Just Desserts is a game by Andrew Looney, published by Looney Labs. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will take on the role of waiters at a new dessert cafe. They will be trying to satisfy some very picky patrons cravings. The player that can best fulfill the customers desires, will be declared the winner.
To begin, the dessert deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 3 cards. The guest deck is then shuffled. The top 3 cards are dealt face up onto the table. Both decks are then placed facedown where all players can reach them. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
On a player’s turn they will draw a card from the dessert deck and then turn up the top card of the guest deck, placing it in the middle of the table with the other guest cards. The player then has 3 options of what they can do. They can either satisfy up to 2 guests, go back to the kitchen or dump their tray. Satisfying guests is done by discarding one or more dessert cards with matching icons to fully satisfy a guest’s cravings. They must be sure not to give them things that they will not eat as well. The guest card is then moved in front of the player that satisfied them. If the guest is given one of their favorites as shown on the card, the player is given a tip, allowing them to draw an extra dessert card. If the player decides to go back to the kitchen instead, they simply draw an extra dessert card. To dump their tray, the player is allowed to discard as many cards as they would like from their hand and then they will draw that same number of cards from the dessert deck.
Once a player takes one of the 3 actions, their turn is over. If there are any guests with duplicate suits that are unclaimed, the player that just finished their turn chooses which one(s) will be discarded. There must not be two of the same suits unclaimed on the table after this point. The guest that is on the top of the discard pile is said to be “standing in the doorway”, and players are allowed to served just like the other unclaimed guests. Play continues with the next player. The game is over when a player has either 3 guests of the same suit or one of all 5 of the different suits. The first player to do this is the winner.
There are also some advanced rules for those players that have mastered the basic game. Poaching & Blocking allows a player to take one of their guest serving actions to steal another player’s guest by fulfilling their desires. The other player is then able to block by discarding cards from their hand to re-satisfy the guest. Opening a Buffet allows a player that has 4 single flavor desserts to discard them to force the other players to put one of their satisfied guests back into the unclaimed row. Surprise Parties allows a player to intercept a player who has just satisfied a guest by saying “SURPRISE” and then offering that guest their favorite. There’s a bit more to each of these rules but that’s the gist of how they work.
This game consists of two decks of cards; one small deck of guest cards and a larger one of dessert cards. The artwork is really great. It’s light and fun. There’s even a few familiar faces on some of the guest cards that you might recognize. The design is really great and easy to read. The cards are the same quality as those in the Fluxx games. They shuffle easily and are quite sturdy. I really like how nice they look and feel. As with other Looney Labs games, this one is really well designed and of great quality.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is not so much a rulebook as a rules sheet. It is a large folded sheet of double sided paper. It’s really easy to read through and very simple to understand. It’s actually designed quite well with everything laid out excellently. There are several pictures and examples of gameplay. There is a section for just the advanced rules where the specifics of how to incorporate them into your game is explained really well. There’s even a reference section for all the different taste icons that are used in the game. It doesn’t take very long to read before you’re up and running. All in all it’s well designed and looks really nice.
9 out of 10
This is a really light and fun game that I enjoy quite a bit. The theme is simple and works really well with the design of the cards. For a simple card game it really gives a real feeling of serving a cafe full of guests. I like that the game is simple enough that it can be played with younger children as well as adults. The iconography of the cards makes it very easy for kids to match up the desserts with the guests. My daughter really enjoyed it and asked to play it several more times. She loved the artwork and design of the cards. A lot of the game is simply matching up icons and when there’s nothing there, deciding to either draw a card or dispose of some unusable cards to get others. It’s not a really deep strategic game but with the implementation of some or all of the advanced rules, it can get pretty close. For adults, the advanced rules really kick it up a notch and make it a whole different game. I like playing it both ways and will definitely enjoy this one for quite awhile.
9 out of 10
Just Desserts is a light card game of fulfilling guests cravings for some sweet treats. It’s not a very long game and can easily be played in 20-30 minutes. It’s a great filler game. The artwork is light and fun with some really great looking designs. The game is very simple and can easily be taught in a matter of moments. It’s also fairly strategic when the advanced rules are used making it a game that can evolve for a variety of players. Fans of games like Fluxx, Munchkin or Sushi Go will most likely enjoy this game as well. I enjoyed it quite a bit as did my daughter. This is a game that’s kid friendly as well as being fun for adults as well. It works well with any number of players from 2 to 5. It’s a game that anyone can play. I highly recommend it. Just make sure and save me a slice of Cheesecake.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Looney Labs at their site.