The Big Idea
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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!
<b>Board Games with Scott</b> is a "video blog" about many different types of board games. In each episode, Scott Nicholson presents a different game, explains it, and briefly reviews it. It's a great way to discover new games as well as learn more about games you're curious about. Enjoy!<p><b>Note:</b> <i>Board Games with Scott links will <b>open in a new window</b> and are <b>not</b> hosted by Funagain Games, nor is Funagain Games responsible for their content.</i></p>
Average Rating: 3.6 in 9 reviews
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.
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 ;-)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Snake-oil salesmen, take your five Investment chips and 10 dollars, deal the word-cards, and start peddling. You combine adjectives and nouns to create hilariously novel products, then describe their virtues to attract investors--if your pitch can be heard above their laughter. After further dealing and product creation, rounds involve three consecutive stages: (1) You may secretly invest one unit in a competitor's product; (2) you may invest a unit in any product, paying a penalty to its other investors, or withdraw an invested unit; and (3) roll the die for each product. If the roll is equal to or lower than the total investments, a product pays investors twice the number rolled per share and is removed. After 10 rounds, the player with the most money wins, but who cares? Perforated Umbrellas?! Look forward to many cheerful evenings of goofy entrepreneurship.
In this card game, players are venture capitalists with two goals: to get their own products off the ground with successful IPOs and to find wise investments among the products created by their opponents. The deck comes with 54 cards, 27 each of adjectives (natural, gigantic, mentholated, etc.) and nouns (cheese, flower, beer, etc.).
In the standard game, players are dealt a hand of five cards. They match one adjective with one noun to create a new product, such as an accelerated robot or an edible clock. While developing products, the objective is to sway outside investors to your creations, so you need to take into account the personalities of your opponents.
Each round has four phases:
Phase One: Players announce a new product and read the descriptions on the cards. (For addictive cheese: "It's like a brick of cheese that you can never put down."). They then extrapolate, trying to convince the other players that this is indeed a good product to invest in. ("This cheese was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been the most popular dairy product in Cambodia for the last five years."). After creating a product, players are required to invest one of their five venture capital chips in it.
Phase Two: Players secretly decide which other new product (not their own) they'll invest in, if any, and do so with one VC chip. The choices are revealed simultaneously at the end of the phase.
Phase Three: Players may invest in any product, new or old--but must now pay $1 to each chip owner already invested in that product. Investing in a product that has four chips on it, for example, costs $4 (unless one or more of the chips is your own). Players may instead choose to divest one of their chips from one product in this phase, in case they're stuck in a bad investment and/or want to replenish their stock of VC chips.
Phase Four: Here the products either go public or not. A six-sided die is rolled for each of the products on the table. If a roll is equal to or less than the number of VC chips on that product, the IPO is successful and each chip earns 2 times the roll of the die for its owner (a roll of 3 earns $6). The cards that comprise that product move to the discard pile and its VC chips are returned to their investors. If the roll is greater than the number of VC chips, that product and its VC chips stay on the table into the next round.
After the round is complete, players are dealt two new cards to replenish their hands and the process continues. The mechanic is enjoyable, and the chance to pitch your products (many of dubious value) to the other players will appeal to anyone who harbors a secret desire to be a used car salesman.
Under the standard rules, it's possible that a player could have a hand that prevents him from creating a product. A variant, included in the official rules, seeks to address that issue by allowing larger products (gigantic, frozen chicken) and smaller products (just chicken). That works as long as you hold at least one noun; however, anytime a hand is 100% adjectives--under the standard rules or the variant--the only choice a player has is to discard two cards without creating a product. But creating a product is not vital to winning, and over a number of rounds this factor will even out.
One of The Big Idea's strengths is how easily it generates laughter, as it allows players with a slightly warped sense of humor the chance to really cut loose. Still, it's not difficult to envision the humor getting stale after repeated plays, especially with the same group of players.
The rules call for 10 rounds (with 3-5 players; 12 rounds for 6 players), though the game works well with half that amount--and cutting the number of rounds has the added benefits of extending The Big Idea's shelf life and shortening the game for use as a filler to open or close a night's gaming.
In any event, at $3 it's unlikely you'll find the game to be overpriced. On a per-game cost, in fact, it may well be among the better values in many collections.