You Want To Play This Game? – No Thanks! Review

You’ve no idea how annoying it is to have someone use the “No Thanks” joke when you asking others to play this game. It’s getting old. . . . please. . . . . stop!

Ok, mini-rant over! After my last review of Cosmic Encounter, we’re moving on to some lighter games and we start off with this little gem from Z-Man Games, which if a chart existed must surely feature in the Top 10 for Easiest Games to Play. I can’t imagine anyone struggling to comprehend the rules to this game and if I do ever meet someone like that, I’m going to put this game away, whip out Arkham Horror and then just let Azathoth rise up and destroy the universe as my sanity will have blown.




Designer: Thorsten Gimmler (2004)
Publisher: Z-Man Games
# of Players: 3-5
Ages: 8+
Play Time: 20 minutes
BGG Rank/Rating: #314/6.98
Dice Tower People’s Choice Rank: N/A
Category: Push Your Luck with Set Collection

"As you can see, there's little in the way of components"

Rinse & Repeat Gone Mad

The premise of this game is simple. Cards score you points and to win the game you don’t want points. Each turn you will flip a card from a deck numbered 3 to 35 and decide if you want the card or not. If you refuse the card you will put a red chip on the card and pass it to the next player who will have the same choice to make.

Each red chip is worth -1 point at the end of the game and they protect you from having to pick up a really high value card you don’t want so they are precious to keep, but they also make picking up bad cards potentially worthwhile if they are piled with chips.

"Are you tempted yet?"

Not all cards are bad though. If you are able to collect sequential sets (e.g. 4-5-6) then only the lowest card in the set scores meaning the rest of the cards in the sequence are free. You are aiming to only pick up a card when it completes a set, but remember your chips are finite.

Well the card I want is going to come up sooner or later right? Wrong! Before the deck is shuffled, 9 cards are removed from the pack at random and face down. Now all players are no longer sure whether that one card they need to slot into a big set even exists in the game.

"If Player 1 doesn't find a 34, he's in big trouble, though he still has some catching up to do"

The game play carries on until the whole deck runs out of cards by which time everyone will have cards scoring, but were they able to minimise their points?

Ticking the Boxes

As you can see, this isn’t a complicated game by any means and only has a slight element of tactical play to it. There is a variant which specifies some of the cards to be removed which gives players something to think about and personally I prefer playing it this way – but new gamers will tend to prefer the nice, simplistic original version.

But for a filler game, it ticks all the requirements. It’s cheap, easy to teach, easy to play, very fast (games are over in less than 10-15 minutes typically) and easy to store as it comes in a tiny box – perfect for playing on public transport.

Although on that note, a word of warning, if you sleeve the cards, the lid can be somewhat “precarious” on the top so no tipping it upside down in your bag. It’s getting a little annoying that publishers aren’t allowing space for sleeves in their card games, but I digress, that’s a topic for another day. . . . . or podcast maybe?

Player interaction is fairly minor aside from passing the cards around with chips on them, but everyone is always “egging” everyone else on to pick up the high value cards. Push Your Luck is the name of this game and you have to make the decision of whether a card piled with chips is worth taking, but on top of this you may be tempted to place a chip on a card you do want hoping that it will come back round to you again with more juicy chips.

"Naturally it's more neatly arranged here, than it typical is by the average gamer!"

Also the removal of 9 cards creates the fear factor of trying to complete a set. You may be tempted to take a card knowing that only one more card will complete a run of four plus, but how do you know the card is in the game? If you gamble and it falls through you’re stuck with lots of unwanted points.

And on top of that, it's easy to come up with variants for game play. In fact, search on BoardGameGeek and you'll find some useful material on the subject. I saw one in particular where each player gets two cards which are out of play, but only known to that player. I feel keen to try that out on the next venture - it could up the tactical element of the game even more so - although be warned, this game is intended to be a light, quick simple game. Over-complicating it might deter non-gamers.

Verdict

For the price it’s a nice little filler that packs a lot of game in a tiny box. The original rules make it very light and quick allowing for repeated plays and I fail to comprehend anybody who would have difficulty learning the rules – it’s just that simple. Barely two to three major rules to be aware of and that’s it, and once a few turns have passed, everyone has understood it, kids and adults alike. Gamers may prefer to use the variant for more tactical choices, but remember that this is a light push your luck game and not for those who like to plan their strategies out.

It also fits that niche of “gateway” games so it’s worth keeping this game handy if you know you are playing with completely new players to gaming, as a taster of what is out there. That being said I don’t have difficulty teaching Kakerlaken Poker Royal (another cheap enjoyable filler, see my other reviews) to new players and if I were to compare the two, I would go for Kakerlaken in terms of sheer enjoyment, but then I love bluffing games.

Not really much else to say as I’m just likely to repeat myself – it’s a good game but not mind blowing by any means. It’s a quick, light, good game that stores and transports easily, is really easy to teach and can be found anywhere for £10 or less.


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