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Thespokentoken's podcast

Res Arcana First Impressions

Apr 15, 2019

Res Arcana. Sand Castle Games – Tom Lehman designer - Julien Delval Cover and Card Art


I thought a bit about this one before I purchased and to be honest the artwork drew me in, it looks compelling in the promise of rich interactive world underneath the skin of the game. As we have talked about in the past theater of the mind is important, also this one has that certain “Shelf Appeal” to help it get home with me. Which is very important also.


I will say that first impressions of getting this one out of the box when it shipped was that the overall package is much smaller than I imagined it would be, quite a bit so! But that is a plus for many reasons, for one if you have not seen the insert, then go look it up, its a clever, useful thing that holds the current game and all materials at the ready, its well designed in that it was good for shipping the game (the main draw of insert design from manufacture) AND it stores the game with NO compromise after the fact! So to be in a smaller footprint only means that it was VERY well designed, and will be easier to store.


The game presents easy enough to me , but shows a depth of play and rules that are not totally conveyed by watching someone else play or teach you the game. It is breezy and fun with turns moving pretty quickly from the onset. It is taut however and VERY well designed with what is contained within the box. I will admit to being curious about what an expansion would bring and to see how well it integrates with what is here already. The iconography is intuitive and numerous, and the game gives a feel of a deep lore. Something games at the same mechanical weight of this one seldom have done for me. In other words it fully transported me elsewhere while playing. Planning your moves and surveying the board, you get a sense of the weight of this world they have presented and your role in it is very much up to you!


Alex and I played one full game and while it appeared he was winning the entire game and he was very probably only a few turns away in reality, I got there just a but quicker than he did. His engine was up and running and much more successful than mine early on, however I was able to capitalize on his attention being drawn to that one thing and made a move that granted me the game.


Each round it seems we discovered something new to do or it became fully clear why a certain design decision was made. This to me is the making of a classic game and I look forward to getting this one to the table some more and also talking about it in depth with Alex!