Arcane Legions

May 9, 2009

A new game that was recently revealed at GAMA has caught my eye. The name of the game is Arcane Legions.

You can learn more about them at their website here:

There’s also a preview of the game here:

What draws me to the game first of all is the setting. It’s sort of like historical mixed with some fantasy.

Next is the way they decided to do the collectible factor in this game. The ways to buy into this game makes the random collecting via a booster almost a non-issue. Here are their product offerings.

More than 110 25mm figures with small starter armies for all 3 factions. With formation bases, and base cards for a two player game. Non-blind purchase. Not exactly sure if these are pre-painted or not.

Army Pack – $14.99
An average of 40 25mm figures with packs that are faction specific. These are not pre-painted. Non-blind purchase.

Cavalry Pack – $14.99

An average of 14 25mm cavalry figures with packs that faction specific. These are not pre-painted. Non-blind purchase.

Booster Pack – $11.99
Booster packs are random but are faction specific and contain leaders and special arcane units. Contains 8 combat units with at least 1 rare painted leader figure and base card, 2 rare or uncommon units with their base card with an average of 3 painted figures, along with 5 formation base cards. They are shipped in faction specific bundles of 8. A purchase of this bundle will guarantee one of every figure for that faction.

Update! The Booster Packs will all contain 5-10 fully painted figures (depending on the size).

There are 3 faction that will be available when it is released. There’s Cleopatra’s Egypt, Augustus’ Rome, and the Chinese Han Empire. Expected release date is September 2009.



  1. ARGH! Why have ANY blind packs at ALL! Annoying …!

    The section of their site ‘Vast Armies for Less Money’ says “what if every figure purchased was useful?” Well, they WOULD be if it wasn’t &A#^$ collectible!

    Nice looking figures, but I have to say the big formation bases on the battlefield ruin the illusion somewhat. I also really dislike the ‘matching up dice’ combat mechanic they talk about; sounds very fiddly.

    But mainly, there’s no way I’m buying into anything even vaguely ‘collectible’ ever again.

  2. I don’t mind collectible games at all, but this one seems like it’s really not collectible at all considering the only blind purchase format is the heroes which if come in faction specific boosters in addition comes in a block of 8 that if bought all at once gives you everything. The rest of the purchase options are not blind purchase. The “every figure purchased” is useful seems to be accurate based on how the game is played and how models are distributed.

    The dice mechanic sounds similar to Risk, but I’ll reserve judgment until the rules are actually released.

    I don’t mind the wide bases as much as I do the white color. I would prefer the bases to be black.

  3. Well, my definition – and the basis for my dislike of the concept – is anything where I have to buy something and I don’t know exactly what I’m buying. The only time I tried it was Monsterpocalypse, and it confirmed my thoughts on the whole marketing ploy.

    If the only random part is the heroes, why not make it ALL non-random?

  4. (Sorry to rant!)

  5. Heheh don’t worry about ranting. Differing opinions are welcomed. I don’t see it as a ploy as no one is really tricked into the format. It is an age old format that is spread from baseball cards, pvc toys, vending machine toys, and in games. I also understand the reason behind it is to keep initial consumer cost down in order to bring a product that has to be mass produced to market. I believe the heroes are done this way because it’s not something you need a lot of which makes them unable to recoup the production costs of models that are produced in limited numbers since they aren’t “fodder” figures. The other option for them would to sell them at a high price point which probably wouldn’t sell well. I have a High Elf army and really felt bad paying over 20 bucks for 2 plastic miniatures. Yet I’m sure that’s the cheapest a large company like GW could put it out there and still be profitable.

    What I see them doing is bringing mass combat to a different market segment of gamers. Gamers who do not necessarily enjoy the hobby aspect of it. From your sentiments I don’t believe you are a part of that market but that market does exist otherwise games such as Monsterpocalypse and World of Warcraft Miniatures wouldn’t be thriving.

    I do have to say that some companies are at least trying to take the sting out of the collectible nature of these products. For example Arcane Legion could very well put everything in a collectible format if they wanted to, but they realize that since it’s a mass combat game they can produce the grunt troops without being blind purchased. With Monsterpocalyse a full case will yield you at least one of everything this wasn’t true for other games I’ve played in the past such as HeroClix, Mech Warrior, Mage Knight, Star Wars and D&D.

  6. It’s certainly an interesting approach. It’s essentially an alternate ancients setting – which gives me a slight feeling of the world that croc created for Wargods.

    I’m not sure what to think of it based on what they’ve got on their web site. Something feels slightly ‘out of synch’ or ‘uncomfortable’ about it :/

    I can’t quite put into words what my feeling is based on – something just doesn’t feel right to me. It could be just that it’s a very different offering for gamers that’s thrown me but I feel there is something else that makes me think this one might not work in a commercial sense like heroclix, Mageknight or the mech game.

    Perhaps it’s just the fact they’re trying to sell a new genre ‘Alternative Ancients’ as well as a new game style and product release structure. That and they don’t already have a large potential fan base in the mecha fans or comic/super hero fans that the other games the guys behind this have been involved in. Hmmmm…

    It doesn’t appeal to me but I am curious to see how it develops.

  7. Looks like an interesting game, and one that I worry will become an impulse purchase at GenCon. Hopefully there aren’t any ‘preview copies’ available :p

  8. The back-story seems very similar to HeroScape…

  9. I really don’t see the similarities as in Heroscape warriors are from different planets and timeliness are summoned to the planet of Valhalla. Arcane Legions is pretty much alternative ancients.

  10. Wells Expeditions (the publishers of Arcane Legions) is not looking to convert existing miniature players with this game. We are looking to increase the miniature player base by producing a product and play experience that is more suitable to the masses addressing costs, ease of play, and time commitments. Although some miniature players will play simply because it’s miniatures, the bulk of our player base is anticipated to be casual, all around, hobby gamers. Arcane Legions is a great playing game. It’s easy to learn but has all the depth of strategy required by the most sophisticated gamers.

  11. The description of the Booster Pack above is a little confusing. The Booster Packs will all contain 5-10 fully painted figures (depending on the size).

  12. Thanks for chiming in. I’m looking forward to trying this game out. I’ve got a ninja lined up for GenCon. I’ll fix up the description.

  13. I read that some of the figures (basic troops) are not painted, and others are. Is this accurate, and is it their final decision? I want a game to either be PPP, or unpainted.

  14. What you read is correct – and is final :) The common scrubs will be unpainted. They will however have colored “tempo prints” on banners and shields that tie in to the look of the faction. All booster pack figures will be fully pre-painted.

    There are many potential wargamers out there that love the idea of mass action games, but are hesitant to jump in because a) they don’t want to spend what it typically takes to get fully involved b) they don’t want to put in the time it takes painting up hundreds of figures c) they don’t want to spend entire weekends in a campaign.

    Arcane Legions was designed to appeal to these casual gamers. Our goal is not to convert the existing wargamer, but to create a product that offers the same depth and strategy as the most demanding wargames, yet is affordable and quicker to play.

    If all the figures were unpainted the tendency would be for players to want to (or feel they needed to) paint everything, something many casual gamers do not want to do. If we could do it and keep the game affordable we would have painted everything. We compromised by pre-painting all the leaders, heroes and bad-as* creatures. The common foot soldiers are dispensable after all. If players want to paint them they still can.

    The overall look and feel of Arcane Legions is very cool and will appeal to many new players.

    • I have to admit that despite my earlier reservations I’m warming to the idea of this game. :)

  15. Wells Expeditions has received confirmation that their distributors have received the 2 player demo games. These are available for free to all retailers.

    If you are a player who would like to try out the game, get into your LGS and let them know! If you are a retailer, call your distribution rep today and get your free copy while they last!


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