Arcane Legions to revolutionize miniature gaming

Miniature gaming has never quite broken into the mainstream, and for good reason. The time, money, and effort required typically turns casual gamers away. Warhammer 40k and HeroScape, arguably the two most well known products of the genre, both have their fair share of issues. Warhammer is time-consuming and downright costly, with even the smallest units costing upwards of $20. HeroScape, though admittedly cheaper and more accesible to younger and more casual gamers, is too simple in its mechanics to offer strategists much to go on.

WizKids, a company sadly no longer in existence, sought to bridge this gap years ago with games like Mage Knight and HeroClix, two amazing ventures into collectable miniatures. Mage Knight was the forerunner — its miniatures were pre-painted, highly detailed, affordable, and sported handy dials on their bases that tracked health, damage, and special abilities. HeroClix carried on the tradition, allowing players to pit their favorite superheroes against one another.

Sadly, the games didn't last, and WizKids became no more. And since then, the genre of miniature gaming has grown cold.

But now, the guys from WizKids are back, and they're releasing a new, state-of-the-art miniatures game called Arcane Legions. This game seeks to bring miniatures gaming back into the mainstream with affordable, playable miniatures that strike a perfect balance between accesibility and complexity.
In the year 42BCE, a mysterious magical force was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. The miasmic shockwave of pure otherworldly magic spread outward from a point somewhere in the middle east, and in a few short hours plunged the entire globe into chaos. In those terrible moments, human civilization changed forever.

Magic infused their very bones, manifested in their children, came unbidden to the fingertips of their women, and plagued their countryside in uncontrolled bursts of power. Ordinary beasts of the wilderness were turned by these bursts into fanciful creatures of legend. Entire tribes of humans from all corners of the world were altered by the flood of uncontrolled magic, changing before the very eyes of their friends and neighbors into elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, centaurs, and even minotaurs. Creatures that normally existed between our reality and others were shunted into this one, leaving ghosts, faeries, and other magical creatures stranded in our world in ways they were never intended to be. Even remnants of the Old World, gods of the ancients and their ken, were awakened from their immortal slumber through this great cataclysm to trouble mankind once more.

The world had changed forever.

The year is now 37BCE and the middle-east sits at the center of a vast struggle to control humanity’s fate. Three powerful nations have harnessed the power unleashed by the day of chaos, and they struggle to claim dominance over the known world. Their arcane legions are now yours to control.
The setting is unique enough — ancient factions battling for supremacy in a magic-infused world. But it's the gameplay that really strikes a chord with me. It was after I looked into this game that my ears perked up — this could be something big.

The game's press release details the mechanics and marketing of the game:
If you ever wondered what happened to the guys from WizKids just take a look at this game and you will know what they have been doing with the downtime after WizKids closed their doors.

Players each field "bases" of variable sizes (Sortie/small and Formation/large) with individual figures inserted into starting positions on the base. The goal is to control victory point areas and inflict losses on the opponent. Movement and battle resolution are conducted through a unique formation management mechanic that allows players to move figures around on the unit bases to increase either movement/melee/ranged combat at the cost of losing capabilities in the other areas.

Currently wrapping up playtesting as of May 2009. Arcane Legions will be available in September of 2009. Initially, look for 3 different factions (Egyptians, Romans, and Han Dynasty).

Figures are highly detailed true 25mm made from PVC 105. Common figures are unpainted with colored tempo prints on banners and shields, while all the uncommon, rare and Commander figures (Booster Pack contents) are fully pre-painted. The game is designed to use both types. There are 9 different unpainted common figures for each faction and at least 20 different fully painted premium figures for each faction. If you buy a legion bundle of a faction you receive around 70 prepainted figures, whereas buying one of each army pack gets you about 54 unpainted figures.

With more than 110 figures, the Starter Pack includes small armies for all three factions and enough formation bases, sortie bases and base cards for a complete two player game - all for $34.99

The Army Packs contain 40 common soldiers - $14.99

The Cavalry Packs contain 15 mounted figures - $14.99

The Booster Packs contain 5-10 (depending on the size) Leader / special figures and their associated base cards, plus five additional formation base cards for use with figures from the Army and Cavalry Packs - $11.99

All Arcane Legions products (with the exception of the Starter) can be purchased faction specific.
So, let's look at the great aspects of this game, point by point.
  • Formation bases make for quick, easy movement and static abilities and bonuses. No more arguing over formations or groupings, and no more moving one unit laboriously after another. Units move together, stay together, die together.
  • It's possibly the most affordable, reliable miniatures game in the history of the genre. Common units can be bought for less than dollar a unit in army and cavalry packs, while commander and special units come in faction specific boosters. That means no more digging around in a booster box for useful units — because they are faction specific, you will always get units you can use.
Those two things are enough to convince me that this game has a chance. Its creators feel this is the one — the miniatures game that will catch on in a big way. And frankly, I'm quick to agree. I'm hopeful for Arcane Legions, and will definitely be checking it out once it hits store this September. Look for my review of Arcane Legions next month!

More info on the game:
Arcane Legions

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I found your blog on Google. I was searching stuff on Arcane Legions. I was wondering what your thoughts are now that the game has been out for a little bit. I just got my starter kit and an infantry pack. Let me know what you think of the game now.



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