Theme and What is it?
Can you bluff your way to 40 points before your neighbor says they have more points than you thus ending the round? Oh yeah, you’re Greek.
Nessos is a simple bluffing game that encourages you to pass your worst cards to your neighbor, hoping they don’t force you to take them back.
During a round you will be dealt 5 cards, you will play a card to your neighbor, they can either add to it, and pass it, force you to add it to your hand, or take it.
Once the pile of cards in the middle of the table reaches three, it must either be picked up, or sent back. Each time you lay a card, you must also name it, if it is a 5 and so forth. You must be truthful, unless the card has a Charon on it, then you must lay it and lie. Lie too much, and everyone will know you are a liar, lie too little, and face getting too many Charon’s. He is the guy who pushes the boat in the river Styx, if my memory of the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid are still valid.
Due to the theme I really wanted to enjoy Nessos. It seemed like a simple game that would allow a quick playthrough, something to play between heavier games.
Game Build Quality
The game is pretty simple, pretty nice cards, and a wooden first player token.
Nothing rocket science-y, but decent quality for a card game, nonetheless.
I am a nerd for art and theme.
Nessos is beautiful. The art looks exactly as I would imagine a game should look for a Greek theme. I very much like it and love the box art.
The art makes me want to look up what other work the artist has done in the genre. Not much art makes me do that. This is where Nessos excels.
The game felt a bit circular. My 7 year old was able to start getting it, but she also felt the same thing. Perhaps we are just not mean enough to really enjoy the bluffing factor to the game, but it never really hit the stride I hoped for.
Age Range & Weight
8+. I would say this is a good number, based on the bluffing factor. Many younger players will have difficulty with the bluffing. My daughter would regularly send a Charon, and then later name the number, as if guessing.
I would say a year later, she is 7, she would likely be able to do the bluffing mechanic with no issues.
Nessos is a beautiful bluffing game, that never hit the stride I was looking for. Each turn felt clunky to me.
Something about the game just felt like something was missing. I love bluffing, and I love push your luck games. Maybe if the game was played slower, more like a social deduction game, it would have hit the right stride for me. I also think that perhaps too many Charon cards are in the deck, it felt like you were never trying to build to 40, but always simply trying to avoid 3 Charon’s.
I think I will try to play this again with Charon’s being like the bad cards in Hearts, where you attempt to Shoot the Moon, and if you have all 5 Charon’s, or maybe even more you win. Charon’s in this instance would never be negative, but would also never give you point value.