The Missing Expedition Diary 5: Solo vs Co-op Gameplay

Previously, we looked at some of the unique new meta game elements that add a lot of choice, story, and replayability to the expanded Search for Professor Kutil campaign that’s included in our upcoming Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition expansion. Next up, let’s explore what playing cooperatively brings to the experience.

The challenging six chapter campaign can be enjoyed entirely as a solo experience, but it also takes on a slightly different shape when you dive into it with another player cooperatively. In the newly added co-op mode, two players team up against an AI rival, while striving to complete the main challenges and bonus objectives of each chapter. Even with each other’s help, that’s no easy feat—by design.

A team building exercise

One of the bigger design challenges that arose in developing content for the expansion came from the decision to turn the campaign, which was a purely solo experience in the free PNP version released online previously, into a mode that could be enjoyed with a friend.

“We wanted it to become a cooperative two player campaign, and we had to think about ways to make that work,” says co-designer Mín. “Because, currently the player kind of accomplishes a lot in the solo campaign game, and if you add another player into the mix, then you need different goals. So we needed to mix it up a little bit and make it tougher, and make it possible for two players to play the game.”

As such, the scenario win conditions, as well as all of the bonus achievements in each scenario, scale upwards to boost the difficulty in a two-player game. It’s quite tough to complete all of the achievements in a given scenario on top of the main—even in a co-op game—which plays nicely into the teamwork aspect of this new mode. If you don’t work together carefully, you’re going to struggle. Fortunately, we’ve also added some new friends to give you a hand in your fruitful collaborations.

Birds of a feather

We’ve added a few more layers to encourage teamwork and interaction between players, as well. Including…[checks notes]…errr…cute carrier pigeons?

“The carrier pigeons add a cooperation element, where you can send your friend a resource,” says Mín. “It really helped us to make it even more cooperative, because now you can send jewels or something else of high value that can help them a lot, or you could be needing their help in return.”

Pigeon tokens are a free action that each can be used once per round to send a resource to the other player. They get exhausted after each use, and are flipped over to the nesting side of the token. The twist is that they don’t get refreshed until the next round. Also, the carrier pigeons don’t automatically return to their original owners each round; they stay with the player they’re with until they’re sent back. “So if I send you something with my pigeon, if you don’t send yours with something that round, the next time I can’t send anything,” she adds. “I really like that element of it.”

That’s not the only way players can interact either. In some scenarios, players will need to spend actions and resources to fulfill special goals on the board. In a co-op game, you can pool together the necessary resources for that between players, even though one player will still need to spend an action to complete the goal.

Some encounter card choices also give you an action or benefit that you can hang onto and use later in the game at any point you choose—these can be used freely by either player, not just the person who earned them. All of these nuances add up to a lot of interactivity in a co-op game, which is a very fresh and different way to play Arnak if you’re used to the flow of a regular game. We can’t wait to share this expansion with you soon enough!



The Missing Expedition is the second expansion for the base game  Lost Ruins of Arnak. It is for 1-4 players aged 12+ and takes about 30 minutes per player. The box contains 2 Leaders (Mechanic & Journalist; incl. player boards, starting decks, and other small components), 2 Research tracks, Campaign mode (solo or 2-player coop variant), Encounter cards (can be used both in the campaign and in the regular playthrough), Item & artifact cards (can be used both in the campaign and in the regular playthrough), Sites, guardians, assistants.
You can pre-order them now from us HeidelBÄRen in our online store!