The Producer (1940-1944), Manlio Zaninotti

I’m crediting Jon with this one as well, because these thoughts were borne out of our many animated conversations after playing The Producer….
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I spotted this game whilst online browsing and thought ‘wow, could this be any more up my street?’ I love movies, I love that golden era and Hollywood glamour and I couldn’t of been more excited to play it last week. So, in hindsight maybe perhaps should of researched a bit further before making my mind up. Because most people who have played this have pretty much said the same thing. It’s not bloody finished. I don’t know what happened here, if it was rushed out or just not tested enough or whether they just thought fuck it lets not bother. And it’s such a shame. Because here we have a gorgeous looking game with lovely shiny components and thick luxe cardboard and the skeleton of a really great idea. It looked super heavy with loads going on. And as you will see from the pictures it’s a sprawling game that you need crazy table top space for. It’s a game you don’t have to be a ‘gamer’ to play, and if, like me, you love the theme then it’s perfect to have in your collection.
But I can’t ignore the fact that many of the rules are unexplained or non existent, the event cards (which could make the game more difficult and exciting) don’t actually make a blind bit of difference for the most part and some of the effects they have just don’t do anything period. For example, ‘if your actor is married but having an affair they lose a star’. But how do we know if they were married, like Jon said are you meant to Google for further information? Because this is not stated anywhere on the cards. Just weird stuff like that is a big no no. Per turn you can do a number of things, but at the core of it there’s not much going on. Joining the mafia seems pretty pointless, ruining your opponents reputation makes little difference, and getting themed sets doesn’t really add anything of value to the end game. Argh, it just doesn’t add up and it’s so frustrating because there are lots of things this game could of done differently.
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Much of the game centres around making money from your movies, and you do this by getting scripts and actors. You use certain cards to increase your audience values and then take your movies to the Oscars. And that is the fun part in my opinion but is actually pretty simplistic. I think that the audience values could be a bit more varied because no matter what you always seem to make around the same revenue per movie. And you make all this money but no receive no bonus points for having it. You have a better chance of winning against your opponent at the Oscars if your movie scripts match up with the correct actor and director cards, which is tricky because there are so many of them. But to spend every turn just getting cards out to try match up them doesn’t seem worth it. There’s a chance that it could be better with more players, but I can’t imagine how long your game play would be, we played the ‘short’ three round version with two players and it took 2.5 hours. I think i’ll have to play again, just to see if there’s anything else that can be done to add something more, or maybe there’s something glaringly obvious we missed. I have a bad feeling it will just present more unnecessary flaws. So in a word, i’m gutted, because as I said there are some enjoyable parts but the all over game is just a bit of a mess. I think they’ve had trouble with copywriting in the US because of the use of the images and people, but if by some chance this gets a re-release or second edition in the future, and the issues are ironed out, well it could be a fantastic game. But until then, as much as it pains me, it’s a really crushing disappointment. More Info
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