The Usual Suspects?
Van Ryder Games has a bit of a soft spot for me. Recently I posted about Hostage Negotiator, a great solo experience. Detective: City of Angels is one of my most anticipated games of 2018. And now The Big Score has hit Kickstarter, and it is growing on me very strongly.
The Big Score is a game that I would say about a quarter of my game group will not like. It’s a competitive cooperative game, where you don’t discuss your moves. A lot of players in my usual group don’t like this aspect, so The Big Score is a game I instantly put in the ‘not for everyone’ group.
That said, The Big Score is almost two games in one. The first stage involves deck drafting where each player gets to form their individual crews. The crew they are after depends on the locations that they want to hit. The catch is with the number of cards you have, your crew can maybe complete one or two places with guaranteed success, or spread yourself out and be a part of a lot of heists and get an equal share of those heists.
If another player adds one card that will contribute to the success of a location, all players involved will get an even cut of the job, so if a player always completes a mission themselves, a valid tactic will be to simply add one member to their crew for maximum profits.
It’s a unique spin on risk and reward, and not discussing your strategy adds an amount of tension to this. This stage only sets up an initial bank of money (points), so it’s not essential to excel but at the same time failing a job will cost you on the get-go, so it’s an interesting dilemma.
The second phase is the Big Score itself. Here, you reach into a physical bank shaped box and try to steal as much as you can before the police turn up. You can pretend to take a token and pull out of the heist, locking your amount for the end game. You can also pull out a Cops token, too many of these and it’s game over for everyone.
There is simultaneously a lot going on and an elegant simplicity to the game. A.J. Porfirio has also added a solo campaign to the game, and I am keen to give this a try as well.