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The Big Idea
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Store:  Card Games, Party Games, Family Games
Edition:  Big Idea
Series:  Big Idea
Theme:  Business, Stock Market, Humorous
Genre:  Speculation
Format:  Card Games

The Big Idea

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): James Ernest

Manufacturer(s): Cheapass Games

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Product Description

You're all venture capitalists, trying to make the most money off the IPOs of new one-shot companies who make stuff like "Disposable Cats" and "Old Fashioned Pants." Since it's just a game, you also get to make up the new products.

The Big Idea is a smashingly fun and simple little card game that simulates the frenzied environment of pre-IPO investing. Okay, that sounds remarkably dull, but it's actually a lot of fun. The deck is composed of adjective cards like "Accelerated" and noun cards like "Chicken" that let you compose new products like "Accelerated Chicken." (It's like a farm animal, but twice as fast!) Players vote with their money, deciding which new products are going to be successful: the products with the most investors usually give the best return. All this fun for only three bucks!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): James Ernest

  • Manufacturer(s): Cheapass Games

  • Artist(s): Damon Brown

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 60 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 48 grams

  • In order to play The Big Idea, you will have to provide Chips, Play money, and one 6-Sided Die.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.6 in 9 reviews

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Invest in this hilarious game!
November 28, 2002

True, this game is lacking in components, and finding all the parts you need to play can take 5 minutes of rummaging through other games. (What did you expect for $3?) But when you get the play money out, the bits you need, etc., what you are left with is a great little game, at an amazing price, that, with the right players, will have everyone howling with laughter.

The game: every player has a hand of cards that have nouns and adjectives on them. Players pick one adjective and one noun to make a product, play them on the table, then try and pitch the new 'product' to investors. Every player makes a pitch, then all the players invest in the product they think is the best idea. The investing and payouts are what win the game, but winning is pretty secondary in this one. What matters is the laughing.

Products may include 'frozen cat' ('Who needs a real cat with Frozen Cat around! Low maintenance, no spaying necessary!') or 'mentholated car' ('the only car that promises complete freedom from all flu-like symptoms!) and though the products are plenty funny enough, with outgoing gamers, the sales pitches will have you rolling on the floor laughing.

Two minor compaints previously mentioned: First, you will get tired of the cards after a few playings, but you can simply add more of your own using business cards. Second, the game is too long to play 12 rounds, so my group plays five or six. And for those 5 or 6 rounds we are all just cracking up. The game is fun, short, and the best value dollar for dollar of any game available. That makes it worth 5 stars.

Great value for money
August 21, 2003

Sure, this is not the greatest strategy game of all times, but on a 'value for money' it is hard to beat.

It is not a game to play over and over...but if your game group has an hour to spare, you should try this one for a bit of fun - with much of the fun being in the prroduct pitches, of course.

One bit of advice though....don't invest in perforated cats, if erotic beer is available too ;-)


I'm still laughing
January 01, 2003

Add me to the list of reviewers who thought this was a very amusing game, but was frustrated by the lack of cards.

We played this at Christmas and laughed till we had tears in our eyes over products such as the Dangerous Car and Mexi-Bulb. With six players, however, we were already tired of reusing the cards before the game had ended.

As suggested by others, a friend and I made an additional 40 card each (!) for the next time we played. It was much more enjoyable when we did not have to reuse the same cards during a single game. It was also fun to see some of the creative adjectives and nouns that my friend suggested. We now have the possibility for such new products as the Underwater Parking Ramp and the Religious Toilet.

Another drawback that has been previously mentioned is that the game is too long if played according to the suggested number of rounds. 12 rounds for 6 players was too much. We stopped after 10, and even though the game was very funny, this was more than enough.

Also, even though the game states it is suitable for three players, it wasn't nearly as much fun when three of us played as with a larger group. I'd suggest at least four players for a good game.

I wish the creator had included many more cards with this game (as well as the necessary chips and money). That said, it was an excellent purchase at only $3, and the people that I played it with at Christmas are anxious to try out our new set of cards sometime soon.

by Ron
Another great concept AND GAME from Cheapass
April 24, 2001

James Ernest and his Cheapass Games crew are always great on concept. The intro to Devil Bunny makes me crack up every time. But too often, after a few plays, the game doesn't live up to the promise of the concept. Of course, this isn't too bad of a problem usually, because, hey, it was 3 bucks.

The Big Idea is not only a great concept, but also a good game. In fact, when reading the rules, I first thought it was TOO gamey for the group I was going to play with. (I was expecting pretty much pure concept.) But it turned out juuuust right. We had a great time pitching our products to each other. (personal faves: Mexi-shack, and Mentholated Robot) And the gameplay did a pretty good job of simulation. Some randomness, yes, but like real investing, picking a winner is a skill.

Like other reviewers have said, the only problem is a limited number of cards. This game is screaming for an expansion or eight. In the meantime, made up cards are an option. I've toyed with using Apples to Apples cards, since they are also adjectives and nouns, but we'd have to weed out stuff that doesn't really work as a product, like Frozen Margaret Thatcher.

Oh, and despite the rules, we were a little flexible when it came to hands with no nouns or no adjectives, since some cards were really both. This allowed for such memorable creations as Moistened Swiss, and Car Tongs.

The pitch is the thing...
December 07, 2000

This is an excellent game, and played with a few slight twists will keep being played forever.

First--turn the cards over at the end of the pitch. Pitch away and let people worry where you're going.

Secondly, allow teams of two for larger games--with them improvising their pitch between them like a commercial.

And thirdly, and most fun, write your own cards and add them in. Have each player add a few each game--no-one else gets to see them --and shuffle them in. Our Big Idea deck is now twice the size and allows for such products as:

'The Undead Caravan'--it's a mobile holiday home that's made entirely of reanimated flesh.


'The Spam Marmoset'--it's a cute little mokey made entirely from pressed meat.

No doubt devious gamers have bulbs sparking over their heads now, so give it a go!

Too cheap for me!
January 10, 2005
This game was a funny exercise in being creative for the first half of the game, then it felt like we were all just trying too hard to say stupid things. Maybe it just went over poorly in our group because there were some obnoxious people. Anyhow, I would rather a game with nicer components. Perhaps I am a bit of a snob...
Truly a concept game...
April 15, 2001

I like The Big Idea. I really enjoy the creative mechanics James Ernest put into it. The only thing is, I can play it anytime, anywhere, whether I've got the cards with me or not. The cards are completely superflous to actual gameplay. They just provide a creative Mad Libs-style spark, but ultimately, it doesn't matter whether your product is a good idea or a bad idea: What matters is how many people believe it will sell.

On the other hand, the cards have funny artwork, and the humorous combinations of nouns and adjectives keep the game going for quite a while ('I've invented the Perforated Umbrella!' 'Oh yeah? Well I've got the Evil Chair!')

Overall, $3.00 isn't much to spend on a game, and if it's a fun game, then it's $3.00 well spent. I'd say that's the case here.

Lots of Laughter... Could Wear Out
May 16, 2000

My group played this game and had a great time with it--laughing almost non-stop from the start. The mechanics are interesting enough to appeal to gamers, and the game itself is as outrageous as the players make it.

In brief, players combine two types of cards to create new products, which they then try to launch with successful IPOs by convincing others at the table to invest with them. Products could range from the downright scary--Unholy Pants--to the traditional--Old-Fashioned Game.

That said, I can see this one getting stale after several more plays have produced all the funny products you can come up with. But on a value basis, it will be hard to beat--I'll certainly play The Big Idea at least three times, which works out to $1 or less per play. How many $30 games will I ever play 30 times?

If you're an early shopper--or just reading this review around Christmas--The Big Idea would be a great stocking stuffer!

Cute, but far too long
November 27, 2001

The Big Idea is a lot of fun for the first half-hour or so, as people proudly display their products ('I've got an Accelerated Cat!' 'Yeah? Well, I've got Evil.Com!'). But after that it starts to wear a little thin, and the game's only half over.

On the other hand, it _is_ cute, and for three bucks you can't go too far wrong.

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