Being a Lions fan is a gift...
...and a curse.
Many of my game purchases have been inspired by what I've heard on podcasts about board games. I hear about a game that the podcaster goes crazy over, and I convince myself that I must own a copy too. So it went with the game No Thanks! which was hyped quite a bit by the guys on the Dice Tower. So did they steer me towards a gem, or lead me astray? Read on...
What do you get with No Thanks!? In the box you get a rulebook, 55 little red chips, and 33 cards numbered from 3 to 35.
How does No Thanks! work? Each player starts with a handful of 11 chips. Then the cards are shuffled and 9 cards are randomly removed from the deck. A player is selected to go first and they flip the top card of the deck face-up onto the table.
If the start player wants this card they can take it, but if they don't they must place a chip on it. If they place a chip on it, control passes to the next player who can either take the card and the chip, or place another chip on it. This continues until someone takes the card. That player places the card face-up in front of them and then flips the next card from the deck and starts a new round.
The trick is that the cards are worth points equal to the number printed on them, and in this game points are bad. However there is one strategic twist that will help players. If a player is able to get 2 or more cards in sequence they only score points for the lowest card of the sequence (so a player that ends the game with #25, #26, #27, and #28 will only score 25 points instead of 106 points.)
The game ends when the last card in the deck has been claimed. Then players add up the points on their cards (of course only counting the low cards in any sequences they have) and subtract one point for each chip they still hold. The player with the lowest score wins.
What does Blott think of No Thanks!? I'm always itching for games that are fast and that have some legitimately interesting decisions throughout. No Thanks! hits on both of those points perfectly for me. It is a lightning quick game, but in every game I find myself struggling about which cards to take, and how much I can push my luck. I also greatly appreciate how simple the game is to teach. I've had players playing the game with full understanding after only 30 seconds of explaining. Everyone I have played with has enjoyed the game, and I have never sat down for a game without the majority of the players asking for another game right away.
Who will enjoy No Thanks!? This is an ideal "filler" game for gamers. It fits in that short timeframe between other games and has a number of satisfying strategic options. It's also an excellent game to pull out with non-gamers, because there is little to learn, but a lot to enjoy. Some may complain that the decisions are fairly rudimentary, but I would argue otherwise. I've seen players who make every intelligent strategic decision lose to players who take ridiculous risks and get lucky. I also find No Thanks! just as fun with the number of chips each player has as open knowledge. No matter how you cut it, I think there's just enough to make this a winner with almost any group.
Any parting comments about No Thanks!? One of the strategies that I've seen new players miss almost every time is the whole push-your-luck element of the game. When you have already taken a high-point card, let's say a 30, and the 31 is turned up, many rookies will just grab it ASAP. But here’s where the fun lies. Why not drop a chip on there and make other players load it up with chips first? After all, none of them want 31 points. So now you've got a few chips on there, should you drop another and see if you can rack up even more? But watch out, if one player runs out of chips they'll have to take the card and they'll take your chips along with it. The other push-your-luck aspect comes in taking chances on gaps in a sequence. Since 9 cards are randomly removed you could take the 15 card and the 17 card, but you never know for sure whether that 16 will show up to help your score. It's these kind of fun decisions that keep people saying "Yes Please!" when I suggest a game of No Thanks!
This is one of our new favourites for fillers, too. One of our players has it, and I've also been known to pull out the appropriate cards from Slide 5 to play it.
When a card i nthe 30's comes out first, it's a bit of a trick to decide when you should take it, and be the guy with the mitt full of chips...