Cranium Big Brain Detective Game
Big Brain City is bustling! Mysteries abound and little detectives are needed to crack each mini-case. From the busy beach to the blue sky above, players will scan the colorful board hunting for an object or looking for clues to answer a question.
Cranium Big Brain Detective Game is the first entry from the new custodians of the Cranium franchise, Funko Games. Big Brain Detective Game is a deduction and searching game for younger gamers age 5 and up.
Set up is simple. Before the game begins, players must assemble the four large Big Brain Map sections and place the Detective Board and sand timer nearby. Next, players shuffle the point tokens face down and leave them next to the Detective Board. Finally, players choose five cards and place them into a pile face up. Green cards are suitable for all ages, and red cards are more challenging and best for ages seven and up.
Solve the Mystery
Each card has a question to answer or something to find on the board. Sometimes players will need to think about what they need to look for. It isn’t always as straightforward as locating an image from the card.
One player reads the card and flips the sand timer to start the hunt. Players have two minutes to work together to solve the mystery on the card. When investigators have an answer, they flip the card to verify they are correct and then complete the bonus activity. The bonus activity doesn’t have time constraints, so players can relax while completing the task. For each card, the correct answer and completed bonus activity reward players with one token each.
Play continues until the players solve all five cards. Then, players will flip the tokens to reveal their randomly selected points and total them. Twenty points or more means a victory for the team.
Adapting for the Youngest Players
Rather than listening to or reading a clue from the card, young players can look at the answer side of each card and then search for the image shown there. The front of the card also shows the designated sections of the board to search in, so when combining these hints, even the youngest children can still be involved in the game.
Cards that require a bit of problem solving are fun for children and encourage light critical thinking.
The box contains 150 mystery cards, with about ¾ of them being the more challenging red cards. The green cards are all very easy, while the red cards vary from still relatively easy to rather obscure. (Even the adults playing weren’t always sure what players should be looking for).
The bonus activities on the back of the cards sometimes offer another hunt for items on the board, but also require players to do things like count by twos or make rainforest sounds. While the child playing had fun with this, these random bonus activities just seem…odd?
With such a large board and specific areas to investigate, more than two players will probably interfere with one another.
We were able to solve many cards long before the sand timer ran out, so for ease we started using a phone timer instead. In fact, the timer and tokens that turn this concept into a game are unnecessary. We didn’t need them to play, and by extension, this isn’t really a game.
The game recommends play for ages 5+, and I think the sweet spot for this will be 5-7 years old.
The big, colorful board is eye-catching, which our daughter found very appealing after many plays of a mystery game that features a black and white city. Keep an eye on the components, though! The Detective Board in particular is a bit flimsy.
Children who love traditional seek and find activities will enjoy Cranium Big Brain Detective Game, because that is exactly what this game is. The 7-year-old who tested this game had fun reading the clues and locating the answers across the board, but the adults weren’t engaged in this game at all.
Cranium Big Brain Detective Game is certainly an activity for kids, but unfortunately, that’s all it is: a decent rainy-day sort of activity that offers an alternative to traditional seek and find books.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Cranium Big Brain Detective Game from Funko Games for this review.
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Cranium Big Brain Detective Game
Number of Players: 1-4 (we say no more than 2)
Age Range: 5+ (we say 5-7)
Playtime: 20 minutes