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Review: The Big Score

The Big Score. What’s it about?

The vault at Centennial City Bank is holding a record amount of loot. As a notorious crime boss, robbing the vault is always on your mind. But the job is too big for just one crew. Gather your friends to become rival crime bosses and work together to pull off the biggest heist the city has ever seen. Once you and your new partners in crime are inside the bank vault, it’ll be every boss for himself! Will you escape with more loot than your rivals and win The Big Score?

What’s in the Box?

A fair amount! Lots of cards, tokens and character boards. A big ass diamond too! A bank vault. There is a lot ok!

  • 7 Player Boards
  • 48 Assignment Tiles
  • 48 Standees
  • 6 Player Aid Cards
  • 1 Cop Track
  • 24 Job Cards
  • 90 Crew Cards
  • 234 Payout Tokens
  • 62 Vault Tokens
  • 1 Bank Vault
  • 1 Vault Bag
  • 6 Job Number Tokens
  • 1 Diamond
  • 6 Jack of All Trades Chips

How Does it Play?

The Big Score is split up into two distinct phases. Act I: The Small Jobs and Act II: The Big Score. In the first Act, players draft cards while hiring and assigning crews to jobs. The second Act sees players pushing their luck as they try to rob the bank vault without getting busted by the police. Let’s have a closer look.

ACT I: The Small Jobs

You and your fellow crime bosses will attempt to recruit a crew to make small time robbery attempts at various locations such as the racetrack, the ATM, an office building and a nightclub to name a few. This part of the game is played over three rounds where a simple card draft will take place. Each job has a different crew requirement in order for the job to be successful. So knocking off a Hotel might require a Con Man, a Driver, two Gunmen and a Muscle. You draft your cards in secret without discussion while all the other bosses do the same thing and just hope that when the job goes down, all the bosses contributed enough manpower to make the job a success.

For each successful job, any boss that sent at least one crew there will get a nice big fat payout. It’s entirely up to you how to distribute your crew. Send the majority to a single job in order to make sure it goes down or spread them out thinly hoping the other crime bosses help you out and reap the rewards with many payouts. However, if you send crews and the job fails..well you’ve got some answering to do. You need to pay the costs incurred for doing the job. Fail and you need to cough up $20k. Aren’t we meant to be making money here?

All is not lost though. You can always call in the Jack Of All Trades (JOAT) to help you out. That’s why you have them on speed dial. Each player has a JOAT chip that can be used once per round. If there are enough bosses involved such that using their JOAT token would cause the job to succeed, then each player takes their token and secretly places in their hand (or not). Then all the players involved will hold a closed fist over the table and reveal if they have the token or not. For each token revealed means that a missing crew member will get fulfilled. It sounds obvious that you would play it to make the job pass. Trust us when we say that it can go terribly wrong. Never trust your rival bosses to do the right thing. Maybe they want to save theirs for a later job they might think will fail. Maybe you want to do the same thing…

You can also train up the crew members over the course of the three rounds. Some of the crew cards will have a star on them. If you manage to collect three over the three rounds you get to take that crew member with you when you hit the bank vault. They give you one time special abilities that can swing the game in your favour. Once all three rounds have been completed, it’s time to hit the main bank vault. Remember, the crime boss with the most money at the end of the games wins. Better keep an eye what they just earnt during Act I.

ACT II: The Big Score

You’ve completed some small jobs. Way to go. Feeling a little smug? Flush with cash? Well it’s time for the big leagues now. The target? Centennial City Bank. In Act II, each of the bosses will head into the vault and grab as much loot as possible. Things are never easy though are they? The cops are on the way. Will you get caught red handed or escape with the biggest haul of your life. Act II contains no rounds. It’s all push your luck from now on. Players will reach into the vault bag and grab a token (or maybe not) and then reveal it to all players. Several things could happen.

Any player that reveals an empty hand flees the vault and takes no further part in the game. Whatever tokens they managed to retrieve before deciding to flee are safe and can be added to the loot they got in Act I.

If a player reveals a cop token then things start to get a little dicey. The token is placed on the cop track and if the tokens ever reach the busted space then it’s game over for all players who didn’t flee. They loose everything but their Act I loot. Tough luck.

If players reveal a non cop token they can either keep it or trade it with the vault floor tokens (5 tokens are randomly placed on the table during Act II setup).

Act II continues until all crimes bosses have fled or until the police show up and bust everyone.

Components

The Big Score is a well crafted game. The artwork on the crew and job cards is decent and fits the theme well. Cardboard thickness on the tokens is good too along with the heavy poker chips used for the JOAT tokens. You also get a big ass diamond as the job tracker/first player marker and you can choose to either the bank vault building or the bank vault bag for Act II. If there was one complaint is the bank vault building. We use the bag as the latter has too many issues. First up, the base doesn’t fit that well and can come apart pretty easily. Also we noticed token can get stuck in the sides which is not ideal. Other than that there really is not much to say about the components other than they are all well produced and covey the theme of the game well. There are a multitude of characters to choose from. Each has their own starting token or even special abilities for Act II. Overall, a well produced game.

Overall

The Big Score is a fun game. It plays 2 to 6 players and is best with the higher play counts. It plays quickly and is easy to learn. We had a lot of fun playing this and we can see this being a staple on a game night. A great filler game before the main course. It straddles the line beautifully between a party game and something just a little bit more. If you like card drafting and push your luck mechanics then this is a must buy. Even if you don’t this is a great game that can be enjoyed by just about anyone.

The Big Score is published by Van Ryder Games. We lugged a copy back from GenCon (Kickstarter version). The regular retail version just hit stores last week.

The Author

GameStart Asia

GameStart Asia

The GameStart team of geeky gamers share thoughts on the latest games, trends and news.

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