Showbiz Shuffle Review
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Players: 2 to 4 (ages 13+)
Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

If you’ve already seen everything in the theaters that’s worth seeing, pop up some corn, break out the Junior Mints, and invite your movie-buff friends over for a game of Showbiz Shuffle—and you’ll be creating blockbuster movies of your own in no time.

At the beginning of the game, each player gets five Bod cards (which can be either a star, a director, or a supporting actor) and one Biz card (which can help you score extra points or slow down your opponent). Five Bod cards are also placed face-up in the middle of the playing space in the Cattle Call. These cards are free agents, and they can be used by any player.

The object of the game is to earn the most points (or make the most money) by casting movies using the cards in your hand and the Cattle Call. To begin, you choose which genre of film you want to produce—action, romance, drama, family, or specialty. You must then cast one director, two stars, and two supporting actors to be in the movie. At the bottom of each Bod card, there’s a filmstrip that’s color-coded to indicate in which genres the card can be played—as well as the number of points you’ll earn for successfully using that actor/director (in other words, the amount of money you can expect to take in).

At the beginning of each turn, you replenish the Cattle Call and your hand. You can then use one Bod card from the Cattle Call and up to two Bod cards from your hand. You can also choose to play one Biz card, which can be used to switch out some of your cards for new Bod cards—or to give one of your opponents’ stars a drug problem to keep them out of commission for a while.

You can work on up to two films at a time—and once you fully cast one film, you add up the number of points on the cards in the cast, discard the cards, and start casting a new movie.

The game is over when the last Bod card has been taken from the draw pile. Players get one last chance to cast their movies—or the point totals of all unfinished films are subtracted from the player’s score. The player with the most points is the winner.

If you love a good night at the movies, then Showbiz Shuffle is a must. It’s an extremely creative game that’s quick to learn and fun to play. The movie formulas are often dead-on—after all, any movie lover knows that you’re sure to make money by using the Oscar Winner director to film an action movie starring the Luscious Latina and the Action Star and using the Creepy Guy and the Helpless Heroine as supporting actors (even though you could get two extra points by casting the Helpless Heroine with the Mad Scientist). And you’ll be able to keep yourself entertained while your opponents are taking their turn by trying to identify the caricatures on the cards. The only complaint that came up while we were playing was that the filmstrip on the bottom of the card is often difficult to read when you’re holding the cards in your hand—and it would be more conveniently placed on the side of the card. Other than that small detail, though, Showbiz Shuffle is a runaway hit. And I guarantee that, after playing it, you’ll never look at your favorite movies the same way again.

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