The city of Cadwallon is renown for its intrigues and power struggles. Within the most exclusive circles of Cadwallon, numerous merchant corporations, known as guilds, compete to control the city’s vast resources.
Arcana is a card game of power and intrigue for 2-4 players. Assuming the role of a guild master, each player leads a handful of guild agents on a quest to become the most powerful guild in Cadwallon. Only by appealing to powerful figures, acquiring valuable relics, and gaining control of important locations can you hope to propel your guild to the top.
Players begin the game by choosing which guild they will control – the guild of Blades, the guild of Thieves, the guild of Userers, or the guild of Ferrymen. Each guild has their own advantages. For example, the guild of Blades is made up of mercenary weapon dealers, giving them the upper hand when competing on Stakes that focus on military might. Each guild has a host of agents at their disposal, as well as a starting treasure and headquarters. These cards make up each player’s starting deck.
The objective of Arcana is to acquire the most victory points, which are awarded by Stake cards. There are three different types of Stake cards: Personalities, Relics, and Locations. Players gain control of Stake cards by playing their Agent cards, which are used to bid for the revealed Stake card on top of a Stake deck. Each Stake card has arcanum values for its Military, Political, Spiritual, and Financial powers. One of these powers will be in gold, representing its main arcanum power. This is the power that the agent cards must meet or exceed in order to win the Stake.
Agents also have their own arcanum values, and they must use the same type of arcanum as the main arcanum of the Stake card. For example, if a Pixie Emissary is used to bid on a personality Stake whose main arcanum is Military, the active player compares the Pixie Emissary’s Military value to the Stake card’s.
Personality Stake cards can be corrupted by using a relic card in addition to agent cards. Relic cards will add to the agents’ arcanum, and if this number meets or exceeds the Stake card’s financial power, the personality has been corrupted and won over by the opposing guild.
There are multiple Stake decks, and each player controls two of these Stake decks. The Stake deck in the center of the table is not under any player’s control. This deck serves as the game’s timer, as a “Game Over” card is shuffled into the bottom five cards of this deck.
To add a level of uncertainty to the game, there are several decks of randomized Stake cards that make up the play area. Certain decks are controlled by players, and when a player plays agents on a Stake deck under their control, they can play that card face down. These bluffs can throw your opponents off and add an element of mystery to your games.
After the “Game Over” card is revealed, players tally up the victory points and determine who is the most powerful guild in Cadwallon. How will you use the power of Arcana?
Bluff your guild to the top
Arcana puts a spin on deck-building by introducing a bluffing mechanic that allows players add an element of mystery when they bid against their opponents. Each player has control of Stake decks that hold more powerful cards for their own decks. When bidding on a Stake card from a deck which they control, a player can play their agent card face down, hiding its information from their opponents.
Four powers to master
There are four major powers in the city of Cadwallon – Military, Political, Spiritual, and Financial. Arcana lets players customize their decks in order to find a good balance between these four powers.