First Hand Review
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Players: 2-6 (ages 6+)
Playing Time: 15 minutes

Quick thinkers and copycats alike will love playing First Hand, an energetic card game that rewards the players with the fastest hands.

The rules of the game couldn’t be much simpler. To begin the first round, the youngest player acts as referee. He or she takes the deck of cards and flips over the top card. Once the card is flipped over, the other players race to move their hands into the position pictured on the card. It could be something as simple as pointing with their left index finger—or it could be as complex as crossing their arms, right over left, with their right hand in a fist and their left palm-up. Once all of the players have their hands in position, the referee determines which player was the slowest—and that player takes that card and acts as the referee for the next round.

Play continues until all 60 cards have been used—and the player with the fewest cards wins.

First Hand is a fast-paced, high-energy game that will have players giggling—with their arms flailing in all directions—in no time. Many of the positions are pretty challenging—and some, in fact, are impossible (in that case, you’re supposed to cross your arms in front of your chest)—which definitely keeps the game interesting.

The game is simple to learn and easy to play, yet the game’s suggested age limit is appropriate. Though there isn’t any math or reading involved, it isn’t a preschool game. My six-year-old niece loved playing, but she still got a little bit confused from time to time—especially when the positions required crossing her arms. So if you’re playing with younger players, you might want to pick and choose your cards a bit. Also, though the game’s rules suggest that it can be played with just two players, I’m not exactly sure how, since each round requires a referee—which would then leave just one player to copy each position unopposed. So I recommend sticking with three or more—which is best anyway, since the more players you have, the crazier it gets.

Of course, if you’re used to playing calm, relaxing, thoughtful games, First Hand will most likely stress you out—because it’s loud and chaotic and highly active. But even if wild and crazy games aren’t your thing, you’ll still have a whole lot of fun playing it—because, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to play it without laughing. And that makes it a great choice for silly, energetic players of all ages.

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