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 test our techniques as we stack our artistic styles in … Canvas
Next: We take a stroll through lush greenery filled with deciduous denizens in … Forest Shuffle
And lastly: We choose our champion and battle mano a…claw? In … Pocket Paragons
Designed by: Jeff Chin, Andrew Nerger
Published by: Road To Infamy Games (2021)
Players: 1 – 5
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 30 minutes
In Canvas, you play as a painter competing in an art competition. Players will collect art cards, layering 3 of them together to create their own unique Painting. Each card contains a piece of artwork as well as a set of icons used during scoring. Icons will be revealed or hidden based on the way players choose to layer the cards making for an exciting puzzle. Paintings are scored based on a set of Scoring cards which will change each game. Once players have created and scored 3 paintings the game ends.
On your turn you may take an Art card or make a painting. Art cards are selected from a row of cards in the center of play. Each of these cards has a cost associated with their position. After selecting an Art card you must pay its cost by placing an Inspiration token on each of the cards to its left. If you do not have enough Inspiration tokens, you may not select that card. Any tokens on the card you have selected are kept for future turns. The far left card costs no Inspiration tokens to take.
If you have three or more Art cards you may choose to make a painting. Select 3 of your art cards, arrange them in any order and then score them by comparing the visible icons on your painting to the Scoring conditions.
Once all players have made 3 paintings the game ends, the winner gets to paint the town red!
Designed by: Kosch
Published by: Lookout Games (2023)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 60 minutes
In Forest Shuffle, players compete to gather the most valuable trees, then attract species to these trees, thus creating an ecologically balanced habitat for flora and fauna.
To start, each player has six cards in hand, with cards depicting either a particular type of tree or two forest dwellers, with these latter cards being divided in half, whether vertically or horizontally, with one dweller in each card half.
On a turn, either draw two cards — whether face down from the deck or face up from the clearing — and add them to your hand, or play a card from your hand by paying the cost, then putting it into play.
Each tree and dweller shows a cost, and to pay this cost, you must discard cards from your hand into the clearing face up. If you play a tree, flip the top card of the deck into the clearing, then place the tree in front of you. If you play a dweller, pay only the cost of the dweller you choose, then slide this card under a tree that has an empty side that matches the dweller you want to play. (A tree can have cards played on all four sides of it: top, bottom, left, and right.)
Alternatively, you can play a card face down as a tree sapling. This card costs nothing and can have dwellers played on it, but it has no species, whereas each tree is one of eight species.
After you play a card, you can use the effect on this card or gain the bonus you gained if you paid for this card with cards of the same color — or both.
If at the end of your turn the clearing contains more than nine cards, place all of these cards in the box out of play.
There are 3 winter cards in the deck. When the third winter card is drawn, the game ends immediately, then players tally their points based on the trees and dwellers in their forest. Whoever scores the most points wins and is crowned King of the Forest.
Designed by: Brian McKay
Published by: Solis Game Studio (2022)
Ages: 13 & up
Playing time: 3 – 15 minutes
Each player chooses a paragon and takes their deck of 7 unique cards. Every turn, players choose a card from their hand and play them simultaneously. Both cards are revealed and then characters either take damage, have their card canceled and sent back to their hand, or are defeated. Play the right card at the right time and have a strong read of your opponent’s intentions to win!