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Director’s Cut From Uncanny Cardboard

Publisher: Uncanny Cardboard

Game Designer: Robin David

Artwork: Robin David

Players: 2

Ages: 8+

Playing Time: 20 minutes

Game Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection

Contents: 108 Cards

Suggested Retail Price: $11.49

Parental Advisory: n/a

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Introduction

Director’s Cut is the first game from Uncanny Cardboard and designer Robin David. It is available via DriveThruCards

In Director’s Cut: The Card Game you assume the role of Hollywood movie producers competing to create the next cinematic masterpiece. To do so you will need to keep a keen eye on the available actors, editors, directors and composers and hire them to help realise your celluloid dream. Of course the better the team the more they will cost, but hopefully they will prove a wise investment.

Components

  • 20 screenplays cards.
  • 50 cards representing actors, directors, composers and editors.
  • 32 money cards.
  • 4 cards containing the game’s rules.

Quality wise the cards are pretty good. They are nicely finished and sturdy, so should stand up to a fair few plays. The art in the cards is very much a mixed bag; on the one hand the Screenplay cards feature actual movie posters, but on the other hand the talent cards are very sparse. This is due to a limited budget for a first time designer, but also image rights. So while it is entirely understandable, it is still a real shame as it does make some elements of the game feel a little unfinished.

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The iconography used on the cards to denote card type and ability are very clear and simple. I also really like the use of the ticket stubs on the screenplay cards, again simple but effective.

The rule book is short and concise, printed on the front and reverse of 4 cards, but explains everything in a very clear and logical manner. It can be read, understood and explained to others perfectly in under 5 minutes.

Analysis & Evaluation

At the start of the game each player is provided with $40k in money cards. Then two decks of cards are created, one for the screenplay and one for the talent pool. Three Screenplay cards are then turned face up – these are the movies that are currently available for production. Then the talent pool is formed; there are five starting talent cards, 2 actors, 1 composer, 1 editor and 1 director (they are 1 star cards). These are laid out in a row and are the only available Talent at the start of the game.

On a player’s turn they can take 1 of 2 available actions. They must either hire Talent from the Talent poor OR produce one of the three available Screenplays. Once they have taken their action the available Screenplay cards and/or Talent pool is restocked accordingly.

Hiring talent will of course cost money and hiring good talent usually costs more. Each talent card, as stated earlier, represents an actor, director, composer or editor and each screenplay requires a combination of these to produce. Additionally, each talent card also has a star value from 1 to 5. The starting cards are 1 star. Interestingly, the star value is not linked to price. Rather, the value of any given card is determined by its placement in the talent pool. The first card is free to purchase, the second placed card is $10k, the third is $20k up to $40k for the last card in the line. As cards are bought the other cards in the line shuffle along to fill the gap. Then a new card is introduced at the start of the line (the 40k slot). In this manner, cards can move down the line to become cheaper.

If, at the start of your turn, you have the required combination of Talent to produce a Screenplay you may choose to do this instead of hiring new Talent. In addition to the Talent combination, you need to total up the value of the stars on the Talent cards used. Choose the Screenplay card you wish to produce (handing in the cards you need to fulfill the criteria) and gain the rewards listed based on the total value of stars shown on the Talent cards used. More stars equals more money (profit from the movie). Additionally, each Screenplay offers another reward usually in the form of a free Talent card/s from the Talent pool.

Play continues in this manner until there are no more Talent cards to restock the Talent pool. At this point each player totals up the value of cash in hand, the winner is the player with the most.

A game of Director’s cut will probably last between 15 and 20 minutes. The game states that it is for two players, however, I have tried playing with three and it works, though it is a much tighter game. Cards are a little harder to come by and consequently expect to produce less movies. I did speak to the designer about this and he said that many people had commented on the games ability to support an additional player, but it is designed for two and is at its best with this number.

Being the simple game it is this would not appeal to those looking for a deep strategic experience. Don’t misunderstand, there is certainly strategy here, but nothing that requires too much forward planning. The game is really about timing and second guessing your opponent. You need to weigh up the cost of paying more for cards versus waiting for them to move down the line and become cheaper, the risk here being that they might be bought from under your nose. Equally important is knowing when to produce lower rated movies over high rated ones.

Wait too long to produce movies by attempting to get the very best Talent you can and you might find the Screenplay card is produced before you get a chance. It can quite often pay to produce a movie at the minimum rating just to prevent your opponent getting it (and if you are lucky it might even reward you with a free Talent card – even better if that free card is a 5 star Talent!).

 

Conclusion

All in all I have very much enjoyed Director’s Cut. It is one of the card games that I always place in my bag or pocket “just in case”. It can be taught to new players in a matter of minutes and is a perfect way to spend 15 minutes between games, or waiting for people (assuming there are two of you). On the downside, the art (or lack of on the Talent cards) does leave it looking a little unfinished. It is also unlikely to satiate the appetite of someone looking for a deep game, but then it is fifteen minutes and that would be an unreasonable expectation.

Club Fantacertified2sci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):

Artwork: 6

Rules Book: 9

Re-playability: 6.5

Component Quality: 6.5

Club Fantasci Overall Score: 7

This game is Club-Fantasci certified!

 

I am giving Director’s Cut 7 out of 10 as it is a very elegant 2 player game. It can be played anywhere and without the need for too much room. Perfect for those moments when you are needing to kill time for 15 minutes… or in my case when I am down the pub and want something that I can play, but that wont dominate proceedings. I can play this happily and still enjoy a drink and a chat with a friends. It is also a very good budget game and I can’t think of many games that are available for for less than $12. The only real downside to the game is the art on the Talent Cards.

Please note a review copy of this game was provided to me. Director’s Cut is available from www.drivethrucards.com

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