A game by the team that created The 7th Continent must be a pretty complex and immersive game, right? Well not particularly so. Unlike some of the major creators who have stuck in their wheel house whether it be Economic simulators or Tile laying games, this creation is different. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter have created a game here that could be nothing further from their opus.
Just One is a seriously simple game. Up to 7 players each receive a writing slate and pen, the start player the picks a card (from the 13 for a game) and places it facing away from them. Each card has words 1-5 one them, with the start player announcing a number, the other players determine the corresponding word.
It is then up to the rest of the team to write down a single word that will help the guesser to find the target word. Simple. Before the guesser gets a chance to see the clues, however, everyone else compares clues and if there are any duplicates then these clues are removed from the game. This leads to a wonderful question of whether you should go with the most obvious, or with a more obscure reference.
The decision of what word to play is truly where this game shines, do you go for the obvious or is that what everyone else will do, thus leaving a small amount of clues. Or is that what everything else is thinking and therefore going for the obvious is going to be the best choice? This constant internal back and forth is what creates pressure and tension but also leads to clues that are so far out that you have to wonder what the clue giver is even thinking.
Depth and Replayability
With a massive stack of clue cards, each with five words on them this game has some serious legs in terms of replayability, even for the same gaming group or family.
I have played this game with several groups from children to adults and a mix and this game has never failed to impress. I’m not saying that this is an incredible, in depth game that warrants the attention of all hobby players, but moreso that this game hits all the right notes for a fun experience for a game night. It hits a happy medium between ‘Family’ and ‘Party’ game allowing you to get rowdy if you want, but also a more reserved and strategic game is also possible.
One minor complaint about the game is that it can be a little awkward in terms of scoring at the end as it seems a bit anticlimactic. A perfect round is 13 correct guesses, all the way down to zero, but this scoring isn’t measured against anything else, just a “Hey we got 10 right well done” seems to be the way to end the game. Although, some pre-empting of ‘This is the last round’ would probably avoid some of this awkwardness.
Overall though I would very highly recommend this game for any player of games and it has the potential to be a new classic evergreen game. This game well deserves it’s status as the Spiel des Jahres winner this year, so if you are at all on the fence I really think that you should pick this one up or give it a try.