Quick Look: Lost Ruins of Arnak
Designers: Min & Elwen
Artists: Jiri kus, Ondrej Hrdina, Jakub Politzer, Frantisek Sedlacek, Milan Vavron
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 30-120 minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
If you’ve ever wanted to be Indiana Jones then this is the game for you. Your archaeologists move to locations to explore new sites, gain resources and dig for treasure, but watch out for the guardians, who you have to defeat or suffer end of turn consequences. You can research to also find new resources, and get help from new assistants, collect idols, defeat the guardians, plus purchase artifacts and item cards to help with your archaeological ‘adventure’.
Rules & Setup:
The rules are excellently put together, with plenty of pictures and examples of play and in game situations on every page, showing initial table set up from solo to 4 players. Player board set-up is easy and quick with very little initially to do.
The main game board has a fair bit of initial set up, but the end result is a very colorful, and exceptionally thought out board with very nice components, both card and colored plastic.
There are also some FAQ’s and explanations of cards and symbols on the last few pages which are very helpful, and there are 4 small player aid cards which also help players with each game turn and in game occurrences.
Each round lasts until each ‘physical’ player has passed, or if playing solo you wait until the AI has played all 10 cards, and then you retrieve your two archaeologists and perform any end of turn moves required, and then reset for the next turn, of which there are 5 in total.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is definitely one that will draw a lot of people into the game, and certainly helped to draw me in to the game.
The mechanics lends themselves to exciting game play, whether solo or with higher player counts, and the variety in the gaining of different assistants and cards allows for lots of variants in how the game takes shape, and makes for a lot of exciting player interaction.
The solo mode has been excellently thought out, with the actions expertly mimicking that of a ‘live’ player with all the spanners in the works that can occur when face with human opponents.
Each round consists of you playing one major action each turn, and any number of free actions as you either wish to do, or are able to do.
Two of the main actions are digging at a site, or exploring a new site, both of which bring rich rewards in the form of new resources, and the threat of dealing with the Guardians of Arnak, who at the end of each round need to be vanquished or they will deal out a fear card to the player, and will remain in play for later rounds, and until they are removed.
You continue like this until you can no longer do any of the main, or free actions, and you then ‘pass’ and wait until all other players too have passed, and the end of round sequence begins. Once each player has regrouped their archaeologists, the board is reset for the next round, with some cards being removed and replenished, and the next round begins.
There are 5 game rounds, and at the end you add up your accumulated points, which are gained from moving up the research track, the cards and idols you have managed to gain, and the guardians you have defeated.
The player with the most points is the winner, and if tied there are tie breakers to take into consideration to determine the outcome, and victor.
Artwork and Components:
The artwork is excellent, both in the rulebook, and on the cards and boards, and the components are well made and add to the aesthetics of the whole experience.
For me, this is one of the prettiest games I’ve played in terms of how it looks on the table. Sometimes games can look good, but then are found lacking of anything substantial or any decent gameplay, but with Arnak this isn’t the case, the excellent table presence only enhances it.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding this game, and it is easy to see why. The excellent production of the game, the superb ruleset, and the look of it on the table shows why it is currently number 55 (at time of writing) on the list of games on BoardgameGeek.
If I had one thought then maybe the introduction of a third archaeologist from say round 3 for every player, or the option to ‘purchase’ a third would add another dynamic into an already excellent game, although I understand there is a new expansion due out in Q4 of 2021 so we’ll see exactly what extras are being added to further enhance gameplay.
Is this game worth getting,… absolutely, in fact this has gone into my top 10 games that I own after just a few plays, it is that good in my opinion.
With the world still in a state of flux re meeting up with fellow friends and gamers, then it’s worth getting for the solo play alone, and the new expansion will I’m sure only make the whole experience better.
I for one can’t wait for more plays, whether solo, or with friends, who will I’m sure also love how Arnak works and enthralls.
Arnak, a treasure worth discovering.