That’s Not Lemonade Review

That's Not Lemonade Cover
That's Not Lemonade Cover
Released 2018
Designer Matt Fantastic
Publisher Tuesday Knight Games (Website)
Players 2 – 6 (Best with 4+)
Playing Time 10-15 minutes
Category Push Your Luck
Social Game
Filler Game
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Who hasn’t thought about ‘switching drinks’ with someone?

In the US, the idea of the corner lemonade stand and the red plastic Solo cups are icons.  The rest of the world has seen this perfect image of innocence thanks to many, many forms of media, and is the basic premise of this That’s Not Lemonade.

There is a competition between the local kids as to who can drink the most lemonade (Make the best lemonade?  Something like that.  It’s not really important).  But the nefarious ‘Little Johnny’ has decided to spice things up by switching some drinks for something That’s Not Lemonade!

Rounds are simple – drink the most lemonade by having the most lemons in your hand at the end of the round, but if get something That’s Not Lemonade you are out immediately.

Win 3 rounds, win the game.  Simple, quick and easy!

That's Not Lemonade Components
The box is as big as a soft drink can, and the play while simple is dceptively fun.

Setup

Setup is incredibly simple.  Up to 6 players pick up a cup and pick a character.

The characters don’t really add anything to the game.  There aren’t special powers or rules for different characters, just grab the one that puts a smile on your face 🙂

The information at the top of the card shows how many of each card type is in the deck, so that’s handy to know.

If you are playing with 2 people, pull out one of the That’s Not Lemonade cards from the deck.  Playing with 3 people, take out 2 That’s Not Lemonade Cards.  Pick a dealer, and let them shuffle the deck.

That's Not Lemonade Characters
The Characters are cute, but no player powers make them laregly summary cards only.

You will probably be ready to play in less time than it took you to read this explanation!

Playing the game

The easiest way to think of the mechanics of That’s Not Lemonade is to think of Blackjack.

On your turn, you can Hit or Pass.  Hit means you are dealt a card, pass means that you turn over your cup and can no longer drink any more Lemonade.

If you Hit, the dealer deals you a card and you look at it secretly.  If it’s a That’s Not Lemonade card, immediately turn over your cup and put the That’s Not Lemonade Card face up on top of the cup.  This means you are out of the round as you recover!

Don’t show the rest of your hand if any though – the only card that is revealed is the That’s Not Lemonade card.

Now the rules do say to put your cup on its side, but we had a bit of rolling so went with the ‘card on top’ rule.  Go with what works for you would be my advice here.

That's Not Lemonade Card Types
As long as you don't pull That's Not Lemonade, you can continue. It's this simple decision tree that makes for such a fast game.

If you get Lemonade or Ice, you are safe and the dealer proceeds to the next person.

If you decide that you are comfortable with the number of lemons in your hand, you can decide to pass on your turn which you indicate by flipping your cup.  You are still in with a chance to win, but you can relax a little bit and watch everyone try and work out what you have.

If there is only one person that hasn’t got any That’s Not Lemonade cards, they automatically win the round.

Otherwise once everyone still in has Passed, everyone shows their hands and counts the number of lemons.  There are 2 cards with Double lemons, so don’t forget to count 2 with these cards!

The winner puts a single lemon card under their character card to show they have won, and everyone resets their cups and play begins again.

That's Not Lemonade End of Round-Scoring
So two players have 3 lemons, but the top right will win as Ice is a tie breaker!

The quick amongst you will have noticed though that you have set back up for round two with one less lemon card.

That’s right – the more you play, the more likely you are to take a hit of Ice or That’s Not Lemonade as the lemonade runs out!

Winning The Game

Winning is simple – the first person to win 3 rounds, wins the game.  As I said, That’s Not Lemonade is quick, simple and fun – there is not a lot to get your head around!

The Good

That’s Not Lemonade is a game that is incredibly simple, but this is a good thing.  On each player turn, there is only one decision to make – Hit or Pass.

Analysis Paralysis is all but eliminated, but the social pressure of encouraging someone to drink and their squirming in indecisiveness is always fun to watch.

Each round only lasts a minute or two even with 6 players.  Only having a deck of 18 cards with 4 ‘dangerous’ cards means rounds cannot last a long time.  Almost everyone has been exposed to Blackjack, but even if they haven’t the Hit or Pass mechanic is easy to pick up on, and only counting lemons makes objectives simple to grasp as well.

That's Not Lemonade All Cards
There are only 18 cards, and as you play this amount gets whittled down. Play is amazingly fast.

Like many games, the first round will be the longest, but That’s Not Lemonade has the advantage of thinning the deck everytime someone wins, guaranteeing that games wind up quickly.

The cups are more than a nostalgia item or gimmick.  If your cup is ready to drink from, your in.  If it’s upside down, you don’t want to drink.  If it’s on its side (by the rules) or covered with a card (my rules) you are busy recovering from a bad experience.  This makes the game state easy to take in with a glance, even with 6 players.

Also, each game takes 10-15 minutes even at high player counts.  That makes for a great social filler experience while waiting for people, and as the game is about the size of a can of soft drink, easy to have on standby for such occasions.

That's Not Lemonade State of Play
While all together, I bet you can tell which player is doing what just from this snapshot.

The Bad

That’s Not Lemonade is a game with a lot left to chance.  It has to be, or it couldn’t be the type of game it is.

Even knowing this, going out on your first card is never a fun experience, and this is something that can happen multiple rounds in a row if you are really unlucky.

It’s chance, and not likely to always happen to one person, but be prepared to potentially counsel players that could be hit by this.

That's Not Lemonade Unlucky Run
You have to be really unlucky, but this is a potential win scneario.

But really that’s the only real downside for me – there is the potential you can get hit with a run of bad luck run in a 10-minute game.

There are people that may look down on a such a simple filler game, but as a general rule I would guess such players would object to most games described as ‘Filler’, ‘Social’ or ‘Party’ games.

There are always exceptions to such rules though, so let them try it.  Even players I have met completely opposed to filler games will give one a try if it’s only a few minutes long.  But like any game, there is an audience for it and That’s Not Lemonade may have wider appeal to U Mad Bro, there are some that just won’t like it.

Wait, U Mad Bro?  What’s that got to do with That’s Not Lemonade?

Ahh, well a lot actually.  You see on a simple level That’s Not Lemonade is a retheme of Matt Fantastic’s U Mad Bro.

Gameplay is pretty much identical from what I understand, but instead of lemonade stands players were Jersey Boardwalk Bro’s trying to impress the Babes with washed up bits of Cthulhu.  Get the most pieces and win, but if you go Mad – you’re out.

Personally, I prefer the lemonade theme, it feels less forced with the mechanics and eliminates the eye roll that some players show with Cthulhu themed games, not to mention the Jersey Bros.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
That's Not Lemonade

Final Thoughts

Want a game that’s quick, fun and takes very little brain power to play?  That’s Not Lemonade is probably right up your alley.

I cannot imagine game nights filled with just That’s Not Lemonade, but something to occupy the table while the new game is being set up, an opener, closer or straight-up time passer is the perfect time to pull it out.

Setup time is almost non-existent, and the combined social experience is silly but enjoyable at the same time.

Overall
8/10
8/10

Pros

  •  Easy to Teach and Learn
  •  Great for conversation during play
  •  Fun filler format

Cons

  •  Not for people wanting deep gameplay
  •  Going out first card is a real possibility

What is this? It tastes… That’s Not Lemonade!

That's Not Lemonade Box

Small and simple doesn’t exclude a bunch of fun

I have been enjoying the efforts of Tuesday Knight Games for some time now.  Two Rooms and a Boom and its expansion Necroboomicon are great games for new groups of people.  World Championship Russian Roulette is a game I have already reviewed.

And today I can’t wait to tell you about the next Tuesday Knight Game I will be playing – That’s Not Lemonade!

If the name sounds familiar, it may be because I bought it up briefly in the last Blatherings.  You may have heard about this game over the last couple of years as a convention test game under the previous title U Mad Bro? where people have had a ton of fun playing it – and now it’s finally on Kickstarter.

Mechanically That’s Not Lemonade! is very similar U Mad Bro mechanically from what I understand, it’s just been rethemed away from the normally dark Cthulhu theme to a more lighthearted one to match the tone.

So what is That’s Not Lemonade?  Well, there really isn’t much to tell.  Each play is trying to make a living selling lemonade, but it’s hard to stand out in a crowd like this.  So everyone has decided to settle marketing rights in the only sensible manner – by seeing who can drink the most lemonade!

But of course, it can’t just be that simple.  ‘Little Johnny’ has decided to get up to some hijinks and make his own lemonade, so be careful what’s put in front of you!

That's Not Lemonade Characters
For such a small amount of cards, the art style manages to be fun and unique. Just check out the video on the Kickstarter page to see for yourself!
That's Not Lemonade Lemons and Ice
Lemons! The one time you want to draw lemons 🙂 Double lemons are rare, but give you a score boost. Ice is used for ties.

Gameplay is ridiculously simple.  There is a deck of cards that show either lemons, double lemons, ice, or That’s Not Lemonade!  On your turn, you decide to drink (take a card) or pass.  If you drink, take a card – but if it’s not lemonade, you’re out of the round!

Play continues until all players have passed, there are no cards left or there is only one player left.  All players not eliminated then count the number of lemons on their cards, and the highest count wins!  In the event of a tie, count the Ice cards to break them.  If you win, you get to pick one of your cards and place it face down in front of you as a mark of winning a round.

The deck is then reshuffled, and the next round begins with all players back in the game.  The first player to win three rounds wins the game!

I can hear you asking “But you keep one of your cards in front of you.  Doesn’t that change the number of cards in the deck?”  And the simple answer to that is yes.  Yes, it does.  It’s one of the small touches that makes That’s Not Lemonade! so fun for me.

So you not only get a point for winning, but the card you keep becomes very important as you then get to mess with the count of the cards.  Every card that a player gets to score means the chances of drawing the That’s Not Lemonade! card.  But it also reduces the chances of drawing lemons, making it harder for everyone to score as highly as the game continues.

And that’s it!  Small and easy to transport, it’s just a deck of cards and some shot glass sized red plastic cups.  It’s also been designed to be a ‘drop in, drop out’ style game so people can come and go as they please during a game.

Plus it’s a super easy Kickstarter – pledge USD$10 for the game, done and dusted.

Word of warning though for non-US backers – shipping is more than the game.  To Australia and apparently the UK, it’s USD$15 to ship, which frankly hurts.  But if you order additional copies, it’s only USD$11 for the extra copy and shipping, so I suggest doubling or even tripling up with some friends to save on the shipping that way.

That’s Not Lemonade! is not a game meant to be taken seriously.  It’s a game that is supposed to be fun to play and teach and suck in those people around you into giving it a go.  As such, I think it will be a great filler and icebreaker game, and one I think should be in many gamers collections.

Check out That’s Not Lemonade on Kickstarter here.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

World Championship Russian Roulette Review

World Championship Russian Roulette Feature
World Championship Russian Roulette Feature
Released 2017
Designer Anthony Burch
Publisher Tuesday Knight Games (Website)
Players 3 – 6
Playing Time 15-20 minutes
Category Bluffing
Push Your Luck
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

Sub Heading Block

Ok, first and foremost – World Championship Russian Roulette is not a game for everybody.  It doesn’t pretend to be.  It takes some very dark subject matter and parodies it to ridiculous extremes.

If you are someone that finds the idea of a game where you shoot yourself and sometimes others distasteful, nothing I say here can change your mind. Please do not continue reading, as the rest of this review will likely cause you distress. That is not my intention, it is simply a case of this game not being for you. Soon I will be doing a review for Skull which offers a similar tension – check it out on Board Game Geek in the meantime.

If you are still reading, it helps to have a dark sense of humour to appreciate this game. I have such a sense of humour, and I wanted to play World Championship Russian Roulette from the moment I heard the title. As a regular listener of the Tuesday Knight Games Podcast, I heard little snippets of information for quite some time. Each story I heard only made me more excited to play. And then late May 2016, I got to add my pledge to the Kickstarter, and haven’t looked back.

WRCC - Such a tiny box
Travelling with World Championship Russian Roulette is easy with this game
WRCC - Those precious points
Those precious points

So what is World Championship Russian Roulette?

This is very much a game ‘as advertised’. A World Championship is a gathering of elite individuals to compete against each other. The humour here starts where the event is surviving Russian Roulette.

Each player gets a Captain and three team members. Think of these people as lives, in every sense. To win, you need to score 15+ points. It’s plus points because 15 points trigger the end, and the highest score wins. You are out of the competition if you lose four times and your team is eliminated. It’s a very simple game 🙂

WRCC - My Bullets
One day I will finish my wooden replacement bullets

Setup

So setup is very straightforward. Each player select a colour, and takes that colour summary card and team tiles. They also get a die matching that colour, and seven cards – six ‘click’ cards, and one ‘bang’ card.

Put the pile of point bullets in the middle where everyone can reach them. Finally, shuffle the action cards and place them in a pile.

Setup complete!

Playing World Championship Russian Roulette

Each round is divided up into six phases. While this sounds excessive, each one is very simple in itself. The distinction helps clarify timing for the Action Cards, which I will go through later.

Phase 1 – Pocket

So, you have seven cards. Each card represents a chamber in a revolver – standard equipment in Russian Roulette. But a revolver only has six chambers, so at this stage, you take one of the ‘Click’ cards and put it in your pocket.

Of course, being the solid player you are, the bullet (‘Bang’) card is definitely in the gun. You would never have put the bullet in your pocket, would you?

WRCC - Phase 1
OK So normally these are facedown, but no one will ever know! Sssshh!

Phase 2 – Spin

A very simple phase – take your remaining six cards, and shuffle them. This represents ‘spinning the chamber’ in Russian Roulette.

Phase 3 – Bidding

In the Bidding phase, each player picks up their die. While it is a six sided die, the numbers on the side go from 0 to 5. Each player picks how many pulls of the trigger they think they can do without drawing a ‘Bang’. Once everyone is ready, all die are placed on the table at the same time. There is no seeing what someone else bids then picking from there!

This is important, becuase you will get a point for every time you draw a click card. But if you pull a ‘Bang’, you will score nothing, and a team member dies.

WRCC - Phase 3
Don't want to make it too obvious

Phase 4 – Challenge

Now, the challenge phase is pretty much half the game. You can see what everyone has bid, and you can also see how confident they are. If one of the players looks confident they can fire their gun 5 times, you have to wonder – is their bullet in their pocket?

This is your chance to ‘Challenge’ another player of cheating. When you challenge a player, you force them to ’empty their pockets’. This means everyone can see the very first card they discarded as it is turned face up.

If it’s a ‘Bang’, they instantly lose one team member and are out of the round. You are also awarded three Action Cards for finding the cheat.

WRCC - Phase 4
NO! I got called out by Team Babushka! How did they know?

But if your wrong, the person you accused gets an Action Card, and you have to replace one of your ‘Click’ cards for another ‘Bang’, effectively putting another round in your gun. As you have already bid, this makes life very… interesting for you.

Phase 5 – Trigger

The trigger phase is the final stretch – literally the business end as it were. I have seen this round played differently with different groups, but the end result is the same.

We play it that everyone that is both alive and hasn’t reached their bid simultaneously draws a card from their gun pile. If it’s a click, everyone gets to continue. If someone draws a ‘Bang’, they lose a team member and are out of the round. They do get to draw an Action Card though, so with any luck it will be easier for them in future rounds.

This continues until either all players have been shot this round, or all players successfully draw their bid.

WRCC - Phase 5
So Team Babushka wasn't lucky, but they have 3 Action Cards from the Challenge, +1 for losing a team member

Phase 6 – Points

Here, all players that have survived this round recieve one point for each ‘click’ card they drew, plus one more point for surviving . Each player does a quick total, and if anyone has 15 points – they win! In the event more than one player 15 points, then the player with the higher score wins. If no one has won, then a new round starts for all players that have living team members.

WRCC - Phase 6
Team Vengeance had a great round - only 11 more points to go!

So what are these Action Cards?

So up to now, we have a fun push your luck bluffing game. It has more elements to games like Skull, and while fun in a macabre kind of way, nothing special.

Then you get to use Action Cards.

Here is where World Championship comes into it’s own. If it wasn’t for the theme, the Action cards would put this into my ‘Everyone should have this game’ category. Well, it is in that category for me already. I understand why people would overlook it though.

You see, the Action Cards let you manipulate play during the game. Each card has the Phase it can be played in, the title, and a description of the power.

Here are a few as examples:

WRCC - Bullet Time
Not the normal way of stacking a deck
WRCC - Peek the Boo
Knowledge is truly power in this game
WRCC - Bribe the Judge
Cheating in games is wrong. But if you have already...
WRCC - Reach for the Sky
This can save your hide, plus it makes everyone just look silly
WRCC - I Bang You
Yeah. If your sense of humour lets you play this, we all know where it's going.
WRCC - Hit Baby 1 More Time
How to turn victory into defeat in one easy action. Plus some really atrocious Britney Spears impressions.

What it’s been like to play

Luckily, I have a pretty open-minded gaming group to play with. Skull was a group hit, so the problem was getting them to play a game that sounded like it played like Skull, instead of Skull.  It was well worth the effort.

Being such a quick game, World Championship Russian Roulette can be called a heavy filler. You don’t want to spend the whole night playing it, but each time you do play you will have a lot of fun.
 
It’s hilarious to watch players yelling an Action Cards title at others. I am guilty of enjoying the look of concern as others have been worried where I was going to point next. The looks on someones face when they are caught pocketing the ‘Bang’ card is always worth it.

After talking a few groups into playing, I would say the conversion rate from Skull is conservatively around 70{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c}. That’s players that would prefer to play World Championship Russian Roulette over Skull. About 95{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} of people I played with would happily play either. It has been close to 100{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} ‘careful who you play this around’ though, which is the only downside of the game.

So after all this, if your still not sure if this is a game for you, there is an easy way to find out. Simply download a print and play version from Tuesday Knight Games to take it for a spin!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD