Since it first aired back in 2007, The Big Bang Theory has been one of the most popular shows on television. The Big Bang Theory is a pretty polarizing show as a lot of people hate the show and yet there are also a lot of people that love the show. I personally am kind of indifferent to it. So you might be wondering why I picked up a game from a show I don’t really care about especially with most board games based on TV shows being pretty bad. Well I chose to purchase the game for two reasons. First with the game basically being an Apples to Apples clone I thought at worst I could use the cards with another one of these type of games. The other reason was that the game was only $0.50 and I have a hard time passing on board games when they are so cheap. I have to say The Big Bang Theory The Party Game actually surprised me by adding some nice additions to the party game genre but is ultimately ruined by the cards themselves.
How to Play The Big Bang Theory The Party Game
- Sort all of the blue and red cards and shuffle them separately. Place both decks of cards in the middle of the play area.
- Sort the point chips by value. If there are only five players remove the five point chips. If there are only four players remove the four and five point chips.
- Place the envelopes in the middle of the play area.
- Each player takes seven blue cards for their hand.
- Choose which player will be the first referee.
Playing the Game
The current referee flips over a red card and reads it out loud. If the card has a white background each player will choose one of the cards from their hand that they think fits the prompt with regards to the referee. When a player chooses their card they place it face down on the table.
If the red card has a green background each player will submit two cards for the round. If the prompt has two blanks that need to be filled in, the referee gets to pick which card fills in each blank. When a player has chosen their two cards they place both of them inside one of the envelopes.
Once everyone has submitted their card(s), they are mixed up so the referee doesn’t know who submitted which card. At this point if a player has a Bazinga card they have the option of playing it. If a player plays a Bazinga card the red card for the round is discarded and a new red card is drawn. Since players won’t be able to change the card(s) they submitted, the new red card needs to use the same number of cards as the red card that was discarded. The referee will have to judge all of the submissions based on the new prompt.
The referee then reveals the cards submitted one at a time. The referee judges each submission based on the prompt for the round. The referee ranks the submissions from best to worst. The player who submitted the best response takes the highest score chip from the table. The second best answer gets the second highest chip. This continues until one chip of each value has been given out.
All of the cards played in the round are then discarded. Each player draws new blue cards until they have seven cards in their hand. The next player clockwise then becomes the referee for the next round.
End of Game
Players continue playing rounds until all of the score chips have been given out. Each player totals up the number of points they earned in the game. The player who scored the most points wins the game. If there is a tie the tied players share the victory.
My Thoughts on The Big Bang Theory The Party Game
As I already mentioned I didn’t have high expectations going into The Big Bang Theory The Party Game. When you factor in that the game looked like another Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity clone and the fact that the game utilizes the theme of a popular TV show, I expected the game to just be a quick cash grab. While my first impression was accurate in a lot of ways, I have to admit that I was surprised that more effort went into the game than I was expecting.
At its core The Big Bang Theory The Party Game is like every other one of these type of party games. You get a prompt and all of the players other than the judge submits the card from their hand that they think best fits the prompt. The judge then looks over all of the cards and decides which one they liked the most. In general I like this genre of game as we have looked at quite a few of these type of games in the past. So far we have looked at: Adversity, Apples to Apples, Awkward Family Photos, Funny or Die, The Game of Things, Mad Libs The Game, Quip It!, Reel Script, Snake Oil, Sounds Like A Plan, The T-Shirt Game, and These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs. After you have played a lot of these type of games it kind of feels like you have played all of them since most of them share a lot in common. That is no different in The Big Bang Theory The Party Game. If you have ever played one of these type of party games before you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect out of this game. If you have never been a fan of these type of games, you aren’t going to like this game either. I have to give the game some credit though as it actually makes some good additions to the game fixing some of the problems that I have with the genre.
One of the biggest problems that I have with a lot of these type of party games is that each round is winner take all. You could be really good at providing the second best answer and yet never score any points if you never provide the best answer. This has never sat right with me since in many cases the best and second best answers are pretty much the same. Why should one answer that is slightly better get a point while the other gets nothing. While it is far from original I appreciate that The Big Bang Theory The Party Game includes a mechanic to reward most of the answers with some points.
Just like with the other party games that feature a similar mechanic though I think you should limit the amount of points that are given out each round. In each round there are usually one or two bad responses (mostly due to having bad cards) that don’t really deserve any points. With everyone receiving points it also reduces the reward for providing the best answer. In a four player game the best response will only get two more points than the worst response. In general I think at least the player who provides the worst answer shouldn’t get any points. I also think the player who provides the best answer should get at least two more points than the player with the second best response sothe reward for winning a round at least feels somewhat significant.
The second thing I liked about The Big Bang Theory The Party Game is the addition of prompts that require players to submit two cards. What I like about this addition is that is adds some variety to the game. At times it gets a little repetitive having all of the players submitting one card. Submitting two cards doesn’t drastically change the gameplay but it is a nice change of pace. By letting players submit two cards it gives the players more opportunities for creativity and humor as a player could pick two cards that you otherwise wouldn’t have considered combining. While I am guessing some other party games have used a similar mechanic, I kind of wish I would see this in more games from this genre.
The final addition that I liked was the idea of the Bazinga cards. While these cards just add more randomness to the game I think they are a fun distraction. It makes the judge’s job kind of random as most of the answers are probably going to have nothing to do with the prompt. The reason I like the mechanic though is that the randomness can actually lead to quite a bit of humor. The game was wise to limit the number of Bazinga cards because while they are nice as an occasional distraction they would get kind of annoying if they kept coming up.
I applaud the designer for these additions to the party game genre but unfortunately they aren’t enough to save the rest of the game.
The biggest problem with The Big Bang Theory The Party Game is the fact that the cards themselves just aren’t very good. For a game like this the cards are the most important thing. So the cards not being very good basically ruins the entire game. The prompt cards are generally pretty good. The theoretical cards are kind of a mess though. The problem with the theoretical cards is that most of them are quite specific. While this is good when you get a prompt that the card works perfectly for, it makes the cards pretty much pointless for a large majority of the prompts. This eventually leads you to having a hand full of cards that will only work for very specific prompts. You likely will get to the point where you will have no cards in your hand that make any sense for the current prompt.
Possibly the most disappointing part about the cards not being that good is that I originally bought the game so I could use the cards with other similar party games. With how limited a lot of the cards are though I don’t know if it really pays to use the game’s components in this way. While I could see the prompt cards actually working pretty well with other similar games, I just can’t see the word cards working that well. If you were interested in The Big Bang Theory The Party Game mostly for the cards I want to warn you that they might not work with other games as well as you were hoping.
The thing that I find odd about The Big Bang Theory The Party Game is I can’t figure out who was the intended audience for the game. For these type of party games I see two distinct audiences. First there is the family audience and people that are looking for a “cleaner” party game. The other end of the spectrum are adult audiences that are looking for a mature/”dirty” games. The problem with The Big Bang Theory The Party Game is that it tries to please both audiences at the same time. It ultimately probably won’t appeal to either audience. I would say that the game ends up being a game for a teenager to adult audience. The game doesn’t really work in a family setting as quite a few of the cards refer to sex and other adult topics. At the same time though I see fans of games like Cards Against Humanity finding the game to be too tame. Outside of the small group that want a party game that is somewhat dirty but not too dirty, I don’t see the game appealing to a lot of people.
As far as the components you basically get what you normally get with this type of party game. You get some cardboard scoring chips and some cards. The chips are thick enough but there is nothing special about them. The cards include the word/phrase, a picture from the show, and the quote that the word/phrase was taken from. Fans of the show might appreciate the quotes and the pictures but there is nothing special about the card design. I think the biggest problem with the components is just the lack of cards. While I would have preferred more, 75 prompt cards is probably enough. The problem is with the theoretical cards though. 180 cards is not enough. Within a couple games you will have seen most of the cards and then will just have to reuse the same cards over and over again.
All things considered I would have to say that The Big Bang Theory The Party Game is probably one of the worst Apples to Apples style games that I have played. I liked all of the small little tweaks the game added. Unfortunately they couldn’t overcome the fact that the cards just don’t work that well. Too many rounds end with only one or two good answers because too many of the responses only work for a couple of the prompts. As the cards are the most important thing for these type of games, the cards ultimately bring down the entire experience.
Should You Buy The Big Bang Theory The Party Game?
Before playing The Big Bang Theory The Party Game I didn’t have high expectations. A game based on a popular TV show that was basically a clone of Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity? That had the potential to be a disaster. I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised by the game. While the game plays a lot like most of the other games in the genre, the designer actually put some effort into adding some additional mechanics into the game. In particular I liked that points are awarded to more than just the top answer, some prompts require players to play two cards, and the occasional Bazinga card mixes things up. The problem is that all of these additions are wasted because the cards included with the game are just not that good. For some reason the game decided that it wants to try to be both a family game and an adult game like Cards Against Humanity ultimately failing at both. Too many of the word/phrase cards are too specific where they only work for a small number of the prompts leading to half of the answers given each round being pretty bad.
If you have never cared for these type of party games you are not going to like The Big Bang Theory The Party Game. If you are looking for a family party game or an adult party game I wouldn’t recommend it either since it tries to tow the line between both and fails to appeal to either. If you really like the show though or are looking for more cards for an Apples to Apples style game it may be worth picking up The Big Bang Theory The Party Game if you can find it for cheap.