Barnacle Press Presents The Big Time!

InĀ The Big Time!, players take the roles of theater owners in Chicago during the Golden Age of vaudeville, from about 1905 to about 1915. The object is to make your theater the most spectacular in the city by booking the greatest and most diverse roster of acts that you can find (and afford!).

In The Big Time!, the game is won by achieving the highest score on the Success Track, which represents public approbation and goodwill. While money is an important part of running a successful theater, there’ve gotta be easier ways to make a living than dealing with a never-ending procession of ventriloquists, jugglers, and trained animals! No, you’re in this business because greasepaint is in your blood, and you can’t imagine a world without limelight.

In each of four turns, players bid on the right to select acts first and place those acts in their theaters. After your theaters are booked, you tally up scores to see who was the most successful. Good shows will drive up the reputation of your theater and influence the popularity of the types of acts that you book, but a flop can always set you back!

The Big Time! was designed and developed by Barnacle Press’s co-proprietor Holmes!, and was splendidly illustrated by the gracious and talented Ape Lad–Adam Koford to his mother–of LOL Cats reknown.

Barnacle Press Presents The Big Time! is available as a free, creative-commons licensed print ‘n’ play game. Download the files below and get crafty!

A ZIP file with components and rules is here.

The rules on their own are here.

Visit the entry at BoardGameGeek to learn more about the game, and keep up on Big Time news!


  1. Evan Varga says:

    If you have trouble printing this with Adobe Reader, click the advanced tab and select “print as image.” This worked for me, and now I have a stunning copy of this amazing game.

    • Holmes! says:

      Man, I’m so glad you figured this out! It’s such a bummer when someone has an issue you can’t reproduce! Enjoy the game!

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