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 dig up the ancient past to discover long forgotten games in Unboxed
Next: We chip away at an ominous cube to save the multiverse in Tesseract
And lastly: We pack our 747s with impatient travelers in Now Boarding


Designed by: Jordan Sorenson
Published by: WizKids (2023)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 12 & up
Playing time: 30 minutes

In Unboxed, you and your friends take on the role of archeology interns under the direction of Dr. Ramos. At the dig site, the team has uncovered ten caches of ancient board games and they need your help to figure out how they were played. The centuries have not been kind to the rulebooks, so you’ll have to infer the rules based on each game’s symbology, components, and your own experience and intuition. Hopefully you’ve been attending board game night regularly…


Each of the ten dig-sites will grant you a specific set of components and a few questions to help guide your “research”.


Figure out how the components work together.


Once you’ve successfully recreated the rules, you’ll have a fully functional game!

Dr. Ramos will be there to provide hints as you theorize and test your designs for all ten of the provided scenarios, and will hopefully answer the age old question … What’s in the box?


Designed by: James Firnhaber
Published by: Smirk & Dagger Games (2023)
Players: 1 – 4
Ages: 14 & up
Playing time: 60 minutes

Tesseract is a cooperative dice-manipulation game where players are scientists, trying to contain and control the reactions of an alien artifact in the form of a Tesseract cube consisting of 64 dice. 

The Tesseract, which sits at the center of the board on a raised platform, and players will remove cubes to place in their individual labs, transfer them as needed to others, adjust the cube’s values and, importantly, isolate the cubes into the containment matrix, neutralizing them.

To contain a cube a player must have in their lab three or more cubes all of one value (a set) or in sequence (a run); and either all of one color or having none of the same colors. By filling the containment matrix completely they will stop the reaction and win the game. 

But if the Tesseract has its last cube removed beforehand – or if 7 breaches occur, the game is lost and our world ceases to exist – no biggie.

Asymmetric character abilities include a passive, ‘always on’ ability and a unique action that is only available to that player. Research cards earned during play help give players an edge, as do the even more powerful Containment cards, unlocked from the matrix.

Can you and your team work together to shut down the Tesseract, or will humankind simply be a blip in the grand scheme of the universe?

Now Boarding

Designed by: Tim Fowers
Published by: Fowers Games (2018)
Players: 2 – 5
Ages: 10 & up
Playing time: 30 – 60 minutes

Now Boarding is a real-time cooperative game in which you work together to fly a fleet of airplanes. You must deliver all the passengers to their destinations before they get too angry — and new passengers are constantly arriving! 

Each player is in control of an airplane which will have the ability to travel at a certain speed, and have capacity for a certain number of passengers, and might even be able to travel along special designated routes. The idea of the game is to pick up passengers in designated cities and fly them to their destination. Simple enough, but you won’t be able to move all the passengers on the board located in cities all across the country. The more turns that a passenger has to wait to be picked up and flown to their destination, they will start to accumulate anger points – if a passenger gets 4 anger points, they file a complaint to the airline, and if 3 total complaints come in, the game is over and you all lose.

Upgrade your plane to fly faster and carry more passengers to handle the load. All players take all their turns at the same time! This allows for clever hand-offs of passengers. So let’s keep those skies friendly … if you can.

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