Friday, August 03, 2007

Raiding the Lost Ark

I recently picked up a game from called The Ark of the Covenant. This is basically a version of the award winning Carcassonne, "for the Christian market" (say-eth their website). Since the game is set before Christ's birth, I would say that it should be for the Jewish (plus any expansions) market.


Ark, and Carc basically play the same. The game consists of drawing random tiles then playing them. Each tile will have various combinations of road, city, temple, and field on it. the tiles must be played so that road joins road, city to city, etc.

After you have played your tile, you can claim the features on it by putting one of your meeple (or followers) on it.

You gain points when you complete the various features that you have claimed.

Its a simple mechanic that has server the Carc line well. A surprising amount of strategy comes forth as you attempt to block your opponent's moves, and also try to guesstimate what moves will hold the biggest point payoff.First off, I must say that this game is great. I've only played Carcassonne online, but to me, this version is far better. The main differences in this version are in its simplified scoring of fields, inclusion of a "prophet" who scores cities at double the value, and the Ark, which you can move in lieu of placing a meeple, and score extra points with.

There are numerous expansions to the original Carc, so I'm not really sure how many of the changes came from other expansions. but I got the game for 15 dollars-ish with shipping, so it was well worth it, especially considering that Carc lists for $24.95 without any expansions.

I have to mention that I've seen several people online griping about the game's 'religious' theme. I've said that I find the game about as religious as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Which is to say, that it in practice you probably don't think about it too much.
There is a rule that says the whoever most recently read a passage from the bible gets to go first, but that rule gets 'passed over' at my house.Boardgamegeek rates the game a 7.4, which is fairly high for them. Its rank probably artificially dropped on BGG because A) It is a clone of a classic, and B) It has a tacked on religious theme, which is sure to get the game dropped several points by some people. I think it is much better than a 7.4, and if you can get the game for 15 bucks (maybe at again) It is totally worth it.

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