Golem Ar­cana

Not an appy ex­pe­ri­ence

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Videogames/ miscellaneous -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Two play­ers | £ 65.00 De­signer: Jor­dan Weis­man Pub­lisher: HBS Games

Kick­s­tarter has had

an en­er­gis­ing ef­fect on gaming, and for that we geeks are thank­ful. But where goes suc­cess, goes also fail­ure, and this Kick­starter­funded ti­tle is suck­ling at fail­ure’s bit­ter teat.

Golem Ar­cana has fine pro­duc­tion val­ues, in­clud­ing nice mod­els rep­re­sent­ing the tit­u­lar mag­i­cally- em­pow­ered bat­tle au­tomata, and the game me­chan­ics are sound. It would have made a good col­lectible minia­tures wargame, or a cool tablet game. Un­wisely, it tries to do both.

The game comes with a Blue­tooth sty­lus that reads data from the game com­po­nents. The idea is that a tablet app runs the game me­chan­ics for you while you play. But: oh dear. Never mind that you need ex­pen­sive tech, and that the app crashes a lot, but jab­bing at the mod­els with a pen is lit­er­ally clumsy.

Tablets are a use­ful ad­junct to the kind of com­pli­cated game we love. In­ter­ac­tive rules, army lists, character sheets, maps… bliss. But the tech isn’t there to in­te­grate the phys­i­cal with the dig­i­tal. And why would you want to? This kind of gaming’s a tac­tile af­fair. Here there’s so much at­ten­tion on the tablet that the board and mod­els feel su­per­flu­ous.

If the app worked faster and cleaner on a wider range of de­vices, Golem Ar­cana might pos­si­bly be a win­ner. As things stand, it’s a no- hoper. Guy Ha­ley

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