Based on the name and its nondescript theme, it’s easy to say, “No thanks,” to No Thanks. Once you open up the box, there isn’t much to look at either besides a handful of numbered cards and a baggie filled with plastic tokens. But once you get it going, it delivers an experience far greater than what you’d expect from its pedestrian components.
In No Thanks, each of the 33 cards is numbered from 3-35 and shuffled into a deck. From there, nine cards are removed. Once you’re ready, each card is revealed one at a time. Players then can say, “Thanks!” and take the card and any tokens that have accumulated with it. Or the can say, “No thanks!” and pay a token to pass. The goal of this exercise is to end up with the lowest total score at the end, which is determined based on the total number of points on the cards you’ve collected minus the number of tokens you have left.
This sounds like a one-dimensional game where you just want to hoard low-numbered cards while passing on the high ones. However, the decision is never that easy or even possible depending on how many tokens you have left. If you’re able to create a chain of numbers, such as 4-5-6, only the 4 will count towards your final total. This will encourage you to draw multiple cards as a means of lowering your score, or as a method of collecting tokens without negatively impacting your score. Also, high cards may be worth drawing if it’s collected enough tokens to make it worth your while. In a worst case scenario, if you don’t have any tokens in your stash, you’re forced to take whatever is left on the table.
No Thanks is easy to overlook, but it’s a game that always delivers when it’s on the table. For a game that only gives you two different types of actions, there are many interesting decisions you have to make as each card is unveiled. There are also many different ways to win as long as you intelligently manage your resources. On top of all that, it’s very easy to teach and quick to play, making it ideal for a wider audience. For a game that’s as good as this one and as cheap as this one, this is a safe one to add to your collection.