Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Game For Fame Board Game Review

Game for Fame Review
Although there are many publications and TV shows that poke fun at being a celebrity, it’s something which has rarely been exposed in board game format. The new Game of Life let’s you get a taste but it doesn’t really use any satire, or give you an experience of what it’s really like. What we really need is a game about fame, or in this case ‘Game for Fame’ which I’ll be covering today.

Game for Fame is a board game that splits you in to teams and tasks you with going from the job center, to becoming a major star. You do this by progressing across the board, accumulating money as you go, until you reach $30 million. So far so conventional, however this isn’t a typical board game, for one thing the dice doesn’t have any numbers on it.

Instead the dice indicates which card you should pick up from two piles; Solo and Co-star cards. There’s also a question mark which let’s you choose the card you’d like. These cards ask you to either work with, or against your other team mates in the following ways:

Co-star cards: Picking this card causes one player to become an actor who will play a role that must then be guessed by the other team players. Tasks you’ll be asked to perform include acting as a type of person (e.g. camp / hyper / evil), miming, reading a pantomime speech, gargling famous songs or saying words in accents (to name a few). It’s generic enough that you won’t need to know any specific movies to play the game as all parts are original. There are five possible roles to play on each card and every time your team mates get a correct answer you move forward a space on the board up to three spaces in total. This element of the game is similar to Pictionary or Articulate in the way you have to gain correct answers from others.

Solo Cards: If you find a solo card you are working against the other players in your team to gain the vote of the rival teams. These cards feature similar roles to the other card but also employ a notepad to create adverts and write poems. The competitive element of these cards makes them more fun than the co-star cards, and they also play a key role in the true end game, which I’ll cover later on.

The cards contain unique numbers and are designed to be played in a set order – presumably so you don’t have two mime cards in a row – but this can make the game a little too familiar on repeat playthroughs. I mixed the cards up and found it didn’t damage the game, so would encourage everyone to do the same to make the game fresh again after the first few plays.

Working through the cards we found a good mixture of challenges, and it’s a game that rewards the actor in all of us. Like all good actors, you also have to consider two more things: the Paparazzi and your entourage.

Entourage: Each team is given two cards at the start of the game, each of which has a number. The better the fan the higher the number. Each time a solo card is played the total of these two cards dictates the number of spaces you move. Simple.

Paparazzi: Well it would be simple, if the Paparazzi didn’t exist to ruin things. You’ll pick up one of these cards if you land on a space with stars on it. Paparazzi cards will force you to swap entourage cards with other team mates as well as causing you to move backwards on the board. They’re your typical chance style cards, and as you’d expect from this card type they contain funny comments on which fate has befallen you such as “a fan sends you their pinkie finger as a display of their devotion. SCORE!”. As you’d expect the Paparazzi can make you or break you.

The best part of the Paparazzi cards, is when they ask you to write a game cheque to another player on the opposing team which is placed in the center. You also win these cheques for the Solo star games, and the Paparazzi cards can tell you to remove cheques or change who they are rewarded to. Which brings me nicely to the end game...

Although you play as a team for the entire game, you have to look out for number one as there can only be one winner. Just ask Charlie Sheen about #winning. When a team reaches the last space on the board they win $30 million and other teams are left with the total of the last space they landed on. Then the cheques in the middle are revealed and the amounts are given to individuals who won them. The person with the highest value is the grand champion.

All of these elements together make for a busy game, but one that is simple to understand. Everything on the cards is explained well and the game has a nice rhythm between the types of cards. Some challenges are better than others, but there are enough cards to ensure a satisfying number of tasks in a typical play through. It’s also one of the few games to support 16 players, which is quite an achievement.

If you can embrace your inner actor, keep your entourage and get on the good side of the Paparazzi you’re half way there. Then you just have to hope luck is on your side, and that people like you enough for the pay checks come in. I guess they really did make a game about fame after all.

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Every product on this site has been received for free, and given to me by the product manufacturer or their associated PR organisation in return for a review.

I have no other personal or business association with these companies, and all reviews are written truthfully and based on my own experience. If I hate a product I will say so (and have done on many occasions!).