Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Miniature Gaming: Arcane Legions Review

Tonight, we dine in ARCANE LEGIONS!

Finally played my first game of Arcane Legions the other day! For those of you who don't know, Arcane Legions is a mass-action, tabletop miniature game, focusing on scores of troops in various formations for epic-scale battles! Between spending all my time painting the Roman faction and magnetizing the entire game, i've not actually played the darn game until recently! So here is my review based on the first playtest.

In short, i think it's good! Mark of approval. Similar in rules to the designer's older games (as compared to MechwarriorClix, the only other game of his i've played), Arcane Legions keeps the good aspects of MechwarriorClix's rules but fixes the long playtime and complexity problems

Game Design
Similar to MechwarriorClix, each turn you have a certain number of Orders which you must spend wisely to move/attack/regroup among your troops. More than one order of the same type given to the same unit results in Pushing damage (take a hit). Unlike MechwarriorClix, you don't have to keep track of which units were ordered last turn and taking a hit from pushing means you simply remove one figure from the unit. The over health or Hit points of a unit is just the number of individual figures you have on the unit, so it's easy to tell with a glance whereas with the Clix dial system you didn't really know how many hit points were left.

This brings up an important game design aspect with this system. I very much like the fact that no additional things are needed to play. Hit point tracking, attack, movement data are all inherent to the unit design on the unit's formation card. You don't even need a ruler, you use spare formation bases as your measure of distance. This is a continuation of the creator's game design principles in line with his previous games (like MechwarriorClix, but executed better).

Game was not difficult to learn. Using my strategy of simplifying the first game really helped. Also, my friend won, but i didn't let him win on purpose. Roman units are generally more powerful and unbeknown to me or him at the time, he selected the strategically most advantageous unit to rush and hold control terrain. In our next game we will add in the Special Abilities cards for an extra layer of tactical depth.

Much more like the speed of this one. Troops die faster than in Mechwarrior, for quicker, more exciting gameplay. Speed is particularly enhanced with the magnetized bases which significantly cut down on Regroup time (moving figures around to change formation on a unit). Definitely less than 1 hr game time on a 5000pt game. Typical game (7000pts) i expect within 1.5 hrs. Just right!

Not as fun with unpainted miniatures and the figure sculpts aren't that great. But at this budget price point you really can't complain. Pre-painted figures are available, but of course they cost more.

Overall good game! Approval for play. Good tactical depth with possibility of more with special abilities. Budget game for $25 starter, not bad at all. To be more flexible with unit choice, you could buy the expansion army packs and boosters. But the reality is actual figure doesn't matter, it's just a good-looking place holder/peg. You could copy or print out formation cards to play beyond the starter set.


Tim said...

As the new player, I agree that this game was easy to pick up, with the two biggest benefits being the relative simplicity of the rules and the dynamic quality of the gameplay. However, it seems that the special properties of the legions must be used or else the opponents are not well-balanced (i.e. Romans being much more powerful in defense and attack).

Monkey said...

Monkey said...