Brigitte and Wolfgang Ditt
Schmidt Spiele (Easy Play Series)
Schimdt Spiele’s Easy Play (EP) series is a largely forgotten line of games that never made it to international shores. I don’t think it ever was reprinted outside of Germany….. which is a crying shame. Fortunately, most of the games in the series requires minimal components and can be easily recreated. Which was why I started to remake some of the top-ranked EP games in my spare time. Obviously, not all games in the series are hits, but there are few brilliant gems and Big Points sits squarely in the middle of the lot.
In Big Points, players first randomly assemble multi-colored wooden chips in a single, snaking line. At the end of the line, a laddered platform is placed to indicate the order in which the pawn moving on the line of chips arrive. The pawns come in five colors and are placed at the beginning of the line. Each turn, players move one of the five pawns onto the next closest chip of the same color and pick up an empty chip that is either before or after the pawn that was just moved.
The goal is to accumulate the most valuable chips by end of the game when all the pawns arrive at the platform. The first pawn arriving at the platform gets 4 points for every chip of the same color you collected and each subsequent pawn that reaches score 1 point less with the last one scoring 0. Players then tally up all the points by scoring all the chips at hand.
There are a few more bits: collecting black chips allows you to perform an extra move, but scores no points in the end; a white chip scores points based on the number of colors you have collected. If you play with official variants, you can add several tripwires along the line of chips: the first pawn to trip a wire collects a glass token worth one negative point. Another official variant inverts scoring which makes the first pawn to reach the platform scoring 0 points.
No doubt, there are some decisions to make each turn but nothing too paralyzing. Critically, one must decide which pawn to platform and when: Too early and valuable chips are snapped up by others; too late and the value of the chips will drop. With more players, the game is tough to plan ahead but with two players, you get more control on the movement of the pawns and the colors of the chips you collect.
Big Points checks all the criteria for a good filler. It sets up and plays fast. Rules can be taught in 3 minutes and the game lasts about 15. However, the game lacks tension and can feel mechanical. There really is no aha moment. As alluded, there are better games in the EP series but this one sits squarely in the middle of the pack. You could do a lot worse for a filler.
Initial impressions: average
Home made copy of Big Points with glass beads as trip wires for the variant.