Published on February 23rd, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich1
Setting Traps for Sasquatch
We started off 2015 with a load of games from the Game Salute Loot program including this recently fulfilled Kickstarter game. BigFoot caught my eye a long time ago because of its colorful art and playful characters. Luke and I have been bringing home more 2 player games so that we may spend more time together playing games. We’ve been burnt out on our past favorites (Battle Line and Mr.Jack Pocket) so we were excited to try another approach to the classic deduction game in BigFoot.
Play This Instead of Clue or GuessWho?
The idea of tracking down BigFoot and proving the myth isn’t a new or unexplored subject in games. I played a Bigfoot game earlier in 2014 by a local designer which shared a similar theme. Rick’s game is a competitive multiplayer whereas this BigFoot by Scott Almes (Harbour and Martian Dice) focuses on two player deception games- like in Mr. Jack Pocket, Love Letter and GuessWho?.
To start the game, one player chooses the role of the elusive Bigfoot and the other player will be the Cryptozooligist who will be trying to track down Bigfoot and capture him to gain fame and respect in the scientific community. The Cryptozoologist will have 6 rounds to correctly identify and guess which 5 layers Bigfoot sleeps at, out of the 10 total, in order to win and achieve his goal. If the Cryptozooligist fails to guess all 5 lairs before the end of the game, Bigfoot wins and continues to enjoy his life of solitude and mystery.
Arguably, Bigfoot is the more relaxed role. The pressure is always on to the Cryptozoologist who must guess the lairs correctly or loose the game; however, a Bigfoot can’t win by being inattentive. The more a Bigfoot is aware of just what information the scientist is trying to collect, the better able Bigfoot can try to control which information to give the Cryptozoologist. Each round will yield more and more clues as to Bigfoot’s location making hiding for Bigfoot more difficult as the game progresses.
Evenly Matched, Light Challenge
At the start of each round, the Cryptozoologist draws 6 Path cards which he or she will arrange to form two path options for Bigfoot. These Path cards consist of action cards which are used immediately or later on in the game or Sensor cards. These different Sensor cards will help the Cryptozoologist collect information on Bigfoot’s 5 undiscovered lairs. The Camera will record one type of terrain symbol; the Motion Detector will record two types of terrain and the Audio Recorder is the most specific instrument- it will list the names of 3 specific lair cards. With each Sensor Bigfoot crosses, he or she must indicate the number of terrain symbols or correctly displayed lairs on Audio Recorders.
Deciding which path to make depends on what information you would most like to get out of Bigfoot. The path choices are usually all very good, so as the scientist so I try to create paths that would benefit me no matter what Bigfoot chooses. Also I really felt like designing a path was like laying a trap. A couple times I made one of the paths a more desirable choice for Bigfoot by including multiple action cards. I did this to lure Bigfoot out with these “treats” in hopes of gaining valuable location information. Sometimes Bigfoot took the bait but other times I had to rethink my choices for the next turn.
After each path resolves and each character discards cards and picks up action cards from their path, the Cryptozoologist gets an option to identify an undiscovered lair of Bigfoot. A wrong answer will damage the scientist’s reputation. Another incorrect guess while in the ‘Shamed’ status and the Cryptozoologist is discredited forever, aka Bigfoot wins! With the high stakes I encourage players in the scientist role to carefully go through previous evidence before guessing. I review the information and reveal my thought process out loud to make sure I don’t make a mistake.
Overall, BigFoot is one of the most pleasant two player card games I’ve played in a while. The strategy was a light challenge. For a 15 minute card game, it actually required attention, unlike party games and luck-driven games. The theme was light-hearted and the art featured a humorous narrative with pranks and Loony Toon’s style humor. The Bigfoot design reminded me of the Sasquatch in A Goofy Movie or those Jack Link Beef Jerky commercials.
I enjoyed the asymmetrical play and the challenge of restricting information in BigFoot. Luke and I played a couple games and alternated roles to see how the game functioned from either side. While BigFoot presents a deduction challenge I don’t see either of us ever losing as the Cyptozoologist or winning as Bigfoot without restricting the number of turns needed to win. There are only 10 lair cards in the entire game and narrowing down the choices was relatively easy and straightforward. I definitely see Bigfoot as a great gateway game and a perfectly suited for kids.
BigFoot is designed by Scott Almes, Illustrated by Brett Brooks and Published by Game Salute 2014.