Big Brain Academy
by Amanda Nettgen
Big Brain Academy Board Game
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
First came the DS version, then the Nintendo Wii; now the Big Brain franchise is available in a board game version. If the game’s name didn’t give it away, the idea is to test your smarts in a series of short bursts from a variety of categories.
The game and gameplay
To play Big Brain Academy the Board Game, lay out all of the pieces, and ensure the decks are segregated. Have a couple of tissues handy to wipe the cards off after play. Have each player/team take a brain-weighing chip bucket.
In Big Brain Academy, players take turns spinning the category dial. They may land on Analyze, Identify, Compute, Memorize, or Think.
The sand timer is flipped, providing the participant that’s up only a few seconds to fly through as many cards as he can(one player should keep an eye on the time, as it’s easy to get distracted by your opponent’s flurry).When time’s up, correct answers are confirmed by an opposing contender, most often via a red film decoder. The successful cards are then translated into brain chips matching the category’s color (it’s important to collect the right hue, as the pieces are all different sizes according to difficulty).
Play continues in this way back and forth for a total of five rounds. Some examples of the exercises you need to complete during the time limit are: coin counting, weight comparisons (are two cats heavier than an airplane, according to the picture?), and assembling tangrams.
Opposing teams need to help each other out when it comes to the Memorize category, as all exercises will need to be read from one player to another. The contender will either have to repeat back a tongue twister, memorize a flash of numbers, or mimic a small series of acts performed by his opponent (snap/snap/clap/stomp, for example).
When the rounds are complete, snap each team’s personal brain bucket onto the game’s miniature scale. Whoever tips the device in their favor wins.
Pros and cons
Big Brain is both fun and good for you. Devotees of the video game versions will appreciate this edition, too. It can be played by both adults and kids.
My areas of concern include the rating system for the chips and the cheap overall design. The chips are not weighed properly when it comes to actually being fair. Categories like Identify and Memorize take a long time per exercise, but are worth very little in chips.
When I say cheap design, well, our copy had the Brain-O-Meter scale busted since the beginning, and later the sand timer broke.
Big Brain Academy the Board Game is a good choice for those who enjoy mental anti-aging activities. Fans of the series in other forms will like it, but it’s also decent for parents who want an educational distraction for their kids that’s fun.