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Aquatica Unboxing and Components Review

I’ve said it 1000 times and I’ll say it again – board games with good inserts will always trump those without. Putting away a game and taking out a game should be a quick and effortless experience, and the fantastic insert makes this very true for Aquatica. You might be wondering why I started this unboxing and components review with such an odd statement, and it’s because I’m so dang impressed with how Aquatica packs up. But that’s only the surface of what is a beautifully produced title!


Aquatica has a lot going for it, both in theme and in components. The game is primarily a card game where you will be drafting and buying cards to play into your tableau, moving those cards up and acquiring different benefits as you go. There are also objectives to complete for points and so much more.

I know I gushed about the insert, but that isn’t even the most impressive part of the production – that prize goes to the player boards, which are dual layered and have slots for sliding cards into. As the game mechanics revolve around sliding cards and hiding specific abilities, it makes sense that this is the way the player boards need to be crafted. That being said, I’ve seen other companies find much cheaper alternatives (sliding cards under the board for example) but I’m so glad that the design team and Arcane Wonders opted to NOT do that.


The way the player boards are setup, however, will cause a slight issue for some board game consumers. The card quality in Aquatica is what I would call standard at this point. Not as fancy as a Stonemaier produced game, but not as bad as a Walmart or Target, massed produced product. The issue is – and this is NOT a problem for me – that some people like to sleeve their games, and unless you are buying VERY thin sleeves, they will not slide in and out of the board as nicely as you might want, or won’t slide in at all. I don’t generally sleeve my board games, so this isn’t a problem we will be having, but I do think it’s worth noting.

Alright, back to what is brilliant. The game comes with a ton of little manta ray tokens each with bonuses or player colours printed on them. I fully expected these to be cardboard tokens, and they so easily could have been. The design team, however, has opted for small plastic tokens and I’m a huge fan. It’s little things like that that make a game so much more enjoyable to play, but also show how much care and dedication went into designing the games components. Does it add and extra cost to the game? Probably, but not overwhelmingly so.

Is Aquatica Worth it For Solo? A Review | You Stole My Move! | BoardGameGeek

In my opinion, everything about the production of this title points to a development and design team that cares about the product they are releasing. Higher quality cards would have been nice, but as many interviews with designers has told me, this is the most expensive part of a game to upgrade. The card quality, however, is perfectly serviceable un-sleeved. I cannot wait to get this one down to the table in the near future!


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel