The Big Bang Theory is arguably one of the most polarizing shows that have aired on American television in recent years. It was one of the highest rated shows on television even up to its series finale, but there were also a lot of people that absolutely hated the show. I found myself somewhere in the middle as I watched it, but I never considered it my favorite show either. With how popular the show was though, it was no surprise that there was a lot of merchandise made for it. This included a surprising number of board games as there have been at least ten different Big Bang Theory board games. We even reviewed The Big Bang Theory: Party Game a while back. Today I am looking at The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game which was released in 2013 by Cardinal. I normally wouldn’t have even given the game a chance, but due to finding it for so cheap at a thrift store I thought it was worth trying. The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game is pretty much your generic party game with a couple interesting ideas that ultimately feels like a cash grab.
How to Play The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game
- The players will divide into two, three or four teams. You should try to have as even of teams as possible.
- Each team writes their team name on the scoreboard. The scoreboard is then inserted into the slot in the bottom of the box.
- Sort the cards into the three different decks. Shuffle each deck separately.
- Place the components in the middle of the table where everyone can reach them.
- Each team takes a Celebrity Card that they will use for reference in the game.
- The team with the youngest player starts the game.
Playing the Game
The teams will take turns. To start a team’s turn one of the players from the team will roll the die. What is rolled on the die will tell the players what game that they will play.
There are two special symbols on the dice that give the team a special action.
If a team rolls “Player’s Choice” they can choose which of the four games they would like to play.
If a team rolls “Lose A Turn” their turn ends immediately and they don’t get to play a game.
After a team is finished playing their game they will record the points that they scored on the scoreboard. The next team will then take their turn by rolling the dice.
In this game two players from the current team are chosen. Each player will take one of the sketchboards and a marker. A player from another team will draw the top card from the Counterfactuals deck. They will read out the question on the card and the three possible answers.
The two chosen players will choose one of the answers and write down the corresponding letter on their sketchboard. When both players have finished they will reveal their answers. If the players match they will score three points.
The player from the other team will then read “The Writer’s Answer” from the card. If both players’ answers match this answer the team will score two additional points.
Fun with Flags
The goal of this game is to get your teammate to guess the flag shown on the card. One player will be chosen as the Guesser and another player as the Clue Giver. The Clue Giver will flip over the timer to start the game.
The Clue Giver will take the top card from the deck and show the flag to the Guesser. On the back of the card it will say who the flag belongs to as well as three words/phrases that the Clue Giver can’t say. The Guesser will have to figure out which country/state/etc that the flag belongs to.
The Clue Giver then starts giving the Guesser clues about the flag. They can give any verbal clue they want as long as they don’t use one of the words/phrases that the card forbids. If the Clue Giver gives one of these clues the card is immediately discarded and a new card is drawn. The players from the other team(s) can look at the card to verify that the player doesn’t say one of these words.
If the Guesser guesses correctly the card will be set aside and their team will score one point. Another card is immediately drawn and the process is repeated. A Guesser can make as many guesses as they want until they give the correct answer.
If the Clue Giver doesn’t think their teammate will get the answer, they can discard the card and draw a new card.
When the timer runs out the game ends. The team will score one point for each flag that is correctly guessed up to a maximum of five points. The team records their points on the scoreboard.
For this game the current team chooses two players to play the game. One player will be the Sketcher and the other will be the Guesser. The Sketcher will take a sketchboard and a marker. The Sketcher takes the top card from the Sketch Charades deck and turns over the timer.
On the card there will be a word/phrase. The Sketcher will try to draw the word/phrase on the sketchboard hoping that the Guesser can guess it before the timer runs out. While drawing the Sketcher can’t say any words and they can’t draw letters or numbers.
The Guesser can make as many guesses as they want without any penalties. If they correctly guess before the timer runs out, their team will score three points. These points will be recorded on the scoreboard.
One player from the current team is chosen as the Actor. The rest of the players from the team will be Guessers.
One of the other teams will take a sketchboard and a marker. They will then write down one answer for each of the following categories:
- Video Game
- Movie or TV Show Title
- Famous Person or Character
- Food Item
After they have wrote down the answers, they will give the sketchboard to the Actor on the other team. When the timer is turned over the Actor can begin. The Actor is responsible for acting out what the other team came up with. The Actor can announce which category they are going to do, but the Actor cannot say anything else. They must act out the word/phrase/name with actions and gestures.
For each correct answer that the team comes up with, they will score one point. When time runs out they will write down the points they scored during the game on the scoreboard.
End of Game
The first team to score 21 points wins the game.
My Thoughts on The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game
Based on my experience with licensed board games, my expectations weren’t high for The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game. These type of games rarely have anything in common with the actual theme as they are mostly made in order to make a quick buck off of fans of the show/movie/etc. This is mostly the case for The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game as well. In many ways the game feels like your typical party game with The Big Bang Theory theme pasted on. The game does feature some inside jokes/references from the show and based on the instructions three of the four included games were actually played on the show. That said if you are actually looking for a game that really utilizes the theme you are likely to be disappointed.
Basically if I had to sum up The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game it feels like a collection of four other party games. These games are combined together with an overall score structure in order to determine the ultimate winners of the game. As each of these games are their own things I thought it was best to discuss each one individually.
Lets begin with the game which is arguably the best Fun with Flags. Anyone familiar with the show is familiar with this segment as it popped up from time to time during the show. While it wasn’t a game on the show, the designers turned Sheldon’s internet show into a party game. Basically in this game one member of the team has to try and guess which country/state/etc that a given flag belongs to. Some flags you might get right away, but to help you another teammate can give you clues making sure to avoid the words that aren’t allowed.
There is nothing particularly special about this game as outside of the flags there isn’t anything particularly original about it. Yet I actually had quite a bit of fun with it. Between the time aspect and trying to give/interpret clues quickly it was fun trying to guess where each flag belonged to. I will say that I found the game to be kind of easy. This might be because it is surprisingly easy to give good clues for specific states/countries. Despite that Fun With Flags was easily the standout game of The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game as it at least differs from other party games and is also kind of fun to play.
Lets move onto Counterfactuals which is based on a game played on the show. Basically the premise behind this game is that you take the normal world and change one thing about it. The players then have to postulate how that would impact something else not directly related. Players are given three options and they try to match their partner as well as choose the answer picked by the writers.
I had some mixed feelings about this game. The questions posed on some of the cards feel completely random where the chosen answer makes no more sense than the other answers. At the same time though there are some questions that you can actually logic out if you can think outside of the box. The later questions were interesting while the former were complete guesses. The game really depends on the cards that you draw. In a lot of ways the game is about randomly guessing the same as your partner. It is also about trying to work out the writer’s logic though.
Next is Sketch Charades. Basically this game is Pictionary. One player picks up a card and tries to draw it in order to get one of their teammates to guess it. The words/phrases that you have to draw are tangentially connected to the TV show. Many of the words either have to deal with geek culture, science, or various topics that came up on the show. I honestly don’t really have much to say about this game as it really doesn’t differ all that much from your typical game of Pictionary. If you enjoy Pictionary you will probably enjoy it. If you suck at drawing or have never liked Pictionary, Sketch Charades won’t be for you.
The last game in The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game is Celebrity. It might have a different name, but this game is essentially Charades. One player is given a set of things to act out, and their teammates have to guess the words/phrases. The only thing that somewhat differs with this game is that each round will feature five words from preset categories. Instead of drawing cards to figure out what you have to act out, your opponents will come up with a word for each of the categories. I found this to be kind of interesting even though it likely will add its own complications to the game. If you are playing with really competitive players they likely will purposefully come up with things that are going to be very hard to act out limiting how many points that you can score. In a more laid back group this shouldn’t be as big of problem, but I don’t know how good of idea it was to let your opponents decide what you have to act out. Otherwise I don’t have much else to say about Celebrity as I have never been a fan of Charades and that didn’t change with this game either.
Wrapping up the four games I wanted to quickly discuss the scoring system used in the game. I personally found some issues with it. At least to me it just seemed much easier to score points in some games than others. The scoring in Fun with Flags and Celebrity make the most sense as you just score one point for each answer you get right with a limit of five points in a round. I would guess that you could get three to five points in most rounds. Meanwhile in Sketch Charades you only get one card and can only score a maximum of three points. Finally in Counterfactuals you can score three points if you match the other player and five points if you also match the writer. The scoring is inconsistent in my opinion where some games will likely score you more points than others. This adds some luck to the game as the team that gets more of the good games will have a better chance of winning the game.
Finally I wanted to quickly talk about the The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game’s components. Simply put they aren’t that great. A lot of my thoughts can be summed up by the game’s “die”. It honestly feels like a block of wood that stickers were applied to. In addition I noticed at least one pretty obvious spelling error on one of the Fun with Flags cards. The game also couldn’t be bothered to provide cards for the Celebrities game. I do like that the game included dry erase markers/boards as those are appreciated. Otherwise the components are nothing more than your typical party game. The components don’t ruin the game, but they don’t really help it either.
Should You Buy The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game?
The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game pretty much feels like a compilation of party games that were slapped together in order to try and make a quick buck. The standout is Fun with Flags which is more enjoyable than I was expecting. For some reason it is kind of fun trying to guess the identity of flags with help from a teammate. Counterfactuals had some potential as some of the cards are kind of interesting to try and figure out. Too many cards feel like pure guesses though. Finally Sketch Charades and Celebrities are basically just Pictionary and Charades. Most of the games aren’t particularly original and the scoring between them makes some games more valuable than others. This is topped off by the component quality which is not particularly good.
I can’t really recommend The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game to many people. The game barely uses The Big Bang Theory theme and the individual games aren’t particularly original. If you don’t really like typical party games, I don’t see anything in the game that will likely interest you. If the individual games interest you though and you can get a really good deal on the game, it may be worth looking at The Big Bang Theory: Ultimate Genius Party Game.