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 go on a card-drafting tour around the globe in Boomerang
Next: We walk with the animals and talk with the animals in Ark Nova
Lastly: We continue our exploration of TV-themed games from yesteryear in Space 1999

Boomerang: USA

Designed by: Scott Almes
Published by: Grail Games (2020)
Players: 2 – 4
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 15 – 30 minutes

Boomerang is a draft and write game, in which each player will travel on routes across the country to score the most points.

Each player gets a map of the USA, which is filled with letters along routes spanning the map. Deal 7 cards to each player. Draft 1 card, and place it face down. Then pass and draft again, face up for all the remaining 6 cards.

Then score your hand. Compare the last card to the first card and score the difference. Next icons by their colors  – green, yellow and blue – and each color of icons in your hand get scored differently.  Finally, each card has a letter, so mark those on your maps. Be the first to build a transcontinental route for bonus points, and regions filled first also get bonus points.

Play four rounds, the player with the most points wins, and gets to come back and play Boomerang again!

Ark Nova

Designed by: Mathias Wigge
Published by: Feuerland Spiele & Capstone Games (2021)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 90 – 150 minutes

In Ark Nova, you will plan and design a modern, scientifically managed zoo. Build enclosures, accommodate animals, and support conservation projects all over the world to achieve your goals. 

The more appealing your zoo, the more income it will earn. The more conservation you perform, then you get to unlock special workers and special buildings. And the more knowledgeable you become, the more animals and specialists and facilities you can access.

Then there are the action cards. Each player has a set of five action cards:

  • ANIMALS: Allows you to accommodate animals in your zoo.
  • ASSOCIATION: Allows your association workers to carry out different tasks.
  • BUILD: Allows you to build standard or special enclosures, kiosks, and pavilions.
  • CARDS: Allows you to gain new zoo cards (animals, sponsors, and conservation project cards).
  • SPONSORS: Allows you to play a sponsor card in your zoo or to raise money.

Players place their action cards in any order they choose. Take your action, resolve you action, then move the action to the end of line where it is least powerful. All other action cards then get shift to better positions.

The game ends when one player’s pair of scoring markers meet. The player whose green track marker is farther ahead of their black track marker is the winner, and becomes the newest zooiest revieweiset enthusiast in the world!

Space: 1999

Designed by: (Uncredited)
Published by: Milton Bradley (1976)
Players: 2 – 4
Ages: 8 to 12
Playing time: (unlisted)

The goal of the game is be the first player to move your 4 spaceships home. During your turn, you can move 1 piece, by either moving 1 space, or ‘jumping’ over any ship or ships, checkers-style.

After you move, you then roll a die and the board spins from 1 to 3 spaces left or right! The first player to move all 4 of their spaceships home wins!

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