Update: Ark: Awakening has launched on Kickstarter, and the campaign will run for 29 days. The game comes in a standard and a premium version. Premium has wooden resource tokens instead of acrylic gems, tiles instead of cardstock rooms, two more factions, and adds a 5th player. The standard version has a cheaper, early-bird pledge tier.
Our preview post below was published on February 19.
Ark: Awakening is a 1-4 player sci-fi worker placement game, scheduled to launch on Kickstarter on February 25.
You suddenly wake up from cryogenic sleep and find yourself on an unfamiliar planet. With your team of engineers, you begin to explore and activate the spaces that surround you. But so do your opponents... Each tile represents a room of the Ark (power generator, med lab etc.). Each room gives you a certain resource or benefit (e.g. you can restore health in the med lab or mine ore in the ore extraction room). You have a number of power tokens that you place on the tiles, and the more tokens you place, the more resources you get.
On your turn, you reveal 3 tiles, then take an action from the ones shown on your player board: this can be military development, power generating, moving your engineers, producing or exploiting resources, or discovering/using artifacts. When you have collected at least 5 artifacts, you may choose to discard 3 in order to reveal one card from the mission deck. This card shows your win condition: for example, if your mission is to 'escape the Ark', the card shows the three rooms you have to activate in order to achieve this.
One function of your engineer workers is to move on the tiles in order to place 'integration cubes'. If you place more cubes than your opponent, you take control of the alien technology and can reap the benefits of the room exclusively for yourself. If your opponent lands on the same tile as you, combat ensues (resolved by comparing military strength and artifact value).
In the solo/co-op mode, you play against the Guardians AI. These defenders of the Ark move along the corridors each turn and destroy anything you have placed in the rooms they enter.