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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’re galactic trail blazers as we shrewdly navigate our ships and negotiate deals to be the next leader in Moonrakers
Next up: We’re power-hungry necromancers, vying to become the most blasphemous as we lead our undead hordes through the Nexus Infernum
And lastly: We’re savvy wranglers luring in the scariest beasts to display them at the fair on the Isle  of Monsters

Moonrakers

Designed by: Austin Harrison, Max Anderson
Published by: IV Games (2020)
Players: 1 – 5
Ages: 12 & up
Playing time: 60 – 120 min

Moonrakers is a deck-building card game. Each player’s deck consists of cards such as Thrusters, Shields, Weapons, Reactors, and Crew to fulfill contract requirements. Each type of Action card has additional effects such as drawing additional cards, taking additional actions, and protecting players from Hazards encountered while attempting Contracts.

Fulfilling contracts is the name of the game. Completing contracts earns a player Prestige (victory point) and Credits (money)

On their turn, a player can ask for help from their allies. Communicating direct information about a player’s hand of cards is forbidden, however, allies can offer suggestions about how they might be able to lend assistance with a particular contract.  

Allies negotiate who will receive the Prestige, Credits, and risk of Hazard from Contracts, but if you don’t make your offers enticing enough players may be tempted to betray you!

Gain special abilities by upgrading ships and hiring special Crew Members. They will be needed to complete more difficult and rewarding contracts. 

The first player to 10 Prestige wins, and goes into the MoonRaker Hall of Fame … on the Moon.

Nexus Infernum

Designed by: Petras Vaznelis, Adam Watts
Published by: Archon Games (2019)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 14 + up
Playing time: 1 – 2 hrs

In Nexus Infernum, each player assumes the role of a power-hungry Necromancer seeking to become the most blasphemous in the realm. Through command of their skeletal minions gathered in the Nexus, players will battle against one another in a struggle to control six portals and channel the energy that manifests within them. 

There are 5 different strains of dark arcana to channel, each denoted by their color:  red, blue, green, black, and purple. You will summon your skeleton minions whose job it is to collect the arcana. Collect them in sufficient quantities to unleash upgrades to your necromantic powers, such as enhancing your dice rolls, or the ability to move more of your skeleton minions freely. 

With the release of these upgrades of power come blasphemy points. These are the keys to victory.

Blasphemy points are also obtained by using your accumulated arcana to secure demons, who can also provide additional special enhancements.

But beware – the other necromancers can command their skeleton minions to attack your skeleton minions in an attempt to reduce your power, and steal your blasphemy points.

The first player to achieve 13 blasphemy points wins the game. Death and victory together never ever tasted so sweet!

Isle of Monsters

Designed by:  Joshua DeBonis, Nikola Risteski
Published by: Mayday Games (2017)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 20 – 45 min

Isle of Monsters is a set collection and resource-gathering game. Players assume the role of monster wranglers attempting to gather the scariest team of monsters they can find in order to compete in the local Scare Faire. Getting screams from the audience gets you acclaim, as does scaring the monsters owned by other players.

Each round, players claim monsters and attempt to feed them their favorite foods to get the beasts ready for the Scare Faire. Each monster that’s fully fed by the end of a round goes into that player’s hand and participates in the Scare Faire.

Each player chooses a single color of monster to play from their hand along with as many cards of that color as they wish. Once every player has chosen, the played cards are revealed simultaneously and the player with the highest total from their monsters gets three scream points. Players can also get bonus points for scaring other players’ monsters or from having more monsters in hand than any other player.

The player with the most scream points is declared the victor and the title of Grand Protector of the Isle of Monsters is bestowed upon them.

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