No the video rental store Blockbuster hasn’t returned, neither are we here to discuss the humble VHS tape. Big Potato Games has acquired the licence to use the brand for their new movie trivia party game! Designed for two teams, with a player count of 4 – 10, players will be giving verbal clues and acting others out for their team to guess – for around half an hour. However, with different genres of films, will the game be a horror or comedy to play? Let’s find out!
There is minimal setup, allowing the game to swiftly hit the table. The Blockbuster sign is simply popped together, poking up through the board that is placed in the middle of the table. The head to head cards and movie cards are then shuffled separately. The final aspect, before choosing teams, is to put batteries in the buzzer. Note, you’ll need a small headed screwdriver for this and 2x AAA batteries.
Each round is made up of a head to head phase, followed by the main event the Movie phase. Both teams need to put forward a player to take on the head to head, whom will be their team’s active player for that round. Triggering the timer the top head to head card is revealed. These range from movies with dogs in them through to movies where there’s a race. Taking it in turns the two players must shout out a film that qualifies. Repeats and sequels do not count so teams must pay attention to catch the other team out. The player hits the timer after a correct answer, resetting the 15 second timer for the other team to respond with their own answer. Only the active players can give answers. However, other team members can attempt to help by miming films.
This hectic back and forth goes until one team cannot think of a correct answer in time – which sees the timer run out. The winning team takes this advantage into the next phase. The winner of the head to head draws the top 6 movie cards. Looking over the films and categories they choose three for their team and passes the remaining cards to the loser of the head to head. Both active players then arrange their three cards onto the main board, one per section. The three sections being One Word, Quote It and Act It.
Kicking off with the winner of the head to head the team is given 30 seconds. The active player then gives clues for the three cards in any order. These clues must come in the form of the section each card is located. Therefore, for the One Word clue a player may choose to say Porgs for a Star Wars film. Quote It has a relaxed restriction. While players cannot say the name of the film it is perfectly within the rules to make up a rough quote if you cannot think of one, especially helpful if you haven’t seen a film. The final section is the Charades like section, with players acting out the film or at least the words in the title.
This section only lasts for 30 seconds, so it is best not to linger on any one film. If a team manages to finish all three of their films in the 30 seconds there is an opportunity to take from the opposition. The active player can go onto one of the other teams movie cards, following the rule of the section the card is picked up from. This can sometimes backfire though. If you start but are unable to finish, it may be enough to give it away to the other team, who’s turn it is next.
Once both teams have had their 30 seconds unguessed cards are discarded. Each team now has the opportunity to steal. Each movie falls into one of the 8 categories, from action to drama. Discarding three cards from one genre allows the team to steal any card from their opponents. This is important as it is not the amount of correct cards that wins the game. The first team to collect a card from each eight film categories wins the game.
The Blockbuster theming is a fun one. Those old enough to know it are drawn to it and will happily tell those not old enough all about it. As far as the theming goes Big Potato Games has done a fantastic job. The game box is a slightly large VHS tape like box, opening in just the way it should. Popping the lid the reverse of the game board looks like a VHS, down to the “rewind” sticker. This is ideal for drawing people in and getting the game to the table. Nevertheless, past this the game is, for better or worse, a movie based party game with no link to the brand.
As far as the other components go they are strong. The cards are easy to shuffle, though more importantly are clear and easy to read. Alongside the film title the genre is listed, with a colour also denoting the different genres. This just makes it that bit easier to notice which of the eight genres/colours your team needs to guess. The central board has the flair piece of the Blockbuster sign, and otherwise is perfectly acceptable for the light use it gets.
A wide variety of films are included, across the wide variety of genres. From Jurassic Park to Bridesmaids, and a lot of movies in between, there are plenty that everyone will have seen. With most being well known popular films, even if the players haven’t seen the film they should have an idea of how they could describe it or act it. There are a few odd occasions even those whom consume a lot of films struggle to know a specific film. However, with the ability to act words out, not just films as a whole, even that doesn’t rule out the team getting it.
It sounds more harsh than it is meant but Blockbuster is simply a movie trivia game. It is designed with those that like watching films in mind but doesn’t alienate those that don’t live at the cinema. The fun comes from the three methods of giving clues, and this relies on the players. The more they give to the experience, be it miming clues or putting on voices for quotes, the more everyone gets out of it. A few rounds in and things truly start going, the ice is broken and everyone gets the entertainly silly activity. Perfect for Christmas time, Blockbuster is an ideal go to game to make the family have a great time and can cause many laughs.
(Editor’s Note: Blockbuster was provided to us by Big Potato Games for the review. You can check out the official website here.)