Rules for Just Desserts
Version 2.3

Important Note: These rules are OBSOLETE. This page is here for game design historians only. Please go get the most recent rules instead!

Concept: It's a Dessert party, and the players are waiters. One at a time, the party Guests make their preferences known, and the players compete to be the first to offer the Guest desserts that fully satisfy that Guest's tastes. Some Guests will turn up their noses at desserts which include flavors they dislike, so the players must be careful not to offer up the wrong items. Also, most everyone has a favorite dessert, and you've got an edge if you've got the what a Guest likes best. Whoever serves the most Guests wins!

Tastes and Flavors: Before learning how to serve, you must first know how the Desserts are classified and how to satisfy a Guest. Each Dessert has one or more flavor/format icons, and some Guests dislike certain things. To satisfy a guest, you will need to play one, two, or as many as three cards, so that the Guest gets all of the things they crave (without any of the flavors they dislike).

Setup: Separately shuffle up the Guest and Dessert decks. Deal five (5) Dessert cards to each player. Place both decks in the center of the table. Designate one player to be the Maitre D'. This person will be in charge of the Guest draw and discard pile (while also competing to serve Guests).

Playing: The Maitre D' flips up the top card on the Guest pile so all can see. Then all players rush to call out "got it" if they can fully satisfy that Guest with desserts from their hand. If a player cannot satisfy the current Guest, they should say "pass" as soon as they realize this. The player who called first serves the Guest by playing the necessary cards and taking the Guest (unless someone trumps their call with a Favorite, as explained later.) If no-one can serve a given Guest, that Guest goes into the discard pile, and the Maitre D' flips over a new Guest.

So, whenever a Guest is turned up, one of the following will happen:

  1. All players pass, the Guest goes in the discard pile, and everyone draws a card.
  2. One player is clearly first in their (correct) call, and gets to serve the Guest.
  3. The serving player gives the Guest their Favorite, and therefore also draws an extra card.
  4. A simultaneous call can't be resolved, so the Guest is discarded and everyone draws.
  5. All players who called it are mistaken, and must discard a random card from their hand(s). The Guest is discarded, and everyone draws a card.

1.) Passing: If you can't (or don't want to) satisfy the current Guest's preferences, say "pass" as soon as you are certain you won't be serving that Guest. If all players pass, the current Guest goes hungry, and is placed in the discard pile. When this happens, all players draw a dessert card, and play continues with a new Guest being turned up.

2.) Calling & Serving: As soon as you believe you've got the right desserts in your hand, call out "got it!" or "call" in a loud, clear voice. If you called first (and no-one produces a Favorite) take the appropriate dessert card(s) out of your hand, reveal them (so that your opponents can verify that your offerings truly and properly satisfy the Guest). Place the used desserts face up in a pile in front of you, which will be known as your "dirty dishes." Collect the Guest as well, and place it face down next to your Dirty Dishes.

3.) Favorites: All of the guests (except for Nature Girl) have a Favorite dessert listed on their card. If the dessert you serve is that Guest's favorite, you get to draw an extra dessert card.

4.) Simultaneous Calls: Sometimes, two players will say they've got it at the more or less the same time. Usually it will be clear who really said it first, but occasionally the calls will be truly simultaneous, and even impartial witnesses will be unable to decide who really said it first. In this case, the Guest card is placed in the discard pile and the round ends. (While the two waiters stand there arguing about who gets the sale, the customer gives up and walks away.) Since the round ends with the Guest leaving unsatisfied, all players draw another dessert card before continuing.

5.) Erroneous Calls: Sometimes, a player will say "got it!" and then realize that actually, no, they haven't got it. If someone else also calls it, then all is well - that other waiter can serve the Guest. However, if the erroneous player is the only one to call, and the mistake causes the Guest to go away disapointed, they have to pay a penalty: another player takes a card at random from that player's hand, and places it on their dirty dish pile. (The waiter is so flustered about his hasty mistake that he drops something on the floor!) But the good news is, when the disappointed Guest goes away into the discard pile, the erroneous player gets to go back to the Kitchen to draw a new card along with everyone else.

Running out of Cards: When the Guest pile is empty, shuffle the discarded Guests and continue playing. The second time the Guest pile is empty, the game immediately ends. When there are too few cards in the dessert pile for everyone to draw, the Kitchen closes and no one else gets to draw any more cards after that. Set aside whatever is left of the dessert pile at that point.

Ending the Game: The game ends after you've gone through the Guest pile twice.

Scoring: Each player counts the number of Guests they've collected: highest score wins. If there's a tie, then test for efficiency: the tied players compare the number Dessert cards left in their hands: again, the high score wins. (More food left in your hand indicates efficiency, and hey - it's always better to have something sweet to take home for yourself.) If this also results in a tie, count and compare the number of cards in your Dirty Dishes pile. In this case, the low score wins (since fewer dishes served indicates higher efficiency - and less cleanup!) In the unlikely event that there is still a tie... Play again as a tie-breaker!

Tips & Hints: Here are a few little tips and hints:

  • All desserts with three or more icons are someone's Favorite.
  • Some of the two-icon desserts are someone's favorite, but not all.
  • Single-icon desserts are never anyone's Favorite.
  • Guests' names are sometimes helpful in remembering what they like best.

Reminders & Clarifications: Here are some other reminders, just to be as clear as possible:

  • If multiple players call it, but no one delivers, all who said they could must discard a random card into their dirty dish pile.
  • The only time you draw more cards is when a Guest leaves hungry, or when you serve a Guest's favorite.
  • After the Kitchen closes, no one gets more desserts, not even those who serve a favorite.

Important Note: These rules (version 2.3) are OBSOLETE. This page is here for game design historians only. Please go get the most recent rules instead!

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