Res Arcana – Wizards competing for supreme power!

The first approach a Res Arcana it was not easy: I had read the rules without understanding much and even in the first few games the flow of the game was not fluid. Mind you, the regulation it is so much simple that one does not expect a certain depth of the game. And instead Res Arcana it is all of this, simple to explain and play, but not as simple to understand.

The Res Arcana review

We are faced with a card game with resource and hand management, powers to be activated, low interaction, limited downtime. Not suitable for newbies!

Res Arcana and for 2-4 players come on 14 years, average duration of matches 30-60 minutes, published by Sand Castle Games and distributed in Italy by Asmodee (Here to Slay !, Dune: Imperium), the author is Tom Lehmann (Race for the Galaxy).

In the box

The box is compact and very well organized, you are inside:

  • 150 wooden tokens
  • 64 cards
  • 14 tiles
  • 13 tokens in cardboard
  • 1 regulation
  • 1 plastic essence holder

THE tokens they are shaped in different shapes in five different colors, the shaping is respected in every single component of the game, which helps tremendously in fluency and understanding of skills. They are also of great help for color blind players.

THE token they are made of thick cardboard, resistant, but they are used quite little, except that of the first player who does not suffer any stress.

The cards they are often mixed, especially the Artifacts, I recommend enveloping them (63mm. x 88mm.). The space for enveloped cards is plentiful, but I suspect it is deliberately exaggerated to insert the cards of the expansions (there are two Lux et Tenebrae of 2019 and Perlae Imperii of 2021).

The weave they are made of thick and resistant cardboard.

The part symbolic which unites cards and tiles, and is the engine of the game, has been designed in an optimal way even if at the first games you will have to look for the meaning of some skill on the rules to be sure of the interpretation. Once you understand the symbols everything will flow easily without problems. The part graphics, edited by Julien Delval (Dominion, The Castles of Burgundy), is very beautiful, engaging, and well linked to various skills, for example The Mines of the Dwarves have skills related to the Gold essence. Obviously the main theme is gender Fantasy.

The Regulation it is well written and full of examples, several cards are explained in detail due to the complexity of the concatenation of symbols; therefore you must, in the first games, have the patience to look for them among the pages because, unfortunately, they have not all been collected in a single section of the regulation. It should also be said that they are only 10 pages of explanation in all, so they are found quite quickly.

I find excellent the Essences holder in plastic: divided into 5 external sections to store the 5 essences, it has a central one for 5x tokens. It has a lid to avoid spilling tokens during transport. No ziplock to fix the game at the end of the game, simply marvelous!

Res Arcana 3

Let’s play Res Arcana

Arrange on the table the container of Essences, the 5 Places of Power, 2 Monument cards chosen at random and the deck of Monuments face down.

Randomly give the First Player token, each player receives one essence of each type, two Wizard cards and 8 Artifact cards. Each player chooses a Wizard and places it face up in their play area and discards the other, then draws 3 cards from their Artifact deck.

Each round of Res Arcana is marked by 3 phases: Collection, Actions, Verification of Victory.

At the stage of Collection every player gets the Essences present on its Components (all the cards and tiles that you have in front of you are Components) and those related to the Collect skill (the one indicated by the hand he takes).

At the stage of Action each player, in turn, performs one of the following actions:

  • place an Artifact from your hand by paying its cost;
  • claim a Monument or a Place of Power by paying its cost;
  • to discard an Artifact from your hand to get a Gold Essence or two Essences of your choice;
  • to use a power of its own Component;
  • pass.

The first player to pass also becomes the first player of the next round and thus gets the First Player token. He then makes his item magical and chooses a new one from the supply. In the end fishing a card from his Artifact deck.

When all players have passed, the victory condition: if any player has 10 points the game ends. In case of a tie, whoever has more Essences (gold is worth two) is the winner.

Below you can find our video tutorial, which will help you to better understand how the game works:


Res Arcana it is not an easy game to manage, it might seem so given the very simple rules, but the problem, if we want to call it that, is the management optimal component. You start with 5 Components (the Wizard, the Magic Item and 3 Artifact cards) and you have to be good at managing them immediately at best, you need to know which cards you have in the deck and decide which cards to discard to build or claim the Component that is currently needed to start producing what you need or grinding Victory Points. The strategies are multiple and vary from game to game based on the wizard you have, the Places of Power and the Monuments present, your deck of Artifacts, in short simplicity And depth together.

Time to downtime there is none since the individual actions to be done are very simple and very fast, moreover there are some skills that involve the opponents and therefore you must also pay attention to the turn of others.

Undoubtedly the alea is present and in fact we advise you to use the draft to choose the Artifact deck in order to build a synergistic deck and not a jumble of cards that together get you nowhere. Keep in mind that some abilities also cause you to arrange the top three cards of the Artifacts or Monuments deck.

Res Arcana 2

There longevity it’s very good considering that out of the 40 Artifact deck you only use 8 and Places of Power are 10 but you use 5.

Interaction poor, limited to responding to some opposing card that takes away some Essences and some skills that rewards all players.

In my opinion it is not suitable for the newbiesIndeed, the numerous possibilities discourage those who are not accustomed to this type of games, moreover the games are short-lived and therefore it is necessary to optimize everything that can be optimized, under penalty of a sudden defeat.

Res Arcana it’s a game Interesting, very varied, with simple rules but a consistent depth. While the cards carry a certain risk, there are numerous ways to control the game. You will realize that the blanket will always be too short and you will have to manage them resources so a lot prudent and closely linked to the strategy you set for yourself at the start of the game. It is not a boar but, yes, I highly recommend it for experienced players!

Res Arcana 1

Res Arcana is a game with simple rules but complex development, it will appeal to experts for the numerous strategies that can lead to victory.


Few rules

Excellent components


Not easy to manage

Alea important if played without an initial draft

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