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Just One Game Review

Party perfect

One of the best games ever made keeps getting ripped off by pretenders. Join Justin to see why he believes the game Just One will never be topped.

I lead employee engagement for a food & beverage manufacturer when I’m not here talking games. At a recent lunch event, I decided to bring some of the games from my personal collection to the office to spur some laughs while we did yet another round of bland lunch catering.

I put my copy of Just One (2018, Repos Production) at one table, then waited to see if anyone would engage with it. I was pleasantly surprised to see members of our HR department sit at the table, read the short list of instructions, and dive right in.

Within seconds, you could see the magic beginning to form. Players used the (admittedly terrible) dry erase markers to begin following the game’s simple rules, putting one player in the hot seat while all other players used their easel to come up with a clue that hopefully no other player wrote on their dry erase easel.

When the HR team members not currently in the hot seat showed their words to each other, the usual amounts of surprise, cursing, and accusatory gestures took place. Left with only a word or two to come up with the answer, it was great to see the active player struggle to come up with the right word…and when they did, it was high fives all around.

Why does Just One work with…just everyone?

“Solid Gold”

Every time I play Just One with friends in my game groups (usually my Wednesday group, since we do more party games with that collective), I utter a version of the same phrases in response to such a fantastic 30-minute gaming experience:

Just One is solid gold.”

“Why don’t we play Just One more often?”

[After a play of a Just One-like clone, such as 13 Words]: “We should have played Just One instead of that other !@#$%^ game.”

On and on. You always get a few moments each game where you have to really think about an answer for the player in the hotseat, hoping that your neighbor isn’t thinking about using the exact same clue. You get to stretch the creative muscles. You get to complain about the markers, which included a marker that didn’t work RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX when I bought my copy.

You get to sun yourself in the moment when three of your friends picked the same exact one-word clue, leaving you with just one clue and you STILL got the answer right.

You get to, on very, very rare occasion, celebrate because you were able to get all 13 words correct, earning the team a perfect score.

Just One is a perfect design. I have taught it to children, gamers, and people I would call “non-gamers”, and all of them enjoyed it. It’s tidy, fitting in a small backpack, with a storage solution that is all one needs to get it rolling. The teach and the game, even with your grandparents, is always going to be done in about a half-hour.

There are 110 cards, with a total of 550 clue words. You’ll choose 13 of those words in a single session. No one, ever, has uttered the words “Just One really needs expansion content.” If you are lucky enough to get Just One to the table on a monthly basis, you’re still not getting tired of it. Not many games can make this claim, and the system is so flexible in terms of its audience.

Just Buy It

Those co-workers I mentioned earlier? Two of them said they were going to buy a copy of Just One online right after they finished the lunch event.

Just One is one of those games that belongs in every gamer’s collection because it checks so many boxes. It’s also a great convention game that can be broken out with both my own game groups and complete strangers when I’m waiting in, say, the inevitable Disney Lorcana line at Gen Con waiting to get a promo card.

Just One is just perfect. Buy it!!!

About the author

Justin Bell

Love my family, love games, love food, love naps. If you're in Chicago, let's meet up and roll some dice!

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