Lost Ruins of Arnak Expedition Leaders Expansion Review

Lost Ruins of Arnak Expedition Leaders Expansion

Lost Ruins of Arnak Expedition Leaders ExpansionStats:
No. of players: 1-4
Amount of time to play: 30-120 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 5-10 min

Expedition Leaders is the first expansion for the award-winning Lost Ruins of Arnak. It adds asymmetrical starting decks and player boards, more items, guardians, and artifacts, plus two new temple research tracks.

Lost Ruins of Arnak Expedition Leaders Expansion Rules Description:

Lost Ruins of Arnak is a worker placement board game that came out a few years ago. As with most successful games an expansion has been released. And while some expansions add more of the same elements from the base game, Expedition Leaders changes the game without making you learn a bunch of new rules.

I reviewed Lost Ruins of Arnak when it was released and covered the basic gameplay in that review. This post is going to focus on the Expedition Leaders expansion and what elements it adds to the board game.

The biggest addition and change introduced by the Expedition Leaders expansion are the new leaders. There are six leaders, each with their own player boards, starting decks and special powers.

Captain – The Captain has an extra archaeologist and a spot on his board that lets him place an archaeologist on to use one of the face up assistants on the supply board.

Falconer – Farwing is your animal companion. This eagle will bring you resources and the further it flies the better the treats. Every round it moves one space on its flight track and there are also cards that let you advance it too.

Baroness – This resourceful lady is all about items. She has a special delivery card that always comes to her hand to start a round. It lets her take any items she buys into her hand. She also has a passive income each round to help her purchase items.

Professor – The Professor collects artifacts. He has a suitcase that holds three that only he can buy. One of his cards lets him swap an artifact in his suitcase with one on display. Each round he will gain a compass or tablet that goes in his suitcase. Resources in his suitcase can only be used for artifacts.

Explorer – The Explorer is a loner, but she has snacks. You only get one archaeologist meeple. But they can go to more spaces if you use your snacks. You start with two snacks and gain a third at the start of round three. One of the starter snacks is free but the other two cost a compass or gold. You may not return to a location you visited this round and when leaving a location with a guardian you do not gain fear. Snacks are returned to your play area at the start of each round.

Mystic – Fear in the Lost Ruins of Arnak is not usually a good thing. It scores negative VPs and you want to exile it. The Mystic has increased ways to exile fear and uses that exiled fear in his rituals to gain resources, buy artifacts at a discount, or defeat guardians. Each round, in addition to drawing five cards, the Mystic gains a fear to their hand.

This expansion also adds two new research tracks which can be used with either side of the current board. The Monkey temple has a random artifact placed on it that may be used when entering that spot and allows you to purchase end-game temple tiles before reaching the top. The Lizard temple adds a random guardian to the research track. No one can ascend on the track until the guardian is defeated and it will add Fear cards to your deck every round you stay there.

You can also play with the new red moon staff. It tracks the round but unlike the original discards more items and artifacts between rounds. Other new additions include new idols, guardians, items, and artifacts.

Quick Review of Lost Ruins of Arnak Expedition Leaders Expansion:

Lost Ruins of Arnak without the Expedition Leaders expansion is like cookies without milk. They are good on their own but better together. This expansion adds more replay value and variety to an already great game.

The components for this game are in line with those in the base board game. The printing matches that of the original and everything blends in well. The rules are well written with examples and callouts when needed.

This expansion adds unique starting decks and a different area that plays to your leader’s strength. You get more flavor, a focus for your strategy, and more replay value in one package.

Some of the leaders are easier to play than others. This makes the expansion easier to introduce to newer players. For seasoned boardgamers you could introduce the board game with the expansion and never have them play it vanilla.

The two new temples add even more replay value to the base game. They may be harder but are meant to keep things challenging since the leaders give you a leg up from the start.

I have read that some people think the leaders are not balanced, but did not witness that in my playthroughs. Also I am not sure if people agree on which are overpowered. Some might rely on random elements more than others but I am not sure that is unbalanced. For example, the Baroness having good items to buy from the start of the game. Or the Professor having powerful starting artifacts.

If you own and enjoy Lost Ruins of Arnak, then buy the Expedition Leaders expansion. It is a must have if you like this board game. Everything about this expansion enhances the base game. The only time I would play Lost Ruins of Arnak without this expansion is if I was teaching the game to non-gamers.

Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 5 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 6 out of 6