Fans of Bob Holness will be disappointed by this latest offering from Big Potato Games. It is not about asking for “a ‘P’ please Bob”. Instead, this movie-based game offers a wistful reminiscence of visiting a Blockbuster video store. Those that didn’t grow up in the 1980s and 90s will not have ever enjoyed the experience of your local VHS hire. Many people reading this may not even be that familiar with what a VHS even is!
I describe that visit to the video store as an ‘experience’ and it was. You would quite often spend nearly as long walking the isles and choosing what movie to watch as you would actually watching the movie! You were after all going to be watching it back to back for the next three days. Those that don’t remember having to rewind a tape to return it or even worse, face the wrath of an overdue charge, haven’t lived!
Watching films wasn’t as instant as it is now with all the streaming services I grant you, but I certainly miss the vaudeville of it all. Anyway, enough of my nostalgia, let’s get on with the review. It’s starting to feel like this introduction is the pre-movie trailers that have dragged on a bit too long.
Blockbuster is a two team game so you need at least four players. It is recommended by the publisher for 12 years and up. The aim of the game is to collect eight movies from different categories, such as comedy or animation. How do you collect the movies? Well I will tell you after this short interval…
Told you it was short! This party game is played over two different rounds. The first is a head-to-head round. One member of each team enters into a battle of movies. I will keep the comparisons for this round routed in the Blockbuster era by describing it as a mix of Mallett’s Mallet from Wacaday and the first round of Family Fortunes. To bring us into the here and now, the Head to Head card will reveal a category and the representatives of each team will bat an answer back and forth, pressing the electronic timer after each answer. On the example card pictured above ‘Movies with dogs’, you would answer with films like 101 Dalmatians and Turner and Hooch. When someone runs out of time they lose.
Round two then begins and the winning player from the previous round draws six Movie cards. They will choose the three cards they consider to be the easiest for themselves, and pass the other three to their opponents. The player then has to decide which film they will describe in one word, which one they will use a quote from, and which one they will act. These options are marked out on the board and players can attempt them in any order. Any cards their team successfully guesses they win. It is these movie cards that have different genres on, and collecting all eight of them, wins your team the game. There is an option to be a little devious, whereby you can trade in three movies from the same genre to steal an opponent’s card.
What it’s like
Like all good party games, Blockbuster isn’t difficult to teach or learn. Play is fast and fun with moments that will make you laugh out loud and other moments where you have no choice but to shake off your inhibitions.
Having a knowledge of movies undoubtedly helps, especially in the head-to-head. You don’t however, need to be a movie buff to succeed. The majority of the movies are mainstream yet you may not know them all. You might have three films on the cards you know very well but have no idea how to describe any of them in just one word. This unknown is part of the tactics of the game.
Blockbuster is a game where the more players the merrier. I understand the age of 12 plus and some younger film fanatics will be fine, but there is a bit of quick thinking and I can imagine younger players saying often “I don’t know this movie” or being uncompetitive in the head-to-head.
Everyone is involved a lot, and if you are not the active team you will still be watching how the other team perform. The timed rounds ensures there is never much downtime.
If you want to get more of a flavour of Blockbuster, visit my IGTV where you will see a recording of a live playthrough.
You don’t get a lot in the box, but what you do get is fantastically styled. The box itself is in the form of an old VHS case. Cracking this open reveals the game board, which when folded in half resembles the front and back of a video tape. Unfurling this reveals the playing board that looks like a parking lot with a superfluous but thematically brilliant Blockbuster sign to sit in the middle.
The cards are good quality and also styled like video tapes. There is just about enough of them, but I would’ve liked more cards or an expansion. That said, there are plenty for several evening’s entertainment.
Final thoughts on Blockbuster
If you want cool, quirky and hip party games, Big Potato Games seems to be the publisher of the moment. Blockbuster certainly ticks all the boxes of a movie lover’s perfect party game. It certainly helps stop the brand becoming a bit part in ‘Captain Marvel’ too.
If you are after a new fun party game, this certainly has to be a contender. For me, party games have to be easy to learn and teach, even after a sherry or two, offer moments of hilarity and yet be inclusive. Blockbuster ticks all of those boxes and so I thoroughly recommend it!
Number of players: 4+
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 12+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 12+
Playing Time: 35 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 1.5 minutes
Publisher: Big Potato Games
You won’t regret having Blockbuster in your collection. I can see it being played after dinner parties or at Christmas and everyone having a brilliant time! I would even go so far to say Blockbuster is an entertaining alternative to watching a movie with friends!
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Great party game
- Awesome theme
- Just enough silliness
- Perfect for movie lovers
- Might end up wanting more cards
- Need some movie knowledge
- Puts yourself in the limelight
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