I’m mostly price insensitive when it comes to board games. I’ve learnt a long time ago that low price doesn’t make a weak game any better. If a game is interesting enough, I’m ready to pay a lot for it.
However, I can appreciate a good deal when I get one. Three euros for a Splotter game? You got it! I don’t care if it’s one of their less-celebrated titles… So, I got Cannes, the game with notoriusly bad cover art.
It’s a clever game inside that box, though. Players are film producers in Cannes, trying to make movies and profit as much as possible. There are three kinds of movies: action films, romantic comedies and science fiction movies. Action films require stars and special effects, romantic comedies require stars and scripts and science fiction takes scripts and special effects. Stars can be made of ordinary people, special effects are made with computers and scripts are made of computers and beer. Computers are made of micro chips. There are tiles that provide chips, beer and people and tiles that do the transformations.
Players connect tiles and can use every tile they connect to. Parties are important, as all party tiles that connect to each other form a single tile where you don’t need internal connections. That’s good, because you only have five rods to make the connections with and as soon as all are in play, you’ll have to move the ones you have.
Because five rods is so little, there’s the Old Boys’ Network. This requires a visit to the golf course tile, where you can change two people to a cigar, which you can place like a rod. These form the Old Boys’ Network, which everybody can use. That speeds up the game a bit.
So, build connections, collect resources, make them into better resources, produce films, release them in Cannes. Films are worth money, but the more films are released in single genre, the less they are worth. Worry not, you can always use beer to bribe a reviewer to increase the value of a genre!
The game ends when all big boy cigars are in play or when all tiles are played. Getting the last turn seems very important, so there’s some interesting timing there.
It’s a fun little brain burner with a surprisingly fun theme. The art is either cute in its naïve style or hideous, but it shouldn’t leave anybody cold… There are some rough edges to the game, the experience is probably quite different depending on how certain tiles turn out. Our game lacked the script-making tile — only one of them in the set — for a long time, making action movies highly desirable.
In the end Olli won 78-70, having produced more movies than I did. I managed to salvage something by forcing the game to end by finishing up the old boy network. Olli could’ve made a movie or two on his next round to reap 20-25 more points. Our game took an hour or so, which was nice.
Pictured above is the network after the game. For a larger view, see the image at Geek (once and if it’s approved).