Updated: Oct 24
It's unusual to find a game where the publishers have gone to the trouble of obtaining an IP (intellectual property) despite the fact that the IP relates to a company that has gone into liquidation. We can only suppose that that made it an inexpensive IP licence.
In any event, Blockbuster is a great choice of name. The video rental company may have long gone the way of videotape but it is nonetheless iconic and it's synonymous of course with Big Box Office movies.
And, as you'd expect, it's movies that this game is all about. Open up the oversized plastic videocassette box that this games in and you'll find a great party game for two teams of two or more. One person from each team (we called them the director for the round) competes first in a Head to Head challenge which demands that they ping pong back and forth naming movies that meet the criteria on a card that's flipped from the stack (for example, 'movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger' or 'movies beginning with W'). The Head to Head uses the included buzzer/timer (Batteries Not Included) which gives the two contestants 15 seconds to give their response. If you can't give an answer within 15 seconds, then the other team wins.
The reward for winning the Head to Head is that the winner draws six cards from the large face-down movie title stack and they get to choose which three cards to keep and which three to give to the other team. The two directors then decide how to allocate their three cards face down on a grid which specifies the clues to be given: 'One word only', 'Quote it' and 'Act it', and they in turn then set the timer to 30 seconds in which their team have to guess the movie titles from the clues they give them. 'Act it' demands a mime and 'Quote it' can be a direct quote from the film or it can be a made up quote that points to the title. The 30 second time limit injects Blockbuster with an adrenaline rush: it can be really tough giving and guessing three clues within such a strict time limit. If you ever do find you have time to spare, then you can attempt to steal one of the opposing team's clues, but that's not going happen very often.
There are eight colour-coded genres of movie in all, and the game is won by the first team to collect movie title cards from all eight genres, probably over three or four rounds.
Publishers Big Potato specialise in party games so this one fits right in with their catalogue. Although you can't play with fewer than four players, there's pretty much no upper limit to the size of teams, and the game is largely self-explanatory with play that is intuitive. The advantage of winning the Head to Head is enormous: most times when you draw 6 cards, there will be at least a couple of movies among them that will be a cinch to give clues to and at least a couple that you'll either not have heard of or will struggle to communicate to a team. The advantage is so marked, in fact, that we found that the team that won the Head to Head almost always went on to win the movie clue round. If you find that happens to you, there's an easy fix: just treat them as two separate movie games. If you play the clue game without treating the Head to Head as a preamble, just give someone from each team 5 or 6 cards from which to pick the three to which they have to give clues and let them discard those they don't use.
The Head to Head game is fun in its own right as a separate standalone two-player game, especially when played between self-styled movie buffs. So even if you decide to depart from Blockbuster's official rules, you'll certainly get your money's worth out of this Blockbuster game.
(Review by Selwyn Ward)