My full preview of Bigfootses can be found here:
A full list of my board game reviews can be found on the same site here:
(Thanks to Dad's Gaming Addiction for the layout idea)
My family is quite addicted to the Animal Planet reality show "Finding Bigfoot". We would snicker as the Bigfoot capture team would knock on trees and bring baby dolls out to lure in the elusive "Squatch". Each year that we went out camping, we'd talk about all the ways we'd try to catch us a bigfoot. Well, Will Massie's new card game Bigfootses provided us with the opportunity to live out our dream of catching those giant bipedal apes.
In the Forest, the Weirdly Forest...
The main goal of Bigfootses is to be the first player to score 10 Victory Points (or VP) by capturing Bigfootses. Each Bigfootses will have a silhouette which designates how much VP it is worth. The play area is setup by sorting, then shuffling the two sets of cards to form the "Thingies" and "Woods" decks. The Thingies deck is filled with various equipment, items, actions, and other types of cards to aid you in your quest to capture Bigfootses (or prevent others from doing the same if you prefer). The Woods deck represents the vast tracks of wilderness where you'll likely encounter not only the Bigfootses, but other strange things such as alien abductions and even the occasional expert to assist you in your endeavors.
To start the game, each player picks up three Thingies cards, choosing to play one equipment card from their hand to start if they wish. A random person is chosen to begin the game and we're off! Turns are broken down into two phases: The Main Phase and the Equip Phase. During the main phase players choose from three possible actions. They can draw cards from the Thingies pile and hope to pick up some useful tools, explore the woods in search of Bigfootses to capture, or use your profession's task ability (those are the experts you'll find out in the woods).
Once you've completed the Main Phase, you have an opportunity to swap out or equip more items during the Equip Phase. Each person by default can only hold onto three equipment items, but some professions can boost that number up to five. I've found it best to find tools that work well together such as the compass and map, which give you increased bonuses to capture Bigfootses if you have each of them out together.
How to Capture Your Bigfootses
During your exploration of the woods, you might happen upon a Bigfootses. While the process to capture him is simple, the actual result might prove to be more difficult than you first estimated. When the Bigfootses appears, he will have an "Evasiveness" value indicating how hard it is to capture him. Each player has the chance to modify that value to either increase the difficulty, or lower it.
Once everyone has had a chance to affect the Bigfootses, the player attempting to capture him totals up his skill value: including any equipment, profession, and even other Bigfootses VPs that are currently in their corral. The player then rolls a die and then adds their skill value to it. If it's equal to or higher than the Bigfootses evasiveness, you've caught a Bigfootses! If not, the big guy gets away and goes into the discard pile (referred to as the "At large" pile). One thing to note: whenever you roll a die, a 1 is an automatic failure and a 6 is an auto success. This ensures that you'll always have some sort of chance to succeed or fail even if the odds seem stacked against you.
Sound confusing? Well let's throw you out an example: I find the "completely average" bigfootses with an evasiveness value of 3. I decided to make it really easy to capture, so I played the Wimpy modifier, decreasing the value by 3 negating all of his evasiveness. My daughter then decides that I can't have something for free, so she plays a modifier which changes into "The mother of all Bigfootses", adding 5 to the value. In the end, The Bigfootses total evasiveness is now 5.
Now it comes time to calculate out my skill value. I have a pair of binoculars and two other Bigfootses already in my corral, adding three to my skill value. I roll the die and get a 2. When you add my skill value of 3 to the roll, the result is a 5. I've successfully captured the Bigfootses!
The game ends when one player has a total of 10 VP. Each round, everyone would check to see if we hit that total by counting up each of the silhouettes on the Bigfootses currently located in our corrals. If no one has reached 10 VP by the time the Woods deck has been depleted, "Sudden Death" rules take over. During Sudden Death, all of the remaining Bigfootses that are located in the discard pile are collected up replace the Woods Deck so that each turn, a player knows for certain that they'll be finding a Bigfootses.
We've played a few dozen games already and like what we've seen. My daughter found the artwork on each cards to be cute and adorable and we all thought that the theme of being out in the woods on an expedition was properly conveyed. There was a healthy amount of chuckling over some of the card's text, with cheesy kids jokes and adult references being on par with the family-friendly animated movies you've seen with your kids. Overall, we'd say that Bigfootses makes for a very fun, family-friendly game you can enjoy during Family Game Night.
It is worth noting that the game isn't without some rules issues. Professions can be quite a game-changer when only a few people were lucky enough to find one and on occasion the game can drag on longer if people devolve the game into a tit-for-tat revenge-fest. What is great is that of the many beta copies of games that we've been sent, Will has been really proactive with us and other play-testers to ensure that above all, the game is balanced and enjoyable for everyone.