UK Games Expo 2018 was every boardgame fan’s dream. From party games and family favourites to elaborate miniatures and fantasy RPGs. The credit card certainly took a bashing that weekend, but there was one game which we weren’t able to purchase (due to it not actually being out), yet it left a rather lasting impression.
In The Old Hellfire Club two to six 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. Drawing on the cards in their hands for inspiration, players weave an ever more elaborate (although far from honest) tale of daring and adventure in the hope that the drinking den’s patrons will offer them a penny for their woes. As competition for the pennies on offer increases, so too do the exaggerations and outright lies players tell about their role in the story in the hope of making themselves seem more deserving. At any time, a player can challenge anothers versions of the story by playing a less impressive card from their own hand, thereby revealing the exaggeration and taking the rewards for the story. When the tale reaches its climax, whoever has been given the most pennies wins the game.
You can win pennies by getting away with telling extravagant lies about the adventures you had (by playing
high value Boast Cards without being successfully challenged by other players), through the charity of
strangers (by meeting the conditions set out on certain Patron Cards), and by satisfying the predilections of
the mysterious benefactors lurking in the audience (by successfully playing the most cards from a particular
suit over the course of the game).
While there’s still some time until you can physically purchase The Old Hellfire Club, which launches on Kickstarter on 9 April 2019, the developers have launched a free….yes free….print and play version of the game, meaning you can print your own copies of the cards and play with friends.
You can download a copy of the file by visiting The Old Hellfire Club’s profile on Boardgame Geek. I cannot rate this game highly enough. While I was sceptical at first because, in all honesty, I’m not that great at creating stories on the spot, especially those set in Victorian England, The Old Hellfire Club was incredibly quick to pick up. During the preview at UK Games Expo there were quite a few laughs, particularly when I joined Karl Marx for a gin or two. Who knows where future tales may lead.
To stay up to date with the latest developments on The Old Hellfire Club and to find out more interesting facts about the cast make sure you Like the Facebook page.