If you’ve been to Chance and Counters in the evening, you’ll probably have seen people snatching rainbows, yelling out celebrity rhymes, or cackling madly at whiteboards.
What is this strange behaviour? Where did it come from? Big Potato, that’s who. Our charmingly starchy buddies down at Big Potato helped us host an evening of potato-based frivolities a little while ago.
A good time was had by all.
Big Potato are a loveable bunch of miscreants hailing from Shoreditch, who are determined to bring some daftness and a little dark humour to the world of board games. They’ve brought us the likes of Obama Llama, Scrawl and Bucket of Doom, to name a few.
Before they came down for the Potato Party, we had a little chat:
What got you guys into board games?
One of the founders, Tris, is a big board game nut. He made us do it.
Why the name?
The original name of our first game Linkee was Big Potato, hence the potato print letters on the box that still survive today. When we were looking for a company name we remembered our long lost friend.
How does a marketing background influence your approach to making games?
I guess we’re a stickler for making things look and sound good. We think it’s important to make an effort and sell people a good game that looks good too.
What changes are you noticing in the board games industry?
Loads more inventive games. The power of Kickstarter and the internet has led to a renaissance in board games.
What’s been the strangest thing you’ve seen while people have been playing one of your games?
Someone’s granny googling ‘Glory hole surprise’ while playing Scrawl to see what it meant.
If a potato drinks vodka, is it fermented liquid cannibalism?
Cannibalism is not to be knocked. Apparently people taste like Spam. Not too bad.
Now we know.
You’ve probably played, or at least heard of their games, but in case you’re not already acquainted, here’s a little bit about our favourites:
Plays: 4 – 8 burgeoning artists
Time: 30 mins
It’s a simple concept that yields thousands of possibilities: Pictionary, with Chinese Whispers.
You draw what’s on your card, and pass it on. The next person attempts to write a description of what you’ve drawn, and passes it on. The next person draws what they’ve written.
And off it goes, on a journey of misinterpretation and depravity through the minds of your friends.
Once you get it back, you might find, as I did, that your ‘awkward family portrait’ has morphed into ‘Nazi Mona Lisa’, or perhaps be stumped as to how ‘dogs dressed as humans’ could ever have come out as ‘King Big Dick Money Wolf’…
Then again, it’s only as disturbing as the people you play it with.
We have learned new and troubling things about ourselves and each other, but can still take comfort in blaming the cards. Who can say we are disturbed when we were only trying to draw a nice, innocent ‘cat orgy’?
Perhaps the strangest lesson from all of this has been the fact that Salad Fingers has made an appearance in nearly every game I’ve played. His presence lingers over us all.
We strongly recommend this game for any slightly sozzled get-together, an awkward team-building exercise, or any musicians struggling to come up with album covers.
Where can I get this incredible game? Get it here or in the café
Plays: 2 – 4 colour coordinators
Time: 15 mins
‘It’s like an off-road connect 4 for two to four people’, says Deejay Wheelie Bag, inventor of OK Play.
OK Play is an excellent little game, good for those who want a light, simple flurry of tactical nefariousness. I especially like being able to re-live childhood memories of Dominoes and Connect 4, with the added glory of now being socially adept enough to engage with up to three whole people!
The main appeal of this one is it’s quick, can be taught in any language, and travels easily.
So long as you’ve got a vaguely flat surface, you’re good. Try it on a sleeping friend for an added dexterity bonus!
How can I support the awesome Deejay Wheelie Bag? Here or in the café
Plays: 4+ distinguished linguists
Time: 30 mins
Have you ever fancied yourself a master of riddles? Are you a bit of a Gollum, or the hairy gatekeeper from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Why do all riddlers have terrible hygiene?
Well, now you can defy these reductive stereotypes and usher in a new era of the slickest, most debonair rhymesmiths!
Stevie Wonder is scared of thunder.
Tom Cruise wears platform shoes.
John Cleese has fleas.
These and more truths you will learn, through the ancient arts of mime, riddling and description. But only if your friends are quick enough.
So if you find yourself at a loose end, and fancy a bit more Big Potato and a bit less couch potato in your evening, come on down and check ‘em out!
I Love llamas! US TOO, you can grab a copy here or in the café