8 Free Apps To Choose Who Goes First – Fair and Random

emily mini profile pic By Emily

Looking for an app to choose who goes first in your next game? I’ve tested 8 of the most popular who goes first apps to see how good they are and find the best.

Using an app is a great way to get a random and fair result for which player goes first. It’s also super quick and chances are you always have your phone with you – perfect for when you don’t have dice to roll to see who goes first.


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1. Chwazi

Chwazi app
Chwazi app

Maximum number of players: Determined by the size of the device. It allowed me to have 10 on my HTC U11.

Chwazi is a very popular app among the board gaming community to choose who goes first. It’s easy to see why. It’s super simple to use, looks nice and a starting player is chosen really quickly.

To use it, put your phone or tablet on a flat surface and choose how many players you want it to select. The default is 1. Ask everyone to put one finger on the screen. The app will put a coloured circle around each finger. One-by-one the circles will disappear from all the fingers apart from one. That player goes first.

I really like Chwazi. It looks nice, is no fuss and has nice haptic vibration feedback when the winner is selected so you know it’s done.

There’s also an option to choose groups. So for something like Codenames where you want 2 teams, the app will assign colours to each finger to determine who is in which team – the blue team and the orange team for example.

2. Start Player

Start Player app
Start Player app

Maximum number of players: 9 but depends on size of device. It let me have 9 on my HTC U11.

Start Player is very similar to Chwazi, except that it uses pretty lights rather than coloured circles to choose a starting player. Each player puts a finger on the screen and they all sparkle. The lights blink out for all but the starting player. It has nice vibration feedback when the selection has been made.

I really like the look of the lights in this app. They look so cool while you’re waiting for it to countdown. If you’re selected as the first player and you move your finger around on screen after being selected the lights will follow your movements and look extra cool.

3. Select Who?

Select Who app
Select Who? app

Maximum number of players: Determined by the size of device. 10 on my HTC U11.

Select Who? Is another everyone put a finger on the screen app to choose who goes first. It looks quite bland compared to Chwazi and Start Player. Its plain grey background and black text look a bit dated to me.

When everyone places their finger on the screen they are assigned a light grey circle rather than a coloured on like Chwazi, or twinkly lights like Start Player. It also always uses purple to select the first player.

I did like the timer that appears on screen over the top of the fingers so that it was clear when the countdown had started. It also restarted if another person added their finger after the countdown had already started. With Chwazi and Start Player you have to guess when it has started.

The best thing about Select Who? Is that it let me choose from 10 players which is more than Chwazi and Start Player.

4. Who Goes First?

Who goes first app
Who Goes First? app

Maximum number of players: 100+

Who Goes First? Has a different approach to choosing a first player. The opening screen asks how many players there are. You select one and it tells you who goes first in relation to the person who is holding the phone. For example, ‘The person four to your left goes first.’

‘The person two to your right goes first.’

It is a very quick way to decide who goes first. It just doesn’t feel very fun to me and looks a bit bland. I want even a simple app to feel fun – I’m about to play a game after all!

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The best thing about Who Goes First? is that it allows for up to 12 players which is more than the finger selection apps will allow on my phone. It could also work well if everyone can’t get to the phone to select the starting player. Perhaps someone is in the kitchen sorting out snacks while the rest of the group are setting up.

5. Decision Roulette

Decision Roulette app
Decision Roulette app

Maximum number of players: 50

Decision Roulette is a spin the wheel type of selection app. It looks really good and has a lot of customization options.

To create your own roulette wheel you simply add an option, enter a title for it (like a player’s name) then choose either a colour or a photo for them and a sound to play if they win!

I really like this. If you give the app access to your photos you can add in a picture of each player in your regular gaming group and save your roulette wheel for when they come over.

As well as making your own roulette wheels you can select from a pre-made selection including Magic 8 Ball, Truth or Dare, Numbers and of course, a classic Roulette Casino wheel.

To spin a wheel you can either tap in the centre of the wheel or spin your finger around the wheel as though you were turning it yourself. One thing I really like about Roulette Wheel is that when the wheel spins the little selector arrow makes a satisfying clicking sound when it hits each wheel peg.

You can select a background theme for any wheel you use – self-made or not. I really like the space theme, it changes the clicker from an arrow to a little spaceship. The spinning noises change for each theme too. Underwater sounds like bubbles in water and the candy one sounds like a happy little bell.

Overall, I’m really impressed with Decision Roulette, all the little details make it fun to use and it looks great. Plus, with the 50 options maximum, it’s big enough for even really large groups.

6. Who Goes First ?

Who Goes first app
Who Goes First ? app

Maximum number of players: Any for statement selection, 19 for random player selection.

This app has a very similar name to number 3 in this list. The only difference being the space before the ‘?’ in the name.

But it is a very different app.

It uses the selection method of ideas rather than random player selection to choose a starting player. Idea statements like, “The one who bought a game last” or “The one who received an SMS last”. This type of selection method isn’t completely fair. The start player is often selected on the basis of some subjective decision making and can be influenced by someone making a convincing argument.

However, they can be a bit of fun and good icebreakers for groups who don’t know each other very well.

If subjective statements really aren’t your thing then there is an option to make a player selection based purely on random selection. For example, “It’s the player #3 on your left (player #5 on your right) that begins.

Random selection works for up to 19 players.

I like that Who Goes First? Gives the option of a statement or random selection. The look of the app isn’t great, a lot of the images are poor quality and the grammar is poor in the statements. But it is a free app to choose who goes first and it does the job.

7. Who’s First?

Who's first app
Who’s First? app

Maximum number of players: Device dependent. I got it to work with 10 on my HTC U11.

Who’s first is another finger selection app which is pretty much the same as all the other apps to choose who goes first. But it has one key difference…

It can determine turn order as well!

This is a great little feature. All you have to do is swipe right on the selection screen to change the meeple icon in the top left corner from one meeple to four meeples with numbers on them. Then, when everyone has placed their fingers on the app it will select the start player by highlighting their finger with a black circle, and then it will assign everyone a number.

This app has a nice countdown timer which appears on the screen after everyone has placed their digits on the touchscreen. I like that the countdown restarted when another person added their finger after the countdown had started.

I really like that this app has a turn order option. That’s not a feature I’ve seen in any of the other apps I’ve tried.

8. Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa app
Amazon Alexa app

Maximum number of players: Any

Alexa is an AI of many talents. Dice rolling is one of them.

You can assign everyone a number and ask Alexa to roll a standard dice closest to that number. I tried asking my Alexa to roll a D7, but she wasn’t able to. Instead, she said, “This might answer your question. I rolled a six-sided dice and the result was three.”

If asking Alexa questions looks like fun to your group, everyone can ask her to roll a D20 and the player with the highest number can go first.

Just for some nerdy fun ask, “Alexa, roll for initiative.” She’ll come back with some interesting answers!

Which app is apt for you?

So there you have it, 8 apps you can use to choose your starting player.

My favourite app to choose who goes first is Chwazi. It looks beautiful and works really well. There’s a reason why it’s the most popular.

If you’d like to use a different method for choosing your starting player you could always play a game. I’ve put together a list of suggestions on short, fun games here: 19 Quick and Fun Games to Decide Who Goes First.

Or you could use a fun starting player rule used in another board game. I compiled an epic list of these in my post, 180+ Fun Who Goes First Ideas From Board Game Rules.

Whatever you choose, have fun!

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Emily
Hi, I’m Emily, the tabletop gamer behind My Kind of Meeple. If this article helped you, I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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