Kickstart This! #2: Movie Empire
Designer: Karsten Schulman
Artist: Allan Ohr (Crypto Cartel, Cul-de-Sac Conquest, Supernatural Socks)
Publisher: Stimulus Games
Genre/Mechanisms: card selection, hand management, resource management, set collection, take that, worker placement
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Movie Empire is already fully-funded. In fact, pledges currently total more than twice the initial funding goal.
Player Count: 1-4
Solo Mode: yes
What It’s About: A worker placement game where players produce and distribute questionable movies (often humorous satires of actual films) for shady movie producer Mr. Grumpy.
How It Works: After receiving income each round, players use their production assistants (workers) to acquire scripts, cast stars, and obtain production assets from a card market. On the general action board they can charge their credit cards for more money, order overtime and take extra production cards, exchange cards, denounce another player and cause them to lose sympathy (the metric for income each round) with Mr. Grumpy, be nice to Mr. Grumpy and gain sympathy, take the first player marker for the following round, or reveal secrets to obtain a black dossier. Scripts must pass through the Pre-Production, Shooting, Post-Production, and Marketing Phases, which require various cards for each phase depending on each particular film project. Once the movie is completed, players send a production assistant to prepare a movie premiere after evaluating current trends. If they win an award, they’ll curry more sympathy with Mr. Grumpy. Each time players premiere a new movie, they’ll score points based on the project, any stars involved, production assets, and available bonuses. At the end of 10 rounds, players will score additional points for achievements like having the most movies produced overall, in a certain genre, or premiering films in every region over the course of the game.
Comparisons: The best comparison may be the similarly-themed The Networks; a card drafting, hand management, and set collection game about programming television network schedules. It does not, however, include worker placement. A few notable games that include both set collection and worker placement include Keyflower, Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar, and The Voyages of Marco Polo.
What Should I Pledge?:
$39 “Fortune and glory, kid”: copy of the game with stretch goals.
$448 “Here’s looking at you”: 2 copies of the game with stretch goals, free shipping, and the vanity reward of having your likeness drawn into one of Movie Empire’s star cards.
$4 Horror Movies Mini Expansion
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $39 plus $8 shipping for a total of $47.
Movie Empire completes its Kickstarter on Thursday, April 25th and tentatively ships in February 2020.