Last month, I organised a piece on one of my favourite publishers which you should totally check out here.
There’s a whole host of reasons why I like to spotlight a particular publisher, such as an event, their game style or just because I’m in the mood to play their games. This month, as it is the festive season, I wanted to have a focus on the king of party games. Games you can chip onto the table and mash a group of players together, having a wonderful time that boils down to a sweet and crisp gaming experience. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, so no humbugging the puns! This month’s publisher highlight is Big Potato Games!
Ah, Christmas. That time when everyone gathers around the tv screen to watch re-runs of Mary Poppins, James Bond, and The Sound of Music…….Well, not this year!
Xmas 2021 and Big Potato have something different in mind. This year, they are going to get you using your collective encyclopaedic knowledge of film titles in a new and exciting way.
But, you can’t just jump in and start guessing your Transformers from your Terminators. First, you have to put the excruciatingly bad cracker jokes down and pop another Celebrations chocolate between your lips (festive brain food don’t you know?!). Then you have to work together to build a jigsaw puzzle. Oh, and remember to tell granny that it’s always edge first; don’t let her get away with trying to fill in the juicy middle! Then it’s time to fit together 1,000 pieces depicting the craziest drive-in movie theatre you’ll ever see.
Once the scene has been set (groan!), everyone can then start working on the riddles and puns hiding 101 movie titles amongst the people and popcorn on display. And believe me, you’ll be glad of a houseful of choccy chomping relatives, as the films range from new to old, obvious to obscure.
If you get really stuck, there is a solution. And, representative of Big Potato’s enormous green street cred, this is found by scanning a QR code for a website link rather than being in printed form. I don’t usually like green potatoes, but here, green is good. No plastic cellophane outer wrapping. No inner bag bladder suffocating all the pieces. All paper and cardboard. Sustainable and sensible. Bravo Big Potato.
Night at the Movies was a box office hit in our household. Husband, mother in law, and mini-meeple all took a crack at it over the space of a week. Together as well as a little bit of solo puzzle picking here and there, this is one guzzle that will see you through the Chrimbo-Limbo period!
Board games at Christmas have only recently become a thing in my family. Partly because a couple of years ago, my mum wanted something different to do after cooking all day and partly because my partner’s family is also into gaming. And sometimes, you have a game in your collection that you think will be a bit much to play all year round, but can quite happily pop out at Christmas when everyone has had a bit to drink and the mood is merry, but before the tipping point where everyone has had too much and/or doesn’t want to play anything at all. For me, that game this year is Santa Banter. Those of you familiar with Obama Llama and Obama Llama 2 (2 Obama, 2 Llama, as I call it) will recognise this festive edition of Big Potato’s early hits, but for the uninitiated, here’s how it works.
Teams take it turns to either Describe, Solve or Act festive rhymes from the respective cards. The more rhymes you can manage, the more points you get and the Rhyming Cards you can flip over. Find a rhyming pair and you can claim it. Once they’re all gone, the winning side is the one with the most pairs.
Santa Banter is a great game to pop on the table and play post a massive feed. It also has the benefit of getting the dreaded Charades out the way. And because it’s a Christmas game, you don’t feel bad for not wanting to play it all year round, which I find is a problem with most games with word association. Being Christmas themed solves that issue because you have that small window of time to play it. So enjoy your rhymes and have the merriest of times!
Everybody now! Chama-chama-chama-chama-chama-chameleon! Good, we’ve got that out of our system. The Chameleon is a brightly-coloured fast-paced guess the imposter game that is fun when sober and just keeps getting funnier the more you drink. (Please: drink responsibly)
Playing 3 to 8 each round sees the players trying to describe a word on a grid without giving it away whilst the chameleon tries to fit in without giving themselves away.
The grids of words are all based around a theme (such as Fairy Tales or Sports) so everyone has an idea of what is going on before the identity cards are distributed. Each card will have a code corresponding to a dice roll that will give the player a grid reference, except for one. This will simply have the sentence ‘You are the Chameleon’.
Once the dice is rolled, play will commence, and each player will give one word that they feel is linked to the corresponding word, title or character on the grid. Including the chameleon. Like in Dixit, players must set a balance between being too vague and being too specific. Too vague and they’ll get called out as the chameleon, too specific and the chameleon will get a chance to ‘blend in’ (see? Clever). Players then discuss who they think the chameleon is and vote – if the chameleon is not found, they win.
This is one of those games that can start as a warmup or filler but can easily fill a session as it has that ‘just one more go’ aspect and is so darn simple and silly that who wouldn’t want to keep playing it. You can also make your own grid with a dry wipe pen for more specific silliness. I can see several instances over Christmas where this will be broken out. I may or may not be drinking.
I like expressing opinions. In fact, most people have opinions, but are they right? That is the thing about opinions is that they are subjective and prone to be challenged [especially if they are different to mine!] Christmas time certainly brings out plenty of opinions. Over-tired children, too much food, coupled with having to “enjoy time with the extended family” can lead to tension. One person believes firmly you must have ice cream with your Christmas pudding. Others hold fast to the “it must be custard” brigade. But who is correct?
Herd Mentality by Big Potato Games is a great game that cuts through these vagaries and answers these big questions in the court of public opinion. It is perfect for a little post-Christmas dinner conversation! It steers talk away from politics, jobs and COVID and asks the important questions in life, “If you could live without one part of your body, what would it be?”
Everyone has an opinion here and all may be correct in their responses. There will certainly be a majority view, “Your appendix” for example. Here you need to side with those others rather than standing out. It is safe to be in the herd. Uncle Jon who said “My big toe” is standing [or perhaps sitting] alone and loses his chance to play the next round. Points are awarded to those who remain in the herd.
So, in Herd Mentality, you may have a different opinion, “My little toe” for example, but it is best not to say that in present company. Far better to look around the room and choose an answer that you think others will say.
Herd Mentality is plenty of fun. It works for all group sizes and ages, and even online or over Zoom. It is sure to give some crazy responses but with the “majority rule” it is simple to score and play [despite the majority sometimes having the wrong opinion]. We will be sure to crack open Herd Mentality this Christmas with the in-laws and to see what howlers Uncle Jon comes up with this time.
Christmas is a time for friends and family, which makes it a perfect time for party games. After all, what isn’t festive about thrashing your nearest and dearest at the annual game of Monopoly? For this year, however, the brains at Big Potato Games have come up with a host of games that are perfect for the big day. My favourite of these is Don’t Get Got.
Players start by taking six random tasks and a plastic wallet to keep them in. They then go and relax and carry on as if nothing had changed. All while scheming on how to pull off their missions. If you get someone to fall for your deception, bingo! You get to turn your task over to show its Nailed It side. However, if they call you out, and ask if whatever you’re doing is part of the game, you have to turn the task to its Failed It side.
The tasks range from the banal, like getting a player to make you a drink, to the bizarre, such as getting a player to read aloud from the Wikipedia page of any of the Transformers. Here is where the beauty of Don’t Get Got shines through. As the tasks are so varied, you will find yourself constantly doubting everything your friends or family are doing, even if it’s just making a cup of tea. This is what makes this game perfect for Christmas.
As Don’t Get Got is at its best when played over a couple of days, it’s the perfect game to whip out when you’ve got everyone in one place. If you’ve played before, there’s even a Christmas version!
Overall, Don’t Get Got is by far my favourite party game. I cannot wait to get it played over Christmas and see what weird and wonderful missions are in store!