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 up: We put pen and paper against pixels for an old school alien showdown in Retrograde
Next: We Take the reigns for the glory of Caesar in Charioteer
And lastly: We perform clandestine military maneuvers using the power of magnets in ZOMAX


Designed by: Mary Flanagan, Max Seidman
Published by: Resonym (2023)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 30 minutes

Retrograde is a real-time roll-and-write inspired by classic 80s arcade games. Evil Astrodroids are invading earth. Blast as many as you can to get the high score.

Each round, roll your dice as fast as you can. Race to roll combos shown on the target cards, claim the best card, and spend your dice to put the ‘Droids on your sheet out of commission. Be fast, or an opponent might beat you to the card you want. If you’re the last player without a card, you can only reroll 2 more times before you’re stuck with what you rolled.

Depending on the card you choose, you’ll collect Coins and power-ups. Blast entire columns of ‘Droids to destroy bosses for bonus points. Blast rows of ‘Droids to unlock the power-ups you collect.


Designed by: Matt Calkins
Published by: GMT Games (2022)
Players: 2 – 6
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 1 – 2 hours

Charioteer is a strategic racing game where each player controls a chariot in the Circus Maximus of ancient Rome. Movement is determined by melding sets from a hand of cards. Every card does more than one thing, and it takes multiple matching cards to make a move. Moves come in four colors, and each has a special advantage. Play a red move to attack your opponents, yellow to recover from disruption, black to turn a sharp corner, and green to sprint.

Each racer begins the game with different abilities, and they improve their skills as the race progresses. Show the emperor the kind of move he prefers, and a racer’s skills will increase even faster.

Players deploy tokens to give their moves a special bonus. More tokens  – called Fan tokens – can be earned by impressing the crowd with large matching card plays. 

Attacks cause damage, which reduces movement speed. Players who specialize in recovery moves may overcome damage quickly. Others may need to carefully deploy their shields on turns when violence is expected.

Whip icons allow those who have fallen behind to surge back into competition.

First racer to complete three laps will be the winner … and will not, at least today, be fed to the lions.


Designed by: Gary Bellinger
Published by:
Zomax, Inc. (1988)
2 players or teams
8 & up
Playing time:
60 minutes

Zomax uses a double sided metal hinged board and magnetic pieces representing tanks, ships and planes to represent a nation in turmoil. Normally 2 players (but it can be teams of people) sit on opposite sides of the board and take turns moving their units in an effort to capture the capitol which is placed somewhere on the board. All initial placement of pieces is secret. Movement is based on a dice roll, moving any combination of pieces a number of spaces equal to the total of the dice roll. If you drop a piece of your opponents (the magnets will repel each other and push the piece off the other side of the board), then your movement ends. There are mines that will destroy any piece that comes in contact with it. The first person to hit the capitol wins the game.

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