Noah is tearing out his beard as he doesn't have much time left to finish loading his ark. After all, the clouds are gathering and the rain could come at anytime. Meanwhile, the animals are gathering before the ark and waiting to be told who goes in which stalls. A handful of people have showed up to offer help, but they look like gamblers and game players!
In Ark, the players need to help load animals and supplies into Noah's ark in preparation for the rains to come – but you can't just shove animals into stalls willy-nilly. If the meat eaters are boarded with plant eaters, you won't have those plant eaters around by the time the water recedes. Animals from cold and warm climates also need to be bunked separately so that they can all be comfortable. On top of all that, you have to worry about the weight of the animals; load too many on one side of the ark and you'll all be treading water for the next forty days and forty nights...
The game consists of cards, animal tokens, and "action" discs. Your goal is to place your animal tokens (as victory points) based on characteristics of the animal and provision cards loaded on the "ark". Each player takes turns either placing cards or drawing cards from a face-up draft pile (Card Drafting) and the supply stack. Each card has characteristics (such as the animal size, diet, climate, scoring category, and special ability). Animals and provisions must be placed according to rules that prevent animals from eating each other, eating the supplies, or tipping the "ark" with their combined weight. When a card is played, the player may place a "victory point" animal token on one of the 5 scoring category cards. In this way, the game combines Tile Placement of the cards with Set Collection for types of victory points. The game ends when a fifth "Rain Card", somewhat randomly shuffled into the deck, is drawn. Players then score points for their animal tokens, and bonus points for having the most or second most tokens per category.
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