Asmodee's cooperative party game "Just One" now carries the coveted red pawn of the club's game of the year. The jury of critics named the title "Game of the Year 2019", once again supporting the trend towards cooperative parlor games. "Just One" is aimed at 3 to 7 players aged 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 for the game of the year has its way, every cent should be well invested. "Just One" is the game of the year 2019 and was able to prevail against LAMA from Amigo Spiel and Werwort from Ravensburger.
Just One by Asmodee: communication game with an addictive factor
Pure communication games are controversial in terms of quality, at least for frequent players. When it came to “Just One”, even the experts were largely in agreement: this party game belongs on every well-assorted games shelf. Incidentally, the name says it all: "It's just a matter of one word," is how Bernhard Löhlein from Spiel des Jahres eV describes 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 puzzle that we have to solve. In a way that doesn't overwhelm anyone.”
Bernhard Löhlein, Game of the Year eV
Despite or precisely because of the simple basic rules, strategies secretly emerge as the game progresses: for example, players focus on individual groups of words in order to avoid double entries. The more "Just One" is played with the same cast, the more structured the processes become - this is particularly noticeable for the guesser. "When people play, they experience the game - and then it actually runs by itself. It was the same with Just One," says Robin de Cleur from Asmodee Germany.
In the end, the Game of the Year 2019 is something more than just another communication game, namely one that relies on an exciting mechanism to provide entertaining aha moments for players. "Just One" gains claim when players want to achieve as high a score as possible.
The title from Asmodee is in the quality category “Ingeniously simple. Simply awesome”, 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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