Leave it to the Brits to produce a company with a fun and silly a name as Big Potato Games. Founded six years ago in East London, Big Potato has made it their mission to make game night as fun as it possibly can be. All of their party games (and they’ve produced over 40 by now) are designed to be easy to play, quick to learn, and, most importantly, fun as heck.
They carry a full range of games, from those aimed at the kiddies to the saucier adult games you can play after you’ve had a few. At GenCon they had their full catalog of party games on display, but their big release was Blockbuster, one of our most anticipated releases at GenCon and one of the most buzzed about games on the con floor. This was helped, no doubt, by their fairly accurate mock up of an old-school Blockbuster video store, complete with desk, computer, overpriced snacks, and original VHS tapes donated by Big Potato fans from all over the world (they weren’t quite able to get the sticky floors or popcorn smell down). They even tracked down original employee nametags on Ebay (which probably cost more than it did to license the Blockbuster name from Dish).
But the nostalgia trip was just the tip of the iceberg for Big Potato, and I was lucky enough to have the effervescent Massimo, clad in his Blockbuster polo and trucker hat, giving me a tour of the booth and showing me all the newest games coming from Big Potato (plus an exclusive sneak peek at an upcoming release)
Retail: £20.00 ($24.50)
Beginning under a different title and look, Blockbuster: The Game came about thanks to a stroke of genius and a bit of nostalgia for the video stores of so many people’s youths. The game is meant for anyone who has seen a movie, not just Johnny Film-Snob who’s memorized IMDB. The game itself is a pretty simple mix of charades and trivia. To decide who goes first, the teams will draw a card that gives them a type of movie i.e. movies with dogs. Then the players will go back and forth naming movies that fit that topic, hitting the buzzer to reset the 15 second clock. If a team can’t get it in time, they lose Part One and the winning team gets to go first. In Part Two, one member of a team will be acting out, quoting, or describing (in only one word) as many movies as they can before time runs out. The winner is the team to collect a film in every genre (there’s 200 movies in total).
The big draw here is, obviously, the presentation. The game board is meant to resemble an old Blockbuster parking lot, complete with big glowing sign in the middle. The box is also the exact size and shape of one of their old plastic clamshell cases. And I mean that. They even have that lovely crisp snap when they open up, and there’s a faux VHS card on top to double down on the illusion. There was quite a bit of love put into the visual design of this game, and it’s sure to be a big nostalgia hit for anybody who can still remember the heyday of the video rental.
Retail: £20.00 ($24.50)
Possibly one of the most unique party games I’ve EVER seen, Don’t Get Got is a game you play while you play other games. Or you can play it during movie night, a study session, or Aunt Hortense’s fancy dinner party (won’t she be steamed!). Each player begins the game by receiving five “secret missions,” and you have to complete three of them to win the game. This includes stuff like putting cards in odd places, stealing objects, getting another player to say something, etc. If someone catches you mid-mission, you have to mark that mission failed and move on to the next one. The game has no time limit, ending only when someone has won.
You can pick up Don’t Get Got on Amazon
A twist on the classic guessing game Taboo, Head Hackers pits teams against each other in a battle for mind-reading supremacy. Each round, a team splits into a “Guesser,” who wears the stylish tin-foil hat, and a “Writer.” Then a secret word is selected while the Guesser’s eyes are closed and everyone (including the enemy teams) learns the secret word. Then, it’s up to the Writer to use three words to clue the Guesser in on the word. But there’s a catch. The other teams get to write their own words down to try to predict what the Writer was going to write. Points are earned for the Guesser’s correct guess (or incorrect guess, for the other teams), as well as for guessing correctly the words the writer was about to use.
Head Hackers is currently available at Target
Another game in Big Potato’s line of “trivia, but with a twist” games, What Came First is an extremely simple and quick little betting game. Each round, a card with two options on it. It’s up to players to guess which one came first. They do this by betting 1, 2, or 3 chips on whichever side of the board they think is the older thing. If they’re SUPER sure, they can bet on the year circle and guess the exact year the older thing came out, getting five points if they’re correct. The amount of points you earn is the amount of moves you get, but if you guess wrong you move BACK equal to your number of points. There’s also special time tokens that can earn you a helpful bonanza…or a debilitating bust.
What Came First can currently be purchased at Wal-Mart
Release: Early 2020
Linkee was Big Potato’s very first game to hit the market (actually predating the official formation of the company). Since its release in 2012, it’s become one of their most popular and beloved titles. Going through several versions, expansions, and licenses, Linkee is in many ways THE prototypical Big Potato party game. It’s a twist on trivia games that adds another layer of difficulty to the regular question and answer format. In Linkee, questions are all connected by some secret shared quality. As players answer questions, they have to figure out what it is they all have in common. When they think they have it, they shout LINKEE and, if they’re right, they get the card and the round. The winner is the first person to spell out the word Linkee using the letters on the back of each card.
The newest edition of Linkee will hit US shores early next year.
Rolling Stone: The Game
Ok, so that isn’t the ACTUAL Rolling Stone board game that Big Potato is producing in collaboration with the iconic music magazine. The game was revealed to me at GenCon, but only the mock-up of the box (which itself might change). It had the look, however, of a magazine or book like the one above, bright red and ringed with gold, the lettering in the vintage Rolling Stone script. From what I could gather, the game will follow closely the gameplay of Blockbuster, with a focus on music trivia rather than movie trivia. Just like with Blockbuster, there’s a work going into the look and feel of the game while still keeping it easy and accessible. It’s actually potentially going to be easier than its predecessor, removing the “quote” option from Phase 2 (because there’s way less to remember in a song’s lyrics than in a movie’s script).
I’m not quite sure when Rolling Stone: The Game will release to the public or if it’ll be an exclusive, though I was assured we can expect it sometime in 2020. And you can be certain we’ll keep you in the loop on it as well as all of the other big releases from across the pond and around the whole world of party games.
All Images via Big Potato Games