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Subject: My first game finally! rss

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David Arlington
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Summerdale
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OK this game is one of my Print 'N' Play Holy Grails along with Everything vs. Everything that I've wanted to get on my tabletop for a long time.

Despite being as fiddly as Mage Knight, taking up as much table space as Scythe, and having rules that made someone who plays Fire in the Lake with 3 bots give pause... I still LOVE the theme and it's not as bad as it seems once it gets going. (I re-wrote the rulebook for myself to make it more understandable, one advantage of print and play games.) The designer, Andy, was SUPER HELPFUL in answering all my questions and providing me files when my printer was getting cranky and I wanted to poke at his rules.

And he made a REALLY cool solo game. Though I'm not exactly sure what a "winning" score is or how you even win at all.

It's a game about making movies in the heydey of the powerful movie studios of the 30s through the 50s. You are using people, technology, and power to make all kinds of movies, hoping to tune into the fickle public's desires while they are hot so you can make a lot of fame and fortune.

You can hire actors, directors, writers and crew. You can make everything from low-budget potboilers to grand sweeping epic Academy Award winners if you can read the signs and manage your studio. You can make Action, Drama or Comedy movies and within those categories are sub-categories like Horror, Crime, Romance, and Slapstick. You can even make Cross-Genre crossovers like Slapstick-Horror movies (think "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein").

This is a picture of my game right before Turn 7:



If you look at it full-size, I'm not sure if you can tell what's going on there, but here's the layout from bottom left to top right. Bottom left is the coming attractions area. You can see by the empty spots that I currently have a Tear-Jerker movie and a Horror Movie in production. (More about that in a bit.) To the right of that is the relationship tracks that let me know how much it costs in Human Resources to make movies or Negotiate with people I want to hire. Next to that is my current staff who isn't working on my movies right now. I have a Director, three Writers and a Crew member who are still helping by generating clout promoting my studio each turn. Above them is my Clout tokens I can spend to make movies and Shmooze with people I want to bring on board.

Above the main board are three rows of popularity tracks. The color row and the white row are indicating that comedies (color) and dramas (white) are more popular with the public right now than Action movies (the black row). The rows of popularity cards serves a double use in the game. The yellow bar running down the side indicates a genre and the higher in the line, the more popular the movie type is. Right now, Tear-Jerkers are the most popular drama type, Horror is the most popular action movie but not as popular as tear-jerker dramas. The other use the cards have is they are also people I can hire and they all have specific talents. I have to be careful what people I hire as I do not want to hire someone with a yellow bar for a movie type I am making right now! Off to the right of the popularity tracks are the people (cards) out in the free market (the competition). They are more expensive to hire because of their experience.

Lastly, above the three rows is a row with my movies in production. Every turn, everything shifts left and the item at the end releases. In this case, at the end of turn 7, my Mainstream Horror movie will release to middling fame if things hold out. The turn after this one, my Mainstream Tear-Jerker will release. With tear-jerkers at an all time high, you'd think good news, right? Yes, but every turn you roll on the popularity chart to see how fortunes shift in the viewing public's perception. Tear-jerkers are super popular but they are also in danger of jumping the shark at any moment and falling off the end of the row. I can slow that up by hiring some cards out of the White row to make those movies slip back a little in popularity. But I have to be careful again not to hire too many White cards because if the stack of any of the cards run out, the game is over and I won't get any money or fame for the movies that haven't released yet!

It's short work after that, as was my game after the 7th turn. My Mainstream Horror film launched to middling success. I scored one Fame opening night and then for the next three weeks. BUT the turn my Mainstream Tear-Jerker opened, I got the one roll out of 20 that jumped the White Popularity track three spaces and took the Tear-Jerker popularity token right off the board. The public was SICK of tear-jerkers and my film closed after one week with just one more Fame point.

But that wasn't all that three-step jump on the White track did. I had thrown EVERYTHING I had (Every writer, director, actor and crew plus dice) to produce an Epic Cross-Genre Musical Adaptation (Drama/Comedy) that would have had me dripping in Fame when it opened. But the three jumps on White meant any more steps in White on future turns would end the game and my Epic would take four turns to open. Never even came close. My studio closed and my efforts were just a footnote on IMDB for future generations.

GAME OVER: 5 FAME (I guess I set myself a low bar for future games!)

As you can see, if you read this far, there is a LOT to this game, all in theme, lots of decisions to make and you have to try to read the future to be successful.

One more thing:

This is the first Print N Play I constructed with an idea I got off YouTube. This game has a lot of fiddly bits and cards and tags and markers and sliders etc. Usually I make things with 110 lb. Cardstock, but that wasn't going to cut it with this game. So I took an idea off YouTube of going to Lowes Home Improvement and picking up vinyl adhesive flooring tiles. You can buy a square foot tile for like 67 cents. The great thing about 67 cent floor tiles (for gaming, not for flooring!) is that you can cut them with scissors. You print on cardstock, stick them on the floor tile and cut and you have super thick, super cool, real-game-like tiles, tokens, gameboards. I produced this whole game for under $3 of floor tiles and have a beautiful sturdy game set.
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David Arlington
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A couple pictures of my do-it-yourself PNP game construction kit.

First, a flooring tile from Lowe's. I was wrong about them being 67 cents. Those are the expensive ones I didn't get. These tiles cost me 38 cents apiece and constructing the game cost me less than a buck and a half.



Here, is an example of the game components as I made them. On the left side is the front side of the game components. On the right, are the same components on the flip tile side. It makes the game sturdy and the components FEEL great. My game tiles are thicker than my Terraforming Mars tiles.



Dave
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