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 yell at each other alphabet style in Letterpool
Next up: We hug the corners and upshift the straightaways one card at a time in Heat: Pedal to the Metal
And lastly: We build the grid one color, no shape, wait no pattern at a time in IOTA


Designed by: (uncredited)
Published by: Tipsy Chicken (2022)
Players: 2 – 6
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 10 – 20 minutes

Letterpool is a word-based party game of speed and wit. it says so, on the box.

Two games in one, you can play in Trivia mode or Party mode. We played the trivia mode.

Draw 4 scrabble-like tiles from a BAG-O . Reveal the top card from the card deck. Be the first player to concoct a word or a phrase that starts with one of the 4 letters. Yell out your answer and grab the tile.  Keep going until all 4 letters are taken. Start a new round with 4 more tiles and a new card. 

Keep playing until the tiles run out, then add up the score. Winner gets to take a plunge in the deep end of the Letter Pool

Heat: Pedal to the Metal

Designed by: Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen
Published by: Days of Wonder (2022)
Players: 1 – 6
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 60 minutes

Heat: Pedal to the Metal is a deck building race game, where players are in the driver’s seat of a souped up race car, jockeying for position to cross the finish line first.

Each round, drivers will draw 7 cards from their deck to form their hand. From your hand, play a number of cards equal to the position of your gear. Gears go from 1 up to 4. All drivers  reveal their cards simultaneously, the driver in the lead plays their cards first. The other drivers will have the chance for a drift boost to get up in front of that lead car. Beware the corners, if you go too fast you might spin out.

And always be weary of overheating your engine. Heat cards will build up in your deck, clogging your deck. Try to cool off in lower gears to get rid of heat.

We played the basic rules of the game, but there are advanced versions to try, various tracks to compete upon, and the car that crosses the finish line first will be the hottest thing since Georgia Asphalt.


Designed by: Gene Mackles
Published by: Gamewright (2012)
Players: 2 – 4
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 30 minutes

IOTA is a card game in which players score points by adding cards to a grid. The deck consists of 64 regular cards and two wild cards; each of the 64 cards contains three properties – color, shape and number – with each property coming in four different types. The two wild cards are identical and can be played in place of any other specific single card. They can also be recycled by a player who can replace a wild card with a card that works in that position.

On a turn you can add 1-4 cards connected to the grid established by the starter card. All cards must be placed in the same line. A line consists of 2, 3 or 4 cards in a row in which each individual property (color, shape and number) is either the same on each card or different on each card. You can also choose to pass and place some, none or all of your cards on the bottom of the draw pile and take new ones.

Maximum line length is four cards. Cards needn’t be placed right next to each other as long as they are in the same line, and some spaces on the grid will be impossible to fill.

To score a turn, add up the face values of cards in lines either created or extended on that turn. If any of those cards are part of two lines, they’re counted twice. If on a turn a player completes a line that is four cards long, all points for the entire turn are doubled. Double again for any additional four card lines created. Double again if you play all four cards on a single turn. A four-card line is called a lot.

The game ends when the draw pile is depleted and one player plays his last card. Double points for that turn. The game is over. High score wins, which is no small feat in this game that plays larger than its size.

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