Like many other people, we have a lot more hobbies other then board games. I myself am pretty creative and also like to paint or create things in my free time. Unfortunately I have not (yet) learned the art of knitting in order to make my own accessories, clothes or even stuffed animals. But as a crafter of many things myself, this game made me excited in the moment I saw it. Let’s see how many things we can craft in one game.

How to Play.

The setup of this game is quick and easy since Arch Ravels has a good insert that you can take out and play with. Choose a player board (or pick it random) and take a yarn bowl and action marker that fits with your player. Take one yarn of each color to place in your bowl and randomly take one bear pattern tile, mitten tile and scarf tile to place on your player board. Next place the insert with the yarn and items in reach of all players and set up the game board. Shuffle the yarn and event cards together, then find each favorite special request from every player and shuffle it together with one random request per player in the top half of the yarn deck. Reveal six yarn cards from the deck to start with, if there are any requests or events, shuffle them back into the deck and draw until you have six yarn cards. Lastly take the amount of project cards according to the amount of players, shuffle them and reveal the top three cards. These will be projects you can turn in to receive points.

On your turn you go through three steps and you start with player actions. Each player board shows what actions you can take. In order to choose your action, take your action pawn and move it to the action you want to take. You have to move your pawn each turn and can’t stay on the same action. You can choose to shop, which allows you to take an amount of cards from the yarn bazaar. You player board will tell you how many items or cards you may take or craft. Some characters might be able to craft more items in a turn, while others could take more yarn for example. Choose wisely during the setup. Discard the cards to get the yarn in your yarn bowl. If you have enough yarn, you can choose to craft items. Simply place the yarn from your bowl back into the supply and take the items you want to craft. You can also choose to exchange yarn of one color for the same amount of a different color. Lastly, each character has a unique action to take. This could be taking a couple of yarn cards and still being able to craft one item at the same time for example. Each action icon is also explained on the reference cards for each player.

In step two, you restock the yarn bazaar with cards from the yarn deck. All the cards you have chosen during a shop action, are now refilled. If you draw any events, resolve them immediately before discarding them. If you draw special requests, you can not discard them. Instead of discarding, choose if you want to keep them or if you give them to another player. If special requests are not completed before the end of the game, you will get minus points. Each special request shows you what yarn is needed in order to complete them and how many points you will receive. All players also have a favorite special request that they like to make. If you complete your special request, you will get five extra points at the end of the game.

In the last step, you may finish projects, learn patterns or frog items. You can do all those actions as many times as possible if you want to. In order to finish a project, simply turn in the items you have crafted that matches the project. Place the completed project next to your player board and reveal a new project. At the end of the game, the completed project will bring you points. Learning a pattern can make it easier to craft items. In the beginning of the game you have received three tiles with a bear pattern, mitten pattern and scarf pattern. In order to craft those items, you will need the exact colors and amount of yarn that is indicated on that tile. If you learn the pattern, you may flip the tile to the other side. This not only provides you with points at the end of the game, it also allows you to use more colors when crafting the item, making it easier to craft. To learn a pattern, simply discard a crafted item that you want to learn back to the supply. Lastly you can frog an item. To frog an item, turn in items and take back the yarn you used to make them. This could come in handy if you decided to take on another project or if you need more yarn for a special request.

The game ends when there are less then three projects available. When this happens, each player except for the active player, may still use their yarn to craft one item or special request. They may not learn patterns or finish projects in this last turn. Once all turns have ended, count your total score by adding the scores of finished projects, finished special requests, learned patterns and remaining items. If you have leftover yarn, you receive one minus point for each leftover. Special requests that are not finished, will also give you minus points. The player with the most points is the winner.

Playthrough of the game.

With character Amara on my side and Tomasz playing as Ted, we were ready to craft as many items as possible. The first few turns, we were mostly gathering yarn and seeing what we needed in order to finish projects. Tomasz wanted to learn his patterns first so he could craft items easier, but soon I had all the items I needed to already deliver a project which gave me an advantage in points. After a couple of turns, Tomasz his yarn bowl was filling up nice and he was lucky to draw two special requests and decided to keep them. Since they give many minus points if they are not crafted before the end of the game, he suddenly had to give in a lot of his yarn to complete them. Meanwhile I was still finishing projects where some of them were worth more points then his special requests. Of course it didn’t help him to draw some events that forced him to donate some of his yarn to me. At the end of the game, I won with only a couple of points difference. Tomasz regretted he didn’t gave at least one of those special requests to me, since it would prevent me from finishing projects or it would give me minus points.

We have enjoyed Arch Ravels so far quite a lot and have played several games now. Don’t worry, Tomasz has now loaded me with special requests in every following game. We did notice there are some pretty big differences in the characters. Amara for example can craft up to four items during her turn while Ted can only craft two. This means I could finish an entire project in one turn if I have all the yarn I need to craft the items. When playing with only two players, we found it more balanced to not pick someone like Amara. Every characters has it’s strengths and weaknesses. However when you don’t go through the complete yarn deck since you’re only with two players, you might miss out on events which would normally balance the game more. But like with almost every game, the more you play it, the better you learn to play.

Final Thoughts.

Arch Ravels is a card drafting set collection game where you have to craft items in order to complete projects and earn points. We found it very satisfying to collect the yarn you need, then craft items and finally turn in projects. The game setup is quick and easy since you can partially take out the insert that contains all the yarn colors and items separated. There are some events which add fun twists, however with two players only, you might not go through the whole deck and get all the events in one game. We have learned that in Arch ravels it’s not always a good idea to take on every project for yourself, but rather share the work with other players so you can focus on getting things done yourself. The game looks good, is easy to learn and the flow of the game works very well to. Overall this is a very nice game to play when you have had a busy day in work and just want to relax.

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