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!

Watch a video of this episode at: https://youtu.be/5VVSdv9OHus

First up this week: We face our fears as we plunge our hand in the unspeakable bag of the unknown in Arkham Horror The Card Game
Next up: It’s full steam ahead, roll right over our rivals in Brass Birmingham
And lastly: Be we privateer or pirate makes no never mind to as we press our luck at Port Royal

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Designed by: Nate French, Matthew Newman
Published by: Fantasy Flight Games (2016)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 60 – 120 min

In Arkham Horror the Card Game, you and your friends are investigators, in the quiet – yet not so quiet New England town of Arkham in the year 1925. 

Investigators co-operate, with each investigator bringing certain strengths and abilities to the group.  

Why the team? Because this is a region filled with cultists performing foul rituals, haunted houses and strange creatures, among many other “Lovecraftian” themes.  You must work together to uncover these bizarre and strange happenings. 

Perhaps most importantly, each character has a custom deck of cards which will reveal things such as their personal items, events that will unfold, and certain assets at their disposal. 

Character can choose 3 of the following actions:

  •  Draw a card from their deck
  •  play an event or asset card from their hand
  •  activate an ability
  •  investigate their location
  •  fight an enemy
  •  engage with an enemy
  •  evade an enemy

Many actions will require skill checks, which will be modified when you pick from a bag filled with mostly negative modifiers, adding depth and challenge to an otherwise seemingly easy action.

Keep your body alive, and equally important, keep your mind from going insane. Those who can maintain their wits are the ones who can save the world from the forces of darkness! 

Brass: Birmingham

Designed by: Gavan Brown, Matt Tolman, Martin Wallace
Published by: Roxley (2018)
Players: 2 – 4
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 60 – 120 min

Brass: Birmingham is an economic strategy game where players assume the role of competing historic entrepreneurs in Birmingham England during the industrial revolution.

The board has towns and cities connected by a series of canals and/or railways.  Entrepreneurs will develop, build, and establish industries of their choosing. They will also build their transportation networks, in an effort to make the most of a particular town’s market demands.

Each round, players will make two actions per turn. There are 6 possible actions a player can take:

  • Build an industry
  • Expand your Network 
  • Develop new technology 
  • Sell your goods
  • Take a Loan  
  • The new “Scout” action

The game is played over two halves: the canal era (years 1770-1830) and the rail era (years 1830-1870). To win the game, score the most victory points. Let’s start shoveling the coal into our engines and get this review of Brass Birmingham in locomotion! 

Port Royal

Designed by: Alexander Pfister
Published by: Pegasus Spiele (2014),  Steve Jackson Games (2017)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 20 – 50 min

Port Royal is a press-your-luck style card game. Set in the Carribean, Port Royal is the main port for all trade, commerce, and action in the region.

All players will draw from the deck of cards. On a turn, a player can draw as many cards as they like, one card at a time, placing each card into “the harbor”. 

Each card shows one of the following:

  •  A Person
  •  A Ship
  •  An Expedition 
  •  A Tax Increase

When a player draws a card and reveals a person or a ship, they place it in the harbor.  The more cards in the harbor, the more ships or people you can choose.

But beware – draw another ship with the same color flag on it into the harbor, their turn comes to a sudden end, and no cards may be chosen.

A player can stop drawing cards whenever they like. When done, each other player has the option of paying the active player one coin as a tribute, and then those other players, one at a time in turn order, may claim one card from the harbor.

People represent influence, and 12 influence points is the goal. The pirate with the most influence points is deemed the winner and is crowned the most feared and glorified pirate in that glorious sea faring capital named Port Royal!  Avast!

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