I’ve been working at the airport doing baggage checks for a long time now. Generally, there isn’t a lot of excitement. Most folks just try to get away with bringing their big shampoo bottles– or giant tubs of hair gel, you know the type. After that, it’s mostly nail clippers and tweezers. Sometimes I think to myself, “All these people want to do, is just keep up with their grooming habits.” However, I have had some pretty incredible finds here and there. The type of finds that make you scratch your head and say, “How in the world, did you ever think you were going to get that through security?”
Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a lady who was trying to get a big ol’ bottle of chloroform through the checkpoint without anyone noticing. She tried to play it off like she didn’t know how it got in there. Honestly, even if someone were trying to sabotage you, sticking a giant bottle of chloroform in your bag, would not be how I’d choose to do it. Ya know, we never did get her to admit what it was for. I can only imagine what the marshals were able to get out of her. That was weird for sure, but nothing will beat the guy who thought he could get a suitcase full of live snakes through the x-ray machine.
People sure are strange.
What’s In the Bag?
- 2-6 Players
- 20 Minutes
- Age 8+
In Nothing to Declare, by Apauling Games, players will try to sneak crazy items through airport security. Each player will start with their own baggage and passenger cards. Passenger cards are used to affect your baggage, or the baggage of your opponents. Your opponents are not the only thing you have to worry about. Be prepared for random inspections! Only concealed baggage will be worth points. At the end of five rounds, the player with the most points in their concealed baggage, will be declared the winner.
The Art of Packing
Setup for the game is super easy. First split the game into its two decks: The Passenger Cards (blue backs) and the Baggage Cards (orange backs). From the Baggage Deck, each player will be given three Baggage Cards: a 1 value item, a 2 value item, and a 3 value item. Players may look at their Baggage Cards and place them face down in a row of three, in any order that they want. Once they have chosen the order, the cards may not be shuffled around. Shuffle the remainder of the Baggage Cards and place the deck in the center of the table.
Next give out the Passenger cards. Each player will get the Chatterbox, Space Invader, and the Terrified, plus two cards dealt randomly from the Passenger Deck. Each player should have five Passenger Cards total. Place the remainder of the Passenger Deck off to the side, as it will not be needed for the rest of the game.
The first player will be the player who most recently packed a bag.
How To Play
Playing the game is almost as simple as setup.
On their turns, players will perform three actions: Reveal or conceal, Board, and Baggage Collection. These actions are done in that order.
Reveal or Conceal
At the beginning of their turn, players must choose whether to reveal or conceal. To reveal, the active player will choose an opponent and reveal one of their concealed Baggage Cards. The revealed card will remain face up as open information to all players, until the owner of the card chooses to conceal on their turn. To conceal, choose one of your own revealed cards to conceal. The card will remain in the same location, but it will now be flipped face down. You may only conceal your own cards.
During the Board step, you will choose one Passenger Card from your hand, reveal it and do as the card says. Once you have done what is on the card, discard it.
At the end of your turn, you will draw one card from the Baggage Deck. Look at it. If the card is an item, conceal it face down in your baggage area. If it is an Inspection Card, reveal it. All players must do what the Inspection Card says. After everyone has done what it says, it gets discarded. At any time, players may only have six Baggage Cards. If drawing from the deck (or a Passenger Card) causes you to go over that limit, you must choose a card already in your baggage to be discarded; you may not discard the card you just received.
Play will continue until all players have used their fifth passenger card (indicating the end of the 5th round). To determine the winner, players will add up the points on all of their concealed cards. Any cards that are not concealed at the end of the game will be worth nothing. The player with the most points in their concealed baggage will be the winner.
- Revealed Baggage Cards cannot be discarded
- When a card is dicarded it is done so face up
- You may always look at the Baggage Cards you are receiving
- You may not shuffle the cards in your baggage area aorund
Do You Have Anything to Declare?
Nothing to Declare is an incredibly fast and easy game to play. This will work well if you are looking for a simple light filler to give your brain a break, or as something to just pass the time while you wait for larger games to get started. It will also work well as a gateway game. A majority of my family members like to play games, but aren’t what you would call hobbyists. Many of the games I play regularly, are not something I can easily share with my family. If you’re also in a situation like this, Nothing to Declare will be a great game to play with your non-gamer family members.
That being said, as someone who is big into the hobby, Nothing to Declare isn’t going to fall in range of my top games. I like light games, but Nothing to Declare is a little bit too light for my personal tastes. This is not to say that I would never play it– it just wouldn’t be my first choice. There is a lot of randomness in the game. Even though you have choices with your Passenger Cards, there is still a lot left to be desired and a lot that can’t really be controlled. The game mechanics are there, but it feels like there is still something missing — a spark if you will. There also seems to be some disparity in the value of the items on the Baggage Cards. Some items feel like they should be worth 3 points, while others are worth 3, but feel like they should be worth less. This could just be nitpicking though, as the item cards themselves do nothing to affect play.
It is also really easy to get sucked into picking on a single player in the game. Someone will seem like they are ahead, and then everyone will target that person, either by revealing that person’s cards, or by using a Passenger Card to mess with their Baggage Cards. The Bearded Meeple also ran into that issue during his plays, and I agree with him that it is better to try to diversify who you target. It makes for much more even game play.
I do, however, like the memory aspect of the game. When I was younger (and had a better memory) I loved games that required me to remember where certain things were located or who had what cards. My memory is not as a great as it used to be, but Nothing to Declare serves a light way to exercise that part of your brain, especially if you are playing with a higher number of people. The art in the game is pretty cute, albeit a little stereotypical. It doesn’t bother me, but it might bother someone else.
Overall, this is a light gateway/filler game. It will play fast and easy, with a little bit of “take that” thrown in. Nothing to Declare will be hitting Kickstarter November 1, 2016 and will be available for backing until November 30, 2016.
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