Lost Ruins of Arnak & The Missing Expedition Expansion Review


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Quick Look: Lost Ruins of Arnak & The Missing Expedition Expansion


Designers: Min & Elwen
Artists: Jiri kus, Ondrej Hrdina, Jakub Politzer, Frantisek Sedlacek, Milan Vavron
Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Year Published: 2020 & 2023

No. of Players: 1-4 

Ages: 12+

Playing Time: 30-120 minutes


Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com  

From the Publisher:


On an uninhabited island in uncharted seas, explorers have found traces of a great civilization. Now you will lead an expedition to explore the island, find lost artifacts, and face fearsome guardians, all in a quest to learn the island’s secrets.

Lost Ruins of Arnak combines deck-building and worker placement in a game of exploration, resource management, and discovery. In addition to traditional deck-builder effects, cards can also be used to place workers, and new worker actions become available as players explore the island. Some of these actions require resources instead of workers, so building a solid resource base will be essential. You are limited to only one action per turn, so make your choice carefully… what action will benefit you most now? And what can you afford to do later… assuming someone else doesn’t take the action first!?

Decks are small, and randomness in the game is heavily mitigated by the wealth of tactical decisions offered on the game board. With a variety of worker actions, artifacts, and equipment cards, the set-up for each game will be unique, encouraging players to explore new strategies to meet the challenge.

Discover the Lost Ruins of Arnak!





Main Game

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’.

The Missing Expedition

This latest expansion provides you with 2 new leaders, the Mechanic and the Journalist. They can both be combined with the leaders from the earlier Expedition Leaders expansion, although there are rules to ‘make up’ two more leaders from the cards and boards from the main game, which are all explained in the new rules. This new expansion can be played with any of the leaders from the two expansions, rather than the original leaders with the main game.



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.

The Missing Expedition

The new leaders bring specific traits / abilities, very similar to those from the Expedition Leaders expansion. The rules for all these leaders are clear and concise, and all seem to work well to enhance the base game, and elevate the playing experience.

The journalist gets to write stories and thus this allows his journal to move one level above his spyglass on the research track, something that other leaders cannot do.

He can then publish these articles and by doing so, as you publish / spend them you get to unlock extra bonuses on your newspaper tile on your player board.

The Mechanic gets to ‘tinker’ as an ability, and you can also gain ‘Rusty’ a monkey assistant, and can only be used by the mechanic.

Once you have drawn cards at the start of rounds 1, 3 & 5 you also get to reveal a pair of gold widgets, choose one to keep and then add this to your machine on your player board.

The machine has silver widgets, and spaces for 4 gold ones which can be added to give you bonus effects.

Both leaders played well during solo, and weren’t over the top on power etc.

Set up is as per the original game, you just transpose player boards and a few components.



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 Missing Expedition

The new expansion definitely adds that extra spark to the original game, and I can see that these would be used more by players than just the original ones from the base game, as they absolutely add to the overall theme.





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. 

The Missing Expedition

The gameplay is definitely better with the ‘themed’ leaders, but are absolutely not a requirement to enjoy the game, which is excellent if you only ever play in it’s original form.


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. 

The Missing Expedition

The quality of the components is exactly the same as that of the original game, and first expansion and so fits in perfectly and seamlessly.


The Good:


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.


The Missing Expedition

The good thing about this new expansion is that it feels like it has been there all along, and that is as easy to show and teach to new players of the game as it would be to those who have played it before.


The Bad:


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.

The Missing Expedition

For me, there aren’t any bad points to this new addition to Arnak.



Final Thoughts:


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.

This will I’m sure be a hit with my fellow friends and gamers, but it’s worth getting for the solo play alone, and the new expansion(s) 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.

In future plays, I will almost certainly use the leaders rather than the original game boards.

Arnak, a treasure, still worth discovering if you have not done so already.

Check out Lost Ruins of Arnak & The Missing Expedition Expansion and Czech Games Edition on:

Lost Ruins of Arnak
The Missing Expedition Expansion
(Won’t cost you anymore and it’s a way to support us here at Everything Board Games!) 



Carl King- Reviewer

Buyer / Estimator @ ABC Stainless, P’gh & owner of YouTube channel The Games Kingdom
See Carl’s reviews HERE.


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