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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: We’re squirreling away the victory points before winter, in Hoarders
Next: We riffle-shuffle up some new human habitats in TerraForming Mars: Ares Expedition
Lastly: We’re stirring in troll eyes, spider legs, and a dash of dragon’s blood for the win in Alchemist

Hoarders

Designed by: Andy Niggles
Published by: Flatlined Games (2018)
Players: 3 – 6
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 15 min

Winter is coming…and the forest creatures are busy gathering nuts and hoarding food in preparation for the cold season. Your goal is to be the first to hoard five nuts of the same kind before anyone else.

Each player has a set of 5 animal cards: a squirrel – who takes a card from the draw pile, a raccoon – who steals a seed card from another player, a Hamster – who blocks stealing, a groundhog, who repeats the last card played and a beaver. 

Each player selects and sets aside two cards with which to play the round. In order and one at a time, they are uncovered and their effects The player who first gets five matching seed cards wins.

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition

Designed by: Sydney Engelstein, Jacob Fryxelius, Nick Little
Published by: FryxGames, Stronghold Games (2021)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 60 min

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition is an engine-building game in which players control interplanetary corporations with the goal of making Mars habitable and profitable.

A new, stand-alone game inspired by Terraforming Mars featuring faster card based gameplay.

Each player takes on the role of a corporation working to build oceans, raise the temperature, and increase the oxygen level in Mars’s atmosphere. This is accomplished during simultaneous play, through phases chosen by each of the players. Each player will have a handful of project cards which they will build and utilize in order to race their fellow entrepreneurs and gain the highest Terraforming Rating.

Alchemist

Designed by: Carlo A. Rossi
Published by: AMIGO & Mayfair Games (2007)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 50 – 60 min

It is the contest of Alchemists! The most talented adepts of the mystical art come from around the world to compete. They fill their cauldrons with exotic and rare ingredients, thereby creating new potions in the quest of fame and honor. In addition to demonstrating their talents by replicating their competitors’ potions, each has a secret goal: to promote the use of the ingredient his/her own school of magic values the most! The person who brings the most fame to his/her school and to himself/herself will be elected Supreme Adept!

It’s a contest of cubes and numbers! Define a recipe of 1-5 cubes and you’re awarded 2 cubes (according to the square where you define it) and you’re awarded 1-10 VP (according to your choice of the numbers 1-10 that remain). Henceforth anyone who duplicates that recipe gets the same 2 cubes and the same VP while paying you 1 cube from your recipe — but you can never duplicate your own recipe. The game ends when there are only two colors left in the general supply.

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