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AICN TABLETOP: CINEPLEXITY, a game every AICN reading gamer should own!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. Well, since there appears to be a little bird still in transit (more on that later), I figured I would pop back into the Wayback Machine and talk about one of my favorite games that’s been out for a while. Why? Because it hasn’t gotten the love it deserves, and more importantly, it’s a game that every game loving geek that reads AICN should own. No, I’m not exaggerating. If you like a good party game, you must have CINEPLEXITY in your collection. Being a cinephile, I love playing movie related games. There’s something about the mental gymnastics of it that gets the juices flowing and promotes both thought and conversation about one of my oldest and deepest loves. But there’s a problem. If you’re anything like me, you might find it hard to find friends willing to play these games with you. I mean, once you’ve beaten SCENE IT in one turn without anyone else getting a chance to go, people kind of wince at the notion of getting creamed. The trouble with most movie related games is that they rely on direct knowledge – trivia skills if you will – and the person who has seen the most movies usually wins. I’ve got a closet full of these games. I love them. But when my wife and I go over to fellow geek households, THIS is the game we tote along. I’ve played this thing with dozens of people. Filmmakers, geek buddies, game designers – my favorite game was with Drafthouse owners Tim and Karrie League at a post Fantastic Fest party with a number of their nearest and dearest employees over pizza and beer. While many of the hardcores were initially all about it, a few of the less knowledgeable members were a little reticent. But five minutes in everyone was having a blast. Because CINEPLEXITY isn’t about how much you know about movies or how many movies you’ve seen – it is about how well you know the movies you know. An incredibly simple game, you can teach someone to play in under a minute. The box comes with nothing more than a tray of cards, with each card reading one of a number of categories. The categories include props, scenes, settings, theme, actors, characters, genre, production and critiques. Each card has something on it that pertains to that category involving movies. For example: “SETTING: CHICAGO” and “PROPS: ROBOTS OR ANDROIDS”. At any given time there are two cards on the table and one person begins as THE DIRECTOR. The point of the game is to be the first person to name a film that contains BOTH elements of the cards in play. For example, if the previous two cards were listed, someone might say “I, Robot.” And they’d be right. But if someone says “Wait, was that Chicago?” then it is up to the director to make the call. If the director says yes, the person who named the movie gets one of the cards, the next person in clockwise rotation becomes the director, they pull a new card to replace the old one – and it begins again. Say CHICAGO was the card given to the correct person in the previous example. The next card pulled is “PRODUCTION: TITLE STARTS WITH M THRU S.” Think of a movie with Robots or androids that begins with a title starting with M through S. How about Silent Running? Bam! “SETTING: RESORT, HOTEL OR CABIN” starting with M thru S. Got one? How about The Shining? The only time it gets a little weird is with the CRITIQUE cards. Those actually require the director to make a judgment call. With topics like “A GOOD FAMILY FILM” or “THE MUSIC WAS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE” OR “PERFECT DATE MOVIE” the director is forced to decide whether the respondent actually named something that fits the bill and is fully allowed to say ‘Fuck that, that movie sucked.” What works most for this game is the free, easy going format and just how it leads to great conversations. Someone will mention a movie no one else has thought of in years. Or someone will call forth a movie so bad the whole table winces at the idea of even thinking about. Someone will share their love or hate for a pick or argue the merits of whether or not the movie stated actually fits the bill – whether by technicality or just being wrong. The end result is a bunch of friends sitting around talking about movies for hours while jumping through mental hoops that really get your juices flowing. And it continues like that until you’ve gotten a certain number of cards based upon how many players there are. Or supposedly. Of the dozens of games I’ve played, I’ve never once played that way. We just play until the beer runs out or the conversation winds down – and then you tally up the number of cards you have. Most cards wins. It really is that simple. If you’re any sort of party game fan, or like me have a closet full of movie related games, this is a MUST OWN. You can watch a group of giggling teenage girls play a demo of it here, and shriek at just how different of movie choices they think of from you. Or you can play the demo here, especially entertaining if you’re reading this while bored and looking for something to do. This is made by the Out of the Box folks, the same company that makes APPLES TO APPLES. You can pick this up at their site (linked above), at your friendly local game store (Austinites, I know for a fact that the Dragon’s Lair keeps this in stock) or here at Amazon for those without an FLGS to support. I’m glad I got a chance to send a little love Cineplexity’s way – because the next few weeks will be jam packed for the column. I’ll have some 40K playtests and Space Marine rumors, a look at next month’s mini release Against the Giants, and next week is BIG. FREE RPG DAY is next Saturday, and I’ve gotten a hold of a bunch of the modules they’ll be giving away. More on that next week. Oh, and if you’ve got the time and want to hear a little more game talk, check out this 8 minute interview I did with NPR earlier this week about the D&D Phenomenon, particularly about the disgruntled players. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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