The cooperative party game “Just One” from Asmodee now carries the coveted red pawn of the association Game of the Year. The jury of critics named the title “Game of the Year 2019” and thus once again supported the trend towards cooperative parlor games. “Just One” is aimed at 3 to 7 players, ages eight and up.
A box of fun is available for 30 euros. That's how much the cooperative party game from Asmodee currently costs - and if the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV has its way, every cent should be well invested. “Just One” is the game of the year 2019 and was able to prevail in the end against LAMA from Amigo Spiel und Werworths from Ravensburger.
Just One by Asmodee: communication game with an addictive factor
Pure communication games are controversial in terms of quality, at least among frequent gamers. With “Just One” even experts were largely in agreement: this party game belongs in every well-stocked game shelf. The name says it all: “It's only about one word,” says Bernhard Löhlein from Spiel des Jahres eV, describing the core idea of the game penned by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter.
From a purely technical point of view, the title relies on the well-known division of advice-versus-whistleblower - with the peculiarity that only one player guesses, all the others have to give advice. Instead of repeatedly, however, terms may only be mentioned once. To control this, people write, not talk. Each whistleblower notes a suitable term on the accompanying writing board, then the written notes are first compared and duplicated - only then is it uncovered. This results in an idiosyncratic dynamic: duplicate terms are dropped, so the person who advises has few references available; other important umbrella terms are not mentioned at all, because everyone assumes for himself that his neighbor has already mentioned the word.
In the communal game, things get really exciting when the person guessing has to use the clues to conclude the word they are looking for. The more agreement there is among the other players, the more difficult a guessing round becomes. On the other hand, terminology that is too specific also means that the person giving advice does not come up with the word they are looking for.
“It's like a little riddle that we have to solve. In a way that nobody is overwhelmed. "
Bernhard Löhlein, Game of the Year eV
Despite or because of the simple basic rules, strategies secretly emerge in the course of the game: For example, players focus on individual groups of words in order to avoid duplication. The more often “Just One” is played with the same line-up, the more structured the processes become - this is particularly noticeable for the person giving advice.
In the end, the Game of the Year 2019 is a little more than just another communication game, namely one that relies on an exciting mechanism to provide players with entertaining aha moments. “Just One” wins when players want to achieve the highest possible number of points.
The title from Asmodee belongs to the quality category “Ingeniously simple. Simply brilliant ”, like the card game last year The Mind (Wolfgang Warsch / NSV), which was placed on the nomination list for the 2018 game of the year by the jury. Here all from the Spiel des Jahres eV nominated board games in the summary.
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