There have been a few games themed around the movie and TV industries but, compared to zombies and trading in the Mediterranean, this remains a genre that has been used remarkably sparingly in board games. Designed by Adam Sadiq and published by Diacritical, That’s a Wrap! is the latest.
That's a Wrap! is a card game played over four rounds where (2–5) players are competing to win the most Oskie awards. On each turn, players choose from their hand a genre card (action, comedy, drama or horror in the opening rounds) and then bid for a script and actor from those available (always one more than the number of players). The idea is that the players put their cards together to create a movie. Players always also have three ‘studio’ cards in hand: these can be used to enhance your own movie or to put a spanner in the works of a film being shot by a rival.
Once the genre, script, actor and any studio cards are put together, the films are ‘released': the $ values on each of the cards is totalled, the player decides whether or not to bolster this by playing ‘influence’ chits, and the resulting total is added to the roll of two non-standard six-sided dice (values: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4). If all this comes to 9 or less, the film is a flop, netting a paltry $5 million and 1 influence token; if it adds up to 10–14, the film is profitable and earns $15 million and 2 influence; a score of 15–19 is a hit ($25 million and 3 influence); and 20 or more is considered a 'smash' ($40 million and 4 influence). The highest grossing film in the round also earns an ‘audience choice’ Oskie, provided it had a total of at least 15.
This release phase is important, not least because it gives players the cash they need for bidding in subsequent rounds, but it’s the Oskies that matter most. In the awards phase at the end of each round, players can choose to pay $2 million to run campaigns for each key element of their movie (Best Actor; Best Screenplay; Best Director). If they choose to compete in any category, they total the value of the corresponding symbols, apply any modifiers from studio and genre cards, and again roll the dice. A score of 10 or more is needed for a nomination (worth one Oskie token) with the highest roll above 10 winning the Oskie for that category (ie: collecting a second token).
That’s a Wrap! benefits from some great art by Madison Crabtree which greatly adds to the game’s appeal. It’s a game that you’ll definitely get more out of the more you throw yourself into the theme. The designer recommends that players make up titles for each of their movies, and we certainly found it greatly added to our emotional investment in and commitment to our movies when we did that.
The studio cards can be brutal when played on an opponent but players have a single use ‘creative control’ card that, when played, give the player immunity from these ‘take that’ cards for just that round. Obviously, a key tactic in this game is deciding on the most advantageous time to play their ‘creative control’ card. Players will also find themselves making tough judgement calls over when to spend influence tokens to buff up their totals; essentially, this introduces a push-your-luck element into the game. ‘Advanced’ cards are introduced in the third and fourth rounds to ramp up the stakes, and there are ‘underdog’ cards that act as a catch-up mechanic where a player falls behind on cash. All in all, then, this is a highly interactive game with plenty to keep players on their toes throughout.
That’s a Wrap! is coming to Kickstarter shortly. We’ll cry ‘Action!’ and add a link to the campaign when it goes live.