ToysBulletin.com reviews a unique number game from Mayfair Games.
This review must start with a story. The Toys Bulletin staff has been playing “No Thanks!” for about two months now. In fact, there is seldom a day goes by when it is not being played. It has become our go-to game, and staff members have even taken it home to play with family and friends. This past week, while playing “No Thanks!,” someone asked what our readers thought of the “No Thanks!” review. Suddenly, we all looked at each other and we were all thinking the same thing. We had forgotten to write a review on a game we play almost daily. But, it was not too late. So, here we go.
Although not a new game, we had not seen “No Thanks!” until Mayfair Games released their version in 2015. The game contents include 33 numbered cards from 3-35, 55 plastic pass tokens and the all important rules. “No Thanks!” is designed for 3-7 players, ages 8 years old and up and a typical game can be completed in less than 30 minutes.
The game is generally played over 4 rounds, although the number of rounds is optional. To get things started, shuffle the deck of 33 cards, remove 9 cards at random and set them aside and out of the round. The remaining 24 cards form the draw deck for the round and are placed face down in the center of the table. Each player also receives 11 of the pass tokens, and any remaining tokens are removed from play. Players are advised to keep their pass tokens hidden from the other players.
The object of the game is to accumulate the lowest number of points determined by adding the values of all numbered cards collected during the game, and subtracting any pass tokens still being held.
To begin play, the top card from the draw deck is turned over, and the first player has two options. He can either take the card and place it face up in front of him, or he can take one of his pass tokens, put it on the card, say “No Thanks!” and end his turn. If a player takes the card, the next player turns over the top card from the draw deck and makes the same choices. If a player has said, “No Thanks!” the next player must decide if he wants the card, or if he wants to place a second pass token on the card, and of course say “No Thanks!” Play continues around the table until someone takes that card. In the meantime, there could be quite an accumulation of pass tokens on it before that happens. The round continues until the draw deck is exhausted.
If at any time a player runs out of pass tokens, that player must take the card, no matter what. There is another key rule that applies to runs. If a player has collected a run of 2 consecutive numbered cards or more, he is allowed to only count the value of the lowest card in the run when totaling his points at the end of a round. For example, if a player had the 14, 15 and 16 cards in front of them, that would only count for 14 points at the end of the round.
At the conclusion of each round, points are tallied by each player by adding up all numbered card values (remember that the runs can help reduce that total) and subtract any pass tokens (value of 1 each) to get a score for the round. The player with the lowest point total after 4 rounds wins the game.
Players may think their best strategy is to use their tokens to pass on every card, thus getting a score of zero. But, they will quickly find out how fast their pass tokens disappear, and then they will be forced to take a card that they really do not want.
To get the optimal score, players will have to take some cards during every round of play. But, players must decide when to do it and hopefully pick up a run or two along the way. Sure, there is some luck involved as well, but a player who can conserve pass tokens and grab the right cards at the right time will probably be successful more often than not.
This is a great little game that is so easy to play and just loads of fun. It is great seeing another player take a certain card, just so their opponent does not get it and complete a run, and then watching someone else select a high numbered card with loads of pass tokens atop the card. The latter move may prove to be very strategic. Also, players should never forget that 9 of the cards are removed from the deck every round, meaning that certain runs might be impossible.
We cannot say enough about “No Thanks!” It retails for $13.00 and can be purchased directly from the Mayfair Games website.