Thursday, January 31, 2019

Vague but happy memories of the Big Cheese

When I spend time ruminating on the start of me becoming a dedicated board gamer, two companies tend to feature heavily in my memories: Looney Labs and Cheapass Games.

And they are companies I continue to like. However, I got to say that the earlier games from Cheapass Games are a lot more uneven. 

The Big Cheese was one of my earliest acquisitions, mostly because it was so very cheap, even by Cheapass standards. It was also very small, a tiny deck of cards and my game collection at the time consisted of a tiny deck of cards, not counting dice that didn’t come with the game, bidding tokens and a way to keep score.

In fact, I don’t even really remember what it was like to play the game. My strongest memory of the game is playing it in a coffee shop across from the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. I can’t even remember the name of the coffee shop and I’m pretty sure it’s gone. It’s kind of a fun memory.

The game itself, while the edition I own has some fun artwork of rats doing business work (the rat race :D), is really an auction game. Here are the twists. Your bid serves as a timer for any card you win. You’ll place your bid tokens on a project card and take one off at the start of each turn. Definitely makes resource management interesting. And you roll dice to determine how many points a project is worth so there’s some definite swinginess. Although you could argue that makes it a more realistic business model :P

I should really revisit The Big Cheese sometime. I have a feeling I would like it more now. For one thing, I’ve played a lot more auction games since then and have a better appreciation and understanding of them. I also think I would appreciate tokens being tied up in a project and used as timers better.

Of course, now it’s available as a print and play so even if I didn’t still have my old copy, I could make a new one.

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