Reviews

Ark Nova is an excellent board game, but it won’t be displacing Wingspan anytime soon

arc nova It’s the most hyped new tabletop game since. term It took the stage more than an era ago in early 2019 and overturned the industry’s beliefs about what kinds of games could become mainstream and achieve commercial success. after 3 years term – Non-violent game against wild bird populations – Sold over a million copies, can be found in local destinations. That’s true, even though the learning curve is steeper than the $50 price and games typically sold through major retailers.

arc nova The price is $75, the listed duration is 90-150 minutes, term. But I don’t think it will achieve the same mainstream success as it did. termNot for cost reasons, but because the barriers to entry for new players are too high.

arc nova more “heavy” Mars Terraformingwith rule complexity weights comparable to GloomhavenPerhaps the two most commercially successful complex games in the modern history of the hobby. arc nova It has been widely acclaimed since its debut at the Essen Games Fair in October, and much of the online discussion is about how quickly the game sold out in stores. i played arc novaAs good as the hype you would believe, with lots of strategies and long-term plans, and a short twist to keep it moving. But it’s not something I’m going to break up with new or inexperienced board players.

The first game by designer Mathias Wigge, arc nova Players can build their own zoo on their personal player mats. It combines numerous ideas from other complex games into a “best hit” mashup of mechanics that creates satisfying intellectual challenges with very fast twists. Mars Terraforming‘ The impact here has a positive effect, but Wigge has streamlined some of the game’s frivolous complexity to avoid the analytical paralysis that infects many heavy games (especially those with economic themes).

The pause track has a charming little meeple in the shape of a coffee cup.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Hall/Polygon

Each player has their own game board. An empty zoo area made up of hexes can each place 1 to 5 purchased pens, followed by animals. Each animal has a minimum display size, and the zoo may need other items. However, playing with almost any animal is also useful to some degree. You can earn money or other boosts by covering certain hexes in the zoo, for example: bear park), and adding a worker, partner zoo or college tile to the game board gives you other immediate benefits, such as: Great Western Trail).

The player has 5 cards showing 5 possible actions. Mars Terraforming), this includes building fences, playing animals, playing backer cards, taking cards from the main game board, using workers to act on the club board, and more. The intensity of each operation depends on the amount of time that has elapsed since the last use. They cycle through spaces numbered 1 through 5 under the player mat, and in most cases you’ll want to do up to 4 or 5 actions before making a choice. You can also earn strength tokens in various ways in-game, and then use them to increase the power of your actions, one for each token discarded. Sponsored Promotions allow you to play blue Sponsored Cards that usually give you a rolling advantage and endgame scoring opportunity, or take a break by progressing coffee cup markers on a pause track and bringing in your earnings. When these stop markers reach the end of the track, they all get their income, reclaim workers, and discard 3 to 5 hand sizes while the center board refreshes. There are a lot of moving parts, but they all work just fine.

This is partly due to the careful rationalization mentioned above. one of arc novaThe biggest advantage of , unlike Esau, is that it collects only one resource: money. Mars Terraforming, you can track at least 6 of them here. Earn money arc nova If you look around, you’ll miss a lot in the first half of the game. Your earnings are determined by the points you earn, so you can earn cash later in the game, and only save some maps and have the right enclosures to better place large animals. This makes the game more accessible to players with less experience from the start.

Scoring, on the other hand, is quite a lot of work. Players move their tokens into 3 lanes, of which only 2 are directly related to scoring. The attractiveness bar covers most of the points. B. What you get from playing with animals. The hold path runs in the opposite direction of the call path and is nested within it. These points are more difficult to obtain, especially at the beginning of the game, but they also bring significant bonuses when earned. The game ends when the player’s attraction and retention markers pass each other (e.g. Rajas of the Ganges) Then all other players make one last move and deal with the final score. There are also reputation bars for animal cards along the market, and in most cases you can only carry animal cards up to the location of your reputation marker, so boosting your cards gives you more options when working with cards.

Everyone starts the game with two individual goal cards, but unlike most games that have this feature, arc nova You can keep both for a while, and when the player reaches 10 in the Conservation Bar, they only need to pick one. There are three public goals on the Federation Board, and their seats are limited. If someone sits in the most valuable seat, all other players will be disabled. You can also get protection cards from the deck just like you get animal and patron cards, and if you play them, they take their place and reveal them.

its only flaw arc nova, is that there is very little interaction between players, although not everyone takes it for granted. There are 212 cards in the main deck, a small percentage of them are animals, which can be used to do things like attack opponents with poison tokens. Playing the whole game and not looking at this card is entirely possible and only lasts until the next break. Wigge was able to easily do without it and saved the player from having to learn three more symbols. Other than that, the only interaction happens when other players take what they want.

A card showing a woman in a canoe with binoculars.

term Designer Elizabeth Hargrave makes a cameo appearance arc novais an ornithologist.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Hall/Polygon

arc nova A lot of work went into intimidating settings and rules for inexperienced players. The rulebook consists of 20 pages, with a separate appendix explaining the backer cards and animal cards with unusual abilities. There are dozens of symbols displayed on cards and blackboards, but the leaflet listing them all is clear and concise.

Ultimately, it’s a game someone has to teach you. I can’t imagine someone who hasn’t played the game a lot pick up this in the store and learn on their own. It’s a great game for those who know the game, but as someone who plays all kinds of games and writes for an audience that includes a lot of casual gamers, I don’t think it’s right to think about it. arc nova next term.

term It raised the bar, but did so with clear descriptive text on short rulebooks and cards. However, despite the detailed video tutorials available on YouTube, there is still a community of people against it. arc nova It took me about 20 minutes to set up, after which I watched a tutorial video of about 40 minutes to learn how to play. I’m probably familiar with almost all the mechanics involved because I’ve played 500 different board games in my life, but very few.

not the price Back to the Dark Tower $175 and Coming Soon Proshafen $250 but the complexity that limits its appeal arc nova. It’s an amazing game in almost every dimension. It is not an accessible title that will permeate the mainstream and expand your audience.

arc nova Available now. The game was reviewed and shot using genuine copies provided by Capstone Games. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. Vox Media may receive commissions for products purchased through affiliate links, but this does not affect editorial content. you can find For more information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy, please click here..


arc nova

  • $75

The price at the time of publication.

• 1-4 players over 14 years old

• Play time: 90-150 minutes

• Game Type: Drafting, Set Collection and Tile Placement, etc.

• Categories: Competitive Games, Solitaire Games

• Similar games: term, Mars Terraforming

  • $75

    on amazon


More information

Ark Nova is an excellent board game, but it won’t be displacing Wingspan anytime soon

Ark Nova is the most hyped new tabletop game since Wingspan burst onto the scene in the early months of 2019, an entire epoch ago, upending industry beliefs on what sort of games could cross over into the mainstream and find commercial success. Three years on, Wingspan — a non-violent game about wild bird populations — has sold over a million copies, and you can find it in your local Target. That’s even with a $50 price point and a steeper learning curve than games typically sold through big-box retailers.
Ark Nova ups that ante even further, coming in at $75, a listed playing time of 90-150 minutes, and an even higher level of complexity than Wingspan. Yet I don’t think it’s going to see the same kind of mainstream success as Wingspan, not because of cost, but because the barrier to entry for new players is simply too high.
Ark Nova is “heavier” than Terraforming Mars, with a weight of rules complexity that is comparable to Gloomhaven, probably the two most commercially successful complex games in the hobby’s modern history. Ark Nova has earned widespread acclaim since its debut at the Essen Game Fair in October, with much of the discussion online revolving around how fast the game has sold out in stores. I’ve played Ark Nova, and it is as good as the hype would have you believe, with plenty of strategy and long-term planning and brief turns to keep it moving. But it’s not one I’ll be breaking out with new or inexperienced board gamers.
The first game from designer Mathias Wigge, Ark Nova has players building out their own zoos on their personal player boards. It combines a litany of ideas from other complex games in a sort of “greatest hits” mashup of mechanics, producing a satisfying intellectual challenge with very quick turns. Terraforming Mars’ influence here is a net positive, but Wigge has streamlined some of that game’s more frivolous complexities in order to avoid the analysis paralysis that infects a lot of heavier-weight games (especially those with economic themes).
The break track features a charming little coffee cup-shaped meeple.Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Each player has their own board with a blank zoo area of hex spaces on which they will place enclosures that they’ve purchased, covering one to five hexes each, and into which they can then place animals. Each animal has a minimum enclosure size requirement, and may require you to have other elements in your zoo — but nearly all animals also give some kind of benefit when you play them as well. You may gain money or other boosts when you cover certain hexes in your zoo (as in Bärenpark), and as you add workers, partner zoos, or university tiles to your board, you’ll gain further immediate benefits (as in Great Western Trail).
Players have five cards showing five different possible actions (as in Terraforming Mars), which include building enclosures, playing animals, playing sponsor cards, taking cards from the central board, or taking actions on the association board by using workers. The strength of each action depends on how long it’s been since the last time you used it; they cycle through spaces numbered one through five below your player board, and in most cases you want to get an action up to four or five before selecting it. You can also acquire strength tokens several ways in the game, and then can use them to increase the power of an action by one per token discarded. The sponsor action lets you play blue sponsor cards, which generally offer an ongoing benefit and an endgame scoring opportunity, or take a break, advancing the coffee-cup token on the break track and taking income. When that break token hits the end of its track, everyone gets income, retrieves their workers, and discards down to their hand size limit of three or five, while the central boards are refreshed. It’s a lot of moving pieces, but it all works well.
That’s in part because of the careful streamlining that I mentioned above. One of Ark Nova’s greatest strengths is that you collect just one resource — money — unlike in Terraforming Mars, where you’re tracking at least six. Money makes Ark Nova go round, and you will probably find yourself short of it many times in the first half of the game. Your income is a function of how many points you’ve attained, so later in the game you’ll be flush with cash and better able to place large animals only if you’ve saved some cards and have the right enclosures. This makes the game more accessible to less-experienced players right out of the box.
One of Ark Nova’s greatest strengths is that you collect just one resource — money — unlike in Terraforming Mars, where you’re tracking at least six.Scoring, on the other hand, is quite a lot of work. Players move their tokens around three tracks, only two of which are directly related to scoring. The appeal track covers most of your points, such as those you get for playing an animal. The conservation track goes in the opposite direction from the appeal track, nesting inside of it. Those points are harder to get, especially early in the game, but they also yield some significant bonuses when you do get them. The game ends when one player’s appeal and conservation markers pass each other (as in Rajas of the Ganges), after which all other players take one last turn and you handle endgame scoring. There’s also a reputation track along the market for the animal cards, and in most cases, you can only take animal cards up to the location of your reputation marker, so boosting that gives you more choices when you take the cards action.
Everyone starts the game with two private objective cards, but unlike most games with that feature, Ark Nova lets you keep both for a while, only requiring that you choose one once any player reaches 10 on the conservation track. There are three public objectives on the association board, and the spaces on those are limited — once someone takes the most valuable spot, it’s off-limits to all other players. You can also acquire conservation cards from the deck, the same way you get animal and sponsor cards, and when you play one, you make it public after claiming one spot for yourself.
The one flaw in Ark Nova, which not everyone will consider as such, is that it has very little interaction between players. The main deck has 212 cards, and a small percentage of those are animals that let you do something to your opponents, like hitting them with poison tokens, for instance. It’s quite possible to play an entire game and never even see these cards, and they only last until the next break; Wigge could easily have dispensed with them and spared players from learning three more icons. Other than that, the only interaction comes when you take something another player wanted.
Wingspan designer Elizabeth Hargrave gets a cameo as Ark Nova’s ornithologist.Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Ark Nova has a lot going on, with an intimidating setup and ruleset for less-experienced players. The rulebook is 20 pages, plus a separate appendix to explain sponsor cards and animal cards with unusual powers. There are several dozen icons that appear on cards and the board that you’ll have to learn, although the one-sheet that lists them all is clear and concise.
Ultimately, it’s a game someone has to teach you; I can’t imagine someone who hasn’t played a lot of games picking this up at a store and learning it on their own. It’s a fabulous game for people who know games, but as someone who plays all kinds of games and writes for an audience that includes a lot of casual gamers, I don’t think it’s fair to think of Ark Nova as the next Wingspan.
Wingspan raised the bar, but did so with a short rulebook and clear explanatory text on its cards. There are still communities of people out there who bang their head up against it, however, even with elaborate video tutorials available on YouTube. Ark Nova took me about 20 minutes to set up, after which I watched a nearly 40-minute tutorial video to learn how to play. I’ve played probably 500 different board games in my life, so I’m familiar with just about all of the mechanics involved here — but I’m in the extreme minority.
It’s not the price, not with Return to Dark Tower at $175 and the upcoming Frosthaven at $250, but the complexity that will limit the appeal of Ark Nova. It’s an incredible game in just about every dimension — it’s just not the accessible title that’s going to cross into the mainstream and expand the audience.
Ark Nova is available now. The game was reviewed and photographed using a retail copies provided by Capstone Games. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

Ark Nova

$75

Prices taken at time of publishing.

• 1-4 players, age 14+
• Playtime: 90-150 minutes
• Game type: Drafting, set collection, and tile placement among others
• Category: Competitive game, solitaire game
• Similar games: Wingspan, Terraforming Mars

$75
at Amazon

#Ark #Nova #excellent #board #game #wont #displacing #Wingspan #anytime

Ark Nova is an excellent board game, but it won’t be displacing Wingspan anytime soon

Ark Nova is the most hyped new tabletop game since Wingspan burst onto the scene in the early months of 2019, an entire epoch ago, upending industry beliefs on what sort of games could cross over into the mainstream and find commercial success. Three years on, Wingspan — a non-violent game about wild bird populations — has sold over a million copies, and you can find it in your local Target. That’s even with a $50 price point and a steeper learning curve than games typically sold through big-box retailers.
Ark Nova ups that ante even further, coming in at $75, a listed playing time of 90-150 minutes, and an even higher level of complexity than Wingspan. Yet I don’t think it’s going to see the same kind of mainstream success as Wingspan, not because of cost, but because the barrier to entry for new players is simply too high.
Ark Nova is “heavier” than Terraforming Mars, with a weight of rules complexity that is comparable to Gloomhaven, probably the two most commercially successful complex games in the hobby’s modern history. Ark Nova has earned widespread acclaim since its debut at the Essen Game Fair in October, with much of the discussion online revolving around how fast the game has sold out in stores. I’ve played Ark Nova, and it is as good as the hype would have you believe, with plenty of strategy and long-term planning and brief turns to keep it moving. But it’s not one I’ll be breaking out with new or inexperienced board gamers.
The first game from designer Mathias Wigge, Ark Nova has players building out their own zoos on their personal player boards. It combines a litany of ideas from other complex games in a sort of “greatest hits” mashup of mechanics, producing a satisfying intellectual challenge with very quick turns. Terraforming Mars’ influence here is a net positive, but Wigge has streamlined some of that game’s more frivolous complexities in order to avoid the analysis paralysis that infects a lot of heavier-weight games (especially those with economic themes).
The break track features a charming little coffee cup-shaped meeple.Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Each player has their own board with a blank zoo area of hex spaces on which they will place enclosures that they’ve purchased, covering one to five hexes each, and into which they can then place animals. Each animal has a minimum enclosure size requirement, and may require you to have other elements in your zoo — but nearly all animals also give some kind of benefit when you play them as well. You may gain money or other boosts when you cover certain hexes in your zoo (as in Bärenpark), and as you add workers, partner zoos, or university tiles to your board, you’ll gain further immediate benefits (as in Great Western Trail).
Players have five cards showing five different possible actions (as in Terraforming Mars), which include building enclosures, playing animals, playing sponsor cards, taking cards from the central board, or taking actions on the association board by using workers. The strength of each action depends on how long it’s been since the last time you used it; they cycle through spaces numbered one through five below your player board, and in most cases you want to get an action up to four or five before selecting it. You can also acquire strength tokens several ways in the game, and then can use them to increase the power of an action by one per token discarded. The sponsor action lets you play blue sponsor cards, which generally offer an ongoing benefit and an endgame scoring opportunity, or take a break, advancing the coffee-cup token on the break track and taking income. When that break token hits the end of its track, everyone gets income, retrieves their workers, and discards down to their hand size limit of three or five, while the central boards are refreshed. It’s a lot of moving pieces, but it all works well.
That’s in part because of the careful streamlining that I mentioned above. One of Ark Nova’s greatest strengths is that you collect just one resource — money — unlike in Terraforming Mars, where you’re tracking at least six. Money makes Ark Nova go round, and you will probably find yourself short of it many times in the first half of the game. Your income is a function of how many points you’ve attained, so later in the game you’ll be flush with cash and better able to place large animals only if you’ve saved some cards and have the right enclosures. This makes the game more accessible to less-experienced players right out of the box.
One of Ark Nova’s greatest strengths is that you collect just one resource — money — unlike in Terraforming Mars, where you’re tracking at least six.Scoring, on the other hand, is quite a lot of work. Players move their tokens around three tracks, only two of which are directly related to scoring. The appeal track covers most of your points, such as those you get for playing an animal. The conservation track goes in the opposite direction from the appeal track, nesting inside of it. Those points are harder to get, especially early in the game, but they also yield some significant bonuses when you do get them. The game ends when one player’s appeal and conservation markers pass each other (as in Rajas of the Ganges), after which all other players take one last turn and you handle endgame scoring. There’s also a reputation track along the market for the animal cards, and in most cases, you can only take animal cards up to the location of your reputation marker, so boosting that gives you more choices when you take the cards action.
Everyone starts the game with two private objective cards, but unlike most games with that feature, Ark Nova lets you keep both for a while, only requiring that you choose one once any player reaches 10 on the conservation track. There are three public objectives on the association board, and the spaces on those are limited — once someone takes the most valuable spot, it’s off-limits to all other players. You can also acquire conservation cards from the deck, the same way you get animal and sponsor cards, and when you play one, you make it public after claiming one spot for yourself.
The one flaw in Ark Nova, which not everyone will consider as such, is that it has very little interaction between players. The main deck has 212 cards, and a small percentage of those are animals that let you do something to your opponents, like hitting them with poison tokens, for instance. It’s quite possible to play an entire game and never even see these cards, and they only last until the next break; Wigge could easily have dispensed with them and spared players from learning three more icons. Other than that, the only interaction comes when you take something another player wanted.
Wingspan designer Elizabeth Hargrave gets a cameo as Ark Nova’s ornithologist.Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Ark Nova has a lot going on, with an intimidating setup and ruleset for less-experienced players. The rulebook is 20 pages, plus a separate appendix to explain sponsor cards and animal cards with unusual powers. There are several dozen icons that appear on cards and the board that you’ll have to learn, although the one-sheet that lists them all is clear and concise.
Ultimately, it’s a game someone has to teach you; I can’t imagine someone who hasn’t played a lot of games picking this up at a store and learning it on their own. It’s a fabulous game for people who know games, but as someone who plays all kinds of games and writes for an audience that includes a lot of casual gamers, I don’t think it’s fair to think of Ark Nova as the next Wingspan.
Wingspan raised the bar, but did so with a short rulebook and clear explanatory text on its cards. There are still communities of people out there who bang their head up against it, however, even with elaborate video tutorials available on YouTube. Ark Nova took me about 20 minutes to set up, after which I watched a nearly 40-minute tutorial video to learn how to play. I’ve played probably 500 different board games in my life, so I’m familiar with just about all of the mechanics involved here — but I’m in the extreme minority.
It’s not the price, not with Return to Dark Tower at $175 and the upcoming Frosthaven at $250, but the complexity that will limit the appeal of Ark Nova. It’s an incredible game in just about every dimension — it’s just not the accessible title that’s going to cross into the mainstream and expand the audience.
Ark Nova is available now. The game was reviewed and photographed using a retail copies provided by Capstone Games. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

Ark Nova

$75

Prices taken at time of publishing.

• 1-4 players, age 14+
• Playtime: 90-150 minutes
• Game type: Drafting, set collection, and tile placement among others
• Category: Competitive game, solitaire game
• Similar games: Wingspan, Terraforming Mars

$75
at Amazon

#Ark #Nova #excellent #board #game #wont #displacing #Wingspan #anytime


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