Cardboard Cinema: 'Cinema Of Attractions' Is A Party Game That Lets You Play Movie Director

I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes have to bend over backwards to write about about tabletop games on a movie site, but then something like Cinema of Attractions arrives and makes the process blissfully easy. This new card game, from the creators of the popular movie connections game Cinelinx, offers a humorous simulation of the Hollywood experience, with players taking the role of filmmakers who must pitch a movie to a studio boss using only the elements available in their hand of cards.

Like many tabletop games these days, Cinema of Attractions had made its grand debut on Kickstarter, where the creators are hoping to raise $20,000 in 28 days to bring the game into the world. Naturally, cash raised beyond that amount will go toward stretch goals that will add additional cards to the core game and the optional expansions.

Cinema of Attractions sounds like one of those party games that is extremely simple to teach and get to the table, but requires a certain amount of imagination to play well. Each turn sees one player taking on the role of a Studio Head who listens to pitches from the other players (playing Filmmakers), who have to use the random elements in their hand of cards to create a movie plot. Meanwhile, the Studio Head uses his own cards to change the tone of the round and force the other players to think on their feet and adapt to the limitations placed on them. The Studio Head then selects a movie pitch to move into production and that Filmmaker scores a point.

Here's a more detailed description of the gameplay from the Kickstarter page:

The game consists of four decks: Story, Studio Notes, Green-light, and Actions.

Before gameplay begins, each player is dealt TWO cards from the ACTIONS deck that they may use to swap cards or to strategically block an opponent before a round begins. They also draw EIGHT cards from the Story Deck.

During each round, players are Filmmakers that must use cards from the STORY DECK to pitch their movie ideas to a rotating Studio Head. The Studio Head will use a card from the STUDIO NOTES deck to set the tone for the filmmakers, and will choose one pitch to Green-light.

If the STUDIO green-lights your pitch, you get to draw from the deck of Green-light cards in order to see how your film was rated by critics. The filmmaker who has produced the most successful films after three rounds wins!

Cinelinx is a very fun game with the right kind of crowd (i.e., people who really, really like movies), but Cinema of Attractions appears more accessible. It certainly sounds like a serious film buff can play it with more casual gamers and still have a great time. The basic set-up reminds me of incredible party games like Funemployed, Snake Oil, Superfight, and Red Flags, each of which blend storytelling, debate, persuasion, and ridiculous comedy into genuinely memorable and laughter-filled experiences. However, the movie theme of Cinema of Attractions allows it stand out from the crowd. This looks like a genuine good time and the perfect cool-down game after a long night of gaming. Or the ideal game to bring to a bar.

Backers can also choose to purchase the Red Band expansion, which will add "adult language and humor" to the game, and the Film School Expansion, which will feature "cards that reference film techniques and notable styles that add a layer of depth for the filmmakers in the audience." The creators are promising a quick turnaround as well. If your copy doesn't ship by November of this year, they will offer a full refund.

You can learn more (and back the game) over at the Cinema of Attractions Kickstarter page.