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Subject: Hollywood Blockbuster after 1 play rss

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Chris Ferejohn
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I'm attempting to post reviews after both the 1st and 10th times I have played a game, on the theory that it is useful to someone who has never played a game to know what the first play is like, but that a really thorough review requires multiple plays. So here's my review after 1 play of Knizia's Hollywood Blockbuster:

Conditions
The game was played with 5 people, none of whom had played before at a San Francisco game meetup at a local cafe.

Components
The Good - No complaints about the tiles. They punch out easily, they look good, and most players (all first timers) got a kick out of the Hollywood name parodies, though one player was prone to wondering why "the fake Brad Pitt was worth fewer stars than the fake Tom Hanks." The game also includes cute little movie awards that look like little Oscars that sit on plastic stands.

The Bad - The big negative is the board. It is huge for no good reason. The board could literally be 1/4 of the size and still have plenty of room for everything that needs to go on it. This is compounded by the fact that each player also needs room for their movies, 2"x8" strips of which they will have 3-6 over the course of the game, as well as a place to keep their bidding tiles, ostensibly in secret (screens are provided for this). We were at a cafe table and it was really annoying to have to squeeze all this stuff in. A lot of it ended up on the board, which was fine since we didn't need all that board, but it seemed really wasteful. A Ra-sized board would have worked just fine.

This game would benefit greatly from a tile bag. There are a lot of little tiles that are selected randomly and getting them all face down is kind of annoying (light games should set up quick!).

Rules/Rulebook
The Good - The rules are fairly simple to understand. There were no major misunderstandings during the game.

The Bad - The trifold rule page is laid out in a really confusing manner. Fortunately the game is so simple that you can get around it, but I can't believe anyone looked at it and said "ok, yeah, that's how we want it laid out".

The Play
Summary - Players bid for different components (actors, directors, special effects, cameras, etc.) they need to make their movies. When movies are completed, they are scored. Bonuses are handed out for the first movie in each category, the best movie in each category, and a couple other miscellaneous achievements. The game consists of 4 quarters, each of which has 6 bidding rounds in which the winning player gets 2 or 3 tiles and 2 "everyone pick one" rounds.

The Good - The theme, while pasted on (really we could be assembling anything) is attractive. The idea of bidding "contracts" doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it didn't really bother me. Things are auctioned off in lots, and peoples movies have different requirements, so different lots will have somewhat different values to different people, especially as the game progresses.

The Bad - Well it was our first play, but it seemed just a little too long for how light it was. Combined with it's piggish consumption of table space, it's hard to imagine wanting to go to the trouble to make room for this, set it up, and play it when I could play, say Boomtown, in a little more than half the time. Also, while the game overall seemed slightly too long, each quarter seemed slightly too short. At the end of the first quarter, only one player had even completed a movie; that might have been a function of having 5 players, but it would be nice if the bidding lots scaled to more people (though the 2 "party" spaces - in which players each pick a single tile - do scale).

Overall
After one play, I'm not sure this game will make it to 10. Adding a tile bag and a new board (or just doing away with the board; it's not really necessary) might convince me to change my mind, but with bidding games like Ra and Boomtown out there, I probably wouldn't go too far out of my way to play this one unless I thought I could use the the theme to get people who might shy away from games they perceive as "too nerdy" to play.
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skrebs
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I too couldn't believe the layout of the rules. I must have read through twice trying to figure out why it was so confusing.

As far as length, my games usually last a little less than an hour and that's about how long it takes us to play Boomtown or Ra. And as you state at the end of your review, I've gotten people to play Hollywood Blockbuster who would definitely balk at Ra, so I consider it a good purchase.
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Brett Myers
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I'll agree on the asinine rules layout (fire that guy) and the giant-ass board, but the game itself is worth a couple more tries - I think it'll really grow on you, if you can get over the presentation.
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Samuel Hinz
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Scale the board down if it's just too big.

But otherwise i suggest trying some of the other themes available for download off the geek. if you play with females of children, the Disney theme always goes down well.
 
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Brandon Pennington
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I was really surprised by this game the first time I played it. Yes the board is too big, but other than that I have zero complaints with this one, especially at the price it is being sold for now a days. Good gateway auction game before heading to RA and others as the theme is very accessible to gaming newbies.


Very happy with this one in my collection.
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Thom Parkin
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Dream Factory is a Nightmare
I purchased this game based on the wonderful review here.
My wife and I just played it for the first time and we are left SERIOUSLY disappointed.
Firstly, I admit we only played once. Further, I realize that even though the game is listed as 2-5 players, a two-player game does not always play the same as with more players.

I need clarification on several things (please):
There seems to be insufficient money to make it through more than one round. There is no way to gain more money. It makes sense that if you produce a highly rated movie (complete a screenplay with a high rating) you should realize some 'income' from that. Was this aspect of the game forgotten?

After two rounds we were unable to complete even one screenplay. Did we do something wrong?

I was reassured when I read the comments (above) about the rule book.

We are HUGE fans of Kinzia and own many of his games. This one left me feeling betrayed.

 
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Christopher Dearlove
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ParkinT wrote:
I need clarification on several things (please):
There seems to be insufficient money to make it through more than one round. There is no way to gain more money. It makes sense that if you produce a highly rated movie (complete a screenplay with a high rating) you should realize some 'income' from that. Was this aspect of the game forgotten?


No. You really think Reiner Knizia is going to make such an obvious mistake?

Quote:
After two rounds we were unable to complete even one screenplay. Did we do something wrong?


Yes.

The "money" recycles. When player A buys something, that money, plus ant other leftover money is split as evenly as possible among the other players, with what can't be split leftover for the next such process. (With two players that just means each pays the other.) so money never runs out as there is always the same amount (give or take the odd leftover bit) in play.

I have the original Traumfabrik, and it's not to hand, so I've no idea where to point out to look in the rules I'm afraid.

(With regard to the original review, another misuse of the phrase "pasted on". The thing you are complaining about is over (to you) abstraction, not pasted on, which would be mechanism first, theme afterwards which I doubt is the case, but would need to check to confirm.)
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