Board Game Review, Previews

Midnight Snacks at 2:45PM (The Big Pig Game)

Gluttony, being one of the seven deadly sins, involves eating in an excessive or overly habitual way. Someone whom eats in such a manner may be categorised as a pig. Big Pig is one such fellow. He eats, and eats, and eats. Even his friends are gluttonous to the point where every last morsel of food must be consumed! Leaving a single crumb is a failure on their part and, as such, is taboo in the Big Pig household. The Big Pig game by Evan’s Games is a game of eating as much food as you can before getting caught! It’s a family game for 1-4 players that takes around 45 minutes to play.

Gameplay

The Big Pig Game is one of numbers, sequencing and action management. The aim of the game is to consume all the food before the family return from their outing. The time taken to return is dependent on the number of players, with more players having less turns. On a turn, players use action points play cards to eat or allow others to eat, gain items to manipulate an element of the game, or use an action to do something unfair to them.

Players all take on the role of one of the family’s pets greedily eating away at the family’s food supplies. Each character has some unique actions and a unique ability. They also have stats to state their hand size, item limit and base hunger value. When a player “Munches” or “Ravenous Munches”, they are able to remove tiles of a value equal to or less than their hunger. They remove all the tiles of that value from one meal. The difference is that ravenous munches often come with benefits like bolstering the hunger value, but the tiles are discarded, whereas a regular munch allows you to keep the tiles. Kept tiles can be spent when playing a card to use its more powerful bottom effect instead of the top one.

The game’s challenge comes in both the time limit for when the family arrive home and the Bad Things that happen. Every round, a Bad Thing card is drawn and it’s effects are put into effect. These are centred around players having less control, less hunger or may even be a continual effect that reduces hunger values for specific meals. If all meals are eaten (tiles removed) before the family get home, the players win!

How It Handles

Oh my days is this game adorable! The premise of the game is solid and enjoyable, but what makes it for me is the Big Pig of The Big Pig game. He’s juvenile, silly, greedy and an all round character! Many cards centre on him and it gave the game a really fun, thematic theme. What also works is that the game is very enjoyable to play! It requires lots of communication and working together to devour the meals effectively. Coordinated consuming is the key to succeed!

The Loveable Rogues

Big Pig is almost a menace. Nearly a problem. The sort who’d openly cause a scene in public without shame as you glow a new shade of beetroot. He is who he is and you’ve got to accept him for that. Both his circularly large self and the bad things he causes. In that same way, all the other animals this eccentric family own are equally as unique and different. They work in slightly different ways and are better in different capacities. Hedgy is excellent at cheering on others as they eat to bolster their hunger, whereas Lumpy Pig needed less tiles to boost an action. Both great abilities but in different contexts.

The balance and variety of characters means that players have somewhat of a unique experience from one another in terms of contribution. But this isn’t a competitive game. No one is awarded a trophy for Best Cooperator. You win or lose as a team, and so team work is essential. We found the characters’ uniqueness enabled them to shine in different capacities. It also meant turn order determined what players would do. There was no use in someone boosting someone else’s action if they didn’t have the points to execute it. Scout was my top choice for power plays. He couldn’t hold items, but his hunger was a default five and his special action was to take any tile from any food!

On reflection, I was astounded as to how easily the game forced players to support one another without outright dictating it to players. It works well and players fall into their roles easily… even if that role is being the notorious Big Pig.

Uh Oh… It Happened Again!

The Bad Things cards don’t all centre on Big Pig, but he’s never without fault. They make sense contextually and make it so players have something to contend with. Without it, players could easily just devour the delicious treats without hindrance. These mishaps involving food going bad, overly large amounts of seasoning or Big Pig having some sort of meltdown remove access to foods or reduce hunger values.

Between these lapses in consumption and the ticking timer, the game provides enough hurdles for players to overcome. That said, it’s never impossible. Whether you take on the easier Breakfast meals or the trickier evening ones including spicy dishes, the game can be overcome with some decisive teamwork. In fact, consuming any meal (barring spicy) provides a bonus, so players have even more boons as they progress. The game puts everything in place to allow you to succeed. So there must be a way to take the action provided and turn it to eleven, right?

I Tried To Fix It… And It Got Worse!

In the box are not only Bad Things. There are also some Really Bad Things. Like it says on the tin, these things are Bad Things and then some. They can include hunger reductions across the board, or multiple Bad Thing card draws and lasting effects. These will really test you and, in the worst circumstances, may cause the game to become impossible to win. This is unlikely and requires Bad Things to stack up, but it can occur.

We found these cards were focussed on seasoned board gamers over families. The difficulty scales with meal changes for set up as a primary focus, with these cards being ideal for a real jump in trickiness. Sticking with the regular Bad Things makes the game family friendly and a delight to overcome through cooperation. The Really Bad Things make it a steep climb to victory, with every decision mattering more and more as time goes on. It even comes down to which characters are chosen and when things are boosted. A really meaty and enjoyable challenge!

Is Big Pig Pretty? Is It Faultless?

The Big Pig Game boasts family friendliness, educational benefits and replay-ability. It’s impressive how it manages to execute all these things… and it looks good! Hoo boy is this game pretty. There’s lots of similarity across cards to keep a solid theme that puts everything together nicely. Looking at the game on the table will stir hunger and its aesthetics are pleasing enough for you to enjoy seeing it on the table.

Is the game without fault though? It depends on which type of gamer you are! As an ambitious, eager and hardcore gamer who games with other hardcore gamers we found set up to be longer than we expected. For the context of play and the weight of the game itself, it took a bit of time. There are 16 tiles per meal and they have to be placed like a jigsaw in specific places. It’s not a massive qualm for us and we enjoyed the game despite this. It didn’t hinder the game and we didn’t dwell on it. However, when we played the game as a group of family gamers it was perfect. Number sequencing, motor skills, problem solving and spatial awareness as key benefits to setup. The game is, at its core, a family game. Having the setup compliment this has its benefits!

Final Thoughts

The Big Pig Game is a wonderfully fun, family centred, cooperative game. It’s very fun to engage in and forces players to interact regarding what needs eating and when! Prioritisation, discussion and risk taking come as part and parcel of the cooperative element of the game. It’s won and lost as a team! It may not appeal to the hardcore of us, but the game is centred on family engagement. The scaleable challenge is welcomed and adds more replay-ability and spices the game up easily. I’ve very much enjoyed previewing The Big Pig Game from both a hobby gamer’s and a family gamer’s perspectives, and can see warrant and benefit for both. I’d highly recommend you check this game out on Kickstarter in the coming months!