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Subject: A fun light family game rss

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Todd Lang
Canada
Wellesley
Ontario
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I had the opportunity to demo this game at GenCon. The person explaining the rules to us was the same one explaining E.T.I.: Estimated Time to Invasion to us last year, so I knew we were in for a treat.

The premise that you are in control of a particular kind of movie being produced at a movie studio. Word gets out there's only enough money to produce one movie and so you flood the studio trying to make sure your movie is the one produced. Ultimately, this is an area control game with simple approachable mechanics.

The different players are:
Western
Romance
Mystery
Horror
Crew

The crew, as I understand it, is normally a non-playable faction, but if there are lots of players you can have some one play them.

Components
This was a prototype copy so I won't comment too much on the components. What was there was some fabulous board pieces and great character art. There was some minor glitches in the symbols used on the board for VP value and on the characters for their strength, but these were admitted problems are easily corrected.


Set Up
Quick set up here. Just lay down the studio boards in a configuration you find pleasing. You can adjust the gameplay length by the configuration used.

Gameplay
The game is very straightforward. All pieces start off of the board.
On your turn you draw a card and play its effect. A character card will have a picture of two different same-strength pieces of a particular faction. You may either place one of the pieces if one is still off-board or you must move one of the pieces if possible.

Another card type is a wild card of a particular faction where you can place or move any piece of the specified faction.

Finally there are special cards that allow you a type of action outside of the normal rules. Swap two pieces, move a piece anywhere in the studio, etc.

Moving a piece is interesting...each space on the board has a maximum "capacity" that represents the VPs available for the space. Each piece has a value from 1 through 5 and may only be placed in a room that has enough "room" to accomodate their value. A piece can be moved to any adjacent room that is connected assuming the room has enough space to accomodate them.


That's basically it. Game ends when you draw a card that you cannot play. You win a room if you have the highest value pieces in the room. If two factions have an equal value, they are canceled out and the next highest total wins.


Strategy
Some of the things you would try to do is to shove other players pieces in to rooms that have capacity left but that would not modify the winner of the room if you're content with the winner. Alternatively, you could try to overwhelm other peoples pieces with higher value pieces, or put a piece in that matches someone elses so that your tiny piece in the room wins.


Thoughts
The game is quick, simple and humorous. Having a small "story" to tell with your piece made the game more amusing to me, but that's just the way I would try to play it. The game is intended to be a family-style gateway game and it most definitely succeeds at this goal. After the play session we had a number of suggestions, but honestly, they would just make the game more complicated...though they may add some more amusing hijinks.

The components are already pretty and for all of the suggestions we made, none of them changed the core mechanics which are very solid.

All in all, everyone at the table had an enjoyable time and is definitely on my list to pick when it comes out.
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