It is the 1950s and you are in the director’s chair. You must create a classic science fiction film and sell it to producers so it will get made. Piece together a pitch from classic sci-fi themes to come up with a B-movie that will stand the test of time and still be watched decades later.
What Is B-Movies?
B-Movies is a highly thematic party game for 3-6 players, ages 14 years old and up, and takes about 30-60 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of $19 for a copy of the game with free shipping to most countries. B-Movies was designed by Yann and Clem and published by Kolossal Games, with a unique art style for its illustrations by Pixel Vengeur and Mo CDM.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
Note: My review is based on a prototype copy, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality.
- 98 Popcorn tokens
- 86 Core Title cards
- 20 Spooky Expansion Title cards
- 18 Vote cards (6 sets of 3)
- 12 Studio Cards
- 5 Clapboard tokens
- 1 Rulebook
The title cards each have an image and a word or two. Players will use these title cards to create a pitch for their screenplay to try and sell their movie. This is where creativity can shine.
Each player represents a studio as designated by their studio card. In different variations of the game such as hidden teams, players may keep their studio face down until the end of the game when they reveal their studio and find out if they have a teammate they did not know about with whom they have to score together.
The vote cards are used by players when in the roll of producer as they judge the pitches by other players. The Yes! card is a special card that can only be used once per game but can provide some extra points if used wisely.
The first player is given a number of clapboard tokens at the start of the game depending on the player count. At the start of each of their turns, the first player discards a token. When they are all gone, the game moves to the end: the Final Cut.
Popcorn tokens are placed face down in the bottom of the box which forms the popcorn bucket. Players draw the tokens for points when their vote is on the winning side.
How to Play B-Movies
You can download a copy of the rulebook here.
The goal of the game is to end the game with the most points. These are earned by voting and getting your movies made.
Setting up B-Movies is quick and easy. Remove all of the components from the box and place the bottom of the box, which looks like a popcorn bucket, in the center of the table. Place all of the popcorn tokens faced down in the popcorn bucket in a random order. Give every player a different studio card to place face up in front of them. Next give each player a set of three vote cards which include 1 Yes, 1 Yes!, and 1 No. Shuffle all of the title cards together and form a deck which is placed near the popcorn bucket. Deal 5 title cards to each player. Now randomly select who will be the first player and give them a number of clapboard tokens based on the number of players. For 3 player games, use 5 clapboard tokens then 4 tokens for 4 players and 3 tokens for 5 or more players. Finally remove any components not being used from the play area. You are now ready to start playing.
B-Movies is played over a number of rounds which vary by player count. At the start of each round, the first player discards one of their clapboard tokens and then taking a turn. If there are not more clapboard tokens, the game is over and play proceeds to the Final Cut. After the first player takes their turn, the rest of the players take their turns in a clockwise order.
At the start of their turn, players draw cards to their hand so they have a hand of five title cards. The active player takes on the roll of screenwriter while the other players are the producers. The screen writer has to come up with a pitch to sell to the producers. To do this, the player selects two to four cards from their hand and place them in front of them in any order they choose. As they do this, the player says the title of the movie and can add articles (a, an, the) or prepositions (in, of, from, etc.) as well as change title cards to plural so their pitch makes sense.
Once the pitch has been made, the producers vote to reject the pitch or make the pitch into a movie. There is no set criteria, it is up the individual producers. Each producer than chooses one of their vote cards and separates it from the rest. After all producers have chosen their card, they reveal their vote card one at a time. The vote cards are then tallied. if the number of No votes are greater than the Yes votes, the pitch is rejected. The screenwriter discards all of the cards in their pitch. Then all of the players who voted No draw 1 popcorn token and place it facedown in their player area. If the Yes votes are great than or equal to the number of No votes, the pitch is accepted and the movie is made. The screenwriter gathers up the all of the title cards in the pitch and places it in front of them in order. Be sure to keep each movie separate from one another.. All of the producers who had a yes vote card then draw 1 popcorn token and place it face down in front of them. Those who voted with a Yes! card draw 1 popcorn token for each title card in the approved movie. No matter the outcome of the vote, all players who voted with a Yes! remove their Yes! card from the game. You can only use it once. Return the other vote cards to the player areas face down and play proceeds to the next player.
Play continues until the first player can’t discard a clapboard token. Now move to the Final Cut. During the Final Cut, players reveal their popcorn tokens and total up their points on these tokens. Players also get one point for each title card in their movies that were made. The player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the longest movie title reads it aloud and is declared the winner. If there is still a tie, the tied players share the victory.
Why You Should Play B-Movies
I am a big fan of Yann and Clem and the games they have designed. These French game designers are best known for the Heroes of Normandie series of games that featured their Heroes System: Tactical Scale. While these were essentially tabletop wargames, they featured fictional characters based on WWII movies rather than history. This series expanded into the Lovecraftian theme as well as Warhammer 40K. All of these games featured great artwork with a certain style. They also created Kharnage! which was a quick card game where players take on the roles of different factions fighting over a single hill. This too had cards with unique art. B-Movies continues their tradition of games with unique art that fits their theme. The title cards are designed to fit a game set in the golden age of sci-fi movies. Some of these cards, such as the Zombie card look like the image has been attached to the card with cellophane tape as if to be used in a storyboard. Even the box fits the theme. It looks like an old video tape and comes in a sleeve just like video tapes. The Kickstarter campaign is even having a social media stretch goal of letting people vote for what will be on the sleeve through a number of online polls. This game will add to the look of your game shelf.
Not only is the art of B-Movies incredible, the game is also a lot of fun. It is designed as a party game with a lot of interaction between players. B-Movies is also unlike other games in that players are creating a story out of five random cards in their hand. Not only do they have to create a story for their movie, they have to sell the other players on their movie. The trick is they can only use the words on the cards as well as a few other words to connect them into a descriptive title. Coming up with and listening to cool movie titles is entertaining; however, being a producer also requires some strategy. You want to make sure you vote with the majority so you can score some popcorn tokens. At the same time, you want to make sure you use your Yes! card at the right time on a title with four cards if possible to get as many popcorn tokens as possible. Remember, in case of a tie, the Yes votes always win.
While B-Movies can be played by as few as 3 players, it is really more fun with 5-6 players. The rules are fairly simple and one person who has read them can easily explain them to the other players. As such, the game is very accessible and can be enjoyed by causal gamers, seasoned gamers, and even those who don’t play a lot of games. I really enjoy the creativity and imagination of playing as the screenwriter during my turn as well as the strategy and deduction when playing as a producer during other players’ turns. It is almost like having two games in one. I recommend including B-Movies as a part of any game collection since it is quick, entertaining, engaging, and has a fun theme with unique artwork.
For more information or to make a pledge, visit the B Movies Kickstarter page!
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a prototype copy of this game for review purposes.