A Clutch of Card Games 1

Pevans reviews a couple of card games from Hangman

Just Wait is for 3-5 players and consists of a deck of 96 cards and the game rules. 90 of the cards are of value 1 through 7, with more of the lower value cards and fewer of the higher values. Each is decorated with different timepieces: a watch, a metronome, a stopwatch and so on. There are also six 'Parking Meter' cards with a star rather than a number. The aim of play is to meld sets of three cards, scoring the face value of melded cards at the end of the hand. The Parking meters are wild cards, which can be used when melding cards, but score nothing at the end of the hand. The game ends when any player reaches 200 points or more at the end of a round: the player with the most points wins.

Players have two ways of gaining cards - the first thing they do each turn. They may discard a card and take as many cards as its face value from the draw pile. Alternatively, they may play one or more '1's and take that many cards from the discard pile. The drawback to the latter is that they must then meld at least one of the cards taken. Players are also limited to a maximum of 12 cards in their hand at the end of their turn and must discard any excess.

Having taken card(s), players may then make a meld - only one meld is allowed each turn. This clearly places a premium on being able to meld cards on as many turns as possible. However, higher point sets are worth more, so it can be worth waiting to be able to build up a high point meld. On the other hand, there are fewer of the higher value cards, so it is more difficult to get a set of three. As you can see there are several tactical trade-offs in the game that give players some decisions to make.

The other trade-off is, of course, between keeping cards to build into sets or using them to pick up additional cards. None of this requires any deep thought, but does allow players to follow their preferred strategy. This is a simple, fast-playing game with a few tactical subtleties and makes a good, light filler.

Just Wait was designed by Alan D Ernstein and published (in the USA) by Hangman Games. It is for 3-5 players and takes 30 minutes to play. Pevans rates it 7/10.
This review was originally published in Games Games Games 146, August 2000.

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