As a mage, use your magical essences and items to build artifacts, activate their powers, and command dragons. The mage with the most points wins!
At the start of the game you receive eight artifacts and one of each essence, and then choose a mage and a magic item.
During a round, you’ll collect essences and then do 1 action each turn, until everyone passes. The goal is to have the most points, 10 or more, when victory is checked.
Starting the Game
- There are five colored resources (Essences): Elan (Red), Life (Green), Calm (Blue), Death (Black), and Gold (Yellow)
- A gray pentagon means any resource can be used.
- Each player gets 1 of each type of essence, 2 mages, and a deck of 8 artifacts.
- Draw 3 artifacts as your starting hand, inspect your overall artifact deck, and select 1 mage for the game.
- In counter-clockwise order, each player chooses 1 magic item for the first round, starting from the player to the right of the first player.
Each game usually consists of 4-6 rounds. Each round has 3 phases:
Phase 1: Collect
- Collect items for your mage, magic item, and, optionally, that you have stored on an artifact.
Phase 2: Actions
- Starting with the first player, each player resolves one of 5 possible actions, until everyone has passed:
- Play an artifact: place an artifact from your hand onto the table, paying its cost.
- Claim a monument/Place of Power: place the one you claimed in front of you, paying its cost. You may claim either monument showing or the top one from the deck.
- Discard an artifact: discard an artifact from your hand to your discard pile to gain 1 gold or any 2 other essences (either the same or different).
- Activate a power: use a power on one of your components, paying its cost (left of the triangle icon) and resolving its effect (right of the triangle).
- Each use of a card's power is a separate action. Reactions are used out of turn and are not actions.
- If a card is turned, its powers (except some reactions) cannot be used.
- You must pay all of the required cost to use a power.
- If there is an equal sign on the pentagon, you have to pay identical essences.
- If you need to choose an opponent, you may choose an opponent who has passed.
- Life loss is only inflicted on opponents that haven't passed. For each Life an opponent cannot pay, lose 2 other essences instead (of the opponent's choice). If an opponent has no essences left to lose in their pool, nothing happens.
- React powers are used out of turn turn, when their activating conditions occur. It can be done if its card is turned, unless turning the card is part of the react power's cost.
- Discarding is from your hand, while destroying is from play. Either way, the card is put into your discard pile. When destroying a card, return any essences on it to the supply.
- If you have no cards in your deck when you need to draw a card, shuffle your discard pile to form a new deck.
- Pass: if you are the first to pass, take the first player token. Then, swap your magic item for another in the supply and draw 1 card. You then need to wait for the other players to finish and all pass before continuing to Phase 3.
- Once you pass, you cannot do any actions or be affected by life loss, but can still be targeted by rivals' other powers (such as powers that gain essences by copying those in an another player's pool).
Phase 3: Victory
- After all players pass, check if anyone has 10 or more points (in red circles on cards)
- If nobody has 10 or more points, straighten all components and begin the next round.
- If at least 1 player has 10 or more points, the game ends and the player with the most points wins.
- If several players tie for most points, count the number of remaining essences, with gold counted as double. The tied player with the most essences wins.
- If any players are still tied, they share the victory.
- Use the starting sides of the places of power.
- Give each player a preset 3-card hand, with 5 random artifacts in the deck and the matching mage.
- Instead of drawing 8 artifacts, deal 4 artifacts to each player.
- Each player keeps 1 and passes the rest clockwise. Repeat 4 times.
- Each player draws 4 artifacts again and repeats the passing process 4 times counter-clockwise.
- These 8 artifacts become your deck. Shuffle and draw 3 for your starting hand.
Lux and Tenebrae Expansion #1
Lux and Tenebrae expands Res Arcana to 5 players, adds a new artifact type -Demons- and introduces Scrolls: special one use powers that can be gained one round and used or saved for future rounds.
Res Arcana now supports 2-5 players, with the number of Places of Power and monuments varying with the number of players. All magic items are always available.
- 2 players: 7 Monuments, 4 Places of Power
- 3 players: 10 Monuments, 5 Places of Power
- 4 players: 12 Monuments, 6 Places of Power
- 5 players: 14 Monuments, 7 Places of Power
Play proceeds normally except for some added abilities:
- Scrolls: Scrolls are claimed from the center using the magic item Inscription's power. Once claimed, a scroll can be saved until its owner decides to use it (via the "use a power" action or as a Shield's reaction power).
After using a scroll's power, it is returned to the center (where it can be claimed again by Inscription).
- Retrieve: The Revivify scroll and the Demonologist's first power allow a player to retrieve any one card from their discard pile, placing it in their hand. If a player has no discarded cards, these powers produce no effect.
- Bard: Discarding an artifact with multiple types (Sea Serpent, Hound of Death) produces only 2, not 4 gold.
- Infernal Engine: Its first power can be used to effectively "hide" some essences from life loss (by removing them from your essence pool). Its second power can be used to shift all essences from one of your components (e.g. itself or the Windup Man or Vault) to your essence pool during the action step of a round.
- Possessed Demon Slayer: When using its first power, it does not matter if the rival's Demons are turned or straightened; they all count.
- Shadowy Figure: Before using its first power, if your deck and discard pile together consist of a single card, then draw 1 and discard 0 cards.
- Vial of Light: It's React power applies whether or not the Vial is turned.
- Illusion: Both of this item's powers are React powers, allowing it to be used with one of your powers. This item acts for that power as if it was a Creature, Demon or Dragon. However the item itself is not a Creature, Demon or Dragon and cannot be straightened using the Druid's or Temple of the Abyss's powers.
- Projection: A player may spend any number of one essence at a rate of 3:1 (round down) for Gold (e.g. spend 15 Calm to gain 5 gold).
Places of Power
The last powers of the Dragon Aerie and the Temple of the Abyss do not involve turning those Places of Power, allowing them to potentially be used several times during a round.
- Temple of the Abyss: the first power straightens all turned demons in play (yours and other players' demons).