The Expedition Leaders expansion for Lost Ruins of Arnak is everything an expansion should be. For a lot of games, an expansion just adds and extra module, some rule changes, extra content, or a new storyline. With Expedition Leaders, the expansion adds so much that you can’t imagine playing the base game without it.
For an overview of the base game of Lost Ruins of Arnak, check out our review here. In a nutshell, you are an expedition leader searching for riches and fame by exploring the jungle for temples, lost sacred sites, defeating guardians, and outmaneuvering your fellow explorers.
So what’s new? In the base game, everyone started on a level playing field. Expedition Leaders gives each player an explorer with unique abilities and starting decks. The expansion also has a set of new item cards, artifact cards, sites to explore, and guardians to overcome which are all integrated with the components of the base game. A main board overlay also introduces two new research tracks that add protective guardians, artifacts, and a volcano that destroys discovered sites. A new moon staff adds a variant to cycle through more item and artifact cards between each round of the game.
The new player boards are unique for each of the new characters in the game. Along with new character abilities, there are now two blue idol spaces that activate a unique fast ability that is tailored to the following character abilities.
The Explorer uses only one archaeologist figure and instead purchases snacks to use their archeologist up to 4 times in a round. A few of the Explorer’s starting cards also use these snacks to gain different resources. The challenge for the explorer is balancing their resources and the locations they need to visit. Part of the strategy is figuring out when to move, as to block other players.
The Falconer is in possession of an eagle that can be charged up to give the player different resources and abilities. The longer the Falconer waits, the better the ability. Once used, the eagle resets to 0 and must be charged again. The Falconer must balance their immediate needs with needs down the road, adding a press your luck component to her play.
The Mystic utilizes fear cards to perform rituals which unlock resources and abilities. When exiling fear cards, the Mystic stockpiles the fear and discards their starting cards to use the fear to perform special actions. The strategy for the mystic comes in balancing the fear coming in and the fear going out.
The Professor is a master of artifacts. The Professor has a suitcase of artifacts to begin the game and collects compasses and tablets each round to pay for the use and purchase of artifacts. In focusing on artifacts, the compass and tablet tokens become even more valuable. The Professor often times sticks to the research track and waits for other players to explore the board to make his move.
The Baroness is a master of items. Each round, the Baroness gains extra gold and uses her “Special Delivery” card to put a newly acquired item straight into a player’s hand. She begins each round with this “Special Delivery” card. Gold is king for the baroness, who ends of spending most of her time in the item market. The trouble with having so many cards in her deck, is that some items, once used for the first time, do not resurface until much later in the game.
The Captain gains an extra archeologist. His player board also has a special site that activates the silver side ability of one of the available assistants on the main board display. The Captain has to strategize how to use his extra archaeologist. Does he take the extra explore action or does he utilize the the assistants available in the queue. Timing is everything with his placements.
The Expedition Leaders continues the trend of beautiful artwork and the uniqueness of every card, exploration sites, and guardians. The new items in the deck offer double exploration tiles to make exploring easier. The new guardians and assistants offer ways to trade exploration tiles for their benefits. The new research track offers some fun new spins on the temples to help the players who like to balance their exploring and researching actions. Every play offered a fun new strategy to perfect!
Dan is an educator from Colorado. Growing up as an Air Force dependent gained him lots of new perspectives on the world and a love for making new friends, especially over a good board game. When not at school or playing a board game, Dan is probably at the gym, attending a local sporting event, or performing or attending theater. Dan loves heavy euros, deck builders, living card games, and great solo rules.
Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders
The Expedition Leaders expansion is a must for fans of the base game. The new characters help focus a player’s strategy throughout the game. The new elements also lead to numerous avenues to replay the game. Combine different leaders, different temples, and different sides of the board for a wide variety of gameplay variants.