Gen Con 2016 provided an opportunity to many new games making their debut and attempting to build some buzz around newly-released or upcoming products. So it was for the company Big Potato who representatives flew all the way from the UK to share their new Target-exclusive games with the world. At Gen Con, the game market is definitely crowded but Big Potato stands out from the rest with their clever brand of humor, sleek designs, and uproarious fun.
I purposely sought out the game company reps during the convention due to their clever promotion: namely, bring the biggest potato you can find to their booth for a chance to win a free copy of their games. I’m glad I checked my bag or the conversation with the TSA agent would have been really interesting but my Georgia sweet potato overloaded their scale which allowed me to choose between any one of their games as my prize. (I later learned that word got out much faster and spread farther than anticipated and they ended up giving away a huge amount of free games, especially once it hit Reddit). The choice was hard, but after participating in a brief demo, I knew Obama Llama was for me.
Obama Llama, like their other games Mr. Lister’s Quiz Shootout, Bucket of Doom, and Scrawl, is a Target exclusive and part of their recent push to expand deeper into the tabletop and hobby games marketplace. At its core, Obama Llama is a rhyming game but the game offers enough variety to keep players laughing and coming back for more. The gameplay is simple and can be summed up in an easy 3-minute video but here’s the gist:
There are three card types teams play from to make their partners guess rhyming answers. “Solve It” cards give players clues. “Describe it” cards make players have teammates offer descriptions of rhyming scenarios but, like Taboo, you can’t use any of the words in the clue. The last card type is basic charades but with only answers that rhyme. Teams earn points collecting matching rhyming cards in a Memory-style selection and the team with the most when all cards are gone wins.
This is definitely a party game and one that’s easy to introduce to new players. I’m a big fan of other humorous party games like Say Anything and Cards Against Humanity but Obama Llama provides for more animated fun that doesn’t run the risk of going too dark or dirty. There are definitely familiar aspects to this game but, when joined together, Obama Llama feels new. The humor in the game is quirky in just the right way and the more oddball the scenario, the better.
The recommended age is 14+, and that feels right. Younger players could easily grasp the mechanics of the game, but the disconnect comes from their inability to recognize celebrity names and other ephemera. If the original release of Obama Llama is successful, I can definitely see a few variations that skew both more kid-friendly and another more adult and risque being snapped up in a hurry. With games clocking in at under thirty minutes, you and your friends will find yourself wishing for expansion packs as you burn through the cards.
At Gen Con, I asked the guys at Big Potato why they named their game Obama Llama. Their response was basically that, of the rhyming pairs in the game, they just thought it sounded funny and ran with it. Random, sure, but Big Potato definitely knows funny, and you and your family can find plenty of it in Obama Llama. You can pick up your own copy of the game for $24.99 exclusively at Target.