Ark Nova is a hot new board game created by first-time designer, Mathias Wigge, and published by Feuerland Spiele. There is a ton of information about Ark Nova on Board Game Geek. Basically, it’s a game about building a modern zoo with some conservationist aspects woven into the theme and mechanics. I like most types of games, but this was not really one that I would not normally be super fired up to play. Not that I wouldn’t play it, it’s just not in my wheelhouse. It sounded a little bit derivative and a lot like tedious work to me!

When I saw the social media blitz and cover art for Ark Nova I thought, “cool, I guess we’ll be putting animals on a spaceship bound for another planet? Probably just a slight twist on other puzzly, euro style animal games like Barenpark or New York Zoo. Do we need another one? Not sure. I guess we’ll see how it goes.” Did I sound a little indifferent to myself? Well, I was.

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Since the emergence of Kickstarter as a juggernaut for tabletop board game releases, I have learned that social media blitzes and hype are not a perfect indicator of whether a game is going to be good, at least for me. So, I figured I’d let the dust settle after the game was actually released to see if it still got all the post-hype love as well. I “finally” got to try Ark Nova out with a buddy of mine recently. (He was all-in on the hype, by the way) We played for 3+ hours and I won, even! So what did we think of it after the first play? The short of it is, it was good. There was a lot to digest, but it was tasty and went down smoothly. If the theme sounds interesting to you, and you like building engines through crunchy choices, I highly recommend checking it out. How good was it and was the hype warranted? Our longer answer is in this video.


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RELATED: Read Rob’s board game reviews and recommendations, here!

This article was originally published in June 2022. 

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