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Game: Showbiz Shuffle (Blood and Cardstock Games)
Submitted By: name withheld
Date: 5/14/2003 12:18:00 AM
"ShowBiz Shuffle is an exciting new card game for 2-4 people. Collect actors and directors, then combine them with stunts, special effects or other pluses to make the biggest box office hits. Out-mogul your friends - or if that doesn't work try giving them bad ratings or a drinking problem! The most fun you can have without making it into Entertainment Weekly!"
(that was the game's description straight from the designer's website)
This amusing and easy-to-learn game is the first offering from Joan Wendland's Blood and Cardstock Games, http://blood-and-cardstock.com. Each player is running a movie studio capable of producing two movies at any time. These movies can be one of several different genres: Action, Drama, Family, Romance and Speciality. A complete movie is usually comprised of a Director, two Stars and two Supporting Actors, a.k.a. Bods. Biz cards -- representing influence in the movie industry -- can alter what it takes to make a movie and increase or decrease the amount of points a completed movie will score. They are acquired by playing Bods; some Bods when played COST the player a Biz card.
Throughout the game, cards are color-coded to indicate what genre to which they apply. Certain actors prefer certain genres and some Biz cards only apply to a limited number of genres. During the game you can acquire Bods from the draw deck -- these go into your hand which represents your Studio. On each turn you may also obtain a Bod from the "Cattle Call", five face-up cards available to all players. There is an important difference between playing a Bod from your studio versus playing one from the Cattle Call. From your studio a Bod can be forced into a role they don't prefer, although in the end it will cost you points to do so. A Bod from the Cattle Call will only work in movies they prefer; after all, they do represent the independents!
On each turn a player may do any or all of the following: play two Bods from their studio, recruit one Bod from the Cattle Call and play one Biz card. If you're having a problem filling a movie, after you fill your hand from the draw deck, you can always do a "Studio Shake-up". This action allows you to shuffle your hand back into the deck and draw five new cards; this is done instead of playing ANY cards, so don't overuse this action.
When each movie is complete, you add the points for all actors played in genres they prefer, subtract any played in genres they don't prefer and modify the total by the effects of any applicable Biz cards played on the movie. Certain Bods also score more when played in the same movie as other Bods; "Casting Couch" (a Director) played in the same movie as the actress "Sleeping to the Top" nets you extra points. I seem to always end up producing Action movies with an NC-17 rating (a Biz card that costs you two points). If you make a movie that scores twenty or more points, it's lovingly called a "Blockbuster". This doesn't really mean anything; I'd be tempted to add a house rule of a free Biz card for producing a Blockbuster.
Important Hint: watch the number of cards left in the deck very carefully. DO NOT start a movie very late unless you can complete it from your hand. At the end of the game, incomplete movies subtract points from your score.
After playing a couple times at Games Day 2003 and several times with my wife on the following weekend, I decided that the game plays very well with two or three players going thru the Bod deck only once as the rules state. If I play again with four players, I might be tempted to run thru the Bod deck twice, as it seemed like the game was over too quickly.
All of the caricatures on the Bod cards are drawn by Lar DeSouza -- http://www.lartist.com/ -- and most, if not all, represent various people in the entertainment industry. The first couple times I played I saw George Burns, Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe and Steven Spielberg, to name a few.
I didn't see Kevin Bacon...