As much as I love One Finger writing this review to more than a couple of hundred words will be quite the task. One Finger is a simple card and finger game that is more fun than it has any right to be. It also plays out as a kind of call my bluff gun fight between players. And most of the time you are just deciding whether to remove your finger from a card or not…
Included in the box is a bunch of square button cards. The back the cards depict a number from 0-3 or a + sign, and the front of the cards one of three button types. To start the game players shuffle and stack the cards face down on the table and each take one card placing it number side up in front of them.
One card is flipped from the stack and all players place one finger on this card. In a two player game players will instead use two fingers. Then the start player will say a number between 0 and the number of fingers that are on the card. At the exact same time each player will either lift their finger from the card or leave it on the card.
If the number that the player said matches the number of fingers still on the card that player wins the card. If that number is the same as the number written on the top of the stack of button cards then they win that card as a bonus too!
If the number spoken is different to the number of fingers on the card then all fingers are returned and the next player shouts a number and you go again. Once you are through the deck you count the amount of cards you collected – most cards means winner!
There are two special buttons that you may get. One the thief button means that if you correctly say a number you also look at the top card on other players collected piles and take any that match that number. The twin button means you add a second button card and everyone places a second finger on that card. If you get the number right for either card then you win both!
As you can tell One Finger is an extremely silly game. Like most silly games if benefits from the meta that develops as one group plays it over and over again in the same evening. Thankfully this is more than likely as a full game round takes 5-10 minutes. Trying to predict who will do what with their finger is more fun that it ought to be. Although perhaps not as fun as that sentence sounds.
The game elements may be sparse but they add just enough tension – encouraging you to say the number that gets you the most cards, but this is the most predictable move so the other players could coordinate against you. The balancing act is that you still have the power and control of your own finger. Although this may let you down.
In fact the rulebook even confirms this, gleefully informing readers that around 11% of players remove their finger when stating the highest number or leaving it on when they say zero… And it is these kind of errors and events that will live long in your memories. Laughing at others as they make that mistake and praying you don’t do the same.
On other occasions the round will continue for a seemingly impossible amount of time as players continually fail to get the right number. Other occasions you will all say the same number hoping to be the one who achieves success.
One Finger will not win any awards. But it will be played multiple times in a game session, and slipped in bags and pockets to be played out and about. It will raise smiles and demands for ‘just one more game’ and there is something to be said for that.
If I had a complaint or two I would like to have seen more button variety. The two included are fun, but including a few more that could have been optionally used would have iced the cake to near perfection. Especially as I don’t see an expansion in the future. The other thing is that this is a party game but it only goes up to 5 players. I understand the desire to be quick to set up and play and not have cards removed for different player counts, but I’d have loved the option to play up to 8 people.