First: A Game of Knowledge and Discovery (Preview)
Trivia games, in general, make me feel stupid at times and surprise surprise, I don’t find them to be all that fun as a result. “First: A Game of Knowledge and Discovery” or simply “First”, a game that’s looking for your help on Kickstarter as of 11/2/2016, promises to break the mold in that regard. A minimum pledge of $45 will net you the full game, though there are plenty of levels to pledge to should this game be of interest to you. Special thanks to Game Designer Melissa L. Tatum for reaching out and providing a prototype for preview purposes. It’s important to stress that prototypes aren’t often reflective of the final product, making everything you read about here (including the rules) subject to change.
The game itself comes with 1 canvas board, 7 character cards and pawns, 7 status cards (good to go/lose a turn), 28 knowledge tokens (7 each of blue, green, orange, and purple), 1 deck of 88 master trivia cards, 1 deck of 88 apprentice trivia cards, 1 deck of 88 who?what?where? challenge cards, 1 deck of 40 skills and events cards, 1 six-sided die, and instructions. The Deluxe version of the game, which can be obtained via a $175 pledge, includes upgraded pawns and tokens, all of which is packaged in a wooden box.
Upon first glance, “First” seemed to me like an enhanced version of “Trivial Pursuit” in that you had a board that you moved around on, drawing trivia cards in the process. In addition, answering a question correctly will earn you a knowledge token (like a piece of the pie in “Trivial Pursuit”). Where this game differs however are the skills and events deck, which allows players to earn special abilities as well as leave things up to chance for once. For example, some of these cards may create opportunities with which to steal tokens from another player.
To begin the game, each player chooses one of seven characters, each of which has a special ability (another mechanic that differs from the original “Trivial Pursuit”). They then receive a pawn and place it on their home space. Players, in turn, roll a die and move around the board, following the directions on the space to which they land. The test your knowledge space, for example, allows the player to pick a category and try to answer the question. Getting the question right earns them a knowledge token of that category along with the benefit of rolling again. Skills and events are a bit more up in the air and can be either good or bad. The first player to return home with all four knowledge tokens is the winner.
“First” is a pretty fun and interesting take on your average classic trivia game. The characters and their special abilities, for example, give players a slight advantage in certain aspects of the game when normally everyone would start out on equal footing. In addition, there are two trivia decks…one apprentice level deck and one master level deck. The former, obviously, is designed as a handicap for younger kids should they want to play. The age limit on the box indicates 13+, so the questions may still be somewhat challenging for anyone younger than that. As a parent, you’ll need to be the judge as every child grows at different speeds.
We had a great time play-testing this one. I think my preference in playing this game over something else boiled down to its flexibility…that is, you have more options available to you than simply having to answer a question. That in itself is a great trait for a game like this, because who wants to feel stupid on a regular basis? One card even allows you to look up the answer to a question, if you can believe it. That’s something that I was never able to do with games like “Trivial Pursuit” when I was growing up. Getting my family and friends to break the rules was tough enough, but that’s a whole different ball game.
Admittedly, you could make the game less confrontational if you so choose. For example, there are challenge cards that are used when one player lands on another player’s home space. In this scenario, a round of challenges is conducted and if successful, the aggressor to the raid can steal a token from the defender. This might cause a few feathers to ruffle in those who are highly competitive, so leaving these out is certainly possible. Like I said, this game has flexibility. This fact alone makes “First” well worth checking out though you’d better hurry…the campaign only has about twenty days to go as of the date of this posting.