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Subject: Z10N X Reviews #11 - Get Reelz: A Nice Twist on a Worn-Out Genre rss

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Peter Barringer
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This review series is dedicated to reviewing games I’ve received from publishers in exchange for an unbiased review. I play each of these games multiple times before reviewing them. Subscribe to this Geeklist to be notified when I publish a review: Z10N X Reviews. Please Geekmail me if you're interested in having me review your game!



Introduction: I’m not exactly a Cards Against Humanity hater, but that type of game normally doesn’t get me too excited. One or two rounds of Cards Against Humanity, Say Anything, Snake Oil, or Apples to Apples is plenty for me, and I’m definitely not interested if it’s going to get raunchy. When Grey Fox sent me a copy of Get Reelz to try with the high school board game club I host, I was immediately excited to see whether their movie-themed take on this genre would capture a spot in our game collection. Stay tuned to find out if Get Reelz is a blockbuster or a box office dud!

How to Play: This is a party game, so the rules are pretty simple. Essentially, players try to create movie titles that fit a genre of choice for that round. For example, players might be trying to create the next romantic comedy hit. They can use their own multi-sided cards, as well as numerous free words like “an” or “the” to create movie titles. All players simultaneously vote on the best title for that round. Play until someone wins 3 rounds.

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What this game does well:
1. Get Reelz requires creativity. The instructions even tell you to err on the side of creativity if someone bends a rule by altering a word or something like that. This game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that’s a good thing. Yes, players can simply create the zaniest combination of two or three words, but even my high school kids vote for movies that more accurately stick to the Studio Demand for that round.
2. It doesn’t rely on catering to one person. One fault of many of the games listed in the Introduction is that you’re focusing your attention on one player with the hope of that person picking you as the winner. In this version, you can’t just rely on your knowledge of a person or your inside jokes with one person; you need to appeal to everyone if you want to win.
3. The theme fits perfectly. This game and Snake Oil are similar in that both provide a more focused way of playing an Apples to Apple-style game. In Snake Oil, players pitch products to a particular customer, and in Get Reelz you’re pitching a film idea. Both of these themes match the style of game.
4. The designer/publisher made two key rules alterations. There’s a draft of the rules on BGG suggesting five rounds per win. That’s crazy! Three is about perfect for this type of game. The early draft also says one Head Producer picks the winner each round, and that role rotates. I’m glad they did away with this rule, as I suggested above.

Potential issues with this game:
1. They missed an opportunity for role play. Snake Oil has something this game is missing. My plays of Get Reelz have benefited greatly from “pitching” the movies. Instead of just sharing the title (which sometimes falls flat), we’ll give a ten-second tagline like, “In a world where zombies have been domesticated to perform manual labor, Robert Redford is The Zombie Whisperer.” It adds so much. This is a variant in the edition I have, but I wish it were part of the main rules; I don’t even usually read the variant section of the rulebook.
2. You can’t see people’s whole title at once. Including the “free words” for titles is such a smart move because it adds almost infinite possibilities to the game. However, when you’re trying to remember people’s titles, it’s hard to remember the exact phrasing. I think using small whiteboards, for example, might fix this issue.
3. The graphic design leaves something to be desired. Movies are supposed to be slick, modern, and high-tech. The graphic design of Get Reelz doesn’t fit that bill at all. I think an overhaul of the backgrounds, font, and cover would go a long way toward making it more marketable.

Rating: (6.75/10)

The Bottom Line: Get Reelz is a tricky game for me to review because I feel like it has legitimate mass-market potential, but it’s in need of a few tweaks. Some of its strengths include the movie theme, the inherent creativity in coming up with titles, and the twists it offers to a fairly worn-out genre. This is a good game. It’s one I’ll continue to pull out from time to time as is. I strongly believe, though, that three tweaks could turn this game into a reel (sorry) hit. I wish the “pitching” variant was part of the normal game, the graphic design was more modern, and whiteboards were included to allow players to see all the titles easily and at once. If my suggestions were addressed in a new edition, I think it would be more like a 7.5 for me. If you enjoy party games and can find Get Reelz for a decent price (currently ~$16 on Amazon), it’s worth trying.
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