NMBR 9 is a super-simple puzzle game that you can learn in five minutes and play in ten.
The box comes with ten number shapes (0-9) and a deck of 20 cards that each have a number on them (two of each). The cards are shuffled and then turned over one at a time. After each card is revealed, all players take the matching number piece and play it in front of them. You want to build upwards – higher is better – but there are some basic placement rules to follow. Pieces on any level must lie adjacent (touching), face-up, though you can orient them whatever direction you like. When you build upwards, you cannot overhang or cover any ‘holes’ in a lower level, and – most crucially – the piece you’re adding must cover more than one piece beneath it: you can’t simply place a 2 directly on top of a 2, for instance,
The game ends when the last card is turned and piece is added by all players. Then scoring takes place: any piece on the bottom layer (layer zero) is worthless. Anything on layer one is worth it’s number value in points. Pieces on layer two are worth double their points value, layer three triple their points value and so on. With only 20 pieces to place there is luck in the card draw, but also a tactical element at play too.
NMBR 9 reminded me a lot of a perennial GNG favourite: Take It Easy, where you struggle to finish matching lines on a grid in order to score them. I don’t go a whole bundle on abstract games but both Take It Easy and NMBR 9 have those wonderful yessssss moments when the card you really hoped for comes out – and of course the wails of despair when it doesn’t. It’s very simple but very ingenious, and for me, very more-ish too.
Simple, fun, and you could play with as many people as you had sets (though that would get quite expensive). What I love about these games where everybody has the same decisions to make is that no two players ever seem to come up with the same solution – people might place the first couple of tiles identically, but they’ll inevitably diverge, and the final scores are often vastly different. Clever, taxing and oh so simple.
None - everyone plays at the same time, and divergent planning will emerge.
Non-existent on the rules, low on the implementation - although there's some spatial planning here often your choices are limited anyway.
It's a very one-hit game, but with a decent amount of diversity due to how the cards come out - and how the players react differently.