Board Game of the Month: Ark

Today’s blog is the first in a series from our copy intern, Jaden Blazier. Jaden is a big fan of board games and will be reviewing a few of her favorites. Enjoy!

Rain or shine, board games are always a great activity! While this one doesn’t physically include a board (it’s more of a complicated card game), it’s still one of my all time favorites. Ark is a game of strategy, logic, and cute animals. It’s the perfect blend!

Ark

I’m sure we’re all enjoying the nice summer weather that’s finally made it to the Pacific Northwest, but you couldn’t say the same for Noah. With the treacherous 40 day storm just around the corner, there is work to be done on his ark. It couldn’t have been easy building such a giant boat, and he’s now facing the challenge of getting animals of all kinds settled onboard before the flood. Do you think that you could handle it? Now you can see for yourself!

This game is a 45 minute journey into the land of the Ark. Three to five people above age 8 (including you!) will be placed in the stressful, yet exciting, situation of finding safe places for all of the animals on the boat before the rain hits. Sounds easy? Well, here’s the catch: each animal has needs that must be satisfied. Maybe you play the koala bear card, and this koala is a slow, herbivorous, sunshine-loving creature. He must be placed in a cabin with other sunshine animals so he doesn’t freeze, without any provisions because he might eat them, and without any carnivores that might eat him. Oh, and don’t bother trying to get anyone else on the boat in that turn, this is one slow critter. Complicated enough yet? He also weighs 1 whole unit, and you wouldn’t want to tip the boat!

With a handful of animals of all shapes, sizes, and needs, fitting them all together can be quite challenging. However, finding places for these needy creatures will be rewarding! Every time you successfully place something of a certain category on the boat, you earn points in that category. Your koala would earn you a point in the “slow” category, and the food you placed in the cabin next to him would earn you a point in the “provisions” category. At the end of the game, those with the most points in each category will get bonuses, and the player with the most points wins the game! See how many points you can collect and how many animals you can get onto the boat before the final rain-card is drawn and the boat sets sail.

It may sound a little bit overwhelming, but it is a surprisingly fun game, especially for an animal lover like me. The one downside to this game is that it can get frustrating at times. Finding a good spot to place an animal takes some thought, simply because there is so much to consider. Sometimes you might feel like giving up entirely, but persistence pays off. It always feels great once you figure it out, and it really is worth the effort!

Other than being a tad tricky, I give much praise to the game.The first time I played it, I was less focused on the actual game and more enchanted by the beautiful artwork included. Each animal is drawn with charm, sealing the deal for me. Ark was designed by Frank Nestel, my favorite board game designer. He is well known for all of the animals and critters in his games, and this one is no exception. The characters are made loveable to keep you absorbed in the fantastical world created by the game; you’ll want to play it again and again!

A few of the playing cards from Ark

I would certainly recommend Ark, a game suited for family or friends. It is the perfect choice for a laid-back game night, or simply a fun activity for a day in. It may not be very applicable to the real world, but it does indeed develop strategic skills, and is plenty enjoyable for those with big imaginations. Ark is definitely worth a try. I mean really, who doesn’t love a challenge, some competition, and cute animals? Just get them all on the Ark before the storm and you’ll be set!

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“Rock On!”

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