‘New Orleans is known for many things; Creole cuisine, a unique dialect, annual celebrations and festivals, and distinct music. Do you have what it takes to travel to the birthplace of Jazz, show off your skills, and be named King of the Buskers?
Big Easy Busking is a competitive area control game about playing music, matching the mood of the crowd, and knowing when to push your band members to their max.’
- Give each player:
- A player card, 15 Energy Tokens, and 3 player Song cards in the colour of their choice
- A reference card
- 3 $1 tokens
- Each player places 4 Energy Tokens on each of their band members on their player card and places their remaining 3 Energy tokens in their reserve, which is to the left of their player card.
- Return all unused player cards, energy tokens, player song cards, and reference cards to the box.
- Shuffle all Crowd cards and place 3 cards face up in a horizontal line to form Royal Street.
- Place all Mood tokens face down and draw 3, placing each one on a Crowd card in Royal Street. Set the remaining Mood tokens to the side, out of the play area. These will be used in later rounds.
- Separate the Ability Song cards from the rest of the Song deck, reveal one Ability Song card, and place the card at the end of Royal Street. Return the rest of the Ability Song cards to the box.
- Ability cards are marked with a icon
- Shuffle the Hit Song deck. Draw two cards and add them to the Ability Song card to create the Standard Songs.
- Hit Song cards do not have an icon in the Song Type location.
- Draw three cards from the Hit Song Deck and Place them above the Standard Songs. This is the Melody Market, the songs that players can learn during the game.
- Place the Hit Song deck next to the Melody Market.
- Place the 3 Standards tokens with -1 facing up on the first row of song cards; these are the Standard Songs for the game
- (Optional) Use the game’s box top as a bank for the dollar tokens and place it above Royal Street. Place all extra dollar tokens in the box top.
The player who has most recently tipped a street musician goes first in the first round. Play proceeds clockwise.
Starting with the first player, on their turn each player completes the following actions.
Finish Playing a Song(mandatory)
If you played a song on your previous turn, you must finish playing the song at the beginning of your turn.
- Moods do not Match – If the song’s mood and crowd’s mood do not match, place all the Energy from the song onto the Crowd card.
- Moods Match – If the song’s mood and the crowd’s mood match, do one of the following:
- Place all the Energy on the Crowd card and receive $1 from the supply.
- Place 1 or more Energy on the Crowd card, returning any unplaced energy back to your band members. The returned energy can be distributed among your band members in any way you wish.
Once all energy has been removed from the Song card, place it face down in your discard pile unless the song is a Standard. Standards are returned to their line-up and the Standard token is set to -2
Tipping band members money is optional. Band Members can be tipped to increase their Energy.
Return money to the bank equal to the amount of Energy tokens you wish to transfer from your reserve to the Band Members of your choice.
Players cannot tip more than the number of available Energy tokens in their reserve. There is no limit to the amount or number of Band Members you can tip other than the amount of Energy in the reserve.
Perform Turn Action (mandatory)
You must perform one and only one of the following actions: Learn a Song, Play a Song, Pass.
- Learn a Song – To learn a song, place 1 Energy from each ofyour Band Members into your reserve. Select a song from the Melody Market or from the top of the Hit Song deck and put it into your hand. After you learn a song from the Melody Market, immediately draw a song from the Hit Song deck to replace it. Players cannot learn Standard songs.
- Play a Song – To play a song, select a song card from your hand or a Standard song that isn’t currently being played. Move the Energy required by the song from your Band Members to the Song card.Select a Crowd to play the song for, then move the Song card next to the selected crowd. The Song card with the energy on it will remain there until the beginning of your next turn.When playing a Standard song, you must pay the dollar cost currently represented on the Standards token ($1 or$2) before continuing. You cannot play the same Standard song in the same turn you finished playing it.
- Pass – To pass, state out loud you are passing or “taking a break” and flip over your player card. Once you pass you no longer get a turn for the rest of the round. If a player is unable to learn or play a song, they must pass.
End of Round
The round ends when each player has taken the pass action. At the end of a round, perform the following steps.
- Pay out each Crowd card. (see Payout Crowd cards)
- Set all Standard Tokens to -1
- Each player returns all played Song cards to their hand.
- Each player places 4 Energy on each of their Band Members and 3 Energy in their reserve.
- Return the scored Crowd cards to the box.
- Reveal new Crowd cards, Reveal 4 Crowd cards in round 2 and Reveal 5 Crowd cards in round 3.
- Draw a Mood Token for each revealed Crowd card and place it face up on the Crowd cards.
The player with the most money is now the Starting player. If there is a tie, the player with the most Mood tokens is the Starting player. If there is still a tie, the player who last played a song is now Starting player.
PayOut Crowd cards
There are two ways to get a payout from a Crowd card.
- 1st Place Payout – The player with the most Energy tokens on a Crowd card at the end of a round collects the amount of money equal to the 1st player payout and takes the Mood token from the Crowd card. If there is a tie, both players collect the payout and the Mood token is returned to the box.
- Threshold Payout – If any player has Energy tokens equal to or greater than the crowd threshold, they collect the amount of money equal to the threshold payout.
End of the Game
The game is complete after 3 rounds. The player with the most money wins. In case of a tie, the player with the most song cards wins. If there is still a tie, the player with the most mood tokens wins.
About the game
Weird Giraffe Games’ newest game Big Easy Busking is colour, thematic and downright fun. I have played and reviewed several band and musical-themed games but none have grabbed me like Big Easy Busking. I believe this I mostly due to the theme. Setting the game in such an iconic town city like New Orleans.
New Orleans, music, culture and bright vibrate colour to me is exactly how I’d describe the city. And Big Easy Busking really captures the vibe of this city. The bright colours, the different songs and music styles, right down to the fleur de lis icon. I remember seeing a sneak peek picture of the card art and my first thought was, ‘OMG a New Orleans game!’
I invited a few friends around we went to Gumbo Kitchen in Fitzroy and came home to play Big Easy Busking. Not that we need to do that, but their Po’ Boys are amazing and I thought it was a great excuse to go get a great feed before a games day.
We got down to playing, full of my favourite New Orleans meal. Like all Weird Giraffe’s games, the rules are explained in amazing detail, even too much at times. But when learning a new game, it makes it so much easier, which I really like. As it allows a game, no matter the difficulty, be learnt and played quickly and easily.
The game itself is so challenging, and I love it really feels like you are a band, grinding for gigs. You need to balance your energy, learn sounds, play gigs and sometimes to crowds that don’t like it. It is amazing how well balanced and how they have captured the art of band management.
We all loved this game. It was challenging, well balanced but it was the beautiful theme of this game and how well it seemed to transport you into New Orleans. It wasn’t a game, it truly felt like you were in a band trying to make money and grow.
Big Easy Busking art is simple and yet amazing! The bright colours leap off the table and are so eye-catching. You would find it impossible to walk past a table playing this and not stopping and watch or want to play this game. It feels like New Orleans in a Box. It is loud, colourful and amazing fun. The worst thing about playing this game is, I really want to go to New Orleans even more now!
Overall, I really enjoyed playing Big Easy Busking. It transports you to the bustling Bourbon Street, with all its colour and wonderment. It is challenging, thought-provoking and most of all, a lot of fun!
If you like small box games with a lot of heart that will challenge you, then you will love Big Easy Busking. It is games like this that remind me as to why I love small box games.
If like me, you love all Weird Giraffe Games previous games or you love a small box game that plays like something twice the size. Then head over to their Kickstarter page here and get yourself a copy of Big Easy Busking!