Big Boss is about building up your business empire by creating new businesses and physically expanding their presence on the board in order to increase their share value. You’ll merge companies and buy shares with the aim of earning the most money by the end of the game.
There’s isn’t a huge amount in terms of mechanics to Big Boss. You’ve got the option from the outset to either play with the updated rules or the original rules from the previous version of the game. I would suggest starting with the former and working towards the latter once you have learned the basics of the game. The board is set out in a continuous track that runs from 1 to 72 representing the spaces where you can add buildings. On your turn you can either buy one of two types of card or play a card. Cards come in two flavours, industry and levelling, with the former allowing you to create and add new business to the board based on the card number, and the latter allowing you to add additional buildings on top of the already established ones. At the beginning of the game, the businesses you’ll establish are likely to separated and as you add to their building heights you’ll increase the share price and therefore earn more money. You’ll need money because cards themselves don’t come cheap, As the game progresses and the spread of the business and heights increase then the share price will follow. At this point you have the chance to purchase shares in any of the established companies, regardless if you found them or not. So there is this point early in the game where everyone is trying their best to build as many business along the track and keep their distance, while balancing keeping enough money to buy future cards and shares when they are cheap. It’s quite possible for there to be small microcosms of business spaced evenly all around the board until there simply isn’t anymore space. At some point, you’ll have no choice but to play an industry card that joins two businesses together and at that point there is a wonderful switch where it turns into feeding time at the zoo and business start to merge with the less valued ones being swallowed and having their share price to the bigger business amoeba and removing the smaller one from the game. At that point, there’s a pay day for everyone who owned shares in the smaller companies which in turn gives them resources to try to expand the other businesses that still survive. At that point, the feeding frenzy is on between the Orcas and only the biggest will survive.
Once the last building piece is placed then the game ends, players have their shares paid out including the triple threat radio towers. Players gain money for any card they still have and the winner is the player with the most money at the end.
Even though things are simple for both set up and play, Big Boss definitely will have those that suffer from analysis paralysis spending longer on their turns as the game progresses and so you might find you be easily creeping over an hour if not closer to the ninety minutes stated on the box.
Big Boss definitely suits being in Funko Games portfolio of products. There’s an overall simplicity to the basic rules to get you started and just like most interesting strategy based games its only when you played the game a few times that you start to notice the real nuances. It is pretty clear that you’ve got to focus on the growth of the buildings but you need to keep an eye on the tells from other players about what they are going to do next and this is where things start to get interesting. You find yourself keeping an eye on what shares others are buying, or what cards they potentially have in there hand. Some will try to spread across the board as quickly as they can hoping to vacuum up smaller businesses in order to grow their own, while others will try to build smaller more concentrate value offering, in the hope that when mergers happen, it is on their terms and no one else. Once you’ve experienced the main game, then you’ve got the option to play the game in it’s original format with slightly more complicated rules and restrictions that adds additional replay value. For those looking to play this Kramer classic in a updated format then I’m sure it’s a must by. For anyone else who is interested in an easy to learn light middle economic game that will suit a lazy afternoon’s play then Big Boss might just be on the money.
This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.
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