I was introduced to Big Easy Busking by an ad read on the Board Game Design Lab podcast:
“Big Easy Busking is easy to teach, has vibrant art, and graphic design that is colorblind friendly…”
I was surprised and impressed that a publisher included colorblind accessibility as a selling point, and they recognized colorblind gamers (along with those who play with them) as an important customer base. This attention to detail led me to back the Kickstarter immediately.
Overview and Gameplay
Big Easy Busking, designed by Joshua Mills (with solo design by Carla Kopp) and published by Weird Giraffe Games, puts 1 to 5 players on the streets of New Orleans, equipped with instruments and a passion for their craft. As buskers trying to wow the crowd and match their patron’s moods, players choose locations to perform, their song list, and level of energy to earn control over one of multiple sites.
I have primarily played Big Easy Busking in solo mode, and I have enjoyed the three different solo robots (in my head canon they are Chuck E. Cheese animatronics): Following, Threshold, and Moody. I tend to randomly draw one as my opponent for each solo game.
I appreciate Carla’s approach to color vision deficiency in game design and publishing:
“I try to make all my games colorblind friendly, as it’s super nice for colorblind people, but it’s also great for everyone else… Less ‘not fun times’ should mean the entire experience is more fun.“
Carla has written her own article to help fellow board game designers keep colorblind gamers in mind. Getting Started with Color Blind Accessibility is an excellent starting point for designers, developers, and publishers looking to make their games more accessible for color-vision-deficient players.
I found the iconography and colors for all cards, theme tokens, and money worked well and provided clear information. Each is double-coded, so I don’t need to the know the colors to take actions. For example, the $1, $5, and $10 money tokens are clearly labeled and increase in size, making color unnecessary for distinguishing among them.
The energy tokens in Big Easy Busking are the one component type that use color as the only distinguisher – one for each player. The color palette used resulted in the cubes being easy for me to tell a part from each other, but your mileage may vary, so if you have trouble with any of these, you could modify them easily (similar to my modification of the cubes in Century: Spice Road).
A more thematic solution is also available. Weird Giraffe Games offers deluxe energy tokens in New Orleans-inspired shapes (the saxophone and fleur de lis are my favorites). These upgrades not only add to the feeling of being a musician on Royal Street , but they make the player tokens 100% colorblind-friendly (this version could be played in greyscale) by adding shape as a distinguisher alongside color!
Big Easy Busking is a delightful area control game with a fun theme, and the base game is playable for the majority of colorblind player. Adding the deluxe components makes the game 100% colorblind-friendly.
You can find Big Easy Busking on the Weird Giraffe Games website, your Friendly Local Game Store, and wherever games are sold.
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