Everyone loves movies, has seen a movie, or at the very least, knows the name of one. However, that kind of knowledge isn’t vital to enjoying Schmovie, a new board game from Galactic Sneeze. Three or more players take turns serving as judge/film studio mogul, rolling a six-sided dice to determine which genre of movie is in play, and then drawing What? and Who? cards to complete the premise. Then the other players come up with a title to “pitch” to the producer, who awards the best one with a Schquid Trophy. Whoever or whichever team collects five Schquids—or four, if you’re playing with a bigger crowd—wins the game.
It may sound simple, but what makes a typical game of Schmovie into a real brainstorming session is how the dice, as well as the What? and Who? cards, often result in a combination that seems so unlikely as to be tough to crack. For example, during the game I demoed, there was a round in which the genre was romance, while the premise cards were “time-traveling” and “video gamer.” Coming up with a title that met two criteria was tricky enough, but to meet all three required serious forethought. For those wondering, the winning entry was, “8-Bit Hearts Can’t Be Broken” which is quite possibly the greatest title for a romantic movie about a time-traveling video gamer that anyone has ever thought of. (Although if you have a better one, please tweet it with #thetoyinsider so I can read it.)
As I previously mentioned, you don’t need to be a cinephile to enjoy Schmovie. The game provides erasable writing boards that feature fill-in-the-blank example titles for every genre, so even in a worst-case, I-don’t-know-anything-about-that-category-of-movie-type situation, players can simply swap out a word with a (theoretically) funnier one. And since judges award Schquids based entirely on personal opinion, not on whether the title actually matches the premise, it’s as good a strategy as any. During the final round of our demo game, the genre was horror, while the premise cards were, “world’s fastest,” and “uncle.” Having racked my brain for several minutes to no avail, I ended up scrawling, “Killer Brother of My Mom,” which I thought up more or less on the fly.
I won’t brag about how that round went. Let’s just say that Schmovie isn’t all that different from the real-life film business, or so I’ve heard: You never know what’s going to be a hit.