Review: Lost Ruins of Arnak – temples, guardians and extinct civilizations
He came back to the village and stormed the inn. His wide eyes made it clear that he had seen something amazing. But no one else noticed. So when he started talking about a lost island full of treasures, no one listened to him, no one believed him. So I took him aside and got all the information from him. I thought we’d rake everything up, but someone listened to our conversation.
Exploring foreign places and mysterious abandoned tombs brings with it a number of dangers, as all players in the board game Lost Ruins of Arnak will try for themselves. The play was created by Michal Štach and Michaela Štachová, who perform as Mín and Elwen on the cover. The game is published by CGE, the Czech Games Edition with illustrations by Filip Murmak.
In the large and heavy box, everything is clearly dominated by a large game plan, which players lay out in the middle of the table. Attaches a board with open sea graphics to the bottom, which serves as a reservoir for all possible tokens and tiles. Much more important components are at the top of the plan – at the top are two rows of cards and their decks. From the piles of artifacts and items, players lay out starting cards, place a moon stick token between them, and add a fear deck.
In the middle of the plan is the island itself, which is divided by compartments into a number of research sites. Each such position will receive equipment in the form of first or second level pieces. In the right part of the whole plan there is a place for a group of research offers – at the top there will be arranged tiles of temples, but most of the space will be taken up by bonus pieces, which players will spread one piece at a time. At that very moment, players must choose their own color in order to place their research indicator near the scale. Then the individual players each get their own board, a pair of archaeologists‘ pieces, a set of six cards of their color and, in turn, the starting resources.
Players go through one phase after another in each round, and it all starts with drawing five cards from a private deck that everyone has in their suit. Then the action moves around the table and each participant can perform only one at a time. There are exactly six to choose from, and there is a seventh option, ie give up the move, pass and stop participating in another event in the round.
Already at the beginning of the game, there are several free sites to which the player can go with his archaeologist figure. And start digging. All he needs to do is pay the corresponding travel price using the cards from his hand with the shoe icon. Each starting point has two positions. Later, players must replace their shoes with a boat, car or plane. They place their character in the chosen position and can perform the action immediately. Instead of travel costs, you can always use the money and hire a pilot for two gold coins, who will take the archaeologist there.
With their help, players can get various resource tokens or cards. But when the five starting positions start to be tight, they can set off to discover with the help of another action. This time, players have to pay for exploration points from their cards, but then they can take the statuette token that lies here. It then places the top plate of the appropriate location level in place.
But any such place hidden from time and people also has its guardian, who will defend it. Immediately after using the deposit effect once, the player must cover the location with a creature tile that will defend his treasures. Archaeologists can prove to be real heroes and stand up to him, which is another action. But that doesn’t mean a real fight with dice, swords and so on. Instead, players must again pay for the correct set of icons. However, by being able to bypass the guard, the archaeologist gains his recognition. And this creature will then follow him and give him the advantage printed on the card.
Players can also buy cards of various types, which are displayed in the menu at the top of the game board. Their price is shown in the lower left corner in coins. After the purchase, the offer, whether artifacts or objects, is added. And these cards can be played in the next action and use their effects. Some cards may even offer free promotions that can be played alongside classic promotions.
An important final action is research, where players use resources to move up the tree with their two tokens. They have their rules where they must not overtake too much. But there are often even branches between the squares that offer players a choice of what reward they want for progressing (for example, gaining assistants who have their own specific abilities). But their ultimate goal is to get to the top of the lost temple. After that, instead of proceeding, they can examine parts of the temple and take tiles with ancient drawings.
These are also the main way to earn victory points. At the end of each round, players complete the offer of cards, but above all all archaeologists who return from the field with the guards (and did not defeat them) receive a fear card. After the fifth round, the game ends and there is a scoring for positions on the research scale, the mentioned temple tiles, domesticated guards, objects and artifacts, but even statues from the exploration . After deducting penalties for fear cards, everyone has their total score and the one who has the most points celebrates the victory.
Lost Ruins of Arnak is an interesting adventure game that has the subtext of a real treasure hunt. Players will enjoy the role of archaeologists as they set out on a mysterious island full of treasures and dangers. In reality, however, they will not have to fight, only outsmart others who are also vying for catches in the same place.
The game basically contains an element of posting workers, of which there is a significantly limited number. Instead, players must also work with cards where deckbuilding comes into play. You have to buy smart cards from the menu, unload them and hope that you will be able to slip back to safety in the style of Lary Croft with a valuable statuette.
All this playing flows pleasantly forward. There is no feeling that there is anything overly packed with the mechanisms. The game makes sense as a whole, although it doesn’t really offer anything new at all. Just get ready for the feeling that you can’t do everything. You have to sacrifice some plans at the expense of others so that you can eventually lift imaginary artifacts over their heads as their rightful owners.
The games are nicely balanced and the two sections are well connected. For a moment, you explore in suspense what kind of monster will jump at you. You go back to the camp, where you examine all your knowledge, move forward and collect points. But you also have to accumulate raw materials all the time, because without them you can’t get anywhere in this game.
The second game plan offers a slightly different and more difficult variant of the game and again a pinch of extra theme. Players are looking for the remnants of the previous expedition, a few new icons and options are being added to the game. In general, these are small enrichments that are supposed to liven up the game after a few games. And their rotation is a nice way to add another difference.
The length of the game depends significantly on the number of players and according to our observations, the declared time of thirty minutes for each participant really corresponds. So you can experience an hour-long, but also a two-hour experience. The moves are reasonably fast and the players constantly meet each other on the plan.
In terms of content, we feel that there is enough component and variability of content in the game. It is clear that sooner or later you will find yourself (after about ten games) in a situation where you will long for more guards, artifacts or objects. But their offer is such that you won’t mind repetition.
Lost Ruins of Arnak is a game about optimizing your moves, adapting to a range of cards, and the ability to build the best combos to produce raw materials efficiently. But it’s cleverly wrapped in a touch of adventure, so you’ll believe the game (at least for a while) that there’s more to it. And that’s exactly the purpose of board games. Transfer us to other worlds and open the door to experiences as if we were there. If you have your imagination in the right place, you will experience this with the Lost Ruins of Arnak, although inside it is a much more tactical game and the theme is just tinsel.
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Review: Lost Ruins of Arnak – temples, guardians and extinct civilizations
Lost Ruins of Arnak is a moderately difficult game that we would not recommend to beginners, but will please all the more experienced. They will be happy to grasp all the possibilities and enjoy the combination, which is not new, but is perfectly tuned. Theme is there, but not as coming through as we would maybe like. This is the story of the whole game. It won't be the top of any leaderboard, but if you unpack it on the table and start playing, you won't regret it. Lost Ruins of Arnak is a job well done and very solid entertainment.
Reader Rating0 Votes
+ an interesting touch of atmosphere
+ well-tuned game
+ quality workmanship
+ true game time
+ solo version
= exploration is about chance and can cost you a fear card if you don't have the right ingredients