How to decide which player will go first?

Deciding the start player for a game can be a mini-game in of itself. Some games have clear advantages for first players or the inverse could be true, where going later offers better insight than going early.

Many games include their own rules on who is to go first but some might result in the same player being first each and every time: last person to visit an island, tallest player, youngest player, etc.

Besides the app Chwazi, below are some interesting ways to start a game, whether it be something that is universal or from a specific game. Hopefully this helps liven up how you choose the first player.

  • Each player rolls a die and the highest number goes first. It’s an age old classic and still works due to the equal opportunity it affords each player. The inverse can also work.
  • If one or two players don’t know how to play, they go last so they can see how the game is played. This is more of a teaching approach instead of a competitive one since some games have distinctive first player advantages.
  • Let the new player(s) go first; particularly if there are first player advantages.
  • Gloom: the player who has had the worst day goes first.
  • T’zolkin: last player to sacrifice something.
  • Finger Guns: This elimination style tournament involves players using their fingers as “guns” to shoot one of the following: themselves, the ceiling, or an opposing player. Any player that is shot is out of the game. If a player shoots themselves and were shot by other players, those that shot the original player are eliminated. If a player shoots themselves but was not shot, they are eliminated. Last one standing goes first.
  • Whoever won the last game goes first.
  • Whoever won the last game goes last.
  • Play Pterodactyl.
  • Put all players scoring tokens in your hand, shake them and drop one. Whichever drops first is the first player.
  • Whoever got out of bed first for the morning.
  • Lowest number game: Simultaneously, each player will throw out a number between one and five, using their fingers to showcase their choice. The player with the lowest number goes first. However, if more than one player chooses the same number, they cancel one another out.
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  • Start Player. There are physical cards as well as a cheap app (iOS).
  • Who can guess the time closest without using a phone, watch, etc.
  • Munchkin: Whoever wants to go first, can go first.
  • Bocce rules: Place a neutral component somewhere on the table. Players will lightly flick/push a meeple/component towards the neutral one. The closest player component to the neutral one results in that player going first.
  • Every player points at another player. Whoever has the most fingers pointing towards them goes first. Players cannot point at themselves.
  • “Hey Alexa, ask who’s first.” Alexa will give you a criteria to decide the first player.
  • Pandemic: whoever was last sick will go first.
  • Rampage: whoever can do the best monster impression goes first.
  • Staring contest.
  • Card draw: highest card goes first.

Author: Two off the Top

Just a guy that wants to talk about board games more than his future wife tolerates.

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