I won $2 with that headline as I was challenged to get the name of this game into a single sentence headline three times. Never challenge a gamer.
Before I get to the description of this game and my review, I’d like to open with my 9 year old’s review, which she emailed to me earlier today. It’s safe to say this is her new favorite game. Here’s here review:
I really liked this game called JUST DESSERTS! JUST DESSERTS is a game where you try to match up different foods the guests like. The reason I liked it, is because it’s fun finding the different foods and finding if you won!!! If I could rate it I would give it a 10!!
Just Desserts is a game for 2-4 players, ages 8+ and takes 30 minutes or less to play. It combines a bit of hand management with a bit of set collection and a heavy dose of Looney Labs look and feel. If you’ve ever played any of the Fluxx games, you’ll see a similarity in artwork and design – but that’s pretty much where the similarities to the Fluxx line stop.
The game consists of 24 Guest cards and 76 Dessert cards. Each of the Guest cards belongs to one of six suits, while each of the Dessert cards belongs to one or more of the basic food groups. And here the basic food groups consist of things like chocolate, fruit, marshmallows and cake. You know, the stuff essential for life to be more than just grains and vegetables.
At the start of the game, after each deck is appropriately shuffled, three Guest cards are set up on the table. These represent folks who’ve come not for dinner, not for coffee but for Just Desserts. Do you see what I did there? No? Just Desserts? No?!
Clever word play aside, once you’ve got your three starting guests set up, and each player has been dealt three Dessert cards, the game begins! Each player is attempting to match up the specific dessert ingredients on their cards to what each guest is craving. In the picture above, The Tourist, the guest on the right, is looking for something with chocolate, fruit and in a cake form. He also has a favorite dessert, which is Black Forest Cake (combining those three ingredients). Players can either satisfy him by playing as many Dessert cards as they wish to include all of those ingredients or if they’re lucky, they’ll actually have the Black Forest Cake Dessert card.
Once a guest has been satisfied, the player moves them down into their pile. The object of the game is to either collect a full set of five suits (in the image above, two suits are represented in the lower left hand corner of each card) or three guests of the same suit. The first player to do so wins.
At the start of every players turn, they draw a new Dessert card and place a new guest on the table. Then they have three choices. They can satisfy up to two guests, draw another card, or discard as many cards as they’d like from their hands and draw that same number of cards from the deck. Once they’ve completed one action, they then compare all of the guests still on the table. If any of them share the same suit, one of the guests must be placed into the discard pile (player’s choice). The top guest in the discard pile is considered to be ‘standing in the doorway’ (i.e. loitering on the off chance they can still find a dessert they crave) and can also be satisfied by a player and added to that player’s collection of guests.
If you happen to be able to satisfy a guests craving with their favorite dessert, you receive a ‘tip’ in the form of being able to draw another Dessert card immediately.
That’s the gist of the game. There are some more advanced rules to add in if the basic game becomes to quick.
Here’s the skinny – I enjoy this game because it plays rather quickly, introduces the concepts of set collection and hand management and is incredibly easy to teach. While the game play is relatively basic it’s entertaining. With games lasting on average for me about 15 minutes, I can get two or three games in after homework and before dinner, which is ideal. If you go into this game expecting a lightweight, fun little game about serving desserts you’ll be pleased with this title.
- Quick, easy to understand game play great for families with kids over 8 years old (and probably a bit younger).
- Nice, fun card layout with goofy pictures and clear iconography.
- Advanced rules for more thoughtful game play and more player interaction.
- This also makes for a decent filler game in an adults only group.
- A reported price tag of $18 MSRP may be a bit high for some.
While I’m not personally enamored with this game so much that I’d be demanding to play it every night, my daughter certainly is. If I could say nothing else about Just Desserts, I’d say how rapidly she took to it and how much she enjoys playing it. If you have kids of the appropriate age, they’re probably going to like this one a lot. As a bonus for us adults, the game isn’t terrible at all. It’s fun to play, runs a quarter of an hour and makes for a nice gaming experience. I’d recommend it to anyone who plays games with kids. Lastly – they have a character called the Dude who is… well, the Dude and they have a Boston Guy. Being a fellow Boston Guy, I like this.