Dynasty Worriers: Arcada Mia

If I was in charge of F.E.A.R. 3, this is what the Almaverse would look like.

The next game from Mousechief, scurrilous indie developers behind the award-winning Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble, has been revealed. Kind of. We know for certain it’s called Arcada Mia, and while mechanical details are a touch thin on the ground Mousechief describe it as not Civilization, not Puzzle Quest, not Oregon Trail, not King of Dragon Pass and not Passage, but “bearing qualities of each”.

More details plus the world’s most abstract screenshot after the jump.



So, between the Arcada Mia’s site and the press release I’ve gathered that you’ll be managing a dynasty across many generations. Each track on the above wheel represents a social caste, and each generation of your family travels around once, perhaps travelling upwards or downwards as well, before being replaced by the new generation. In the site’s words:

Spend tokens to move forward. To get tokens, move backwards. It’s that simple, a simplicity which masks its depth. Every turn, the optimal use of tokens can change tremendously.

In the greater scheme, you must juggle competition and cooperation with peers in your social caste. Raising children strains resources. Courtship is a race. And stories of the age challenge and reward, but keep aware. Not every reward is worth the price, nor is every downturn disaster.

And in the highbrow words of the press release:

To date, casual games have been wrapped in fairy tales and comic books, because few understood that games can be fine art. Not to lessen the greatness of many existing games, literary interactive storytelling is difficult to make accessible and engaging. Perhaps, as Hemingway helped break literature out of stuffy tomes, a casual game will emerge to bring fine art to a ready audience.

In ‘arcada mia’ story emerges from play like a monument emerging from bricks which emerged from clay and straw. Your tactics set up little stories. Choose ways to resolve them like a mason sorting bricks to build the monument of your family legend. In turn, stories reward or challenge. They influence tactics.

So, unique-sounding strategy where tactics create stories, and stories influence tactics? Colour me very interested indeed. I’ll be taking the closest possible look at Arcada Mia when it’s released in early 2011.


  1. sonofsanta says:

    Saying which games your new project isn’t is like saying that you live “outside London”. THAT’S LIKE 99.8% OF THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD.

    • Keith Nemitz says:

      The press release specifies what attributes the game does share.

      a) ‘Civilization’ by Sid Meier

      b) ‘Puzzle Quest’

      c) ‘Oregon Trail’

      d) ‘King of Dragon Pass’

      e) ‘Passage’ by Jason Rohrer

      …but ‘ arcada mia ‘ has qualities of each of them:

      a) The game presents a vast sweep of time and discoveries that influence culture.

      b) A central, casual mechanic, deep enough for core gamers, drives a narrative.

      c) Strategize to survive events across time.

      d) Navigate narrative challenges with interesting choices that rarely repeat.

      e) Story emerges from play actions during each generation’s lifespan.

  2. Harlander says:

    That is pretty highbrow.

    Could be interesting; I think this kind of dynasty-building or history-making with a personal feel (a la KoDP) is an underexplored niche.

    Another thing this “gamy mechanisms to control themey things” reminds me of is Republic: The Revolution

  3. Sagan says:

    Oh, I want!

    It’s way too rare that developers set out to design a game which creates stories. Sure, there are tons of games that create interesting stories while playing (like Dwarf Fortress) but most of the time they aren’t designed to do that.

  4. Snall says:

    Interesting game even if I’m not as thrilled by the mechanics, of which we have sorta heard, then I was by the possible mix of some iconic games….ah well, we’ll see

  5. Dawngreeter says:

    This sounds potentially interesting. Having in mind that we don’t know anything about the game. But we’re told what impression of the game we’re supposed to have. I’d prefer to actually get that impression myself.

    “We can’t tell you anything about my book, but pages 50 through 100 build a lot of suspense.”

    Not a very indie-like approach, though. Sounds more like a hype machine for yet another AAA full price title no one will remember in two years. Which is unfortunate. Still hoping for awesomeness, though.

  6. suibhne says:

    Speaking of King of Dragon Pass – an iPhone version is incoming, next half-year or so.

    That is all.

  7. Lars Westergren says:

    I really liked Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble, and this little teaser is teasing all the right places on me.


    Oh wow, that is great news! How about an Android version? *googles*

    link to a-sharp.com
    “What about Android or Windows Phone 7?
    One project at a time!”


  8. Nezz says:

    The headline pun had me hoping for an indie take on Dynasty Warriors. Which would have been awesome.

  9. Risingson says:

    You know that “arcada” in spanish means the urge to vomit, don’t you? And “mia” means mine…

    • Acosta says:

      Yes and no, it’s one of the meanings sure, but Arcada also means “construction formed by squential arcs”, lots of bridges have one (it´s basically the structure you see in that concept art.)

    • Acosta says:

      Yes and no, it’s one of the meanings sure, but Arcada also means “construction formed by sequential arcs”, lots of bridges have one (it´s basically the structure you see in that concept art.)

    • Jake says:

      It means both ‘urge to vomit’ and ‘construction formed by sequential arcs’? That’s an elaborate Spanish sitcom joke just waiting to happen.

  10. destroy.all.monsters says:

    It looks like all these miscreants are going to a concert and the small inset pic is what’s left of available seating. Let the battle begin for row 37 aisle R Seat 140!

  11. Wilson says:

    Sounds good. I look forward to hearing more about this.

  12. Jhoosier says:

    I would kill for a redone Oregon Trail. Not necessarily a clone, either. I’m sure there could be some depth there: random events including helping natives who might help you later on, or you could massacre them for an immediate reward.

  13. JackShandy says:

    Wot’s the word on Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble? All I know is the name and the fact that there was controversy over a rape scene.

    Those two things alone are almost enough reason for me to get it, but… oh, if only there were some kind, handsome RPS commenter to sway my mind…

    • Lars Westergren says:


      Progress is made through performing a small number of mini-games, so if that isn’t your thing you probably won’t like it. I haven’t played it more than a couple of hours, but it seemed like the story could play out in many different ways depending on whom you were speaking to, and in what order.

      link to rockpapershotgun.com

  14. Jason Lutes says:

    I thought DHGiT was a great idea and neat theme strung out like a beaten hide across the brittle bones of rote and uninteresting gameplay. The highfalutin’ disingenuous bullshit of that second quote above speaks to an attitude that will likely drop this game tidily in a similar “cool idea, too bad about the game” category for me.

  15. The Walker says:

    So it’s like Hemingay but with games.

  16. HC says:

    KoDP is one of those works of genius that, bafflingly, no one has seemed much interested in imitating. A good game, and a great engine for generating stories – like DF, something that made losing fun. And colorful. Well worth a retrospective, especially since the developers are still selling it.