Machina Arcana – From Beyond

Machina Arcana – From Beyond ist ein Steampunk Brettspiel mit Horror Elementen, welches vor ein paar Tagen sehr schnell erfolgreich bei Kickstarter finanziert wurde (Link zur Kampagne).
Wie viele der Spieleprojekte auf Crowdfunding Platformen zeichnet sich auch Machina Arcana durch eine sehr sehr umfangreiches und aufwendig gestaltetes Spielmaterial aus.
Diese Version ist schon die zweite des Spiels und man hat Kritiken und Schwachstellen aus der ersten Version umgesetzt und überarbeitet und dem ganzen Spiel eine optische Auffrischung verpaßt.

Der Designer des Spiels, Juraj Bilić, war so nett uns ein paar Fragen zu dem Spiel zu beantworten:

Juraj, tell us about yourself. Who are you and what is your background on boardgames or steampunk?

I come from a 3,000 years old maritime city. Been programming since I was a little kid, so I’ve been drilled in the aspects of designing mathematical systems from the early age. My profession is software engineer, and my last position was being a senior software engineer working at Facebook in Dublin, Ireland.
I have enjoyed throughout my life things related to horror (video games, comic books, movies), but the journey into the world of game design started with Machina Arcana.

Can you tell us a bit, what „Machina Arcana“ is all about?

I created a gaming experience where players really feel like they are inside those accursed corridors and halls. They can freely move around, interact with their environment and cooperatively plan their survival. Additionally, they progress through the horror story, with every chapter having its own illustration, narrative and dynamics. At the finale, if they survive, they will face a specific type of mini game.

Who is your target group? is „Machina Arcana“ playable by beginners?

Anyone interested in board games and either of these interests: horror, tactical or dungeon crawler, story driven game, steampunk, Lovecraft and Cthulhu Mythos.
There is a learning curve with the game, but there are difficulty settings that enable you to just play the game as an immersive horror adventure.

What do you think is important, when one is creating a game, what was your focus?

The passion and ideas are not enough: you need obsession in order to see things through.
Besides being ready to sacrifice a lot, you need to go out and present the game to the public, and start building your community long before you decide to start the campaign.

Why have you chosen the Steampunk Genre?

There were many reasons for that. One of them is due to our item mechanics – the way items, are combined, augmented is just pure steampunk. The narrative style that has the influence from some of the 19th century writers resonates with that Victorian era.

What do you think is the reason, Steampunk and Horror seem to mix so well?

Maybe not any type of horror. It is more compatible with the more existential variant, where there is an element of Unknown and not “in your face” type of scare. The stories of Poe and Lovecraft perfectly resonate with that glamorous and mystical world, dancing on the edge of magical contraptions and ingenuity on the one hand, and the bleak world of terror and fog as a product of the looming industrial age.

What makes your game different to the other Steampunk board games out there?

The inventory mechanics have that steampunk flavor and it enables you to upgrade, equip and even augment your items – making for some pretty interesting combinations.
In what game have you equipped a pneumatic two-handed hammer, upgraded it with a small pistol, and then augmented the pistol with a special kind of powder that enables you to target denizens of the dark standing even behind the walls?

The map gives you a number of options for dealing with monsters: you can use exploding barrels, traps, close doors and even push or pull monsters into pits.

The game gives you difficulty options that enables you to play the game as a tactical game, or by lowering the difficulty you can play it as an horror adventure.

The immersive aspect is very important, and each card is full with the narrations and fluff, but in the end you can ignore it all and just focus on the tactical side.

Why have you chosen Kickstarter or in general Crowdfunding as your way of bringing the game alive?

Behind Machina Arcana stands an independent team consisting of professionals in the fields of illustration, graphic design and system design. We are presenting the game through Kickstarter because it is the best way to share one’s ideas and work – it enables many awesome projects to come true.

We hope that our project resonates with you, artistically and gamer-wise. This wish guided us through the thrilling adventure and commitment of creation, and finally led us to this decisive moment. To reach out to the community and share our work with you, confident that the game will provide you and your friends the best entertainment and immersion you could ask for.

Wer einen Einblick haben möchte, wie das Spiel funktioniert, kann sich zum Beispiel hier einen Eindruck verschaffen:

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Das Finanzierungsziel ist zwar schon lange überschritten und das Projekt somit erfolgreich, aber es gibt immer noch einige Stretchgoals, die freigeschaltet werden, wenn bestimmte Finanzierungssummen geknackt werden.

Wir wünschen dem Team noch weiterhin viel Erfolg bei der Kampagne!

Kickstarter Projektseite
Machina Arcana Webseite