Review: Movie Buff Card Game

How Much, Exactly, Do You Know About Movies?

  • # of Players 2+
  • Time: 20 Minutes a Round
  • Age: Works better if all players are same age
  • Game Type: Enhanced Trivia
  • Gamer Type: Casual
  • Complexity: (2)

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Watching movies is a guilty pleasure that I do not get to enjoy as much as I once did. When I was in college, I would binge entire franchises of movies over a weekend or even sometimes during a weeknight. Movies help take us to a place where we allow our imaginations to fly. Golden Bell Studios captures a little of this whimsy in their game, Movie Buff.

Game Details, Story, and Artwork

In this game, you get to use your knowledge of movies against your friends. Show that you are the King (or Queen) of the silver screen in your circle of friends. The story of Movie Buff is that you are in a room with your friends and you want to show that you are the “movie buff” of the group. It is a practical story because you are the story. There is no background story to this game, beyond the background that you bring to the game with you.

This personalizes the story of the game to the group with whom you are playing. That being said, it is the story of your group, not the story of the game. This brings Movie Buff into a realm where it has more story than a traditional trivia game, but less story than other types of games. Thus, we award Movie Buff a 5 out of 10 for story.

The artwork for Movie Buff is very simple, it has the themes of the movie theater culture. As I have noted on other games, simple is not bad. The Artists behind Movie Buff understood that you do not need extensive artwork to enhance a trivia game. You simply need art that supports the game.

It has many theater-like aspects. From the red and white striped box, to the bubble wording font with the 1960s feel, the game makes you feel like you are in a theater environment. You can almost smell the popcorn. The art, in this sense, really enhances the game and results in an 8 of 10 for Artwork.

Game Mechanics and Strategy

With trivia games, you find that the mechanics (along with the story) are often the weakest links. In the case of Movie Buff, Golden Bell Studios side-stepped this shortcoming by adding traditional card game elements to the game. The question that you answer (for the movie, actor, role or quote) is based on the card that you play from your hand. This allows some control over what you are called upon to know.

Add to this Skips (Take 5), Reverses (Reverse Angle), Restart (Cut) and Board Wipe (Edit) and you have mechanics that are not traditional to the trivia genre. Because of the enhance mechanics of the game, Movie Buff pulls in a strong 7 out of 10 for Mechanics, which is unheard of for a trivia game. Strategy is also an area where trivia games can find themselves bogged down. Most of the time you are playing against your own knowledge, while racing other players to see who can accomplish the goal first.

In Movie Buff, you tend to bet that your knowledge in a certain area is more robust than your peers, and this can be a fun strategy. The rub then becomes trying to make the scene too hard for your compatriots to complete while not making it to complex for you to finish. This adds a layer of depth to the game that is beyond most trivia games. This results in a 5 out of 10 for strategy (it is still a trivia game).

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Game Novelty

Movie Buff does well in novelty. There are dozens of movie trivia games, going back to the granddaddy of trivia games, Trivial Pursuit. Movie Buff moves away from the rote-memorization of movies to the ability to extend knowledge of one area of a movie to another area. This adds to the novelty of the game and of the game play. The additional element of cards that allow game play to be controlled, more or less, by the players rather than a dice roll or turn-based strategy, adds to the overall novelty of the game. Therefore, we award a score of 6 out of 10 for novelty.

Game Overall Rating

Overall, Movie Buff is a good game for friends who are about the same age. When you play with people from different generations, you tend to see that the movies move outside of the realm of knowledge for many of the players. I have no idea who was in “Trolls” let alone movie quotes from the movie, for example. My play tester (who has young children) was out of place with the 1970s movies that we brought up to counter his “Trolls” play.

That being said, this game is good for families and friends that tend to spend time and watch movies together. This helps as they likely have the same knowledge base. Movie Buff scores a total score of 30 out of 50, which is an above average score for a game in general. When you factor in that it is a trivia game, you have a very good score. This is a fun game to have when you are hanging out with your friends and a nice game to pick up for your collection.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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