A lot of games have built-in first player rules but some of them are uninspired and result in the same player constantly going first (“youngest player”). Love Letter asks for the player that most recently went on a date, which is fine in a vacuum but most games that I’ve played have involved couples and it’s real awkward when the wife was on a date more recently than the husband…I kid but still, having two or more people tie for being first is not solving the issue.
Some are unique however. Sheriff of Nottingham grants first player privileges to the player with the most cash on hand (although I typically swap this out for other choices as one, money can be a touchy subject for people and no one deserves to be put on blast when the spirit of the time is to have fun and two, who carries cash anymore?). Forbidden Desert asks for the thirstiest player. Between Two Cities has interesting card configurations I mentioned in a previous review. Tzolk’in chooses the player that most recently sacrificed something. Pandemic has the player that was last sick.
I know these rules are trivial and are meant to add a little humor to the rulebook and for the most part, there isn’t any first player benefit in any of these games but sometimes the rules just don’t work out or you want to change it up.
I do want to make note that I have zero affiliation with the app and honestly don’t remember how I stumbled upon it the first time (I know we used it to decide who would do what shot first but that’s about it).
The premise of Chwazi is that the players place a finger on the screen of the smart phone and the app will choose one of the fingers, marking that player as the chosen one or in our utilization, the first player. There is also a team mode. The app store says Chwazi can support 32 fingers but I honestly don’t think I could put 32 fingers on the screen of my smart phone. Maybe a tablet, but then, what game am I playing that needs 32 fingers? How would people crowd around the tablet in the first place? I think the most we’ve gotten is in the ten to fifteen range but I understand that phones have different computing capacities.
Chwazi is also great for player order (if you don’t want to just follow the clock). Just keep placing a finger to pick first, second, third, and so on. Once fingers are placed, the app takes about five seconds to choose a finger so it’s quick and painless.
We use Chwazi way more than we care to admit. First player, who’s grabbing a round of drinks, who pays for dinner, who picks a movie, etc.
The only question I had regarding Chwazi was how random were the selections? Well, let me reveal some data below from a slow day at work. Setting the bar at one hundred trials (as it makes math easier) of three fingers being placed on my LG smartphone screen, you can see the results below:
The breakdown is fairly similar across the board. The longest streak for selections was five for my ring finger. Is this a perfect representation of data? Of course not, the sample size is too small but I think it shows just enough that the app isn’t gaming the system.
Maybe this isn’t a big issue for you but if you are looking for a quick and easy way to pick or decide something between two or more people, I cannot recommend the Chwazi app enough.