I feel like I had to add the qualifier “board” to the title when I describe this board game this because “The Big Pig: A Cooperative Eating Game” sounds like something very different! The Big Pig Game is a lightweight cooperative board game for 1-4 players, Ages 10+, taking 40-45 minutes. It’s all about eating food cooperatively (yes, I know, that’s a weird sentence).
The Big Pig Game was on Kickstarter back in April 2022 and promised deliver in January 2023. It’s mid March 2023 (I got mine about March 10th, 2023 in the mail). So, the Kickstarter is about 3 months late: that’s not so bad in the grand scheme of things.
This is a very cute game: I got it because it had the same vibe as the Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery game which did very well in my cooperative gaming circles (see our review here): Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery even made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2021!
Let’s take a look at The Big Pig Game and see what we think!
The Big Pig Game is slightly smaller than the standard Ticket To Ride box size: it’s about the same size as The Lord of the Rings Adventure Book Game from a couple of weeks ago.
You can probably guess that this game leans into the “cute” aspect pretty heavily. The characters are cute little animals eating food together: if you don’t like the cuteness, you might want to stop reading now. This game is jut a lightweight, cute game. It’s not deep. And it embraces cute. Caveat Emptor.
We liked the components quite a bit because of the cuteness (except for one major issue, see later below).
The rulebook is good enough.
The components are well-labelled on the first page.
And the “theme” is explained on the next page. It’s a silly theme about raiding the kitchen while the humans are gone: it’s very silly and cut! Like I said, this game embraces that cute factor.
The set-up follows and consumes the next two pages. It’s good set-up and description: note that it has a set-up section.
The game then explains the basic structure pretty well.
The rulebook does pretty well on The Chair Test: it stays open and is readable on the chair next to me. The font is a little thin and small, but it’s still quite readable. Probably a B or B+ on The Chair Test.
The back cover made me laugh: it’s a fake ad for chili!! I’ll forgive that they don’t use the back cover for something game related.
Overall, pretty good rulebook.
Components and Gameplay
Each players chooses one of the cute little animals to play: there are 10 in all. See above.
Each character has varying Hingers, Hand Sizes, Item Limits. Each player has 4 action spaces (the donut slots), but these actions do vary among the characters.
If you look closer, you can see what each action space does: again they vary by character.
To win the game, the players must eat all the food before the human family returns: the board above has a different track depending on the number of players. Basically, as soon as the humans reach the house, the cute animals get caught red-handed and lose!
To win, the cute animals must collectively eat ALL the food on the 4 boards before the humans gets home! Above, you can see the tiles on the four different foods. Every time the cute animals “eat”, they take some of the tiles, depending on their hunger. The cute animals can eat from any food they like, but they have have bonuses or penalties depending on many things.
One Bad Things card comes out at the start of every turn, causing bad things to happen.
If you are playing the more difficult game, you use Very Bad Things instead: see above.
Each player has a hand of cards (Actions) that do Good Things for you and the other players: this is a cooperative game!
There are also Items you can buy on your turn that generally give you some bonuses.
If you eat ALL of one food, you get a Bonus! See the sample Sweet, Savory, and Healthy Bonuses above.
There is a player aid to help you, but it is not great: it doesn’t really help with all the player actions.
The most important question in the game: How do you eat? Either one of your cards or one of your 4 actions allows you to MUNCH or RAVENOUS MUNCH.
When you MUNCH, you use you base Hunger (it’s 4 for Big Pig above), plus bonuses (Big Pig gets +1 for Sweet Foods, +1 for the action), plus any Penalties (usually from Bad Things, none here). So, a simple MUNCH of Sweets for Pig Big would give him a MUNCH of 4+1+1 = 6.
From one of the Sweet foods, Big Pig could take two 3s or one 6 to be efficient. Big Pig could still take a 4 or 5, but it would be wasteful and not use his full hunger.
When you MUNCH, you keep the piece and can use it to power the BOOST action on the bottom of the Action Cards (“Look What I found” above requires two BOOST pieces, “Hyper” requires three). RAVENOUS MUNCH usually is a bigger hunger, but you don’t keep the pieces for boosting: the immediately go to the side of the food.
Players win together when they have eaten all the food (see above for 4 empty plates) before the Humans get home!
Along the way, players can ENCOURAGE each other (notated with the little cheerleader tokens above) for an extra +4 or +6 hunger on the next MUNCH/RAVENOUS MUNCH. This is a cooperative game! Sometimes its better to help your friends eat!
So, this game is about cooperatively using your hunger to MUNCH and eat all the food!
The game supports Solo Play (thank you for following Saunders’ Law)!
The only real change to the rules is that game board uses a different track, depending on the number of players: the solo track is much longer since the the solo player only plays one character and will have many fewer actions.
See above with a set-up for a solo game.
The solo game works fine, but it has the Roll Player/Ares Expedition Crisis mode solo problem to a certain extent: with fewer players, fewer cards come out, fewer Items can be in play, and fewer opportunities for collaboration come out (See our discussion in Roll Player Adventures and Ares Expedition: Crisis mode). Don’t get me wrong, the solo mode works, it’s fun, but one solo character simply doesn’t have quite as many cards come out at the same time.
I liked my solo play okay: I was mostly grumpy with the components (see Issues discussion below), but I was able to get through the game and learn it so I could teach my friends.
This game shines in cooperative mode.
Players happily take some of the cute characters and inhabit them.
The cooperative game really felt cooperative! The little encouragement tokens, as silly as they are with little Cheerleaders, really encouraged that cooperative vibe!
And each player’s action were different enough! For this really light game, we found ourselves talking amongst ourselves: “I’ll eat sweet things if you let me have the sugar packets” and silly things like that. There were a surprising number of collaborative moments for such a simple and silly game.
The cooperative game was chill and relaxing. Cecil the duck stole everyone’s heart.
There is one major issue with the game: the tiles don’t really fit in the middle! This is the main gimmick of the game, and I found that I could either “force” all the tiles to fit, or have them hang off the side: neither solution was great. The “forced” tiles were very hard to get out of the board. The “relaxed” tiles looked messy and moved too easily.
You CAN get them to fit (see above), but it actually interfered with the playing of the game. I feel like just a slight tweak to the tiles or the board could have fixed this issue!! The tiles don’t need to be packed in there so tight!!! They should really be just a little looser.
I am grumpy about this because this is the main gimmick of the game: the food pieces/tiles fit into the dual-layered boards and it looks cool … but the tiles are too tight.
So, if you can get over that the tiles are too tight, this is a fun, relaxing, end-of-the night for multiple players. The solo game is okay (maybe a 6.5/10), but it does teach the game. The cooperative game is much better: it is just a great way to hang out with your friends and have a chill time! The Big Pig Game gets a 7.5/10 or maybe even an 8/10. When I want a relaxing game, this is a fun, light, and surprisingly interactive experience while still being an interesting game.
My friends like this better than Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery, and I think I agree. I had a such a chill time playing this. This would be great for families or a group wanting a light game.
I know lost the hard-core gamers a long time ago: I think they saw Big Pig and bailed. But you know what? They might actually appreciate the simplicity of this game.
UPDATE: the manufacturer is reprinting the cardboard pieces that don’t fit! See the Kickstarter Update here!
I sent an encouragement token to my friends (via text) this morning. See below. I could see this becoming a thing with us: those cute little tokens really are a cheer-up.
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