Card games were a staple in my house growing up. From euchre to cribbage to rummy, we played them all. I think that is why I enjoy playing games that have very simple components but a fun game mechanic. This is the reason I find No Thanks! to be a game that is right up my alley. No Thanks! is a push your luck card game for 3-5 players that plays in just 10 minutes.
No Thanks! is a press your luck and set collection card game that is very easy to play. Much like in Golf, the aim of the game is to get the least amount of points possible. On their turn, each player has the option to take the face-up card or pass on it. If the player passes, then they have to play one of their limited chips next to the passed over card. When all 24 cards (numbered 3-35) have found a home in someone’s hand, the game is over.
The game has only two components. They are not flashy, but they work. There are 33 total cards, printed on good quality card stock. You also get some plastic playing chips that work well for the game. I have no concerns that this game will stand the test of time after many plays.
How to Play:
Each game start with the players taking 9 cards out of the 33 card deck. The 24 remaining cards are place in the middle of the table. The card on top of the deck is flipped over face-up and the player has one of two decisions to make:
1. Say No Thanks (pass on taking that card) and place one of their chips next to the card.
2. Accept the card into your hand and take any chips next to it.
After a card is claimed, the player that took that card flips over the next card and play continues. Once all 24 cards are acquired, each player adds up the total value on the cards in front of them, then subtract the number of chips that you have, and that is your total. Lowest score wins the game.
That’s all there is too it. The game play is simple and quick. There are two game aspects at work when you play, the chips mechanic and trying to gain number chains on the cards you take.
The chips are required to pass on a card. If you run out of chips you have to accept the card that is flipped up. Without this chip aspect, the obvious play would be to just avoid taking any cards, but due to the limited number of chips that you start with, you will have to take cards into your hand.
The other element of the game is getting unbroken number chains. When you get a set of numbers, say 11, 12, and 13, you would only score 11 for the point total for those 3 cards. Getting sets are helpful to minimize the impact of taking cards into your hand. However, since 9 random cards are taken out at the beginning of the game, there is no guarantee that you will get any chain to help your cards.
I was happy that the game was so easy to learn. Took us a total of 10 min from opening the box to figure out how to play. The game seems to have two basic strategies from the three games we played. One was to avoid all high cards. This strategy works fine until the other players started to catch on. When you run out of chips you are stuck and have to take the card flipped up. During our play through, the player who was using his chips a lot tended to get ganged up on and was force to take a high card.
The other strategy was to try and push your luck to take the high value cards, but collect chips to counteract the high values on the cards. Both strategies worked well and also failed epically. None of the other players were heavy strategy gamers and had no issue with the large amount of luck in the game. On the other hand, I think some gamers might feel that they have no clear path to victory in this game. Personally though, that didn’t bother me. I like any game that has a little bit of bluffing and reading other players, even if there is a high luck element. We had a great time with all three of our games.
During our last game, we actually added a house rule that you might be consider for your gaming group. The rules have you play the cards you gain in front of you. The group felt that it was too easy to see what other players were doing late in the game. We decided to play with the cards we acquired going into a concealed hand. This allowed for the end game to have a little bit of uncertainty with what people were going to do. Admittedly, if you have a good enough memory, you can make a guess on what people are going to do, because any card that someone takes will be face up, but we found this a good house rule to add a little more excitement to the game. The game plays just fine without this change, but we preferred it this way.
No Thanks! doesn’t have complicated steps or a big barrier to entry. It isn’t a thinking gamer’s game. Despite that, it is a very enjoyable experience to play with anyone. This a great game to take with you to gatherings to pass the time. It plays quick and the rules are simple, making it a good filler game to start off the game night. There is enough strategy and push your luck elements to keep people interested after their first play. Plus, at only $10, it’s a pretty cheap investment for the amount of fun you will have. No Thanks! is a game that people will ask to play again which is always a good sign for any game.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $10
Final Score: 3 Stars – A very simple and easy card game to play with your gamer friends and family members that will keep people coming back.
• Simple rules to learn
• Quick game play
• Very portable game
• Very luck driven mechanics might not appeal to some
Thanks for the great review, my friends and I have been playing this game for some time now. It’s a great “start out the game night” game, you can play a few games while you’re waiting for latecomers to show up.
I also found a game for iPhone and iPad that has very similar rules called I’ll Pass. It’s fun to be able to play it on the fly, and the computer opponents are quite good.