This is a preview for a game coming to Kickstarter soon. You can find more about the Kickstarter here.
Chroma Arcana is a new card game coming out in 2024 from new publisher Roc Nest Games. It has been designed by Mo Shawwa who is also new to the board game world. Who doesn't like new stuff!
Chroma Arcana is competitive duel-focused card game designed for two players. With the addition of the Tyrant Hunt expansion, the game transforms into a cooperative experience accommodating 1-6 players. Featuring Trading Card Game like gameplay, Chroma Arcana offers a lot of interesting mechanics. But as it includes all the required cards in the box, there is no need to purchase boosters.
This is the concept - without the chase.
The game unfolds in the enchanting fantasy realm of Alqarr, where the narrative centres around the desert city of Aredhel. In this immersive odyssey, powerful mages compete for control. The game's rich lore attempts to come to life through stunning full-art cards meticulously painted by three talented artists. Check them out, they are stunning!
In the preview box I have, I have access to cards that allowed me to play an introductory game and try out a more exciting deck-building experience with two of the characters. I can assume the role of either Nuri the Pyromancer or Zaria the Archdruid. The complete game boasts a roster of over 20 diverse playable characters, each with their unique backstories. The designers have worked to make this as inclusive as possible. Approximately 30% of these characters identify as LGBT+, and another 30% represent non-white backgrounds (excluding characters without defined skin tones, such as Grimoire, the magical book!). And the artwork on all these cards is nothing short of stunning!
Throughout the game, mages alternate turns to position Spells in their Spellbook, energize them, and unleash these charged spells for powerful and devastating effects. The game is a duelling one, where you are looking to reduce your opponents health to zero before they do the same to you. This is done through four phases.
First, the Focus step where players will charge active spells by adding charge tokens to one Spell in their Spellbook. These are cards that have been placed in front of them in previous turns that are not fully ready yet. You can add one charge token to one spell this way, per active spells in your active row. Active spells are spells that have been fully charged and moved forward from your spell book to your active area above. Players then move to the Prepare step where cards can be added to players Spellbook from their hand as often as they like, so long as players do not have more than four cards here. During this phase, players can also discard cards from their hand to add more charge tokens to matching coloured cards in their Spellbook.
The third phase is the Casting phase, where all fully charged spell cards in your Spellbook are now moved into your active area. Any immediate effect is then carried out. You can recall a spell if you prefer. Plans can change after all. Once this is done, players move to the fourth and final phase where players discards their hand, two cards can be kept if players wish, and draw back up to their hand size, usually six cards.
This is how the game flows until one players loses all their health. The game works very smoothly in this way, and relies on its cards to bring the strategy. And oh my, does it do that well. The way the cards interact with each other, and can help you to form powerful turns is very clever. I would not say it is the most intuitive game to learn in this way, but when it clicks after a game or three, you will start to really enjoy the things you can do. Some spells simply do not work that well together but others really do. Learning how best to do this feels great.
The proposed date for the Kickstarter launch is currently the 27th February 2024, you can find out more about that here. The final game will contain four more colours, plenty more Egos, proper playmats, and a larger (but still very portable) box to contain all the components. The publishers will also be releasing the Tyrant Hunt expansion at the same time, adding a co-operative 1-6 player game.
The publishers have done a recent series of YouTube shorts (a total of 2 minutes in length) that cover the basics. Check that out here and find more about the publishers at Roc Nest Games,