Updated: Nov 20, 2019
This game from designer Martin Wallace premiered at last year's Essen Spiel. Published by Game's Up, it has suffered from inevitable comparison with the seemingly similarly themed Inis, which was more colourful and attracted rather more attention at Essen and since. That is unfortunate as The Arrival is an intriguing game.
Players draw cards that offer them a sequence of actions set out along three rows. Players have to select the row of actions they will take but they must do so on the basis of only partial information. Players are expanding and scoring for their fortifications in Ireland on a Fame point track, and their Fame points can be spent as well as earned. Their markers also move on a Corruption track depending on how many Fomori they cause to be unleashed and how many they repel.
The Fomori are demonic creatures invading from castles at the north of the map. It is the extent of their progress that determines the precise winning condition: if the Fomori control fewer locations than all the tribes (players) combined, then the winner is the player with the highest score on the Fame point track. If the Fomori control the same number or more locations than the tribes, then the winner is the player with the lowest score on the Corruption track.
Games can be finely balanced between these two conditions, so players have to work not just to optimise their scores on the relevant tracks but also to ensure the position of the Fomori is most favourable to them rather than their rivals.