Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No Thanks

Card games are becoming a favorite of mine. They are usually very quick to play and many of them offer some fun strategy. One of my favorite card games is No Thanks!

No Thanks! consists of 33 cards numbered 3 ot 35 and 55 playing chips. To start the game each player takes 11 chips. 9 cards are then randomly taken from the deck and removed from the game. It's important that nobody knows which cards are removed. The remaining cards in the deck are put in the middle of the table and the first card is turned over. A starting player is chosen. The starting player then has a decision to make: Do I take the card, or do I pass on the card by puting one of my chips on it. If you take the card you now have the points equal to the value of the card at the end of the game, plus all the chips that have been put on the card. If you pass, the turn goes clockwise and the next person has the same decision to make: Do I take the card, or do I pass by puting a chip on it. When someone takes a card another one from the deck is turned over and play goes on until until all cards have found someone willing to accept them.

There are a few additional rules that add some interesting and really fun strategic decisions. The first is: If you run out of chips and don't want the card, you are forced to take it. Many times I've gotten stuck with a high card because I don't have any chips left. So if a 35 comes up that nobody wants, everyone will most likely pass until someone runs out of chips. It's fun to see who gets stuck with a crappy card. As long as it's not you though. :) Another rule is that chips are worth -1 points at the end of the game. This theoretically means that you could end up with negative points. I've only seen this once in over 40 plays. My wife had an amazing string of luck and got -13. She won that game pretty easily. The final rule is that if you have a run of cards, the point value of those cards for the end of the game is equal to the lowest card in the run. For example: If you have a run of the 10, 11, 12, and 13, all of those cards are only worth 10, the lowest card in the run. This makes for some fun decisions. If you have the 22 for example, and the 20 comes up, you can take the 20 but you run the risk of not getting the 21 to complete the run. You would then be stuck with 42 points at the end of the game for those two cards. If the 21 comes up later in the game you can link the run together and those three cards are only worth 20. The thing is, the 21 might never come up because it could be one of the nine cards randomly taken out of the game, or someone could see that you really need that card and take it before you can. At the end of the game you count up the value of all of your cards and subtract any chips that you still have. The winner is the one who has the least amount of points.

I really like this game. It's got fun strategic decision making, a short playing time, and it's very portable. I took it backpacking earlier this year and we played it over 30 times. If you haven't played I would highly recommend you checking it out.

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