Arkosa is a game in which you are going to build a bunker, using mechanisms such as tableau-building and hand-management. In order to build this bunker to the best of your ability you will need to attract new settlers, collect resources and keep your population happy.
The goal of Arkosa is to gain as much reputation as possible. You get this reputation by collecting new colonists, building new rooms and keeping your colony happy. You do this during 3 rounds. However, this won't be made easy for you! During the game you will encounter hostile planet dwellers and certain events will occur. This can be either to your advantage or disadvantage. With these cards you will slowly find out what happened on the planet.
After the 3rd round, the player with the most reputation points will be rescued from the planet Arkosa and be the winner!
It took a while before we dared to put Arkosa on the table. The busy artwork, the various icons, the large amount of components, the playing time, and the extensive rulebook combined were fairly intimidating. Arkosa is a game with many options and variety. This makes the game quite a bit of figuring out beforehand, but this is well worth it!
Arkosa's artwork is very unique in our opinion. Besides being fairly busy, the artwork is also extremely detailed. The artwork fits well with the theme of the game. We think the drawing style is very similar to the drawing style from the Rick and Morty series. Personally we like the artwork, you can really see that the details have been thought of. However, we can also understand if the artwork is not your thing, but artwork is always personal.
As we mentioned, Arkosa is a really extensive game with lots of variety. The game contains an interesting combination of many recognizable game mechanics such as engine/tableau building, resource and hand management, set collection and even storytelling! This large amount of mechanisms can perhaps make the game feel a bit complicated. You certainly have a lot of (not always easy) choices, but the basics of the game are pretty simple! However, this does not mean that Arkosa is not a brain teaser, on the contrary, you have limited space in the game to make choices. You have to think carefully about the cards in your hand, the colonists in your bunker and the resources you collect. During the game you are faced with difficult choices because of this. This makes for interesting situations!
Arkosa is not incredibly focused on player interaction. Basically, you're just building the best bunker. The interaction between players comes from different colonists, the type of bunker you build and certain actions that go with it. So this can vary from game to game. Sometimes you do see a take that element in the interaction between players. For example, when there is an interesting colonist or room available that several players want. In that situation a small race element can arise where multiple players compete for a certain colonist or room. Not a fan of the take that element? Even then you can peacefully play Arkosa! This is because a special 'Network Harmony' version has been added to the game. This version removes certain cards from the game and the take that element disappears. As far as we are concerned, this is a big plus!
The replayability of Arkosa is great. You already start the game with an asymmetrical set up, in addition there are 3 different variants you can play in the rulebook. This in combination with the large amount of cards ensures that every game is different. There is a lot to discover in Arkosa!
Our favorite part of Arkosa are the event cards. There are 3 different event cards, these cards contain different events and can be either neutral, good or bad. These event cards contain fun flavor text and sometimes also a story telling element. With some cards you have to choose between different options. This reminds us of games like Above and Below and Near and Far. We like this very much.
Arkosa is an extensive game with lots of variety. Chances are that there is something among it that you like. We were a bit intimidated at first by the large amount of options, but after playing we are very happy with this variety. Arkosa simply has a lot to offer. The game is guaranteed to provide an evening of fun!
Pros and cons
+ Lots of variety and very extensive
+ High replayability
+ Different kinds of playing variants
- Playing time is quite high
- Artwork has to appeal to you
This game has been kindly gifted to us for preview purposes by Toonhammer. This preview was made using a prototype of the game. The final version may look different.