Hello, readers! Now that we’re firmly into summer, it’s time to roll out some family-friendly blockbuster games for your entertainment and pleasure. While made of (mostly) cardboard, these games give us a taste of film, both Hollywood and television. So try out these games as the perfect accompaniment to your summer adventures, whether you’re taking a picnic to watch a movie in the park, hosting a fun sleepover party, or curling up on the couch for a rainy day Netflix marathon. You’ll appreciate your choice of cinema all the better, when it’s paired with a generous helping of drama!
This fun, family-friendly party game is great because it sits a large number of players, and it has high replay value. Published in 2013 by indie publisher, Galactic Sneeze, the mechanics of play are similar to another popular party game, Cards Against Humanity (CAH). I’ve discussed CAH in a former article. In short: players devise creative movie titles, based on a theme, with the intent of piquing the judge’s curiosity. Players are provided with the prompts of genre (a descriptor like “horror,” or “constipated”), the “what” (an adjective like “vegan”), and the “who” (a noun like “robot” or “princess”). Titles can be punny, cute, or ridiculous, according to the creative vision of the players. The boxed game includes little whiteboard markers and whiteboards, which is a nice touch to help save paper. While this game gets too creatively demanding after a round or two, it’s sufficiently interesting to bring out at every Oscar party. This game also does get better with repeated play. Check out the details on Board Game Geek, and see a preview of gameplay here.
#2: Channel A
This game is definitely not for the youngest folks! Published in 2012 by Asmadi Games, boasting an East-Asian pop-culture flavor, this game requires players to hold a hand of words that, when combined, form a complex (and often suggestive) title for a fictional anime series. In other party games, submissions are kept private in order for the judge to blindly choose a favorite. Instead, in this game, the title tiles are too unwieldy to submit anonymously, so players submit their anime titles and have to justify them by describing the plotline of the fictional anime. Similar to Schmovie, Channel A provides prompts in the form of premises, such as “Boys Love” and “Conspiracy.” Examples might range from “Metal Princess” to “Lingerie Kitty-Kun.” The results can get incredibly silly, and memorable. This is a super gift for any otaku folks out there. Check out more details on Board Game Geek, and see a video preview of gameplay here.
#3: The Networks
For a game with more depth to it, check out The Networks by indie publisher Formal Ferret, new to the market as of 2016. Players of this Euro-style strategy game are television producers, and each player’s goal is to attain the most number of viewers by the end of the game (after five “seasons”). This game differs from the ones mentioned above in that the creative titles are already picked for you, with offerings like “The Wacky TSA Agent” and “Get To Know Your Lower Colon.” Instead, this game is more oriented around devising strategies to develop players’ networks, increasing the “viewers” dramatically through making improvements and tweaks - purchasing better shows, moving shows into different timeslots, selecting television stars and ads, and more. Check out more details on Board Game Geek, and see a video preview of gameplay here.
The oldest game on this list, Cineplexity came out in 2007. Full disclosure: you may be able to score a copy on Ebay, but it’s been out of print since the publisher (Out of the Box) folded in 2015. However, it merits particular attention because of its uniqueness. This game is oriented towards trivia. However, unlike most trivia games, this game is unique in its universal appeal. The same game board and pieces could be used for myriad international movie markets, with few changes, because the goal is not to identify a particular actor or film title, but to identify any film title or actor that meets the criteria described in the game. For example, criteria involve general descriptions like “jealousy/revenge” or “parent/child relationship,” or slightly more specific ones like “when in Paris/Rome” or “drive-through/drive-by.” Because of the generality, practically any cultural group can play this game in a way that is representative and inclusive. Check out the details on Board Game Geek, and see a preview of gameplay here.
Published in 2014 by an eponymous indie publishing company, Cinelinx is what happens when dominoes meets movie trivia. Like Cineplexity, this game relies on player trivia knowledge. Unlike Cineplexity, it depends a great deal more on a Western audience of mainstream movies, featuring titles like Goodfellas and There Will Be Blood. The goal of the game is to identify connections between movie titles, actors, and genres, justifying player connections or “linx” until one player has emptied their hand. The game aspires to be general enough to meet the knowledge bases of diverse groups with expansion packs, ranging from Horror, to Superheros/Comics, to “Movie Buffs” - whatever that means! Check out the details on Board Game Geek, and see a preview of gameplay here.
#6: Buy the Rights
Another new indie game from small company, Literally Wizards LLC, this game was published via Kickstarter and came out in 2015. This game is different from the others mentioned above in that its focus is specifically oriented towards heroic plots. The prompts in the game are genre, hero descriptor, hero, and plot. Functionally this game is most similar to A Channel, with sets of cards to build individual movie titles, then judge the titles according to preference. Compared to Schmovie, there’s less creative demand required for this game, while the entertainment value is approximately equivalent. Hilarious movie concepts ensue, like “Dark Comedy about a Sexy Cat Lady who Stops A Russian Terrorist Group from Hijacking a Plane.” But with that ease of gameplay also comes the sacrifice of replayability; like Cards Against Humanity, this game gets old fast, unless you’re supplementing your deck with new cards. Ultimately, it’s still a worthwhile addition to a frequent party-gamer’s shelf. Check out the details on Board Game Geek, and see a preview of gameplay here.
This is far from a comprehensive list. Undoubtedly I missed some games that merit attention, so if you want to share them, please add to the comments to serve as a resource for other readers.
If you’re curious about researching these or other board games, check out Board Game Geek. You might be surprised by what you find there! Also, don’t forget to purchase your new games from your local board game store. Don’t know if you have a local board game store? Check out this list here and see if there’s one in your area. (Or just use Google. That also works.)
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