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Rating: 9.1 Excellent
Players: 2-4 players
Playing time: 60-25 minutes

Created by: Thomas Lehmann, Julien Delval

Published by: Sand Castle Games


In a high tower, an Alchemist prepares potions, using vials filled with otherworldly fluids. In a sacred grove, a Druid grinds herbs for a mystical ritual. In the catacombs, a Necromancer summons a bone dragon... Welcome to the world of Res Arcana!

In it, Life, Death, Elan, Calm, and Gold are the essences that fuel the art of magic. Choose your mage, gather essences, craft unique artifacts, and use them to summon dragons, conquer places of power, and achieve victory!

Designed by Tom Lehmann and richly illustrated by Julien Delval, Res Arcana offers a unique gaming experience!

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Two-four alchemical mages vie for control of ancient monuments and Places of Power. 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!

Each mage begins with 1 of each essence, 3 artifacts in hand, and 1 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.


  • 40 Artifact cards
  • 5 Places of Power
  • 10 Mage cards
  • First Player token
  • 10 Monument cards
  • 8 Magic items
  • 150 essence tokens
  • 12 "5x" essence chips
  • 4 reference cards
  • Summary tile

Mages and items are chosen during setup and begin in play. Each round, when a player passes, they will turn in their item for a new one. …


Artificer: this discount applies only to artifacts, not Places of Power or Monuments.

Transmuter: some of the non-gold essences you take can be the same as those you turn in. If you have fewer than 2 essences in your pool, you may not use this power.


Athanor: this artifact has two powers. The first is used to build Elan on it (which may be taken during the Collect step if desired). The second requires turning in 6 Elan from this artifact to convert any number of some essence, all the same, into that number of Gold. …

After you become reasonably familiar with the artifacts, you may wish to try these variants.

For 2-4 Players

This variant replaces setup step 6.

After players receive their 2 mages, deal 4 artifacts to each player. Each player keeps 1 artifact and passes the other cards to the left (clockwise). Repeat this keep-1-and-pass-the-rest until there are no more artifacts to pass.

Then, deal 4 more artifacts to each player. Each player keeps 1 of these artifacts and passes the others to the right (counter-clockwise). Repeat this keep-1-and-pass-the-rest until there are no more artifacts to pass. …

In a dark cathedral, a mage harnesses the power of demons to enhance her spells. In an alchemical laboratory, a diviner inscribes a scroll of destruction. Meanwhile, a bard and beastmaster seek out the prismatic dragon and golden lion to keep the forces of darkness at bay.

Welcome to Lux et Tenebrae (light and darkness), the first Res Arcana expansion.

Lux et 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 saved for future rounds. …

Ability: a Collect effect, placement discount, or victory formula on a component that automatically applies (when appropriate) whether or not that component is turned.

Component: an artifact, mage, magic item, monument, or Place of Power.

Creature: a type of artifact.

Destroy: to discard an artifact from play, not from hand. Destroyed artifacts are placed in your discard pile.

Discount: a reduction in the number of essences needed to place a given component. Placement discounts cannot reduce a cost below zero.

Dragon: a type of artifact. …

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