Your board game is all set up and ready to go but how do you decide who goes first? Well, it’s time to be inspired! A lot of board games have fun and creative rules to help you choose.
Some people prefer to have a more balanced and random way of choosing a first player. This can be very important in some games where who goes first has a huge impact on who wins.
If I’ve been teaching a game, I usually go first because it is helpful for new players to see a turn example. If possible, the newest player goes last so they get to see a full round of turns before they take their go.
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But, if you’re just looking for a silly way to start your game rather than rolling dice to decide, there are loads to choose from! Board game designers have been getting pretty creative with their starting player rules.
Scan through the list and see if one fits the theme of the game you’re playing!
1. Who has the pointiest ears?
From Small World which has elves in the game who don’t exactly have an image on the elf unit tokens! So I guess the designers needed to make up for this elf insult somewhere.
2. Who owns the biggest house?
From the board game For Sale. A game about property and real estate. If no one owns a house, then who lives in the biggest house?
3. Who has had the worst day?
This is from the card game Gloom. In Gloom each player has a set of family members and their objective is to make their family more miserable than anyone else’s family.
4. Who is the most well traveled?
In Ticket to Ride, a game about building train routes to connect cities, the most well-traveled player goes first.
5. Who is wearing the most colorful clothes?
In Hanabi, a co-op card game about lining up cards of different colors in consecutive order, the person with the most colorful clothes goes first.
The game Flowerpower also uses this rule to select the starting player. In this game, players are striving to lay the largest flower beds of one particular type of flower. They can affect other players’ plans by planting unwanted plants in their flower beds.
Match of the Penguins also uses this as its starting rule. The game contains cards with penguins all wearing various clothes in different colors. Players compete to be the fastest to pick up cards from the table with penguins wearing matching clothing in the same color.
6. Who has the longest beard?
Once Upon a Time is a collaborative storytelling game. So perhaps the person with the longest beard goes first rule harks back to wise old storytellers and wizards.
Dwarven Dig! also uses longest beard as its starting player rule. Players are dwarves digging their way to the treasure.
7. Who does the youngest player choose?
In Carcassonne, the youngest player chooses who goes first.
8. Who can stand on one leg the longest?
This is probably not a quick way to decide! It’s from the game Animal upon Animal, a game where players stack
9. Who is the cattiest player?
From Kittens in a Blender where players need to shred their opponent’s kittens but save their own.
10. Who is the thirstiest?
This idea comes from Forbidden Desert where players are trying to recover a flying machine that’s buried in the desert.
11. Who last visited an island?
This rule is from Forbidden Island. Players are on an island trying to collect treasures before the island floods.
It’s also the starting rule for Maka Baka, a game set on a tropical island where players are building huts for the tourists.
12. Who got up the earliest this morning?
This is from Smash Up! A card game where players mix together two themed decks to form one larger deck and then compete against other players. For example, you might be Ninja Robots.
13. Who most recently went on a date?
This who goes first rule is from Love Letter. It’s a card game where players need to get their letter to the princess and stop the letters from other players reaching her.
14. Who has the best maniacal laugh?
From the game Mad Scientist University where players take in turns to pitch their plans to the person playing the mad scientist. Great way to get into character before starting the game.
The game IGOR: The Mad Scientist’s Lament also has this as its starting rule. Players are scientists creating incredible devices while the other players and their bungling assistant IGOR hinder their efforts.
15. Who is wearing the most green?
Kodama: The Tree Spirits is a beautiful game where players build trees to attract different types of tree spirits. The player wearing the most green makes absolute sense in this game.
A very different game, Batt’l Kha’os, also has this as its starting rule. Whoever is wearing the most green also plays the orcs instead of the knights.
16. Who has the longest hair?
Monkeys on the Moon uses this starting rule. In this game, players are advancing their monkey civilizations and sending monkeys home from the moon.
The game Aquarius also uses this rule. It has a trippy 60s vibe where players connect cards with matching patterns, a lot like in Dominoes.
17. Who dug a garden last?
Terra Mystica uses this rule which makes perfect sense because each player needs to terraform areas to become part of their home environment.
18. Who looks most like a pirate?
This is the who goes first rule for Cartagena. Each player controls a group of six pirates who are trying to escape a fortress.
Pirates vs Dinosaurs, also has this starting rule. It’s a card game where players are pirate captains and their crews searching for treasure on islands with dinosaurs.
Oath of the Brotherhood has this starting rule too. In Oath of the Brotherhood, each player takes on the role of a pirate and their mates who complete missions handed out by the Brotherhood.
19. Who owns the game?
It’s the same starting player rule for the space game Sucking Vacuum. Players are astronauts on the International Space Station. Sounds great? Well, not so much. The space station is losing oxygen and only two astronauts will live. Players frantically search for equipment and try to escape while competing with their colleagues also racing for the exit.
Another game that uses this starting rule is Junta, where players take on the role of families in Republica de los Bananas. The game is set in a society where Presidents unfairly allocate money.
Neuroshima Hex! also uses this as its starting rule. It also says that the owner of the game can choose who goes first if they want to. Neuroshima Hex! is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as the role-playing game Neuroshima. In Neuroshima Hex! each player leads units in a post-apocalyptic world to either take down all the other headquarters or make sure your headquarters is in the best condition at the end of the game. There’s also a one-player variation of the game rules.
20. Who is the nicest?
In the game Dungeon Lords, the nicest player goes first. This is quite ironic because in the game you’re playing a dungeon lord who is trying to build the best dungeon!
21. Who has read the most sci-fi?
Android uses this rule. Players take on the role of detectives trying to solve a mystery and uncover the truth in a dystopian future.
22. Who looks most like a monster?
In Fearsome Floors, the player who looks most like the monster goes first. Players are trying to escape from a dungeon before it falls on their heads while also avoiding the monster in there with them.
23. Who has the best story about being stranded?
Lift Off: Get Me Off This Planet is exactly what it sounds like. Players need to escape a planet before it is destroyed!
24. Who has most recently been on a boat?
In Harbour, the player who goes first is the one who has most recently been on a boat. Players use their workers to trade fish, wood, stone, and livestock to buy buildings at the harbor.
25. Who is the hungriest?
In the game Mamma Mia! where players bake pizza, the hungriest person goes first. This rule is also used in the eating contest game Guts of Glory.
26. Who can do the best monkey impression?
To go first in Too Many Monkeys, you need to do the best monkey impression. It’s the same as the starting rule for Coco Crazy where players collect monkeys of different colors.
27. Who has the nicest jewelry?
The going first rule from the Queen’s Necklace, where players are jewelers selling jewels to the court and the queen.
28. Who is the tallest?
In Takenoko players are taking care of their bamboo plots to grow food for the emperor’s giant panda. Being tall with definitely help in this job!
This starting rule is also used by Campanile another game with a tall theme. Players lay tiles to build towers together while placing bets on which tower they think will be the tallest to shortest. Because of the luck of the draw, players may end up having to play tiles that help others and mess up their own plans.
29. Without looking at a clock, who can guess what time it is?
Players are time travelers in Chrononauts, so this is a perfect, ‘Who goes first?’ rule for this game. Ask everyone what time it is, and whoever guesses close to the actual time goes first.
30. Who has the most cash on them?
A fitting starting rule for the board game Corporate America where players act as corporations trying to make as much profit as they can. It’s a slightly ironic starting rule because in the game players keep their money secret until the end of the game.
This rule is also used to determine who will be the first Sheriff in the Sheriff of Nottingham, players are merchants trying to sneak goods into Nottingham.
Martian 12s, a game like Blackjack also uses this starting rule.
31. Who has most recently visited London?
To go first in the board game Great Fire of London 1666 players are wealthy people in London who need to decide which areas they are going to save and which they will need to let burn.
Another game set in London, Portobello Market, also has the same starting rule. Players are market stall owners in the year 1901. They are trying to get the best pitches for their stalls.
32. Who has most recently been on a train?
The starting rule for the game Trains. Players are owners of railway companies and they are trying to grow them faster than the other players.
33. Who has most recently visited another city?
If you live in the countryside, then it’s who has just most recently visited any city. This ‘Who goes first?’ rule is from Lords of Waterdeep which is set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. (Not familiar with D&D? See this post: What is Dungeons & Dragons?)
In Lords of Waterdeep, players play as one of the Lords who rule the city. They use their contacts and networks to complete quests and develop their power within the city.
34. Who has most recently flipped a table?
To decide who goes first in Flip City, find out who most recently flipped a table. It’s a slightly strange rule, but it makes a lot of sense for Flip City because players build a city by playing double-sided cards from the top of their deck. They can flip the cards over for different stats.
35. Who has most recently bought or sold something?
This is the rule for going first in the game Mercante where players each control a merchant house. Players use their agents to buy goods from ships and sell them for more money. But as well as making the most money, players also need to persuade people to do them favors to win the game.
36. Who has most recently visited a forest?
Lagoon uses this rule to decide who goes first. In this game, players control druids who use the three energies of the world of Lagoon to shape its destiny.
37. Who lives closest to water?
This is any type of water – a river, lake, reservoir, the coast. This rule is used to determine who begins the game of Le Havre. It’s a game where players compete to make the most money by trading goods, creating their own buildings, and making ships.
38. Who last visited a mountain?
This is the perfect starting rule for K2, a board game where each player manages a 2-person mountaineering team trying to climb to the top of K2. They need to survive the trip to the summit and the journey back down again and do it faster than the other players to win.
39. Who looks the shiftiest?
In Spyfall, every player except one is handed a card with a location on it such as a submarine or subway. The players don’t know who didn’t get the location card. That player is the spy and must use their turn to ask smart questions to the other players to guess where they are. But they must be ready to come up with a believable answer if a player asks them a question!
40. Who last went on a cruise?
If no one in your group has gone on a cruise, then the last person who went on any kind of boat can go first. This is used in the game Atlantic Star, a cruise ship-themed board game where players need to manage cards to chart cruise ships along shipping routes.
41. Who has most recently traded stock?
Used in the stock trading game The Motley Fool’s: Buy Low Sell High where players buy and sell business stocks.
42. Who was the last person to have a haircut?
In the family sheep shearing game Shear Panic!, the player who goes first is the one who most recently had their hair cut.
43. Who is the shortest?
It’s also the starting rule for The Conquest of Space, where players man spaceships to visit planets, collect materials and take them back to their home planet. Players clash when they both land on the same planet, or if a game scenario leads them to.
44. Who has the snazziest pants?
This starting player rule is Who Stole Ed’s Pants? A game where players adjust evidence and the facts of a case to make the other players look guilty of pant taking!
45. Who is the last person to laugh?
You could be sitting around staring at each other for a while before your game starts with this one! The rule is used in the game Gheos where players are creating the earth and filling it with people.
46. Who is ready to go first and takes the starting action?
A simple rule, but can be effective. This rule is used in Fluxx, a card game of ever-changing rules and goals, where the player who starts the game is the one who picks up a card first and therefore shows they want to go first.
In Dixit and Dixit Odyssey, a card game where players provide a clue to the group for them to guess which picture card they played, it’s the first player who has a clue ready that goes first.
In Galaxy Truckers, the first person to flip over the hourglass goes first. In this game players are Galaxy Truckers hauling goods around space and earning credits to improve their ship’s size, speed, durability, and other stats. After 3 rounds, the trucker with the most credits wins.
47. Who broke the law most recently?
This is the perfect starting rule for the board game Grifters. Players are bosses in a dystopian world who use their specialists to take as much money as they can.
48. Who most recently bought justice to the world?
A very fitting starting rule for the card game Love Letter: Batman where players are aiming to get the bad guys of Gotham.
49. Who made tea most recently?
Set in a geisha street of Hanamikoji, this two-player card game has players compete to get into the favors of the most geishas.
50. Who looks most like a zombie?
In the horror game City of Horror, the player who looks most like a zombie goes first. It matches this game where players each control multiple characters who are defending their city against a zombie horde.
51. Who has the squarest shaped head?
In the two-player game, Cube Quest, players use dice to represent the defenders of their castle who also go after the other player’s castle. They flick the dice to move them across the board to try to defeat the opponent’s king.
52. Who has eaten nuts most recently?
Nuts! is a card game in which players are squirrels competing over nuts.
53. Who can say ‘brraaains’ with the most zombie-like feeling?
This is the person who goes first in the quick, dice rolling game Zombie Dice. Players are zombies who are trying to each the most brains.
54. Who has brought the most snacks?
A funny who goes first rule for Dragon Farkle. A game where a dragon is eating local animals and scaring all the people. Players are heroes who are gathering allies to take to defeat the dragon.
55. Who last watered a plant?
An Arboretum, is a botanical garden that mostly contains trees. In this game, players are the arborists, who are competing to create the most beautiful garden for people to enjoy.
56. Who can cackle the most like a vile and greedy medieval pardoner?
A silly, yet fitting, starting rule for The Road to Canterbury. Players sell certificates of pardon to pilgrims traveling to Canterbury.
57. Who has the most tattoos?
If your group can’t decide who goes first in Camp Grizzly, then you can use this rule to decide. Each player in this game is a Camp Counsellor trying to flee the camp. As the players flee they find objectives that trigger one of four game endings. The winner is the one who survives till the end of the game!
58. Who most recently read a novel?
In Paperback, every player is an author who is trying to write books for their editor. Each player has a deck of cards that they use to create words. Their words score points which they can use to buy better letters. To add an extra dynamic to the game, cards have special actions on them which allow players to score more points or take an extra action.
59. Who visited a cathedral most recently?
A fitting first rule for The Pillars of the Earth in which players control builders constructing the most beautiful cathedral in England. They compete to be the player who added the most to the cathedral.
60. Who last played a train game?
From the train game, Cleopatra’s Caboose, the player who goes first is the one who last played a train game. Players compete to become the next ruler. They build train tracks, buildings, and pyramids, and ship fruit around the map to increase the status of cities and earn victory points.
61. Who last reached the peak of Mount Everest using nothing but blue and white checkered stilts carved from the wood of a Mammoth tree?
Can’t help but think that the game designers for The Bridges of Shangri-La were poking fun at these who goes first rules. They even gave a tie-break rule! In case of a tie, the wisest player of the group goes first. In The Bridges of Shangri-La, players are leaders of tribes who are competing to control the most villages.
62. Who looks most like an alien?
This rule is from the sci-fi board game Andromeda where players control scientists of many different alien races and explore the abandoned wreckage of the spaceship Andromeda.
63. Who most recently put their feet in sand?
From the game Archaeology: The New Expedition, where players are archaeologists digging for treasure in the desert. The aim of the game is to make the most money by finding the most treasures, increasing the value of a collection, and selling it to the museum at the right time.
64. Who last ate mushrooms?
In Morels, a two-player card game about picking, collecting, and cooking sets of wild mushrooms in the forest. Players score points for matching sets of mushrooms.
65. Who has the longest whiskers?
From Hot Tin Roof, the player who has the longest whiskers goes first. If it is a tie, the person whose breath smells most like fish goes first! In the game players are cats competing to become the Top Cat by collecting tribute fish from their cat friends and collecting cans.
66. Who has the watch furthest backwards in time?
Assuming that someone is wearing a regular watch (and not a smartwatch or using their phone!), then this rule is fitting for any game about time. It comes from Legacy: Gears of Time, a time-traveling card game in which players are competing to have the most influence over time.
67. Who is the wisest?
From the game Himalaya, where players take on the role of a tribe Chief leading their caravan through villages to advance their tribe. The aim of the game is to be the most prosperous caravaneer in the Himalayas.
This rule is also the tie-breaker starting rule for The Bridges of Shangri-La, another game where players are leaders of tribes, but this time they are competing to control the most villages.
68. Who saw an alien most recently?
Ok, so that might be no one in the group! But it’s the starting rule for UFOs! Fritten aus dem All (which translates as UFOs! Chips from Outer Space). As a backup starting rule, the game suggests whichever player last visited a fast-food restaurant.
Both rules make sense because in the game players lead an alien race who are building fast-food restaurants on earth to win the human race over with delicious food.
69. Who is the hairiest?
This is how to decide who goes first in Mammoth Hunters. Players in the Ice Age are following a herd of mammoths and want to take them down to feed their tribe.
Who is the hairiest? also decides who goes first in Monkey Arena, where players are monkeys competing to be the leader.
70. Who has been deepest down in the sea?
This makes sense as a starting rule for the board game Nautilus, which is like the board game version of the cartoon Sea Lab. Players are scientists on a research station at the bottom of the sea. Each turn they can expand the base, deploy scientists or explore in a submarine. They are competing for points which are rewarded by finding Atlantis chips, treasure, or recovering raw materials.
71. Who can shout “Olé!” the loudest?
This is the starting rule for Salamanca, a game set in Spain in the 16th Century. Players are vying to be the ruler. They place building, landscape, and privilege tiles on the board in the best places to form valuable regions that earn them doubloons. Of course, they are trying to block the other players from the best locations at the same time. The player with the most doubloons at the end of the game wins.
72. Who can do the best penguin impression?
A silly starting rule for the game Penguin Soccer. A two-player game that plays a bit like Chess, where each player controls a team of penguins sliding and spinning after the soccer ball. I love penguins so may just use this rule for the start of my next board game – whatever the theme!
73. Who suggested the game?
This rule is much less silly than the others, but it will get you playing the game quickly! It’s from GUBS: A Game of Wit and Luck, where you compete against the other players to build the biggest and strongest colony of Gubs (little creatures that live in the woods and ride on toads).
It’s also the starting rule for Roads and Boats, a game where players manage their logistics to transport goods to production facilities and develop their civilizations.
74. Who is wearing the most black?
From Ice Pirates of Harbour Grace, where you are a pirate seeking the Pirate Admiral’s treasure. You must find the maps, get the treasure and hide it where none of your competitors will find it.
75. Who is the least wise?
The least wise player goes first in a German game loosely translated as, ‘The Seven Wise people’. In this game, players are magi competing to win Crystals, but they need to form alliances with other players to win them. Players change their alliances throughout the game. It’s an interesting dynamic of competitive, co-operative play.
76. Who has the tiniest teeth?
In the kids’ game, Mäuse-Rallye, players flick their mice around a race track to win a race and collect the most cheese. They need to avoid falling in the holes though, if they do they temporarily become the cat who messes up the turns for the other players.
77. Who is the most alien player?
From the game Space Beans where players collect space beans and trade them in for points.
78. Who can hold a high C note for the longest?
Maybe cover your ears for this one! It’s the starting rule for the game Maestro. Players manage musicians and complete musical compositions while running their musical talent agency.
79. Who is most in need of a shave?
This is the starting rule for players competing to be the Mayor of Goldrush-City. Players dig for gold, get tools, apply for building permits and build new buildings in the city. The winner is the person who creates the best set of buildings.
80. Who has the largest cowboy boots?
Cowboy boots not so common in your group? Then the person with the largest shoes goes first. It’s the starting player rule for the game Abilene, a game where players are cowboys taking their cattle to Abilene and having the occasional stand-off with the other players along the way.
81. Who is the dirtiest?
From the game, Neolithibum, a dexterity game set in prehistoric times where players are piling up their stones in honor of the diety Bottiburp. But they must follow various silly ritual instructions such as using only two fingers on their left hand while their nose is on the table.
82. Who can hold their breath underwater for the longest?
Not the safest rule and not recommended that you try this at home! Some people can be very competitive. This rule is how to choose the starting player for The Reef (not to be confused with the game Reef which is about managing a coral reef). It’s a two-player game where players compete to breed and collect fish for Neptune.
83. Who most recently visited Italy?
La Cittá is set in Italy, so this is a great starting rule for this game. Unless someone in your group has never been to Italy. In which case, go for tenuous links to Italy. Is someone in your group an olive expert? Or go for who has been closest to Italy most recently!
Anyway, in La Cittá, players start with two cities each and need to expand their cities to attract the most people.
84. Who has the hardest look in their eyes?
If it’s you, you’ll get to go first in the card game Saloon. Every player competes to be the last one standing.
85. Who is wearing the most jewelry?
In the game, Das Kollier (translated as ‘The Necklace’) players are competing to create the most valuable necklace using their gem cards.
86. Who has their alarm set for the earliest time?
Counting Zzzzs has this as their starting player rule. In this card game, players try to have the best dreams and the best night’s sleep, while their opponents try to wake them up or give them bad dreams.
87. Who is the quickest person to wave the highest denomination banknote or who bought a welding torch?
Banknotes and welding torches relate to the safe-opening game, Safeknacker, where this who goes first rule comes from. Players need to work together to open the safes but they must also share what they find. Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins.
88. Who can jump the highest?
This rule is from the children’s game, Dancing Eggs. Players roll dice to try to get an egg to get points. The eggs are either in an egg box or on another player. When a player gets an egg they balance it somewhere on themselves like between their knees or between their head and shoulder. When a player drops an egg, the game ends and the person with the most points wins.
89. Who most recently ate Greek food?
This is the starting rule from the two-player game, Hera and Zeus, with each player taking on the role of one of them and trying to destroy each other. This game’s starting rule is not great if a couple are playing the game and they last ate Greek food together!
90. Who can point to the North the fastest?
This starting player rule is from the board game Discovery. Players are seeking treasure. They begin the game on an island, but they don’t know where on the island they are. They must figure out where they are, find the clues which lead to the treasure, and go after it before the other players find it.
91. Who owns the most railway games?
In Railroad Dice: The First Rails, the player who goes first is the one who owns the most railway games. Players want to attract the most passengers to their railway by building adjacent train stations.
92. Who has seen the most Kim Possible episodes?
A very obvious link to the game this one comes from – Kim Possible Game. In this game, players have a mission and need to maneuver around bad guys and move walls to accomplish their mission.
93. Who last saw a mammoth?
From Stone Age, a game based on Settlers of Catan, where players are advancing their civilizations and trading items like meat, hides, and flint.
You may need to make up your own tenuous links to decide on a player with this starting rule. My local museum has a to-scale mammoth model which I see fairly regularly, so I’d use that as my link.
94. Who lives closest to Venice?
Oltre Mare uses this as its starting player rule. If you all live in the same city, then you may be bringing up maps to see who lives in the most southeasterly location (or the most appropriate direction for where you are!). In Oltre Mare, players are vying to be the best Merchant of Venice. They sail around Oltre Mare and the Mediterranean to find the best goods to buy and trade, all while avoiding the pirates!
95. Who is the most afraid of water?
From the game Niagara, where players are adventurers searching for jewels along the river and need to avoid being swept over the waterfall. Players need to deal with the changing weather and the river current while also avoiding Desperados who are trying to get their jewels.
96. Who bought the oldest object with them?
No, grandpa doesn’t count! This is the starting rule for the archaeological digging game, Jenseits von Theben (translated as ‘Beyond Thebes’).
In Jenseits von Theben, players are archaeologists competing to learn the most about five ancient civilizations. They must travel around Europe, gain the most knowledge, collect high-value artifacts and present their collections to the exhibitions to win.
97. Who has the biggest hands?
The children’s game The Mole in the Hole, uses this as its starting rule. Players control moles who are searching for The Golden Shovel. The board itself is 4 layers deep with holes that go between layers, as the moles progress down through the holes there are less and less available to travel through and the final board only has one hole. The mole that goes through the hole gets to The Golden Shovel!
98. Who is the most sea-worthy player?
This rule makes perfect sense as a starting rule for the game Tonga Bongo where players pilot a ship around islands to collect money and hinder the other player’s plans to be the wealthiest.
99. Who has most recently stroked a sheep?
Now, this isn’t something I do very often, and I live near The Peak District. But, it’s an interesting first-player rule from the children’s game Herd the Sheep. Players are shepherds who use flowers to lead their sheep back to the barn.
100. Who thinks they know the most about Australia?
Notice this one is who ‘thinks’ they know. They might not know very much at all, but a convincing argument could mean they go first in the board game Australia. Each player leads Rangers in Australia in the 1920s. They need to strategically manage their group of Rangers to complete nature and industry projects by flying them around map regions and occupying bases in map regions.
101. Who got up the latest today?
An appropriate rule for the vampire-themed game Dawn Under. Players compete to get rid of their own vampires before the other players do.
102. Who most recently achieved a waypoint in life?
This starting player rule comes from Tempus. Players compete to see who can advance their civilization the most over 10 game eras.
103. Who has most recently visited a real Castle?
I love that the word ‘real’ is in this starting player rule. It’s from the game Château Roquefort in which players use their mice to collect different types of cheese in a castle.
104. Who has the longest ears?
A fun starting rule for the game Hoppladi, Hopplada! where players are trying to get the most points by rolling dice containing rabbits, sheds, and carrots.
105. Who has the longest neck?
Also the same starting rule for the fast-paced ostrich racing game Savannah Tails. Players compete to win the race while avoiding being eaten by crocodiles and cheetahs, moving out of the way of elephants, and staying away from warthogs and porcupines.
106. Who can ‘moo’ the loudest?
From Black Sheep, a game with actual miniature animals where players aim to get the best combination of horses, cows, and chickens. But they need to avoid the black sheep who is messing up their plans!
107. Who looks most like a moose?
108. Who has the freshest breath?
Could be stinky to find out! But it’s a very appropriate who goes first rule for Mint Works. Each player controls workers represented by little mint-shaped tokens. They use their workers to buy and build plans for their mint works to earn points.
109. Who has their birthday next?
Seasons: The Calendar Rummy Game uses this as its who goes first rule. It’s an apt rule for a game that is based on rummy but where each payer has a card deck with a seasonal theme. The first player to 365 points (or 366 during a leap year) wins.
The game The Stars are Right also uses the same rule. It’s set in the Cthulhu Mythos. Players manipulate the skies to bring increasingly powerful creatures to our universe. Eventually, a player will be strong enough to summon the Great Old One and win the game.
110. Who can laugh the most like a coyote?
Who goes first in the game Coyote is the person who can laugh the most like a coyote.
111. Who has the biggest shoes?
Likely to be the person with the biggest feet! Whoever it is goes first in H2olland. Players are competing to grow the most expensive tulips. They compete for land in which to grow their tulips and increase the land they have available by draining Windmill Lake.
112. Who is the oldest?
The player who goes first in Settlers of Catan (Beginner’s version) is the oldest player. For the Experienced players game (the one most people play) it is decided by who rolls the highest on both dice. In Settlers of Catan, players collect and trade the resources of wood, grain, brick, sheep and stone, to become the most impressive civilization on the island of Catan.
It’s the same starting rule for the game Citadels, where players choose a new character each round to help them create buildings and get gold. When a player has built 8 buildings the game ends and players add up their score – highest wins.
Bohnanza, the card game where players compete to make the most money by planting and harvesting beans. Players can trade their cards with other players but must always play their cards in the order they draw them.
Village also uses the oldest player as the starting rule. Each player controls a family and leads them to prosperity so that they will be remembered in the village chronicles.
113. Who can hum the highest note?
From Humm Bug a simple game where players hum songs and theme tunes from different categories and the other players need to guess them.
114. Who is the first to have an idea for a theory?
It’s Just a Theory uses this as its starting rule. Each player is a theorist with a hand of facts and a card from which they need to come up with a theory. Players try to hijack each other’s theories to explain their own ideas. Everyone is trying to play as many cards as possible and lead as many other theories toward their cards as they can.
115. Who is the most like a Viking?
The rules for who goes first in Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga suggest a few different thematic methods. “Fiercest Viking roar? Hairiest beard? Most recent visit to Scandanavia?”
In this game, players sail their Viking ship through one of three Viking sagas, each saga having a different way to win sail, trade, and conquer territories.
116. Who has the longest mustache?
Women are at a bit of a disadvantage with this starting rule from Asterix and Obelix. The backup rule is the player with the biggest belly! This two-player game is based on the comic. Players are either Asterix or Obelix and they are beating up Romans, pirates and one person will get to beat up Moralelastix. Each is worth a different amount of points, the player with the most points after the 5th feast wins.
117. Who has been to the most European countries?
The starting player in Ticket to Ride: Europe is the player who has been to the most European countries. This game plays in a similar way to Ticket to Ride, with players building trains to connect locations to complete their tickets. However, it has the addition of tunnels, ferries, and stations to mix up the gameplay a little more.
118. Who has the most money?
From the game Alhambra, where players employ teams of builders to create the Alhambra. Everyone they employ wants to be paid in their own currency, so the game becomes as much about money management as it does about building and laying tiles.
119. Who has the huskiest voice?
The husky sled racing game Snow Tails, uses this as its who goes first rule. Players try to get to the finish without losing control of their sled or going too fast into a corner.
120. Who looks the most like a goblin?
From Kragmortha, a party game where players are goblins trying to lift magic tomes from a library without being caught. If players are seen then they must draw a card and do what it says for the rest of the game such as balancing the card on their head!
121. Who was the last person to eat pineapple?
In Tiki Topple, the person to go first is the person who last ate pineapple. This is a fast-paced game where players are trying to move their tiki carvings to the top of the idol. But there are cards that knock tikis down to the bottom and others which knock them off the board completely.
122. Who has most recently ridden on a magic carpet?
You may need to use your imagination here if no one ever has! Maybe who most recently sat on a rug? Anyway, it’s from the game 1001 Karawane where players are searching the desert for magic artifacts. But they must carefully manage their water and protect their caravan. The first player to acquire 3 magic artifacts is the winner.
123. Who owns the most Marklin trains?
For the board game, Ticket to Ride: Märklin. The basic premise of Ticket to Ride remains the same – players laying trains to connect locations – but in this edition, players can travel from city to country as well as city to city.
At the start of the game, victory point tokens are placed on cities. So as well as completing tickets, players can go after the locations with tokens for extra points. The person who completes the most tickets gets the end game bonus, not the person with the longest route.
124. Who has the biggest sombrero?
This is from the charade-based party game based on Celebrities – Time’s Up! In this game players form two teams and, over a series of rounds,
125. Who can give the best polar bear impression?
In Ice Flow, players race to be the first to get their three explorers from across the world. They need to avoid the polar bears, ride on the floes and manage their resources of ice and fish.
126. Who daydreams the most?
This is the ‘Who goes first?’ idea from Pocket Rockets. In this game players are astronauts building rockets. They move their pawns around the assembly plant to do different tasks such as adding to a rocket or getting fuel. The game ends when the fuel reserves run out. The winner is the astronaut with the best rocket.
127. Who can tell the most romantic love story?
From Genji, a game where players are competing to write the best poems and win the most princesses’ hearts.
128. Who is the youngest?
The youngest player goes first in Parade. Players are producing a parade featuring characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are producing a parade. Each turn players play cards to the parade line trying to get the highest value scores in their line and the lowest value scores out of the parade.
This rule is also used in Arkadia, where players compete to build houses and develop the castle of Arkadia.
129. Who has the most facial hair?
Dig In! uses this as its starting rule. In the game, players control a limited number of dwarves competing to control different areas.
130. Who has traveled the furthest in the last year?
The starting rule for Vasco da Gama is very fitting. It’s a game about creating shipping routes to earn money and victory points. Players are shipowners who manage their resources to hire captains, crew and build ships to send on projects. After 5 rounds the player with the most victory points wins.
131. Who can build the best monster or creature from plasticine?
I love this creative one. It’s from the game Laborigines. At the start of the game, players make their plasticine models and then can use them as their pieces in the game.
132. Who has the most prominent ears?
From Don Martin’s Kartenspiel, the game even includes a tape measure to measure everyone’s ear size! It’s a silly card game where players must say what’s on a card when they play it, phrases like, “Inkle dinkle glink glonk” and “Ga-Pween”. Players are trying to get rid of cards while at the same time collecting sets of colored cards which have the same text on them.
133. Who most recently built something?
This is the starting player selection rule for World Without End, a game based on the book by Ken Follet. In the game, players compete to earn the most victory points by looking after the people of Kingsbridge They can earn points in many different ways such as building or donating to projects.
134. Who has most recently visited Ireland?
From the game Keltis, where players are racing to move their pieces along several stone paths. The further along the paths they can move their pieces, the higher their score. When five playing pieces have reached the end of the paths, the game ends and the person with the highest score wins.
135. Who last fed a duck?
Duck, Duck, Bruce’s starting player is the person who last fed a duck. In this simple game, the deck contains cards with points values on them but also contains cards that make bad things happen to the player. For example, lose their hand or miss their turn. Players can stop revealing cards at any tie to bank their points before something bad happens. The first to 77 points wins.
136. Who most recently visited a farm?
An apt starting player rule for Farmageddon, a game where players manage their hand to grow crops for the farmer’s markets. However, mixed in with regular crops are FrakenCrops and other items.
137. Who has spent the least time on planet Terra in the Sol system?
No astronauts in your group? Then you may need to find another way to decide who goes first in Eclipse! In Eclipse, each player leads a civilization in space which they advance by taking the right strategy for their species. Researching technologies, building spaceships, and exploring are all ways toward winning.
138. Who has the least hair?
Maybe because the Dweebies have very little hair themselves, this is the starting rule for this game. In Dweebies, players collect and match Dweebies cards by being smart about how they play them.
139. Who can do the best mammoth impression?
The player who goes first in Ouga Bouga is the one who can do the best mammoth impression. It’s a game set in the caveman days where players make the sounds or do the actions written on cards such as “Atrrr” for fire.
Players keep adding cards to the middle and repeating all the actions and sounds on every card in order until they mess up or get through them all and shout “Ouga Bouga!”. It’s a silly game that’s over in 10 minutes and would be good fun for deciding who goes first at another game!
140. Who has most recently used a wok?
A super fitting start player rule for the game We Will Wok You. Players are chefs at a wok music festival who play their cards right to create meals for the festival-goers.
141. Who visited Hamburg most recently?
From the game, The Speicherstadt (loosely translated as Storage City). Players are wholesalers in Humburg around 1900. They bid on goods coming in from ships to store in their storehouses in the large storehouse complex in Hamburg, The Speicherstadt. They must not bid too high though, because they want to sell them for a profit!
142. Who looks most like an ant?
The game Myrmes uses this method to decide who goes first. In this game, players control ant colonies and they do all kinds of ant things, like do what the Queen says, collect stone, mud, and aphids, and explore the land and make it through winter.
143. Who can name the most moons of Jupiter?
Keen astronomers will love this starting rule. It’s for Exoplanets, a game where players create their own system of planets and creatures which live on them. Each player is aiming to complete their goals to get points and they can interrupt their opponents’ plans with space events. But everyone is building mutual planetary systems.
144. Who most recently read a history book?
This staring player rule is from the game Troyes, a city in France. Players play through 4 centuries of history in the city and manage their population to develop the city.
That’s all folks!
Phew, that’s a lot of starting rules and games! The geek lists on BoardGameGeek were a great source of inspiration for this epic post.
With so many rules across so many games, it’s no wonder that Munchkin pokes fun at the starting player rules with its own variation.
“Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence and whether the fact that a word seems to be missing any effect.”
If none of the silly rules work for your game, how about making up your own? How about who has the most plants for Arbortage? Or who has most recently knocked something over for King of Tokyo?
Or you could create your own set of starter rules and pull a random one from a jar at the start of each game. The game Start Player (Amazon link) does exactly that.
If you want a fairer, more balanced way to decide you could always:
- Use an app (see my post: 8 Free Apps to Choose Who Goes First – Fair and Random)
- Play a quick game (For ideas see: 19 Quick and Fun Games to Decide Who Goes First)
- Collect a meeple from each player and select one at random
- Use a traditional game method like drawing straws or playing rock, paper scissors
Whatever you choose for who you choose, have fun!