Party games are often held to a different level of judgement than other games. Perhaps they are not seen as serious endeavours for 'proper' gamers. I understand, really, I do. A party game getting the same score as your beloved heavy Euro is slightly unsettling. But, here's the thing - party games can tap into fun in a way that most other games can't. A good party game is not about the score, but about a shared journey with plenty of laughs along the way. Rarely will we remember who won a party game, but we will remember laughing until we cried about... something!
Just One is a co-operative party game from Repos Production. They purchased the rights from the Fun Consortium in 2018, changing the name from We Are The World. Repos made several adaptations and it's now nominated for the 2019 Spiel des Jahres. It's designed by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter.
Inside the Just One box you will find:
- Seven different coloured dry wipe pens (that are actually not bad quality).
- Seven white 'v' shape card stands.
- A deck of cards.
The gameplay is simple. You deal out 13 cards from the deck and one player takes one of these and places it on their stand facing away from them. On the card are five words helpfully numbered 1-5, the player chooses a number and everyone else looks to see what the word is. Next they will write a one-word hint that points towards the word on the card. For example, if the word is Elephant I might write 'Ears'. The words are written directly on to the card stands, which is a nice touch.
After everyone has written a hint the guessing player closes their eyes while the other players check their words against each other. If any have written the same word all examples of the word are erased. This is the crux of the game, choosing a word that will lead to the answer but not be so obvious that everyone else chooses it. Of course, maybe everyone will be doing that, so the obvious word is the right word?
There are the usual word game rules in effect about derivatives of words and all that jazz, but Just One is best played loose and fast. Remember you are working together! The guessing player then looks at the remaining clues and attempts to guess the word.
If they are right - hurrah! One point for the team, if they are wrong they have to discard two cards. The safer option is to pass thereby only discarding the current card. Depending on the group I sometimes ignore this slightly 'gamery' rule in favour of just losing one card when you pass. The rulebook provides a ranking depending on how many of the 13 cards you successfully identified!
You could argue there is not much 'game' here. However, I have found this to be a hit in multiple groups due to the approachability, and fun. Thinking you have nailed a great clue only to have someone else come up with the same word is as amusing as it is frustrating. It is also quite unique to have a party game that plays as a cooperative experience, and it works to create a great experience.
Final Thoughts on Just One
It is hard not to recommend Just One. It's a cheap fun, party game with just the right amount of that something special. Of course, if you aren't a fan of party games already then you won't find anything here to convince you otherwise.
Bottom Line - 'Just One provides a simple word guessing game in a clever co-op package that will have you playing just one more time for most of the night!'