s Walk again for the rest of the Turn.
  • At the start of the player’s next Turn, during the Upkeep Phase, the Bramblehorn’s Walk Cooldown is reduced by 1 to zero. Since all Cooldown has been cleared, Walk’s returns to its standard AP Cost of 1.

Cooldown Example 2:

  • A player triggers the Dune Viper’s Slipper Strike attack Ability at its standard AP Cost of 1. Slippery Strike accumulates 2 Cooldown and its AP Cost increases to 2.
  • The player then uses Slippery Strike a second time during his Turn (paying 2 AP); its AP Cost doubles again to 4 and it accumulates an additional pip of Cooldown for a total of 3.
  • At the beginning of the player’s next Turn, during the Upkeep Phase, Slippery Strike’s Cooldown is reduced by 1 down to a total of 2. It’s AP Cost is still 4 and remains so until all of its Cooldown has been cleared. The player uses Slippery Strike again during this next Turn. It’s AP Cost doubles again to 8 and it earns another pip of Cooldown for a total of 3.
  • At the beginning of the the player’s next Turn, Slippery Strike’s Cooldown is again reduced by 1 during the Upkeep Phase to a total of 2. Its AP Cost remains at 8, which is more than the player can afford (his AP Pool is only 6). Slippery Strike can’t be used until all of its Cooldown pips are cleared and its AP Cost returns to 1. This will take 2 more Turns!

Passive Capabilities

Many Golems and some Knights have Passive Capabilities that are always in effect and don’t require any AP to activate

Movement

During play, you move your Golems by activating their various Movement Abilities. When you activate a Golem’s Movement Ability, you receive a number of Movement Points (listed just after the AP Cost in the Ability’s info “widget”) you can use to move that Golem.

Your Golems move by entering an adjacent Region and paying its cost in Movement Points. They can continue to enter additional adjacent Regions as long as they have Movement Points remaining. Flying Golems pay 1 Movement Point to enter any Region. Walking Golems pay a variable number of Movement Points to enter a Region based upon the Terrain in that Region (except a Colossus, which always pays a single Movement Point to walk into any Region). Any Golem entering a Region containing an enemy must immediately stop.

When you activate a Movement Power, the Golem Arcana app will show you every destination your Golem can legally reach. Tap the region (on the board) you want to move to and press the “Confirm” button on the Stylus to execute a move.

Terrain Effects Chart
TerrainMovement CostNotes
Plain1
Elevated Terrain2
Blocking TerrainNAProhibited
Ground Cover1
Medium Cover2
Obstructions2Cost is 2MP regardless of number of Obstructions in the Region
Shallow Water1
Deep Water2

Nimble Movement

Some movement Abilities allow a Golem to move directly into diagonally adjoining Regions as well as adjacent Regions. This capability is indicated by a symbol surrounding the number of Movement Points in the Ability’s description “widget.”

Flying and Difficult Terrain

While Flying Golems cannot end their movement in a Blocking Terrain Region, they can fly over such a Region at a cost of 1 Movement Point.

Stacking

More than one Golem (friend or foe) can occupy a single Region. Up to a total of four Base Sizes worth of Golems can occupy a single square. Warpsprites and Ogres have a Base Size of 1, Titans have a Base Size of 2 and a Colossus has a Base Size of 4. Note that the map tiles and the bases on the Golem figures are scaled appropriately–you can only fit four Base Sizes worth of Golems into a single region on the map (four Warsprites, two Ogres and a Titan, two Titans, etc.).

A Golem cannot end its movement or move through a Region that is fully occupied.

Obstructions printed on the map tiles reduce stacking limits. Each Obstruction in a region decreases the number of Golems that can occupy that Region by one Base Size.

Breakaway

A Golem in the same region as an enemy pays one extra AP, known as a Breakaway Cost, to activate a Walk Ability. There is no Breakaway Cost to activate a Fly Ability unless the enemy Golem in the region also has a Fly Ability.

Special Terrain Types

The Map Tiles Set 2 Expansion introduces a special terrain type known as a Pit. Pits have the following rules:

  • It costs 1 Movement Point to enter a Pit.
  • A Golem that enters a Pit immediately takes 10 points of Damage.
  • The Breakaway Cost is doubled (to 2 AP) in a Pit.
  • Golems in a Pit receive a Terrain Cover Bonus (see below) of 50. This bonus applies only to targets within the Pit Region. It has no effect on shots that merely pass through GTea Pit Region.
  • Golems inside a Pit receive a -30 penalty to the Accuracy of any Range Attacks they make.

The Marshes of Kesh Tile Set Expansion introduces another new terrain type known as Swamp. Swamps cost 1 Movement Point to enter, but any Golem entering a Swamp immediately takes 5 points of Damage. Additionally, any Golem beginning its Turn in a Swamp Region takes another 5 points of Damage. Swamps have no Terrain Cover Bonus.

Combat

Golems damage and destroy each other using their Attack Abilities. Each Golem has three combat-related ratings:

  • Dodge: representing how difficult it is to hit the Golem in combat
  • Armor: representing how difficult it is to damage the Golem in combat
  • Hit Points: representing how much damage the Golem can take before it is destroyed.

Attack Abilities come in two basic flavors: Melee (depicted by a fist symbol next to the attack’s name) and Ranged (depicted by a lightning bolt). Each of a Golem’s Attack Abilities has a few ratings of its own:

  • AP Cost: the AP Cost to activate the Ability
  • Accuracy: the Ability’s chance to hit a target
  • Damage: the amount of damage the Ability inflicts when it hits
  • Range: the maximum distance (in Regions) between the Golem and its target. Melee attack Abilities have a Range of NA. You must be in the same Region with an enemy to target it with a Melee attack (but see “Charging” below). You cannot be in the same Region with an enemy to target it with a Ranged attack. If you are in the same region with an enemy, but targeting another enemy with a Ranged attack, that attack’s Accuracy is reduced by 20.

Note that many attacks also have a Special Effect, an additional result that affects the target if the attack hits. An example of a Special Effect is the Sand Lion’s Hamstring Ability; whenever it hits, it not only does damage to the target, it also reduces the target’s Dodge by 15 for two Rounds (to a minimum of 0).

Combat Resolution

When a Golem targets an enemy, its chance To Hit, expressed as a percentage, is equal to:

  • The Attack Ability’s Accuracy
  • Minus the target’s Dodge
  • Minus any appropriate Terrain Cover Bonus. Various Terrain types provide cover for Golems in their regions. See the Terrain CoverTable below. Additionally, in the case of Range Attacks, one half (1/2) the Terrain Cover Bonus of every non-water Region the attack’s Line of Sight passes through (not including the attacker’s own) also affects the shot. The Terrain Cover Bonus of a shot that targets a Warsprite in Medium Cover and passes through an intervening Medium Cover Region, for example, is 30.

To resolve an attack, roll percentile dice (or the app will roll them for you). If the result is less than or equal to your chance To Hit, the attack hits and the target suffers damage equal to the attack’s Damage minus the target’s Armor.

Terrain Cover Table
TerrainWarspriteOgreTitanColossus
Ground Cover/Shallow Water10000
Medium Cover/Deep Water201050
Obstructions2515100

 

Combat Resolution Example: A Wildwood Dryad is targeting a Horned Blight (Warsprite) with its Grasping Vines Ranged attack Ability. The Blight is in a Medium Cover Region.

The attack’s chance To Hit is equal to:

  • Its Accuracy, 75
  • Minus the Horned Blight’s Dodge of 10
  • Minus the Medium Cover Terrain Cover Bonus for a Warsprite, 20

For a total chance To Hit of 45.

The dice roll is a 16, so the attack hits. The damage inflicted is equal to the Attack’s Damage of 25 minus the Horned Blight’s Armor of 4 for a total of 21.

Any damage inflicted by an attack is subtracted from the target’s Hit Points. A Golem that is reduced to 0 Hit Points is destroyed and removed from the game.

Lucky and Critical Hits

When resolving an attack, a roll of “doubles” is always a hit. If the doubles roll is greater than the attack’s To Hit chance, it’s a Lucky Hit and inflicts damage anyway. If the roll is less than the attack’s To Hit chance (ie. it would have hit anyway), it’s a Critical Hit and inflicts one and a half times its expected damage! A roll of “00”is a Super Critical Hit; it inflicts one and a half times damage and the attack ability does not accumulate any Cooldown!

Line of Sight

A Golem can only target an enemy with a Ranged attack if it has an unblocked Line of Sight to that enemy. Line of site is traced from the center of the attacker’s Region to the center of the target’s region. It’s blocked if it passes through a Blocking Terrain or Elevated Region or a Region containing a Colossus. Elevated Regions don’t block Line of Sight if either the attacker or the target (or both!) is also in Elevated terrain.

Note that a Ranged attack’s To Hit chance is affected by the cover bonus of every region its Line of Sight is traced through. In other words, if you’re targeting a Warsprite in a Ground Cover Region and your Line of Sight passes through two other Ground Cover Regions, the target’s total Terrain Cover Bonus is 30.

Area Effect Attacks

Some Golems have Area Effect Attacks that affect every single Golem (friend or foe!) in a target Region. Although the To Hit chance and damage are calculated separately for each target subject to an Area Effect Attack, the attack is resolved with a single dice roll. Area Effect attacks ignore all Cover Bonuses from terrain (including intervening terrain) and additional Golems in the target Region.

Charging

A Golem can use a Melee attack ability to target an enemy that is not in its Region by executing a Charge. To execute a Charge, the Golem must be able to reach the target’s Region by activating a Movement ability. The AP cost of a Charge is equal to the AP cost of the Melee attack, plus the AP Cost of the Movement ability; both abilities accumulate Cooldown.


If a Charge attack hits and its Target is the same base size as the attacker or smaller, the target is Displaced (see below). If the attack does Critical Damage, the Target is displaced regardless of its size. Whether or not the attack succeeds, if there is sufficient room in the Target’s region (after Displacement, if any), the attacker moves into the Region. If there’s insufficient room, the attacker is moved along its path to the last Region in which there’s sufficient space for it to occupy.

Displacement

Charge attacks and some Special Effects have the ability to Displace a target. When such an attack succeeds, the target is moved out of its current Region and into another. Various attacks Displace targets differently: some allow the attacker to choose the region the target is Displaced into, some Displace the target to a random region, some force a Displaced target to move away from the attacker, some force the target to move toward the attacker, etc. Whenever Displacement occurs, the Golem Arcana App will give specific instructions for resolving it.

Knights

Golems are piloted by powerful sorcerors known as Knights. Knights are not represented on the board by physical playing pieces, they’re digital characters obtained in the Golem Arcana app.

Knights are essentially part of the Golem they’re piloting. When a Golem is destroyed and removed from play, its Knight is removed along with it.

Like Golems, many Knights have various Abilities. Some Knight Abilities require AP to Activate, some require Mana (see below), and some require Hit Points. (Activating an Ability in this last category inflicts damage on the Golem the Knight is piloting.) Knights can also have Passive Abilities that are always in effect and don’t need to be activated.

Mana & Ancient Ones

During play, the competing armies can collect a form of magical energy known as Mana. There are three ways to collect Mana.

  • At the end of your Turn, any AP you didn’t use are converted to Mana.
  • You can harvest Mana from Mana Wells.
  • Whenever one of your Golems is destroyed, a portion of its magical energies are released and returned to you as Mana.

Mana Wells

If a scenario features one or more Mana Wells, you’ll be shown their locations during initial setup. Use Mana Well tokens to mark these locations on the game board; make sure the tokens begin flipped to their “large” sides. The scenario will also specify the Starting and Depleted Capacity of its Mana Wells.

If, during the Upkeep Phase at the beginning of your Turn, one of your Golems occupies a Mana Well Region and there are no enemy Golems in that Region, your Golem harvests Mana from the Well. The amount harvested is equal to the Well’s Starting Capacity multiplied by the Base Size of the harvesting Golem. (Your largest Golem in the Region always does the harvesting.)

After you harvest Mana from a Well, flip its Mana Well token over to its smaller “depleted” side. The next time you harvest Mana from that well, you receive only its Depleted Capacity (again multiplied by the Base Size of the harvesting Golem). After this second harvest, the Well runs dry and its token is removed from the board.

Golem Destruction

Whenever one of your Golems is destroyed it releases magical energy that you receive as Mana. The amount of Mana received is usually equal to one-fifth (20%) of the Golem’s Army Point Value plus one-fifth the Army Point Value of the Knight who was piloting it, but some scenarios may specify different values.

Using Mana

Once you’ve collected Mana, you can use it to call upon the powers of any Ancient Ones in your army. Ancient Ones have three types of powers:

  • Miracles: are magical spells that target a group of Golems. A Miracle might allow you to restore some lost Hit Points to all the Golems in your army, for example. To use a Miracle, pay its Mana Cost.
  • Blessings: are dropped on a particular Region on the game board and grant a boon to any of your Golems in its Region for the remainder of the game. A Blessing cannot be placed more than once, although it can be moved to a new Region. To place a Blessing, pay its Initial Mana Cost; to move it, pay its Movement Cost.
  • Curses: work exactly like Blessings, but they have an ill-effect on any enemy Golems in their Regions.

Note that Blessings and Curses cannot be placed in Shallow or Deep Water Regions.

Mana is also used to activate some Knight and Relic Abilities.

Relics

Relics are powerful magical items that Golems can carry into battle. In play, Relics are represented by the Relic Cards that come with most Golem Arcana expansion sets. When you add a Relic to your army, you assign it to the Golem who will carry it. Each Relic has a Size Attribute and can only be assigned to a Golem with a Base Size greater than or equal to its Size.

Relics have a wide variety of Abilities that can be activated using Action Points, Mana, or Hit Points. Once activated, some Relics (known as Constructs) are placed on the  game board and continue to have an effect until they are destroyed. Constructs have Hit Points and can be targeted by Attack Abilities.

Encounters

During play, you might encounter a few surprises. Many Golem Arcana scenarios include hidden information, secret quests and other goodies that you might stumble across. When one of these encounters is triggered, the Golem Arcana app will walk you through what happens next.