Home Game Reviews The Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition Expansion Review

The Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition Expansion Review

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Lost Ruins of Arnak Missing ExpeditionWhile I’m not the biggest fan of euro games, one of my standout hits for 2020 was The Lost Ruins of Arnark. This hybrid worker placement and deck-building game clicked on all cylinders for me and it’s one of the few euros I regularly play.

Today we are going to be looking at the the newest expansion for The Lost Ruins of Arnak, dubbed The Missing Expedition. This one not only adds in more variety, but also a solo/cooperative campaign. So grab your bullwhip and fedora as we explore what makes this one tick.

Expansion Overview:

If you have played the previous expansion for Lost Ruins of Arnak, Expedition Leaders, then you will already be familiar with some of what comes in the expansion. If not, check out my review linked above for more details.

For The Missing Expedition, you’ve got quite a few additions in the new variety category: 2 leaders, 2 temple boards, item and artifact cards, 3 guardians, 4 assistants, and some new idols. Also included are 6 new site tiles that use some of the campaign’s encounter cards.

Speaking of the campaign, the main focus of this new expansion is the 6 mission campaign, which can be played either solo or cooperatively with another player.

Lost Ruins of Arnak Missing Expedition LEaders
The two new leaders are the Mechanic and the Journalist.

Game Experience with the Expansion:

For those not interested in solo/coop campaigns, I’ll dive into the new components briefly. The two new leaders are the Mechanic and the Journalist. The Mechanic’s main thing is a machine that spins during the game, providing her with resources and other benefits. She also gets a 3rd assistant in the form of a monkey named Rusty (points deducted for not naming it Mojo). Rusty helps her spin the wheel, giving her access to more of her benefits.

Lost Ruins of Arnak Missing Expedition Waterfall
The waterfall temple has variable resource cost locations.

The other leader is the Journalist. His features are twofold. He has an ability called Preliminary Findings where he can move his Notebook one row higher than this Magnifying Glass on the research track (I feel like there is a commentary here on the state of the 24hr news cycle…). He also gets to write articles by visiting sites around the board. When he does, he can pay an extra travel icon to collect the site’s article. Those can be then slotted into his newspaper boards to earn bonus resources.

For the new temple tracks, the expansion brings the waterfall and the tree temple. The waterfall temple has a hidden site that lets you active a site from a stack of sites placed there. It also has 2 cataracts that will slide across the track, revealing new resource requirements each time the space is passed. I thought this was a clever way to invoke the fluid nature of a waterfall. The main feature of the tree temple is locations where you can give up an idol to get a nice benefit.

Lost Ruins of Arnak Missing Expedition Campaign
The campaign will track your progress over 6 games.

Other than that, many of the other components included are more of the good stuff you’d expect. More relics, more items, more idols, extra sites, and assistants. None of these were game-breaking and fill out their respective card piles with minimal rules overhead.

For me though, the star of the show here is the new campaign. The campaign has you looking for the missing expedition over the course of 6 missions. You are facing off against your rival using the solo mode rules from the base game. Yet even though the rules are being reused, the campaign still manages to sprinkle some life into this play mode.

I’ll avoid spoilers, but I can say that each mission of the campaign will task you with doing various things throughout the game, rather than just trying to get the most points. For example, to win the first mission, you need to overcome the Owl Guardian hanging out near the top of the temple track. While you are still calculating points vs your rival, if you don’t defeat the owl, you lose the game.

Lost Ruins of Arnak Missing Expedition Card
The encounter cards will provide you either with an immediate bonus or a bonus when used later.

In addition to the new goals, there are also encounter cards added to each game. These, when collected, give players some thematic text and a decision point to make. You can choose one option and get an immediate reward, or choose the other option for a different reward you can collect on a future turn. Whichever side you choose though, adds icons to your campaign tracker. Between games, you move along various paths and read plot points when you come to them.

The other thing to note about the campaign is that is also includes achievements to strive for during the game. These are minis goals that will unlock cards that get shuffled into their respective decks. For example, in the first chapter, if you repair the plane by visiting the camp site enough times, the card gets unlocked for the rest of your games.

Final Thoughts:

Whether or not you are in for the solo/2p experience of The Lost Ruins of Arnak, the Missing Expedition expansion is worth picking up. While it’s definitely much better if you do play the campaign, the new leaders are interesting enough, and the new temples provide even more variety that just getting it for those is worth the cost. These leaders are also a step up in complexity compared to the ones in the previous expansion, so if you were hoping for some more meat on the bone, your wish has been granted.

I don’t have much to complain about with this new expansion. It does everything I want in an expansion and then some. If you are not into the campaign, you can just slot everything in their piles and gain a bucket of variety, all with minimal rules overhead. If you enjoy solo gaming and thought the solo mode in the core was a bit lack luster, this new overhaul it completely worth it. The campaign is also pretty replayable, as the story aspect of it is fairly minimal. For fans of the Lost Ruins of Arnak, this is the best expansion released to date.

Expansion BuyHits:
• New content–leaders, sites, temples and more
• Solo/2p cooperative campaign
• Encounter cards add some fun thematic decisions

Misses:
• None

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