Arcomage is a minigame included in two installments of the Might and Magic series of fantasy role-playing games. It is included in both Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor and Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer. 3DO also released it as a stand-alone game in 2000. In the stand-alone version a single player could play against a computer opponent or two players could play via a LAN or TCP/IP connection. Arcomage is a computer based card game which takes on many of the themes of the game in which it is set. Arcomage is an actual part of the story of the game - in that characters may enter a tavern and play for money. In both games, there is a quest to win a game of arcomage in every tavern in the land.
Arcomage was developed by Stickman Games. The game was sold to 3DO.
The Story Behind Arcomage (from the PDF manual)
During a time long past, a traveler settled among the people of Shrikar. The traveler’s knowledge, skills and power led them to believe that he was the chosen Emissary of the god Ceth. As time passed, the traveler taught the people of Shrikar how to Weave, or shape the natural energy flows of their planet. The Emissary also taught the basic skills of architecture and of controlling creatures of the land, improving the way life for the people of Shrikar. An age of prosperity and enlightenment began and the people lived better than ever before.
As the people of Shrikar continued to advance in their skill and knowledge of Weaving, the Emissary left to continue his journey once more. To honor him and his teachings, the people created the Arcomage Guild; a school dedicated to the knowledge that the Emissary brought to Shrikar. Graduation from this Guild bestowed the title of Arcomage upon the worthy student, one who understood and excelled in the ways of Weaving, of Control and of Building. The Golden Age of Shrikar had reached its pinnacle.
One hundred years after the departure of the Emissary, the first Arcomage War struck the people of Shrikar. The Arcomage Crowhain assaulted the citadel of the Arcomage Ralbeard. The surrounding countryside was laid to waste. Years after the war started, Ralbeard completely destroyed the citadel of his enemy. The scars upon the world of Shrikar were slow to heal. Over the next five hundred years the people of Shrikar would experience the wars of Arcomages hundreds of times, as mages strove to increase their power and reputations.
You have been challenged, Arcomage! The enemy is at the gates and it is now time to put your skills and tactics to the test. Gather your resources, summon your armies and join the battle!
Arcomage takes the form of a tabletop game, in which there are two players, each with a deck of cards, a "tower" and a "wall", as well as several other variables that determine whether they win or lose, and what cards they can play. As Might and Magic is a single-player game, one would always play against an AI opponent - making the game relatively easy to win.
Players take it in turns to:
- Draw the appropriate number of cards to complete their 6-part deck (one or more cards would have been played or discarded during their previous turn)
- Either play or discard a card, depending on their options - in some cases dicard will be the only option available, as the player might not have the appropriate amount of "gems", "bricks" or "recruits".
- If their chosen card allows it, play again and/or choose a card to discard.
Every tavern has its different victory conditions, so players must adapt their styles for different situations.
As well as having a "Tower", "Wall" and Deck of Cards, each player also has:
- "Quarry" - controls how many "bricks" are gained each turn
- "Bricks" - spent on brick cards
- "Magic" - controls how many "gems" are gained each turn
- "Gems" - spent on gem cards
- "Dungeon" - controls how many "recruits" are gained each turn
- "Recruits" - spent on recruit cards
Arcomage employs a wide range of cards, each with their own name, effects and picture. Several cards were added to the original deck in Might and Magic VIII. Examples include:
- Faerie (recruit card): 2 damage (to enemy tower/wall); play Again. Cost: 1 recruit.
- Portcullis (brick card): +5 wall; +1 dungeon. Cost: 9 bricks.
- Sanctuary (gem card): + 10 tower; +5 wall; gain 5 recruits. Cost: 15 gems.
A scroll found in a cave in Might and Magic VII contains the following entry:
"...studies in the game of ArcoMage have turned up the following observations:
How you choose to win the game should be based on the victory conditions. If the towers start small, you stand a good chance of destroying your opponent's tower. If the towers or walls start large, you should concentrate on your own tower. If the towers or walls start large, and you need a huge tower to win, a resource victory might be more easily attainable.
Also, note that red cards tend to focus on your wall, blue cards focus on your tower, and green cards focus on your offense. Keep this in mind when choosing whether to emphasize quarries, magic, or dungeons.
I HAVE noticed a prevailing trend in the thinking of most ArcoMage players that could provide an edge against them, if they start to play blue cards, you can counter that wit..."
- MArcomage - (Multiplayer Arcomage), free multiplayer on-line fantasy card game - open source project