Game Buzz: Lost Ruins of Arnak

Time to look at one of the latest games coming out from CGE, this one called

image by BGG user thesunshineraven

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a new 1-4 player game from Czech Games Edition and designers Mín and Elwen. The main concept is that you’re exploring a long forgotten island in search of traces of a lost civilization. The game combines deck building and worker placement. I am always excited by the newest CGE game, so let’s take a look.

The game board has two sides – the Bird Temple and the Snake Temple. You’re supposed to use the Bird Temple for your first game because the Snake Temple has special rules. There are spaces for different card decks – Artifacts, Fear, and Items. The Moon Staff is used on the card row to indicate the current round, and one Artifact is dealt to the left of it. Five Items are also dealt out to the right of the Moon Staff. Idols are randomly assigned to sites on the map. There are also Temple tiles, as well as Research Bonus tiles in the Lost Temple bonus stack and bonus tile spaces. Players get a player board, research tokens, archaeologists, and four basic cards of their chosen color. To your cards, you’ll add two fear cards.

image by BGG user Hellbrass

The game plays over five rounds. At the start of each round, players will draw from their personal deck until they have five cards. Each player then takes turns taking a main action and as many free actions as they want. Here are your main action possibilities:

DIG AT A SITE: Pick an unoccupied space. Pay the associated travel cost in cards (your Fear cards can be used for this, and you can always pay two gold to hire a plane which will also pay for it), then place your archaeologist there. Resolve the effect as shown.

DISCOVER A NEW SITE: Only five sites are available in the beginning. You’ll decide which kind of site you want to travel to and pay the indicated compass cost. Then you’ll pick a specific site and pay the indicated travel cost. There will be an idol there that was placed during setup. You’ll resolve its effect, then take the top tile that matches the type of site and place it there, resolving its effect immediately. The final thing you do for this action is draw the top guardian and place it on the site.

OVERCOME A GUARDIAN: If you are at a site with a guardian at the end of a round, you will gain a Fear card. If you’re at a site with a guardian, you can pay the cost to overcome it, then remove it to your player board. An overcome guardian provides a one-time per game boon.

BUY A CARD: Take an artifact or item from the card row. An item will cost you some gold and goes on the bottom of your deck. An artifact will cost you compasses and go in your play area, where you can resolve it immediately without paying its activation cost. In either case, you will immediately fill the card row.

PLAY A CARD: This is easy. Take a card from your hand and play it, resolving its effect. Sometimes, this can be done as a free action.

RESEARCH: Pay the cost to move one of your research tokens into the next space. This will give you a benefit. When your magnifying glass reaches the Lost Temple, later research will help you to discover some of the secrets contained there.

PASS: If you choose to pass, you will have no further turns during the round.

Once everyone has passed, you take back your archaeologists (plus any Fear cards for leaving a space with a guardian), discard any cards you don’t want to save for the next round, then shuffle all played and discarded cards, placing them on the bottom of your deck. You’ll exile the cards on either side of the Moon Staff, move the Moon Staff one space to the right, and then refill the card row. The start player also rotates.

After the fifth round, there’s a final scoring, and the winner is the player with the most points.

image by BGG user Hellbrass

As I mentioned, I always like seeing what CGE does. Even the games that aren’t by Vlaada Chvátil are worth a look. I like that this one combines worker placement and deck building, which is a combination that isn’t terribly common – Sierra West and The Taverns of Tiefenthal are two recent examples, but usually games are one or the other. It looks nice, as all CGE games do, and there’s a lot of different things to keep track of. But it all looks well laid out, and it seems like a fun game that I’m looking forward to trying.

That’s it for today – stay safe out there and thanks for reading!

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