Have you ever watched a movie and went “This would be so much better if so and so was the star”? Well Hollywood Blockbuster gives you the chance to set your own casts for movies. In this game for two to five players the goal is to create movies using different director, character, special effect, camera men , and other pieces crucial for the movie. At the end of the game you receive victory points for every completed movie you have made, along with bonuses based on the scores of your movies compared to your opponents. You can also win a bonus for the best director if your director pieces in your completed films are higher than everyone else’s. Sounds like a simple game right? Well in reality it really is, the rules are quite simple.
To start the game everyone gets three movie boards in the same three categories as their opponents. As you complete a movie board you can draw a random one from the pile of unused movie boards. Movie boards vary as to what type of people you need to complete them. The score of your movie is the combined star power of all the pieces you use to complete your movie plus a value the movie board itself has in theory based on the script. So, of course now you probably are wondering how you acquire the pieces to complete your movie board right?
There are eight spaces on the main game board that are used. In the beginning of each round the director space gets one piece and all the others get two to three pieces depending on the space, all of these are face up so you know who you are bidding on. There are six of these auction spaces. There are also two “party” spaces. On these the pieces are face down and there is the same number of pieces as there are number of players. For a normal auction space, Reiner Knizia has once again came up with an interesting twist. It is a standard auction where people bid until using their contract pieces (the money in this game), until only one person is left and they win the auction. Here is the twist though, the money from the winning bid is paid out with an even split to all the people in the game that didn’t win the auction. In other words you win the piece or pieces but you end up giving your opponents money. Once you win an auction you must put your pieces you won in your movie board, you can not save them for later. When you arrive at a party space, the pieces are then turned face up. These are free pieces and players choose in order based on how many actor pieces they already have in their movies.
There are four rounds in the game. At the end of each round there are bonus victory points given out, and at the end of the game as well. The general categories for these bonuses are the best movie in each genre completed so far, the best movie overall completed so far. At the end of the game there are also awards for best director and worst movie overall. After the game is over everyone adds up their victory points and a winner is declared.
This is a fun game that only takes a little over half an hour. Honestly, because of the winner of the auction having his winning bid paid out to the losers I think it plays better with more than two players. Yes, the rules say it’s for two to five players, but this game is best for three to five playing it. The price may concern some people, but considering this is a new version of an older game you will notice the $30-35 isn’t bad when the original is from Europe and sells for close to $100. Of course for those of you on a budget though you can get at least two, if not three other good games for the same money you would spend just on this one, so the cost still may be a concern. My suggestion would be to put this game on your gift list if that is the case and hope someone else buys it for you as a present. It is a very good game to own. For overall ranking I would give it 7.5 stars out of 10 and if cost is not a concern for you I would raise it to an 8.5.