The news has already made the rounds among fans of the game: it was fighting in the virtual arena of the board game Golem Arcana. About half a year ago I presented Golem Arcana as a beacon of hope for a meaningful symbiosis of board game and tablet app and now the US manufacturer HBS is announcing the end of the board game title. For fans of the series, the news came as a surprise. The German publisher Pegasus Spiele has meanwhile also commented on the topic and has confirmed the fears of German Golem Arcana fans: There will be no more content in this country either.

But why the sudden end for Golem Arcana? In the following article I would like to explain why the board game could have failed. I am particularly interested in your opinions at the end of the series.


Orphaned arena

Two go in, one goes out. That was the original concept of the 2-player title Golem Arcana. Now, after the sudden out of line, it looks like not too many players want to get into the arena. One could almost be inclined Golem Arcana can be described as extremely successful, at least when you consider the sheer number of expansions that have appeared. There are 17 in number and there would have been a few more if the manufacturer HBS hadn't pulled the plug, surprisingly: Without juice, there would be no high-tech golems. Of course, the title will remain available for the time being and fans can continue to use the existing figures. On the other hand, there will no longer be any new extensions. As a trigger for the end of Golem Arcana seemingly unfulfilled financial expectations are seen. The fact that fewer and fewer players wanted to set foot in the arena, however, must have a reason.

If you look at the current development of board games, there are very few titles that rely on support from tablet or smartphone applications. The number becomes even lower if you narrow down the titles by saying that app support has a direct impact on the course of the game. A still successful example of this is the implementation of PC games XCOM: the board game, that is exactly how Golem Arcana an app takes center stage, but leaves the players enough playful freedom due to the complexity of their game actions. In addition, the app is with XCOM: the board game to be seen as a teammate or opponent and not as an omnipotent computer program that restricts or dictates the actions of human board players.

Current board games are designed around the player's actions. The do-it-yourself mentality is currently very much in vogue with board players, and longer periods of familiarization and more complex rules are gladly accepted. Golem Arcana shines with a terrificly simple game entry, the app, on the other hand, gives the players possible actions in a way that is too obvious. Many board players may feel restricted in their actions as a result. The board game demonstrates that arena games not only work, but can be quite successful Krosmaster Arena detect. Krosmaster relies on a similar game system, but dispenses with app support - in favor of classic board game elements with game actions based on role-playing games. Here the opponents operate completely autonomously and the concept works.

In addition, the rapid succession of available expansions could have led to displeasure among board players. Anyone who starts with a new board game gets an overview of the add-ons available in stores. If too many extensions are available individually, beginners like to use complete boxes in order not to have the feeling from the beginning that they are chasing after the extension purchase. With 17 extensions with prices between 10 and 50 euros, newcomers don't have to wait long to realize that Golem Arcana durchaus zu einem teuren Vergnügen werden könnte. In Kombination mit dem kurzweiligen Konzept, das förmlich nach schnellem Nachschub schreit, wird das Hybrid-Brettspiel zum einem wahren „money-sink“.

Board players like it classic

In addition to financial considerations, the fact that board players like to look at their game boards should not be neglected. If they would rather enjoy digital content, they could simply switch on the game console or gaming PC instead. However, many board players like the traditional way of analog gaming and have been happy with the app support from Golem Arcana conceptually dissatisfied. With board games like The alchemists from Heidelberger Spieleverlag also have an app, but they give the players the choice of whether they want to use it. at The alchemists ist die App zum spielen nämlich nicht zwingend erforderlich, zumindest sofern einer der Spieler die Rolle des „geheimen Zufallsgenerators“ übernimmt, der die spielenden Alchemisten über die Anwendungsresultate ihrer Gebräue informiert. Einen solchen, zugegeben für den auserwählten Spieler etwas weniger spaßigen Job, Ausweg sucht man bei Golem Arcana vain.

The bottom line remains Golem Arcana an entertaining game that, with the expansions released so far, will ensure long-lasting fun for fans of the series. For HBS and Pegasus, the board game was an experiment that will probably not be repeated in this form. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief at least in one point: The German community site GolemArcana.de will remain and will continue to be supported. Lovers can continue to exchange ideas about their hobby there.  

The expansion Golem Arcana: Durani - Champion of the Western Wind remains the last release for this board game series. App-supported board games are far from dead; they will just work out in a different way: sometimes less is just more.


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