The technology didn’t work for me, but i could overhear people being taught Lost Ruins of Arnak in Castle Tricon, the 3D virtual board game conference build by Czech Games Edition and friends. i heard a lot of “yep,” “uh-huh,” and “okay,” as if everything they were being shown was pretty rote and uninteresting. It turns out there’s a difference between “been there, done that” and “don’t let new mechanics get in the way of a good time,” as i found out when i played. But i’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s me opening the box and gawking at the components.
Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and you know whenever you see something on television, like on a cartoon or something, that pays homage to Indiana Jones? i’m not saying that this game pays homage to Indiana Jones in the SLIGHTEST, but i think it’s just hilarious that they don’t want to license John Williams’s score from the movie, so instead of “Den da den DENNNH!” they’ll be like “DENHH da den duhh!” Somebody’s swinging across a chasm with a whip or whatever. Indiana Jones, let’s be fair, owes a lot itself to, um… King Solomon’s Mines, and… and other old serials from the 1930s, uh… so – you know – good artists steal, right? Great artists steal, good artist borrow. i reversed that entirely. This is a game called The Lost Ruins of Arnak, as you can see, and it was a CGE game… it’s one of the the games on their slate for this year, and unfortunately, one of the ways that companies promote their games is – you know – they go to these conventions, and they have their game slate, and they set up their big booths, and you can go there if you’re part of the convention, and you can check it out. You play the game. They’ll have people on hand to teach you the game, live in person. They couldn’t really do that this year, because people would surely… die. Uh, so what they did instead is – you know – that… usually, they spend a boatload of money on these conferences, because just setting up the booth alone is, i think, tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how big your booth is… it’s crazy. So with money to burn, uh, what they decided to do – CGE – instead, is team up with two other publishers and do a virtual conference that they called Castle Tricon. And so you went into a virtual world that simulated the conference, and you could go and play. i’ll talk more about Castle Tricon in the Under Falling Skies video, but for now, i’ll say briefly that, uh – you know – it’s new, right? This is a new thing, and uh… i don’t know if anybody’s ever tried it before and… and good on them for for trying something a bit more ambitious than, i think, what… what Origins did, which is just sort of a glorified clickable, uh, website, which wasn’t all that great. But the trouble is – i mean – the tech is still, uh, bleeding edge, and although they had Under Falling Skies and Arnak available for demoing, due to technical issues, i wasn’t actually able to see anything about Arnak. So while i’ll know a little bit more about another of the games on their slate, Under Falling Skies, i know almost… no. Not almost nothing. Entirely nothing about The Lost Ruins of Arnak. So why don’t you discover it, uh, with me? We’re going to open it up using el knifo, which is not actually Spanish. Uh… and in case you were fooled… “Is that Spanish? El knifo? i’m going to take that to class and see if i can get, uh… score high on my Spanish test.” Don’t do that. In fact, don’t use this channel for ANY educational advice. If you’re in pre-med, don’t take anything i say as pre-med gospel. Please, don’t… don’t take my words of nonsense into the operating theater with you. Uh, yeah… so obviously, there’s a… there’s a big sort of jungly adventure exploring Indiana Jones-y theme going on here… oh! i was gonnao wear my safari hat that looks pretty close to this. Maybe i’ll do that if i end up doing a review or an, uh… Find the Fun? Find the Fun IS a review. A review or a How to Play is what i’m trying to say. My word! Uh…. really nice artwork, though. Look at that tortoise! i’ll show… hopefully, if we find that in the deck of cards, i’ll put that on the close-up cam, and you can see the beautiful detail on that. So what does the back of the box tell us all about it? “On an uninhabited island in uncharted seas, explorers have found traces of a great civilization…” uh, and a big list of components – the whole manifest – on down the side. They say it’s, uh, 30 minutes. They say it’s 1-4 players… uh, 1-4. There’s another thing about board games in the time of COVID: basically, if you’re putting out a board game now and it doesn’t have a solo mode, you’re pretty much dead in the water. It’s got to. When you see me talking about Under Falling Skies, that entire game is just a solo game. So… i don’t know if they anticipated… you know, i can’t …i don’t know where on their schedule these games are… Oh, let’s say Box Fart-O-Meter is at 1 on that one. It weren’t nothin’, but it was pretty small. So i don’t know if the, uh… the virus hit, and then they planned these games, or they had them planned, and they made changes because of the virus, but the deal is Under Falling Skies is a single player game, and they have a single player mode for this one. Smart smart smart. Oh, look at that: right off the back of the deck of cards is that sea turtle i was telling you about. So we’ll see a nice little close-up on that. Isn’t that beautiful? Really nice piece of art. Looks gorgeous! Okay, and this deck, i would say, is about… if i were to estimate, probably… i don’t know. In COVID times? It’s probably about 50 000 cards. There’s a glitch in the matrix! Max Headroom guest starring in my unboxing video. Uh, yeah in the time of COVID, if you don’t have a deck that’s 50 000 cards, you are dead in the water. Uh… so gorgeous-lookin’ artwork. i’ll throw a few more up here on the close-up cam. There we go. There’s a… an ostrich. You’ve seen the sea turtle. There’s a pack donkey, and a horse… excuse me. Let me just find him. Him or her, i’m not too sure. Where did the horse go? Oh, my word! It’s like a magical vanishing horse! Boots… i saw… what the…? What the heck is going on? That’s really weird! i don’t know if they advertise disappearing horse as one of the cards in the… ah, here we go. i found the horse here. Alright. There’s the horse. i was gonna say: i don’t know if it’s a boy horse or a girl horse, but just from that close up, we’re gonna assume girl horse! And a bunch of other neat thematic goodies like a hot air balloon, and an automobile – old school, like a Model T-style or that era – and a steamboat, evoking The African Queen. Great movie, if you haven’t seen it. And sturdy boots, and gold pans… so, man. i’m a theme guy, and already the theme is OOZING out of this game! Let me just check the backs of these cards, and make sure… oh, they’re all in the same deck. So that… that’s a huge… it’s a huge deck of cards. Let’s see what’s on the bottom. i wonder… i wonder too, if – you know – when they put the game together, they’re like “Oh, make sure the animals are stacked on top, because that’s delightful”? Or if it just happened that the delightful animals were stacked on top? Uh-oh: here’s some not so good cards. So this one is fear… there’s a whole pile of fear cards. That, probably, i’m guessing will come into play in the solo mode, because – you know – solo games and co-op games are all about turning over the Big Deck of Terrible Things, and like every round it’s like “What awful nonsense is going to befall us?” Uh… there’s a ceremonial mmmm rattle, a sacred drum, some traders’ coins, a stone key… really nice! Really nice stuff. Obsidian earring… gorgeous cards. i haven’t been paying attention to what they said. “Draw up to two cards from the bottom of your deck. Keep one, and toss the other.” i don’t know what that icon means. i’m assuming it means “toss” or “bury” or “discard.” Who knows? What else do we have? A bunch of plastic bags, so they’ve thought about how these components get put away. A bunch of these cool little… now, because the uh the close-up cam is set to blue, the blue thing i’m about to put on here will not register properly, but i’ve got this little reddish crystally thing, and an arrowhead… which completely disappears! i wonder if we put that behind a card, if that’ll show up? That’s a smart idea. No! It’s uh… it burned a hole straight through the card! Oh my word! Okay. Well, anyway… you get the idea. You can see it here… we’ll see it here. Doo-de-doo. Little arrowhead. Looks cool. And these are really neat! i’ve never seen anything like this in any other game. These are little broken tablets. They look like little ston -e let’s put ’em in the close-up cam – they look like little stone broken… rune-y, hieroglyph-y kind of… those are pretty cool! That’s a really neat component! Neato! More bags, aaaaand player pieces, i’m assuming, in unique wood shapes that i’ve never seen. Now these are reminiscent of the little cowboy shapes that you get in Great Western Trail, except they’re much bigger than the ones in Great Western Trail… i’ll put one of those over there… and there’s some sort of egg shapey kind of thing, and eh… some kind of square shape-y kind of thing. That’s really not that interesting. But those are the… those are the player pieces i can find so far. And there’s some sort of… i’m assuming score sheet? Get out of there. Score sheet… different things that get you points… a catalog for a bunch of great, uh, CGE games… uh, i really like CGE. i’m not gonna lie they sent this to me for free, which… i mean, doesn’t hurt for helping me like them, but even before that, i was buying CGE games, and i’ve covered a bunch of them. i’ve done How to Plays for them, because i really like the stuff they produce. High quality stuff! And great games. Really complicated games. If you… if you don’t mind mid- to heavy-weight games, you’re fine, but if you like things a little bit simpler, generally they offer moderate to heavier fare. These are some – you know – player effect cards, and the rulebook… this is probably the first game that i’ve unboxed in a really long time that didn’t put the rulebook, like, right up front and center, like “RUULES! READ THEM!” So that’s kind of interesting. It’s… it’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s got lovely pictures and big text, and it’s well laid out. And my pal Paul Grogan from Gaming Rules! probably had something to do with it, because i know he works with them to write the… and some credits… anyway, it’s a 24-page rulebook, and that’s all i can determine from that. It’s not just a wall of text, which is good. Oh, look:here are the credits. i don’t see Paul’s name there, but he might be in there. You read that for yourself if you pick up the game. Stickers. Stickers are kind of a polarizing thing, you know? Not everybody likes stickers. i’ve heard complaints about stickers. You can get games that have stickers, or that sort of screen stickers onto pieces so they’re stuck there forever. i get really paranoid with stickers, and i have to get tweezers and apply them all sweatily and nervously. i don’t know if you’re the same as me with that? And then sometime,s you know… you… they don’t fit, and they overlap, and you got that little fringe… i don’t know. They’re not… they’re not great. i can understand why, but i don’t understand the vitriolic hate for them. i’d prefer them to be screened so i don’t have to do that work, but if there’s stickers, i’m not gonna throw the game out the window or anything. And a big beautiful board! Let’s get the box out of the way. ♪ Big beautiful board, double-sided ♫ Wowee! It’s got that new board… goin’ to the hospital in 15 years smell. Here we go! i’m not implying there’s anything wrong with the board, but you know… manufacturing. Here… wow! It’s so big we can’t even fit it in the shot! Nooo, mama! Obviously places where cards go. Thematically, it’s… it’s very the same as Lost Cities, but i don’t know if it has anything to do with Lost Cities, or it feels that way at all. Lost Cities, i found, was a little bit too mathy. i don’t like a lot of numbers in my games, because i’m a dumb guy. This maybe is a bit more symbolsy n’ cardsy. It’s already giving me sort of a an Everdell vibe, and you may know from watching this channel that i adore Everdell, but hate the publisher! i can’t reach my box any more. (creepy clown laugh) Sorry if my mic just went nutso. The last few things in the box are big huge pieces of card to punch out, and i won’t punch out all of them, but i’ll show you what’s on them. Again really… whoa! Maybe i will accidentally punch out a few of them? These tiles are really nice thick cardboard. It’s got a play button on it. That kind of suggests to me… is there, like, a programmatic element to this game? i don’t know! You might, because you know way more about it than i do. Uh… these beautiful little green tokens that are compass-shaped. Again, close-up camera… bagoosh… i thought i had autofocus on. That’s not really focusdy, is it? These sort of goldy pieces… these guys… yeah. It looks nice. Really nice components. There’s the… the burn-a-hole-in-the-card arrowhead. And on the next board… they really want to punch themselves out! This is a pretty… pretty fresh die. Whewf! Nice. A couple of explorer tiles. These look like player boards depicting your encampment… and more characters. A bunch of archetypes. Racially… racially diverse characters, and sexually diverse characters… and, uh… (improvised ditty) Yeah, really gorgeous. These, i wonder… do these…? This is an interesting cut on this. Little divot. i wonder if these puzzle piece into anything? i haven’t noticed anything that looks like it would fit that divot yet, but daddy loves puzzle piecy things! Uh… more of these cards with the divots in them, more characters along the top, more of these, uh, sort of rune-y tablet-y looking things. Oh, my! Here’s another board that i didn’t expect… there’s a lot going on here! There’s a whole… this is going to take up a whole lot of table space! that board already was gigantic, and then this thing is huge… so this is… this is meaty! There’s stuff going on here. And a big, cool… probably first player scepter, i’m guessing, because it’s the one unique piece that we’ve seen so far. And these really interesting sort of wavy-looking surf pieces. Whoa – whoa! Whoa. And scary danger pieces! Snakey… whoa! Holy crap. i did not expect in a million years… well, maybe i did, because tomb raider kind of brought dinosaurs into the mythos, didn’t it? And i think things like John Carter of Mars and other stuff in the genre bring in scary… scary, nasty animals. Nothing like our beloved disappearing horse. Look at the teeth on that sucker! Oh my gosh. The monkey’s wearing a necklace…? That’s not your necklace, monkey. Put that down! Nobody said you could have that. And some kind of gigantic ant…? A gi-ant? Oh my gosh! And symbols here that kind of remind me of… don’t those look like the symbols at the bottom of the cards on Clank!, if you’ve played Clank!? A little bit, eh? Wow! Cool. Cool! Tons of stuff to punch out, big meaty rulebook… this is not an insubstantial game. Like i said, CGE known for things like – you know – Dungeon Petz and Tzolk’in and Alchemists that are all mid- to heavyweight games. i think the… the expansion to Alchemists is, by the rating on BoardGameGeek, is the heaviest game in my entire collection, and that’s by CGE. Uh… i hope to learn more about the the game. i hope to convince my family to play it with me. That’s the bottleneck, really, these days, is getting my family to play games with me, because i can’t go out and play with friends because we’ll all die. But convincing my family to play certain games is challenging. Hopefully this is thematic and interesting-looking enough that i can get them to the table. And once i do, maybe a How to Play, maybe a Find the Fun! Anyway, have you played it? i know some of you have it on your collection. It’s brand new. Uh, hit me, uh, with a comment down below, and you can tell me all about it, whether you like it or you don’t like it. If you’d like to tell me pseudo-in-person… as in-person as we can get during COVID, there’s the link at the bottom of the screen for the Discord server, and we’ve got a bunch of people in there who are just scheduling games with each other, and playing… we also have a Secret Santa thing going on, which really dates this video, but if you want to jump in on that, please do! And thank you so much for watching this one, and we’ll see you next time! [Music] Did you just watch that whole thing? Oh – hey! To 100 this video, click the badge to subscribe, and then click the bell to get notifications when i’ve got new stuff! [Music – Board Game Boogie by Ryan Henson Creighton]