Review: ArchRavels

In ArchRavels you will compete in a friendly competition with other creatives. Collect yarn in certain colors to create the most beautiful patterns.

Publisher

XYZ Game Labs

35
minutes

€45
cost

2-4
players

ArchRavels

Game explanation

In ArchRavels you will enter a friendly competition with other creatives. In order to win, you must create the most beautiful patterns. You do this by collecting yarn at the bazaar and turn it into bears, hats, blankets, mittens or scarves. You can then use these crafts to complete projects. If you can make the most beautiful projects, you will be the winner of the competition!

You set up ArchRavels by placing the game board in the middle. On this board, you place the covered deck of yarn cards, with special request cards and event cards shuffled through them. At the beginning of the game, you immediately place 6 cards on the designated spots. This forms the supply. In addition to the game board, you also have your own player board. This board is different for each player because you play a particular character. On your own player board you put a bear, mitten and scarf pattern tile on the empty spaces. This shows what and how much yarn it costs to make the object. You also place a bowl next to the player board where you can keep your yarn. At the beginning you get 1 yarn of each color.

The goal of the game is to save as many points as possible by crafting objects with yarn and eventually completing projects with them. On your player board there are 4 different actions that are slightly different for each player. There are 3 phases in the game that you go through each turn.

Phase 1: Take an action

You take an action by moving your action marker to an empty space on your player board. So you can never use the same action twice in a row. You can take 4 different actions here, namely: shopping, crafting, exchanging or unique actions. 

Shopping: During the store action, you can grab the specified number of yarn cards from the offer. These cards indicate which color yarn you may take. These tokens are placed in your bowl. There are also wild cards for which you may take a yarn token of your choice.

Crafting: If you have the required yarn tokens you may start making an object. You may create the specified number of objects during this action. To create an object, hand in the required number of yarn tokens and take the object from the supply.

Exchanging You can use this action to exchange a number of yarn tokens of the same color for yarn tokens of another color. You can do this if you need a lot of the same color and there are only cards of another color in the supply.

Unique actions: Each player has a set of unique actions. This can be that you may shop once and craft an item immediately after.

Phase 2: Restock the yarn bazaar

If you have taken cards in the previous phase, you must replenish the bazaar. You do this by filling the empty spaces with cards from the face-down deck. It can happen that an event or special request cards is turned over. Events show certain actions that you perform immediately, such as discarding a yarn token. Special requests are similar to projects and must be taken by yourself or given to the opponent. Each player has a favorite special request, if you manage to find it and fulfill it you get extra points for it.

Phase 3: Take restock actions

During this phase you may complete projects by handing in the required items. Projects score more points than the items they require. You may also upgrade a pattern tile. You do this by paying the cost of the tile and then turning it over. This makes the crafting of an object easier from now on.

The game ends when there are less than 3 project cards in the supply. You may then finish your turn and all other players may use their yarn to complete 1 more item or special request. Now you add up the points of your project and items and subtract unfinished special requests and remaining yarn. The player with the most points wins the game.

Yarn market
Character board

Our thoughts 

ArchRavels is a game with beautiful artwork and components. The artwork was immediately a plus for us. On the other hand, at first glance, the game also had an immediate downside for us, namely its main game mechanics. After all, ArchRavels is primarily an 'order completion' game. We have played several such games but were never the biggest fans of the mechanism. Therefore, we were a bit afraid that ArchRavels would disappoint us. Fortunately, this game has proven us wrong! We can appreciate order completion games after all.
 
The game is very simple at its base and mainly revolves around collecting yarn and completing projects. Yet ArchRavels offers more than that. Several elements have been added such as card drafting, set collection and the well-known take that element. In addition, each player plays with their own character that has special properties. This ensures that ArchRavels is simple, yet has much to offer. This surprised us very much. 
 

Some order completion games can feel very repetitive. In some cases, you're really just collecting stuff to eventually complete a project. This is not the case with ArchRavels. You have to deal with different game elements and perform a different action each turn. In addition, you can choose different projects to complete. This allows for a lot of variation. As far as we are concerned, this is really a plus for ArchRavels. Another plus is the interaction between players. You already have interaction through the take that element where you can grab just the right card from each other's noses. In addition, the event cards also ensure that you sometimes have to give each other yarn or that other players have to discard yarn. There is both positive and negative player interaction in ArchRavels. As far as we are concerned, this is a good balance and the interaction in ArchRavels does not feel like bullying. 

Another thing we noticed is the great diversity in the character boards. ArchRavels shows that everyone can be creative with crochet. So the boards don't only look very nice, but also have a nice message. A lot of thought has gone into this. Yet the character boards also have a downside, namely they are not well balanced. Some characters have stronger abilities than others. This can sometimes feel a bit unfair during a game of ArchRavels. Furthermore, it is very nice that there are many different character boards, this increases the replayability enormously! Each character card offers new possibilities and allows you to follow a new strategy. 

ArchRavels has positively surprised us and will definitely remain in our collection. The game is simple enough to play with novice players and maybe even children, but it also offers enough options for experienced players. So ArchRavels definitely has potential to be on the table more often. ArchRavels is a lot of fun and you'll want to have this game anyway for the beautiful artwork and insert!

Insert
UNICORNS

Playing with 2 players

ArchRavels has separate rules for 2 players. So you have fewer project cards and also fewer yarn and event cards. This is done so that the game is finished as quickly as a game with multiple players. Of course, as usual, you also play a bit faster because your turn comes faster. We think that this makes the game just a bit more fun with 2 than with more.

 Pros and cons

+ Fun theme
A lot of additions for replayability
+ Interaction

- Little depth

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This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by XYZ Game Labs.