Lost Ruins of Arnak Review: Powerful Exploration and Victory


Lost Ruins Of Arnak Review

Who among us has not dreamed of being an intrepid explorer, setting foot on uncharted territory, and uncovering ancient, forgotten civilizations? If the stirrings of adventure course through your veins as they do mine, then perhaps you, too, will find yourself mesmerized by a game that fulfills these fantasies in a playful, interactive format. Enter the intriguing world of “Lost Ruins of Arnak,” a game that has left an indelible mark on my gaming experience.

My journey with Lost Ruins of Arnak began just a few months ago, when a close friend introduced me to this curious blend of strategy, exploration, and competition. Like a sparkling gem nestled amidst the vast array of games in my collection, it immediately caught my eye, and needless to say, swiftly secured a place in my gaming repertoire.

So, why the Lost Ruins of Arnak review at this juncture, you might ask? Partly because it’s a recent discovery that has captured my attention and earned my praise, and partly because I believe it to be a delightfully multifaceted game that, in my opinion, doesn’t quite receive the recognition it deserves.

As we delve deeper into the mysteries of Arnak in the coming lines, keep in mind that my verdict on this game is a well-rounded one: a recognition of its complexity, a nod to its strategic depths, and an acknowledgment of its potential for continuous re-playability. Yet, the game is not without its areas of improvement, a fact that won’t escape our review. So, gear up, fellow explorers, as we embark on this adventure together and uncover what the Lost Ruins of Arnak has to offer.

Just The Facts

Game TitleLost Ruins of Arnak
DesignerMichaela Štachová, Michal Štach
PublisherCzech Games Edition
ThemeAdventure, Exploration
GenreWorker Placement, Deck Building
Age Range12 and above
Number of Players1 to 4
Game Duration60 to 120 minutes
Complexity LevelMedium
Game ObjectiveAcquiring the most victory points
Difficulty LevelMedium
Similar GamesLords of Waterdeep, Dominion
Awards2021 Kennerspiel des Jahres Nominee
Release Date2020

Game Overview

Lost Ruins of Arnak is not your ordinary board game. It transports players to a world teeming with hidden mysteries, brimming with ancient ruins, and begging to be explored. The game board is an art piece in itself, representing the mysterious island, each corner etched with intricate details that inspire awe and wonder.

Designed for 1 to 4 players, the game is a journey of adventure and exploration. The participants are explorers setting foot on an uninhabited island with a past waiting to be unearthed. This is a place where forgotten civilizations, valuable artifacts, and dangerous guardians lurk around every corner. The objective is to gather the most victory points by the end of the fifth round. How? By exploring new sites, defeating guardians, buying artifact and item cards, and advancing on the research track. Each of these elements comes together to form a fascinating tale that unfolds differently each time you play.

Components and Artwork

Quality and consistency are paramount when it comes to components and artwork, and Lost Ruins of Arnak doesn’t disappoint. The board, cards, tokens – everything right down to the individual site tiles – has been designed with meticulous detail, resulting in pieces that are both sturdy and pleasing to the eye.

The artwork is an integral part of the game’s allure. Every card, every token, every corner of the board presents detailed and thematic illustrations. Whether it’s a fierce guardian or a potent artifact, the images infuse an unmistakable vibrancy that complements the adventurous spirit of the game. The island’s dense jungles, ancient artifacts, and mysterious symbols breathe life into the lost civilization, immersing players in a world of exploration and discovery.

Gameplay Experience

Setting up the game is straightforward, but don’t let the simplicity deceive you. Each turn presents players with a myriad of options, each with its unique benefits and repercussions. The actions you take – exploring new sites, buying new cards, advancing on the research track – not only influence your immediate gameplay but also set the stage for future rounds.

While the rules are straightforward, mastering them is a different story. With every card draw or site exploration, a new challenge or opportunity arises, making each round a mini adventure in itself. The blend of deck-building and worker-placement mechanics results in an engaging experience, with elements of surprise sprinkled throughout the game. It’s this balance of strategy, luck, and interaction that makes Lost Ruins of Arnak a standout title.

Theme and Immersion

There’s an undeniable allure to the unknown, and Lost Ruins of Arnak captures it perfectly. The adventure theme is deeply integrated into the gameplay mechanics. Every site exploration, every guardian encounter – they’re not just mechanics, they’re experiences that draw players deeper into the game’s universe.

The research track is a prime example of this immersive design. Advancing on it doesn’t just provide benefits – it represents the explorers gaining knowledge, delving deeper into the island’s mysteries. This immersive design, coupled with the game’s impressive artwork, results in a narrative that doesn’t need words to be captivating.


What sets Lost Ruins of Arnak apart is its high replayability. The game never unfolds the same way twice. The site tiles and deck cards are set up randomly each time, and the diverse strategies available to players make every game a unique experience.

In addition, the game board offers an alternate side for a different setup, adding another layer of variability. This mix of static and dynamic elements ensures that Lost Ruins of Arnak doesn’t lose its charm even after several playthroughs. It’s this unpredictable nature that keeps players coming back, eager to explore new strategies and experience new adventures.

Player Interaction and Engagement

The level of player interaction in Lost Ruins of Arnak is subtly woven into its gameplay. While it’s a competitive game, it’s not devoid of cooperative elements. Players can end up helping others inadvertently by exploring new sites or buying specific cards.

Each decision in the game, from the sites you explore to the cards you buy, affects not just your strategy but also your opponents’. It’s a game of strategic maneuvering, of anticipating your opponents’ moves and adjusting your strategy accordingly. This dynamic interaction keeps players engaged and invested in the game from start to finish.

Learning Curve and Accessibility

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a medium-complexity game. The learning curve is reasonable, and the rulebook does an excellent job of providing clear instructions. The game also comes with a quick start guide that outlines the basic gameplay, making it easier for new players to get started.

However, mastering the game is a different story. It takes a few games to get a grasp on the various strategies and mechanics. But with every game, players discover new tactics, making the learning process an engaging journey of exploration and discovery.

Strategies and Depth

The game offers a rich tapestry of strategic choices and tactical maneuvers. Players must balance their immediate needs with long-term goals, carefully choosing when to explore, when to purchase cards, and when to advance on the research track.

Here’s a tip: don’t overlook the research track. Advancing both the book and magnifying glass tokens can provide powerful bonuses and scoring opportunities. Also, it’s worth investing in fearless cards as they provide a reliable way to overcome the guardians.

On the flip side, beware of spreading yourself too thin. Concentrate on a few strategic paths to maximize your scoring potential, and don’t forget – guardians might seem daunting, but they’re a valuable source of victory points.


As of the time of this review, Lost Ruins of Arnak has two main expansions that build on the base game’s strong points and introduce exciting new elements to the gameplay.

1. Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders

  • Expedition Leaders adds a new depth of strategy by introducing five unique leader characters to the game.
  • At the start of the game, each player chooses a leader, each offering a special ability and an additional archaeologist. These unique abilities open a wider range of strategies and tactics to explore, making each game experience unique.
  • Additionally, this expansion offers alternate research tracks that provide more variability, adding even more replayability to the game.

2. Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition

  • The Missing Expedition is the second main expansion which provides a new layer of challenge and excitement. This expansion introduces a new game mode that enables solo or cooperative play, taking the exploratory adventure to a whole new level.
  • In this mode, players will face the team of the Missing Expedition as a new competitor on their journey, adding an extra layer of competition and tension.
  • Also, this expansion offers new site boards, artifact cards, and item cards, introducing a greater variety of gameplay experiences and strategic options.

Both of these expansions elevate the base game experience in their own unique ways. They add depth and diversity to the gameplay, provide additional strategic options, and increase the replayability of Lost Ruins of Arnak. If you’ve enjoyed the base game and are looking for more, these expansions are definitely worth considering.

Comparison to Similar Games

Comparing Lost Ruins of Arnak to similar titles like Lords of Waterdeep and Dominion brings out its unique charm. While the other games are classics in their respective genres – worker placement and deck-building – Lost Ruins of Arnak takes these familiar mechanics and breathes new life into them with an exciting adventure theme.

It’s not just a deck-building or worker placement game – it’s a fusion of the two, wrapped in an immersive theme of exploration and discovery. It takes familiar elements and blends them into a unique, captivating experience. The right choice would depend on individual player preferences and their affinity for the respective themes and mechanics.

Pros and Cons


  • High-quality components and stunning artwork enhance the gaming experience.
  • The blend of deck-building and worker placement mechanics creates a unique and engaging gameplay.
  • High replayability ensures a fresh experience with each playthrough.
  • Multiple paths to victory allow for varied strategies and tactics.


  • Complexity of strategies might be daunting for new players.
  • Gameplay can slow down with the maximum number of players.
  • Lack of expansions might limit long-term variability.

Lost Ruins of Arnak Review: Final Thoughts and Verdict

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a compelling game that expertly blends two popular mechanics – worker placement and deck-building – into a captivating adventure theme. The game’s components are of high quality, the artwork is stunning, and the gameplay offers a good balance between strategy, luck, and player interaction.

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

While it has a slightly steep learning curve, the engaging gameplay and high replayability make Lost Ruins of Arnak a worthy addition to any board game collection. It’s ideal for those who enjoy strategic games with a dash of unpredictability and a strong theme. So, gather your expedition team and embark on an unforgettable journey into the lost ruins of Arnak!

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