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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 press our luck in a mad gleeful scramble for the gold in Takara Island

Next up: We level up to darker and deadlier dungeons in Thunderstone

And lastly: We take a break from all that dungeon crawling to relax and recenter in Chakra

Takara Island

Designed by: Sayaka Amioka, Takahiro Amioka
Published by: Ferti (2011)
Players: 2 – 6
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 45 min

In Takara Island, the players are adventurers rushing to the island, enticed by the legend of powerful stones that can grant eternal life!

There are six piles of nine tiles each. Tiles can be anything from dirt to hard stone, monsters or treasures. And of course, a pile may contain one of the two Legendary Stones. 

Each player begins with 2 workers. You are allowed one action per worker.  

  • look at the top tiles 
  • dig one tile,
  • employ a new worker 
  • fight a monster 
  • obtain specialty cards, 

The game ends when both stones have been found, or 4 of the 6 piles have been depleted. 

A player that finds both of the Stones of Legend is embraced by eternal life, and wins the game.  

Otherwise, the player with the most experience combined with money wins!

Thunderstone

Designed by: Mike Elliott
Published by: Alderac Entertainment Group (2009)
Players: 1 – 5
Ages: 12 & up
Playing time: 60 min

In Thunderstone, players must delve into the Dungeons of Grimhold to find the legendary Thunderstone and keep it out of the hands of the vile Doom Knights and their minions. 

Before the game starts, a selection of Village and Hero cards will be randomly chosen for players to add to their personal decks. Yep, it’s a deck building game.

Every player starts with a basic deck of cards that they can use to purchase more powerful cards. These cards may be different Heroes such as mages, archers, thieves, or warriors … or they may be supplies the heroes need like weapons, rations, or light to reach deeper into the dungeon. 

Players will use their deck to defeat monsters in the dungeon.  

A dungeon deck is created by combining different groups of monsters, from which a row of three cards is laid out. 

On their turn, a player may choose to go into the dungeon to attack a monster, or visit town to buy cards and recruit heros, or rest to remove a card from their deck.

Players earn VP and XP by defeating monsters.  XP can be used in town to level up their heroes to more powerful versions. 

The game ends when the Thunderstone has been recovered from the Dungeon and the player with the most victory points in their deck is the winner.

Chakra

Designed by: Luka Krleza
Published by: BLAM! (2019)
Players: 2 – 4
Ages: 8 & up
Playing time: 30 min

In Chakra, each player has a board that shows the seven chakras they must fill with gems that represent the energy flowing in their body. To score points, a player must harmonize each of their chakras in the best possible way. To do so, they must take the gems and place three of them of the corresponding color in each of the chakras. 

On their turn players chooses one of the three actions:

  • Take up to three gems from one column and place them on top of their individual board — or by spending a token, place them in a more strategic position.
  • Spend one token to use one of eight available actions; moving gems up or down by the number of chakra spaces indicated on the action is the key to reaching a perfect alignment.
  • Meditate to reclaim an inspiration token and secretly look at the point value, which is common to all players, that a harmonized chakra (3 same-colored gems) will score.

The game ends when a player has aligned five of their chakras and players have an equal number of turns.

The player with the most harmony wins the game!

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