GAMING POINT OF LOU – BIGFOOT VS. YETI
Bigfoot Vs. Yeti – Battle of the Cryptids, I’ve had this game sitting in my office for at least two months staring me in the face practically begging for some playtesting, and now that my other assignments are completed and E3 is in the rearview, it was high time I took a solid look at the latest offering from Shoot Again Games (www.shootagaingames.com). So without further ado, lets dive headfirst in to the Cryptid battle of the Century.
In B v. Y you assume the role of a wet behind the ears Crypto Zoologist, just struggling to pay the rent and prove that any number of unconfirmed species exist. All the heavy hitters make an appearance, The Lockness Monster Nessy, The Chupacabra, The Jersey Devil, Mothman, Ahool, Sewer Gators, Giant Squids, some good ol’ fashioned Martians, and all the while the titular characters are engaging in a titanic struggle to be the king of them all. You accomplish this by either mounting your own expeditions, or joining in on the expeditions of the other players, this is where the meat of the strategy comes into play, as you not only use these expeditions to score points for yourself, but also try to block or steal points from the other players using the specific creatures ability. For example if you were to mount or join a Sewer Alligators expedition you have the option of taking a card from in front of an opponent and discarding it. There are also action cards, known as “Phenomenon’s” in the game which will affect game conditions, for instance the “Fish Falls” card allows you to discard up to three cards, and redraw an equal amount, which can be absolutely invaluable if you find yourself stuck holding nothing valuable.
Scoring is pretty straightforward, each card has a point value assigned to it, and your score is the total (plus or minus all point modifiers) of the expeditions you either mounted or joined. A complete game typically caps out at 100 points which normally takes 3-4 rounds to achieve, but if you find yourself short on time, you can easily modify the endgame conditions to suit your needs. Lowering point totals, playing best of 3, etc, all seem to function just as well, which is a testament to the flexibility of the games design.
In terms of the physical quality of the product, the cards are exactly the same texture as a standard deck of “Bicycle” playing cards, so you know they are built to withstand hundreds of games with minimal wear. The box is constructed extremely well, made of a very durable cardboard, which should more than adequately stand up to the rigors of being shoved in a backpack and toted around (which believe me is a real concern). There is also a nice two section plastic tray in the box which functions perfectly as draw deck and discard pile holders, and as a bonus (I have no idea if this was an intentional design decision or not, if it was: well done) the tray slots are deep enough to hold the ENTIRE DECK!!! Which means that you can play the game in the backseat of a moving car, or on a bus, or an airplane tray table and not worry about the cards spilling out!!! The artwork on the cards is of a painted style extremely reminiscent of ultra talented Comic Book artist Gabrielle Dell’Otto (if you don’t know who that is, I emplore you to Google him) and they are completely color coded by creature. They have easy to decode symbols on the left hand side, which means you can easily fan them in your hand and reference them at a glance. This is yet another sign that the folks that designed this game know their stuff.
During testing I had to play more games of B v. Y than any other game I have reviewed for The Pint, and honestly it was because at first I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get into the flow of the game. That isn’t because the game is designed poorly, it’s not, it just wasn’t jiving with me. But, after a bunch of complete games I started to get into the flow of it, realizing it is a marathon and not a sprint was one of the adjustments I had to make. Sometimes I had to sacrifice points in a round and live to fight another day. There is an ebb and flow to a complete game that takes getting used to, and I very rarely found myself in the lead for an entire game. Every round I did lose (except for one where the cards were just not on my side) I could specifically point to a mistake I made in my strategy which caused the loss, which is the way it SHOULD be. I strongly dislike games where winning and loosing are completely dependent on the cards you draw and not your ability to put a game winning strategy together. I also have to acknowledge that my wonderful daughter took me to school in more games than I would like to admit as she picked up on the nuances of the game far quicker than I did, burying me with combo’s I didn’t even realize existed at the time.
All in all, Bigfoot Vs. Yeti is an intelligently designed game, it has layers of tactical nuance that you don’t really uncover until you’ve spent some time at the table. It can be a friendly game for casuals, but I don’t think they would really get the most out of it. Think of it like learning to play an instrument, sure you can learn the notes in a short period of time, and probably learn how to hammer out “Ba Ba Black Sheep” in a week or two, but learning how to play the solo to “Freebird” takes time, and because of that Bigfoot Vs. Yeti will remain at the forefront of my game shelf for a long time, and that is one of the highest compliments I can pay it.
*I would like to thank the folks at Shoot Again Games for providing Pint O’ Comics with a review copy, if you would like to pick this game up (and you probably should) it can be had for $20.00 on thier website www.shootagaingames.com
Until next time everyone
Be good to your fellow nerds