Designing a Box Cover for Expedition Leaders

Weaving a compelling story through thoughtful visual design and extensive worldbuilding is a key part of what we set out to deliver in Lost Ruins of Arnak. With the Expedition Leaders expansion, we’re focusing on introducing new characters that add nuance, personality, and variety to the Arnak experience. We recently sat down with illustrator Ondra Hrdina to share more about what went into crafting the stunning box art for the upcoming expansion.

From the beginning, everyone on the team knew that the leaders themselves would be the centerpiece of the expansion. Our goal was to create a unique and diverse set of characters. Each had to be interesting and distinct in their own way—but still had to look as if they all belonged in the jungle, so that they didn’t feel lost or out of place within the game’s world. But once the characters’ drafts were ready, the work on the box could begin.

“I started with the leaders’ gestures and overall composition,” says artist Ondra Hrdina. “I only created the backdrop after the fact, so that the elements fit properly into perspective.”

Box art progress – from early drafts to the final art. You can read more about how the box art came to life in this BGG forum post:

The leaders appear not only on the game box but also on the player boards—so their visual designs had to be refined right down to even the tiniest details.

For Ondra, the biggest challenge was getting their feel right. The falconer, which is at the front of the composition, is free-spirited and in tune with nature, the male character in the background more mysterious and spiritual, and the lady in white more pragmatic and confident. “Reflecting that in their design was the hardest for me, since I am not that big of a character artist,” he adds.

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When creating the whole setting, Ondra Hrdina also had to keep in mind an extra element that we wanted to keep—and that’s the fact that the box covers for the base game and Expedition Leaders, when placed side-by-side, create a single continuous scene.

As for the composition and the feeling, the two boxes both aim to communicate slightly different ideas. Ondra summarizes it quite nicely: “Whereas the base game box art aimed to convey the sense of joy and excitement of finding the lost ruins together, this time around we wanted to focus more on the individual archaeologists, their approach to things, and their quirks. Thus, they take the center stage and the ruins they are discovering are relegated to the background and are not a focal point like before.”


But what was the most challenging thing in the process of box creation? “Character art is way harder for me than landscape art,” says Ondra. “So the biggest challenges were honestly the characters and portraying them so they didn’t look all wrong. And I overcame it by making iterations upon iterations and discussing everything with the team.”

Going through numerous iterations, taking feedback, and implementing revisions is always a very hands-on and collaborative process at CGE. It’s a lot of hard work, but in the end, it’s rewarding to see everything come together.

“I really like the colours and the lighting,” Ondra says, noting they’re his favorite part of the final cover design. “It may not be what most people notice or focus on, however, I feared I couldn’t make all those characters fit in the jungle, colour and contrast-wise, but I am happy with how it turned out.”

Published on

on June, the 23rd 2021.