Updated: Nov 15, 2021
WBG Score: 8/10
Player Count 3-7
Published by: Repos Production
Longing, rusted, seventeen, daybreak, furnace, nine, benign, homecoming, one, freight car. Some of you may recognise these as the activation words for Marvel's the Winter Soldier. But why did they pick those words? Well it’s a little known fact that those were the clues to a Just One word that the Winter Soldier couldn’t figure out. He’s never forgiven himself for it.
Just One…..Rule book.
Setup of just one is simple, give each player an easel and a pen, draw thirteen cards from Just Ones generous one hundred and ten card deck and your ready to go! Gameplay is equally as simple. Players will be working together to win as many of those thirteen cards as possible and then comparing their score with the chart at the end to see how well you did. As the active player you place a card (unseen) on your easel in view of the other players then announce a number from one to five. Players then. Have to secretly write a one word clue that they think will help you guess the word. The players then reveal only to each other their words. If any of those words match they are eliminated and the active player then has to guess with what words they have in front of them. Guess right and they win the card, guess wrong and they lose the card and another from the top of the deck. They can also pass to just lose the card they have.
Party games aren’t necessarily known for their strategy and whilst Just One is no different, there’s definitely a thought process that you go through. You see the trick for Just One is to be obvious enough for the player to get the clue, but not too obvious that you double up clues with other players. I guarantee that at least once per game something like this will be going through your head. “I can’t write that, that's too obvious, I know I’ll write this, but they may not get it. What if everyone else has the same thought and I can now write the obvious because no one else has. Ooh but then what if everyone else Is thinking the same as me and we all write the obvious!” If you’re lucky enough to get your brain out of that vicious loop then you’ll most likely end up doubling up with someone else and cursing your decision. But rather than being frustrating, you just both end up laughing, the rest of the table groans and this in turn leads the guesser to say “oh no”…..and it’s brilliant.
The concept of just one is a great, fun and simple game but what really pushes this game over the edge to brilliance is the interaction between the players! That moment when you all turn your boards around and someone points to someone else’s board and shouts “what’s that?! Is honestly hilarious and then watching the other player try and explain what it is without giving anything away and then giving up and just saying “urgh I’ll explain it later” brilliant. Some clues will make sense when you know the answer but when you see one that doesn’t it makes you even more eager for someone to guess the word just so you can find out what the heck they are on about!
There will be the usual aah’s as some one gets it wrong but then they loud cheers as they get it right, especially if they get it from just one or two obscure clues.
So why did I decide to review Just One? Well the main reason is to get past the initial pitch. On the face of it Just One doesn’t sound like the most exciting concept, write words and guess them and let’s be honest if you were pitched that at a game night it doesn’t exactly draw you in, in fact a new person to our group almost bailed on the game based on that pitch! The other reason involved that same person. Once we’d got him to play the game, after the second card had been guessed he turned to me and announced that he was going to buy the game the next day because of how much fun he was having and how much he thought his family would enjoy it…..after two cards! It’s always a wonderful thing when you can introduce people to new games that they love and if, by this review I can convince Just One (yep I went there) more person to try this wonderful game then I’ve done my job.
Just One is a party game and that brings with it the usual party game problems. First off any party games lives or dies on the group playing so if party games aren’t their thing or if your relatives are busy sleeping off the Christmas roast then maybe this may not go down as well.
Also the minimum three player count may not be everyone's cup of tea. In this version everyone gets two boards meaning that you can now write that two word clue across your boards making guessing that little bit easier. It’s playable at three and still fun but it does lack that greater interaction that comes from more players.
Just One is a hugely fun party game which is our groups main go to at the end of game night. It always gives us a great laugh regardless of whether we’re doing well or failing miserably. In fact I’ve had just as much fun watching this game played as I have playing it. It’s endlessly repayable with around 550 words to cycle through and whilst the scoring mechanism is fun to aim for and adds to some of the tension, so many times we’ve just carried on till until we have to vacate the premises.
Guessing words has never been so much fun!