The annual Origins Games Fair was held this past week in Columbus, Ohio and I was able to go and check things out for two of the five days the show ran for.
Every year it seems there are a couple of games that catch my eye. This year is no exception. Ex Illis from Bastion and Arcane Legions from the newly formed Wells Expeditions (a new game company from the founders of WizKids) are the two games that I am actively following the development of this year. Ex Illis is a bit further out, so we’ll save that for a future blog. Arcane Legions, however, was on display at Origins.
Arcane Legions is a tabletop miniatures game that takes place in 37 BCE. Mysterious energies have scorched the Earth, leaving behind a changed world of eldritch creatures and mystic powers. The Middle East is in flames. Augustus’ Rome, Cleopatra’s Egypt, and the Chinesse Han Empire battle to dominate a world in chaos. Their huge arcane armies, like none ever seen before, clash to the death amid the ruins of even more ancient civilizations.
Each player commands an army comprised of one of three factions (Roman, Egyptian and Han) consisting of troops, cavalry, heroes and monsters. 25mm miniatures (some painted, some unpainted) plug into unit formation trays. This is where Arcane Legions gets interesting. The abilities of each unit are determined by the formation of the miniatures. You may want to focus on defense, and so reform a unit into defensive positions. Perhaps you wish to beef up your attack, so you may choose to reform into a position that gives your unit more attack dice at the expense of movement or defense.
There are spots on each unit tray where the minis plug into the tray. This also serves as a base for your miniatures. Each spot is designated with an icon representing an attack die, defense die, movement or a special abilities. Sometimes a spot may have more that one icon. If a given spot is occupied by one of your miniatures then you are able to take advantage of whatever that icon represents.
Each turn you have 8 order points to spend. You can spend them on movement, attacking or reforming your unit (or some combination thereof). Once your points are spent, it’s your opponents turn.
I was able to participate in a demonstration game and a tournament game. Unfortunately, I lost at both games but they were a lot of fun to play. Early demos of upcoming games are always a fun glimpse at what’s to come. I am looking forward to the games release and having access to all the available options such as cavalry units. The Roman centurions riding bears is just way too cool!
Technically, Arcane Legions is being marketed as a CMG (collectible miniatures game), but it will be sold in faction specific packs so you are only buying for the army (or armies) you play. Plus, it looks pretty darn economical as far as games go. From their initial press release:
Arcane Legions was designed to keep the number of products that need to be stocked and purchased to a minimum by making figures available by faction and offering a two-player Starter Game with more than 110 figures, plus rules, dice, bases and unit cards. Common figures have been removed from randomized Booster Packs and placed into fixed Cavalry and Infantry Army Packs, and sets have been made intentionally small to make collecting even easier. In fact, a player can buy a "Legion Bundle," eight faction-specific Boosters, and get every collectable figure in that faction – guaranteed! Keeping a player’s investment low and their enjoyment level high makes Arcane Legions the ideal miniatures game.
Arcane Legions is shaping up nicely. I’ll certainly be picking it up come September 30. Also, be on the lookout for an Arcane Legions graphic novel from IDW.
Also look for Arcane Legions on Facebook.