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Welcome to Which Game First where we boldly explore the hilariously huge world of board games. Did we unearth any hidden treasures you’ve been missing out on? Let’s find out!

First up this week: We head to the pub to swap tall tales in hopes of enthralling some rube into buying us the next round in The Secret Adventures of The Old Hellfire Club
Next up: We  build our empires under the sea through vigilance or violence in Aquatica 
And lastly: We do what the cards tell us to with a boxload of knick knacks in Beat That!

The Secret Adventures of The Old Hellfire Club

Designed by: Jamie Frew
Published by: Old Hellfire Games (2020)
Players: 2 – 8
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 30 – 75 min

In The Secret Adventures of The Old Hellfire Club, players take on the roles of the destitute final members of an ancient aristocratic secret society as they recount­ the tales of their greatest adventures to the patrons of the shadiest public houses of Old London Town. Using the numbered cards in their hands drawn from a deck of boasts for inspiration, the players will weave an elaborate tale of daring and adventure in the hope that the drinking den’s patrons will offer them a penny for their woes.The Boast Deck includes 100 cards in 10 suits themed around a full spectrum of Victorian melodrama including themes like perils and insults. At any time another player can challenge your version of the story by playing a lower card of the same suit from their own hand thereby taking the rewards for the story that would otherwise have been yours! When the tale reaches it’s thundering climax, whoever has been given the most pennies wins the game!

Aquatica

Designed by: Ivan Tuzovsky
Published by: Arcane Wonders / Cosmodrome (2020)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 60 min

In Aquatica, players become one of the mighty ocean kings, struggling to bring glory to their realm. Each player starts off with the same deck of characters which are used to capture or buy locations, recruit new characters for their deck, and complete goals. Players also start with 4 manta rays which represent resources or actions that can be used only once until their Matrona card is chosen to restore all spent mantas and characters.

Locations that are acquired are placed on a unique board that is used to track the progress of its full assimilation. As players move their location up the tracker it unlocks special abilities, resources, or even the coveted Wild Mantas until it reaches its last line and can be scored. 

Four special benchmark goals are printed on the board. If a player reaches one of these benchmarks they may sacrifice one of their mantas to claim victory there. The earlier a space is claimed, the more victory points it is worth. The game ends when a player has a manta in all four categories, or the deck of characters runs out.

Beat That!  –  The Bonkers Battle of Wacky Challenges!

Designed by: Kate Jenkins, Zak Walton
Published by: Gutter Games (2019)
Players: 2 – 8
Ages: 9 & up
Playing time: 40 – 90 min

In Beat That! players attempt to complete a series of ridiculous challenges using an assortment of seemingly random objects. The game consists of 10 rounds of challenges. All players attempt the exact same challenges each round. Each player starts with the same set of 10 betting tokens with values of either 1,3, or 5 points. Only one coin can be wagered each turn. All players then place a bet based on their faith in their own ability to complete the challenge.   

Can you bounce 2 balls into 2 cups at the same time using only one hand? How about racing to stack a pyramid of cups using your elbows with your eyes closed?

The challenges, split into the following 4 categories:

  • SOLO: Players attempt the challenge on their own
  • BATTLE ROYALE:  all players compete against each other
  • BUDDY UP:  work cooperatively with a partner
  • DUEL: go head-to-head against an opponent

Players who succeed bank their points. The player with the most points at the end of 10 rounds is the champion!

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