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Nuts N Guts

Nuts N Guts has its own take on poker, with streamlined cards and some additional wild cards with special abilities to mix things up.

Currently on Kickstarter, it’s light, fast, and features its own unique art style and humor.

Gameplay

Like in regular poker, at the start of each hand each player must put in an ante (a pre-determined, set amount) into the pot. The deck is shuffled and everyone is dealt two cards face-down. You may look at your cards. The first round of betting then commences; however, before any betting is done, if you have been dealt a wild card you may use it now.

Betting in Nuts N Guts follows standard poker rules. Each player takes turns either passing or raising the bet. If someone raises the bet, everyone else then decides to either meet the bet, raise it even higher, or fold.

Once the first round of betting is over, each player may discard one card and draw a new one from the deck. If you played one or two wild cards during the betting, you draw new cards to replace them.

Then there is a second round of betting. Again, if you have a wild card, you must play it before any betting happens.

Finally, all cards are revealed and the best card wins. The cards in Nuts N Guts are different than you’ll find in a typical deck of cards. A single card may show, for example, a four of diamonds or the ace of spades, but there are only eleven cards in the deck that represent a single suit and number. Another card might represent a pair or a royal flush. Each card you’re dealt doesn’t so much represent a card as much as a specific poker hand in and of itself.

The wild card abilities vary. Some can force other players to cover your bet for you, while others might allow you to look at one card of another player, or let you draw two extra cards from the deck.

Nuts N Guts

Review

Nuts N Guts is a casual twist on poker. It’s light and fast, and each card representing its own unique hand is a clever addition that allows everyone to feel like they’re involved each round. It can make a fun warm up for poker night or a more casual alternative to appeal to a different audience.

The wild cards add several new layers of push your luck, strategy, and bluffing to the game. For example, when forced to show you a card, what card is your opponent going to choose to show? His weakest or his strongest? Is he trying to bluff you with it? But in what direction? Is your hand really strong? You may want to tread carefully at first during the bidding because one wild card might force you to switch hands with someone else. But maybe that’s exactly what you want to happen.

We liked the layers that the wild cards added to the gameplay, and there’s enough included in the deck that they do come up fairly regularly. The game even encourages you to get creative with the jokers. You can use them to be any wild card, giving the player who dealt them freedom of choice, or you can come up with your own powers for them before the game starts.

The publishers have listed this as an 18+ game, due to some of the humor and artwork. However, we found that it’s more in the PG-13 realm and there is nothing super graphic here. Still, this is definitely a game targeted at an older audience.

We really liked the component quality. The rules are only included online for purposes of conservation, which is a bit inconvenient for double-checking something if you need to. However, the cards are really sturdy and pleasant to play with, and each one is also clearly numbered as to its hand strength, so that it’s quick and easy to tell which cards beat what as well as how strong a card is, even if you’re not super familiar with hand rankings in poker.

Nuts N Guts is a quirky card game that’s got many of the elements that are fun in poker while putting its own unique spin on it. Gameplay is accessible and easy to both learn and teach, while the wild cards add some interesting twists. Check it out on Kickstarter and see for yourself.

Pros: Wild card abilities add fun layers to the gameplay, nice production quality

Cons: Some of the artwork and humor is not family-friendly, rules are only available online

Disclosure: this preview is based on our first impressions of a draft of the rulebook and game components, which are subject to change prior to publication. We received a modest payment to write this article.