I have fond memories of playing cards on Christmas Eve down at Grandma’s house. The Roy family would gather there, open their presents, have a lovely dinner, and then a bunch of us would get around the table and play cards. Usually Push Rummy or something like that.
We used to laugh when Grandma would get so many cards that she’d have to put some of them down on the table because she couldn’t hold them. Then she would “forget” she had them.
A hilarious time was had by all. That laughter is one of the many joyous memories I have of her.
As a gamer, I play a lot of more complex games now, games that people who aren’t gamers will look at and say “No way do I want to play that!” (not that they couldn’t understand them, but they don’t have the desire to put that much effort into it)
But I’ve always been on the lookout for a good card game that will cater to the non-gamers in the family, that can be brought out on occasions such as this, be easily explained without a lot of fuss, and then we can get going.
No Thanks is the perfect game for that occasion.
This game is designed by Thorsten Gimmler, with art by Oliver Freudenreich, Dennis Lohausen and Atelier Löwentor and published by Asmodee & 999 Games (and I think currently published by Mayfair games, if the BGG image is to be believed).
No Thanks is a neat little card game where you are trying to avoid getting any points.
It’s very portable, as it’s only a deck of cards ranging from 3 to 35 and a bag full of little chips.
You randomly remove 9 cards from the deck after shuffling and don’t look at them, so nobody knows what cards are not in play. Each player starts with 11 chips that they hold in their hands secretly.
The first player flips the first card from the deck and then decides whether they want to take it or say “no thanks” and put a chip on it.
Why wouldn’t you want it?
How about I explain the scoring.
If you take the card, you put it in front of you. At the end of the game, you will get the number of points on the card.
But remember, points are bad.
So if the card is a 35, you may not want it.
The card goes around from player to player, and each one decides whether or not to take it. If not, they put another chip on it.
Some cards can get lots of chips.
If you take the card, you get the chips too, so eventually, somebody’s going to want it. Or, if you don’t have any chips left (which is why you keep it secret), you have to take it.
Whoever takes the card then flips the next card over and either takes it or puts a chip on it. Things continue from there.
If you get cards that are in order, you can form them into a run and then you only get the points for the lowest number. Pretty cool if you have the 24 and the 26 when the 25 pops out. Nobody’s going to want that 25, but it does wonders for you.
Since you don’t know whether the 25 has been taken out or not at the beginning of the game, though, you took a risk by taking the 24 and the 26.
Once all of the cards in the deck are gone, you total up the points you have, subtract one point for each chip you have, and that’s your final score.
Remember, low score wins!
Am I Thankful for This or is it a Thankless Game?
No Thanks quickly became one of my favourite card games simply because it is so versatile. It’s a nice filler for game days when you’re wanting something quick before the main event.
But it also works for family gatherings or other social occasions, because so many people like card games. It’s easy to teach, easy to learn, and makes sense after the first game, if not before.
And it’s so quick that you can play multiple times!
I know that I will be bringing it to any family gathering I go to in the future.
The cards aren’t the most sturdy, but they are fine for what they are. And the game is cheap enough that it’s really not worth it to sleeve them. Besides, sleeving them may get you weird looks from your family members.
I’ve always loved the type of chips that are included in the game too. they’re nice and plastic, giving me the urge to just rub them together in my hands (since you do keep them secret). Of course, since they are secret, it’s not really a good thing to be making noise with them. But I love how tactile they are.
The box is very portable, but you could easily put the cards and chips in a deck box and make it even more portable.
Sure, the game is random as hell, but it’s a simple card game. What do you expect?
No Thanks is the perfect all-around card game. It is never leaving my collection.
(Review written after 15 plays)