The Conquest

I. Prologue

The game is actually very easy – even though the large number of cards, sets and game boards may not look that way at first. If you still have questions about the game or the setup, this section should help you to have an exciting adventure.

II. Support

Important tips for the game

Getting started

So that you don’t miss any important details, it’s best if you read the game manual out loud to each other. It isn’t absolutely necessary for you to assess the Card Atlas in advance – this is a useful reference guide, particularly if anything is unclear – as the meanings of the different cards are shown in the pictures and text on them. But particularly in the first games, do take time to find out everything about the setup and game preparation.

The Starter Deck

In total there are 4 colours (black, white, blue and golden).
They represent the corresponding player. If the playing cards have gotten mixed up or are not in the desired order, take a moment to sort them before starting the game.

The following applies:
Each player has a starter deck. This includes a “Avatar” game piece, a “Tavern” game piece, the Leader (Katta, Archer), a second Companion (Barbary Ape, Axe Fighter), 3 Twin Daggers (value: 1 Power each) and 7 Wooden Shields (value: 1 Influence each).

Make sure that each player has the correct number of cards in their personal draw deck at the start of the game and that each player has been assigned to the chosen colour.

Shuffle playing cards thoroughly

If you want to start a game, don’t just think about the correct setup, but also always shuffle the playing cards thoroughly. This is especially important when you unpack the game for the very first time. This will ensure that every single game is full of variety, different strategies and new impressions.

The Movement Tokens

When setting up the game, you first define the tests along your journey by setting out the movement tokens. While doing so, always make sure that the corresponding movement tokens are allocated to the path squares – both on the secret short path and on the long path.

Please do not look at your movement tokens beforehand: instead, draw them face-down and then set them all out with the numbers facing upwards. This ensures that when you play the game again, a different, richly varied journey always lies ahead of you. This ensures the game is never static.

The Resources

Influence (Green Stone):
It embodies the ability to fend off enemies. Influence enables a player to acquire cards (cards with a green flag) from the central board and from their fellow players. Influence is an open resource: it can be exchanged for Victory Points at a ratio of 3:1.

Power (Red Stone):
It embodies the ability to attack. Power enables a player to defeat opponents (cards with a red flag) from the central board. Power is an open resource: it can be exchanged for Victory Points at a ratio of 3:1.

Experience (Blue Stone):
Experience gives a player the ability to reach the relevant path squares. Experience is a tied resource: it can’t be exchanged for Victory Points and is always linked to the Companions. In exceptional cases, players can get hold of it quickly through events or opponents.

The Companions

Without Companions, you have no chance of achieving the goal of the game – the capture of the Citadel, as they provide the Experience needed to advance along the path. You start with your leader and straight afterwards have the option of inviting a second Companion into your Fellowship through the Tavern. However, in all you need 3 or 4 Companions who provide at least 5 Experience (and, for the lower path, even 6 Experience). You will therefore probably have to reconfigure your group in the course of the game.

The Card Atlas

If you have any questions about the individual cards, you can read up on them in the Card Atlas. It reveals many details and suggests a lot of solutions.

How to get around if you get stuck

If you don’t know what to do just use the “Setup Scenario” guide or “1-Player Mode” guide. They are intended to help you carry out the individual phases in a consistent way. Please take a little time to assimilate the necessary steps.

How to determine the winner

Even though, at the end of the game, one player may have overcome the Citadel, that doesn’t automatically mean victory. Rather, the only thing that counts in the end is the combination of Victory Points gained:

  • Coins actually acquired in the course of the game
  • The totalled values of all a player’s own cards
  • Number of Creatures (for every 3 captured Creatures, the player gets 1 Victory Point)
  • Number of treasure stones [Later expansion]
  • Victory Points from missions or special cards [Later expansion]

Companions of the players and remaining resources do not count as Victory Points for players.


Answers to several questions

Have you done reviews of the game?

Yes, several. It is very important to us that others also test the game thoroughly. In this context, we have been listening to the community and asked reviewers around the world to take a closer look at the Arkenshield.

Among them are:

  • Mark from The Dice Tower
  • Jeremy from Man vs. Meeple
  • Shea from Rahdo Runs Through
  • François from BoardGameAlert (FRANCE)
  • Seamus from Kickstarter Radio 102.4 (MEXICO)
  • Jesse from Meepleboat (FINLAND)
  • Christopher from Tabletop Gaming (UK)
  • Chris from Games Gazette Online (UK)
  • Meg from Professor Meg (US)
  • Chris from Gasual Game Insider (US)

You can find the detailed reviews on our website in the section „Reviews“. Our special thanks go to Chad from BoardGameGeek (BGG).

Who’s the Arkenshield team?

Creativity happens – always.
What began in 2014 with a first concept has now, after years of continuous optimizations and most intensive tests, reached its first peak. The game is ready for the next level. This is our team:

  • Wolfgang M. Eck: Author / Founder / Lead Designer
  • Matthew Brinkmann: Co-Founder / Lead Adviser
  • Jonathan Abbiss: Lead Artist / Concept Art
  • Andreas Rocha: Artist / Concept Art
  • Vanessa Schuhmacher: Artist / Character Design
  • Johannes Fuchs: Artist / Concept Art
  • Thomas Mueller: Lead 3D Artist
  • Miriam Reischl: Community Manager / Social Media
  • Katharina Zauner: Web Team / Content / Graphic Design
  • Lukas Fedorowicz: Technical Adviser (Web + App)
  • Markus Kemminer: Content / Editing / Proofreading
  • Alexander Bader: Programmer / Technical Adviser

I have a basic question about the game. What next?

If the game manual or the guides did not help you, please send your question via email to our development team. We will work on it and send you an answer within about 2 weeks (unfortunately it can take a little longer with a high volume of requests). Please make sure that your question is asked precisely and that you provide us with a valid email address.

Can I get in touch with you by phone if I have any questions?

Unfortunately, no. We hope you will understand this. If we were to answer all the questions of the community by phone, we would only be sitting on the phone. This would mean that game optimizations, further developments and new game concepts would suffer. Therefore, please send your questions exclusively via email. Please make sure that your question is asked precisely and that you provide us with a valid email address.

What age group is the game suitable for?

Our age recommendation is 14+. The game is not suitable for a younger target group.

What do I have to consider with infants / children?


This game is NOT suitable for children under the age of 3. There is a danger of choking or suffocation, as small parts can be swallowed / breathed in. Excessive playing carries a risk of addiction. Parents are liable for their children.

How many players is the game designed for?

For 1 to 4 players. Please decide which game mode or variation suits you best. If you are mainly a single player, we recommend to create a league table. This way you will have a good overview against whom you have to make a special effort.

Which setup variations are possible in 1-player mode?

The normal 1-player mode – we call this setup „Invasion“ – consists of 16 Expedition Cards (six „1“ cards, three „2“ cards, three „3“ cards, three „4“ cards and one „5“ card). It takes about 25 to 40 minutes.

In addition there are 3 different types of setup:

  • Sudden Strike: 8 squares (three „1“ cards, two „2“ cards, one „3“ card, one „4“ card and one „5“ card). This variant takes about 10 to 15 minutes. It is so to speak the quick game among all possible scenarios.
  • Raid: 16 squares (the choice of the Expedition Cards is up to you). This variant takes about 30 to 50 minutes. Keep in mind that it is more difficult than all the others. So only dare to play it if you are already a professional.
  • Conquest: 24 squares (eight „1“ cards, six „2“ cards, five „3“ cards, four „4“ cards and one „5“ card). This variant takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

For all variants, however, the following rule applies: there is always one „1“ card at the beginning and one „5“ card at the end.

What about the Event and Emotion Cards?

The two types of cards „Emotion“ and „Event“ are global effects and ALWAYS have to be evaluated before any action. I.e. you start your turn, check if there is an active event or an active emotion and adjust your behaviour accordingly. This applies to all game modes – regardless if you play alone, with two, three or four players.

What does the additional note "Optional" mean?

If among the player’s 6 randomly drawn cards there are one or more that show the additional note „Optional“, this means that the player must play the card but not necessarily use it. Should this be the case, the player is of course not allowed to use the advantages of the corresponding cards.

What does the additional note "Destoyed after use" mean?

If among the player’s 6 randomly drawn cards there are one or more that show the additional note „Destroyed after use“, this means that the card becomes worthless immediately after being played and must be placed in the general discard pile. Cards of this type are only valid once.

Where to go with discarded or lost Companions?

There are 2 ways to lose a Companion:

  • when you decide to recruit a new Companion, or
  • when an event forces you to give up a Companion.

Companions who are replaced or lost due to an event (Exception: Betrayal) must be shuffled back face-down into the general draw pile.

Note: Exchanging Companions only makes sense if you already have 4 Companions: i.e. first build up the Fellowship fully and then, if necessary, carry out an exchange. An active Companion can never be simply removed from the Fellowship just like that (discarded).

What if I need to cede a type of resource that I do not own?

The obligation to surrender resources applies to the entire turn.

It is possible that your 6 randomly drawn cards will not initially give you a matching resource. In fact, if you play a chest or defeat an enemy during your turn, you may be able to get the resource you need. However, if you are unable to pay the „debt“ by the end of your turn, it is bad luck for the other player or the event. You can’t give away anything you don’t own.

What if I can’t defeat an Assassin?

Before doing anything else you must first eliminate the Assassin. You aren’t allowed to move along the path, to recruit Companions, to buy cards or to fight opponents from the central board. In order to defeat an Assassin, you have to pay the number of Power resources shown on the Expedition Card.

  • If you manage to do this, put the Expedition Card back down, face-up, on the NPC’s game board. After that, you can carry on playing as usual.
  • If you don’t manage to defeat the Assassin, you can only exchange resources for Victory Points at a ratio of 3:1 and end your turn.

The Assassin infiltrates your expedition, so to speak. If the NPC sends you another Assassin in the next turn, place that card in front of you as well. When you start your turn again, 2 Assassins are now beleaguering your expedition. So now, you have to first eliminate both henchmen before you’re allowed to carry on, etc.

Important: You must always first fight the first Assassin that’s sent to you by the NPC. Only then can you tackle the second, third or any further Assassins. So that you aren’t completely at the mercy of the Assassins due to lack of weapons, work out a strategy for getting hold of the resource Power. Shields alone certainly won’t help you do this.


MAD MAKI Boardgames
a company of 2be, Germany
Ostendstrasse 181
90482 Nuremberg

The Arkenshield®
Author: Wolfgang M.Eck

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