A Cooperative Mode For Lost Ruins of Arnak


In last week’s entry of Co-op Gestalt, we discussed the Lost Ruins of Arnak, a 1-4 Player Worker Placement/Deck-Building game that is a competitive “get-the-most-victory-points” game. Some of my friends have loved this (beautiful production, lots of choices) and some of my friends hated it (too fiddly, bad online implementation, the “disparity of experience” problem). The conclusion of last week’s blog was simple: The Lost Ruins of Arnak needs a cooperative mode to help bring in the detractors.

So, I put my money where my mouth was. I mean, this is a cooperative games blog after all. Included somewhere below is a cooperative mode for Lost Ruins of Arnak. It’s only 18 cards and a page or two of additional rules.

Cooperative Mode


The cooperative mode adds two new sets of cards:

  1. 14 Shadow Creatures Motivations
  2. 4 Character Cards

The basic premise is that the players must work together to defeat some Aliens threatening the Earth! From the Introduction:

Some strange, shadowy creatures have been spotted in major metropolitan areas across the globe! These strange creatures, dubbed “The Shadow Creatures” have been dealing chaos, havoc, and damage everywhere they appear! What do the Shadow Creatures want? What are their motivations?

With the world in chaos, major governments have shared all their intel on the Shadow Creatures. Synthesizing this collective intel, the world’s top researchers have gleaned that the Shadow Creatures have some connection to the Lost Ruins of Arnak. But what is that connection?

The answer lies nears the site of the Lost Ruins of Arnak! The researchers must travel there to find the answer! Using research, exploration, smarts, and a little luck, the researchers will work together to discover the Shadow Creatures motivations and the appropriate response!

Can the researchers figure out the Shadow Creatures motivations before time runs out and the Earth is destroyed? Can YOU help them?

To win the game, players must together discover and satisfy the Shadow Creature Motivations to save the Earth!

At the start of the game, the players choose two Motivations cards (called Characteristics in the original 3×5 card version) which will set the victory conditions for the game.


At the end of the 5th round, the players must collectively be able to satisfy BOTH conditions to win the game. The rest of the game essentially stays the same, but all the victory points are unused as the Shadow Creatures Motivations (see above) take over for deciding victory points. No one cares about victory points when saving the Earth.


There aren’t any rule changes, but a couple of additions:

  1. Players can share resources at the start of round
  2. Players can do “research” to flip the Shadow Creatures Motivations up early.

The Shadow Creatures Motivation cards are face-down at the start of the game: they get flipped face-up at the start of rounds 4 and 5.   It can be too late to do what’s necessary, so there are mechanics for “Researching Motivations” so you can flip the Motivations earlier.   See the picture below for the original rules for how Researching Motivations work.  The full rules are available in the PDF at the end.


Essentially, players cooperatively have to choose when to use resources to build engines or research motivations.  This is one of the things the players will have to discuss!



One of the things the cooperative mode adds is a unique character card for each player.  Why?  Firstly, because variable-player powers in cooperative games tends (for me anyways) to make co-op game more fun!  Do you want to play “MoneyBags” Thad or “Sky-King” Cooper or “Deal-man” Kerns or “Inspirational” Allison?  More fun!  However, more importantly, the addition of variable players powers helps balance the game:  the Research Motivations actions costs extra resources and by giving characters extra resources, we are preserving the original balance from the original game. 


Solo Mode


The cooperative mode essentially adds a couple of new solo modes to the Lost Ruins of Arnak! The cooperative mode scales from 1 to 4 Players, so you can play solo by playing the cooperative mode with one player controlling 1 character. For a harder solo mode, a solo player can control 2 characters in the cooperative mode.

Alpha Version


So, directly below is the PDF that describes version 1.0.0 of the cooperative rules. This is the Alpha version of the rules: they work, we’ve play-tested them, and we like them, but there are still some rough corners. We are releasing this partly so we can get feedback. Was any Motivations too easy? Too hard? Do certain actions require clarification?

Lost Ruins Of Arnak Cooperative Mode (PDF)  Version 1.0.0 

Please feel free to send us email at returnfromsubroutine@gmail.com.



I’ve really enjoyed my competitive and cooperative plays of The Lost Ruins of Arnak. Hopefully, the addition of the cooperative mode will bring in some of friends who didn’t like the original game.

5 thoughts on “A Cooperative Mode For Lost Ruins of Arnak

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