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 write narrative masterpieces one card at a time in Hardback
Next:  We gather in the forest to bet on which of our magic animals will become legends in Equinox
And lastly: We space traveling explorers logging our latest finds in Big Monsters


Designed by: Jeff Beck, Tim Fowers
Published by: Fowers Games (2018)
Players: 1 – 5
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 45 – 90 minutes

Hardback is a deck building card game where the object is to spell out words that yield the most points.

All players begin with a starter deck. Draw five cards and spell a word using the cards. Cards can count for VP’s or as money to buy new cards from the community pool. If you are in need of a specific letter that you don’t have in your hand, you can create that specific letter by using any other card in your hand as a wild card. The trade off is that wildcards do not yield VPs or money.

The cards are also arranged by suits, or in this case, genres. If you play two or more cards with the same genre in the same word, it triggers special scoring and actions.

Use money to buy new cards, or to buy ink. Ink allows you to add cards to your hand from your deck.  But be careful … if you draw a card using ink, that letter must be played and can not be turned into a wild card. It might alter your plans for crafting that perfect word.


Designed by: Reiner Knizia
Published by: Plan B Games (2021)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 40 – 60 minutes

Equinox is a card game of predictions, where the object is to place your bets on which 3 out of the 8 creatures of the forest will make it to the end of the game. The better your bets, the more points you get.

Each creature is a column, and five rows with each row represents a round. An animal is going to be eliminated from advancing to the next round.

Players have 8 cards in their hands. Cards are any of the 8 animals, numbered 0 through 10. 10 is the strongest value. SO if you have a 10 of bunny rabbits in your hand, chances are pretty good that the bunny rabbit is going to survive the first round.

With that information in mind, you start by placing your bet on which animal will survive the round. I have 10 bunnies, so I’m going to bet that bunnies will survive the first round.  I place one of my stones in that position on the grid.

Everyone places their bets, then the cards start filling the row, one player at a time, one card at a time.  My turn, down goes the 10 of bunnies on the row where my bet lands. Now it’s Ed’s turn, and OH NO, he also had a bunny in his hand, the 0 of bunnies.  He just changed my 10 into a 0. Now my bet looks terrible.

Once players are done placing cards and establishing the strength of each of the 8 animals, I see that my bunny is a 0, the lowest of all the scores in the first round.  Bunny is eliminated, and my first round bet is not going to score me any points at the end of the game.

Lots more rules, but that’s the basics. Do this for 5 rounds or until there are no more animal cards to play. The three animals that survive to the end, each player adds up their bets for those animals  – highest score wins. And such is the school of hard Equinox.

Big Monster

Designed by: Dimitri Perrier
Published by: Explor8 (2018)
Players: 2 – 6
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 25 Minutes

You are an explorer who has been traveling through space, looking for new planets for the Federation, and you have just discovered one not yet indexed! This is an opportunity to identify new creatures, discover rare resources, and fulfill intergalactic missions. This is the challenge you are facing: Earn the most victory points in order to make your exploration successful!

Big Monster is a “smart drafting” and tile-laying game that’s played in two rounds. On a turn, each player (simultaneously) chooses a tile from their hand, places it face down in front of them, then immediately gives their remaining tiles to another player of their choice who hasn’t already been given tiles. That is what’s defined as “smart drafting”.

At the end of the game, each player owns 18 tiles in their exploration space. You earn victory points by finding monsters, completing crystals, and achieving missions. The player with the most victory points at the end of the second round wins.

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