A short time ago we visited with our friends at Skybound Games during a convention and managed to pick up the final version of their latest card game, Pitchstorm. The company has already had some impressive card games under their belt with the amazing and expansive Superfight, and the slowly building library of the dating game Red Flags. So how well can they do when they tackle the world of cinema and movie creation in a card game? We got together over a BBQ with some friends and gave it a shot.
The game is pretty simple to learn and easy to play, especially for those with a creative mindset. Each player is a Hollywood Writer putting together the next great film script for a studio to buy. One player each round acts as the Studio Executive who will be choosing which of the films they're presented with is the best. The game works a lot like Red Flags, but with a bit of a twist. To start, everyone who is a writer this round chooses either three plots or three characters. Whichever one you don't pick three of, you only take one card of the other. You will then choose one from the pile of three and put together a script with one character and one plot.
Then, going around the table, you will each take turns pitching your idea in 45 seconds to whoever the Executive is in your own kind of "pitchstorm". As you can see from the example below, you'll have 45 seconds to sell the Executive on your script by telling them how the film goes in a quick pitch. When your time is up, the next player goes and so on around the table. However, there is one little catch to everyone's pitch as the Executive doesn't just pick a winner each round, they get to throw in their own notes as well.
At the start of each round, the Executive draws three Notes cards for their own hand. During each pitch, the Executive says "Stop" once for each player and gives that player a Notes card. Regardless of what it says on the card, the player must then incorporate what's on the notes card for the rest of the pitch. If they fail to do so, they automatically lose. So not only do you have to be quick-witted for your own pitches, but you also have to be creative in a pinch when they throw random stuff at you like "How can we make this appeal to Tweens?" and "What if the main character was a puppet?" After all the pitches are done, the Executive selects a winner, and then the Executive role rotates to the left. Depending on how long of a game you want to play, you can do first to three or first to seven for the win.
I loved Pitchstorm! It is right in line with games like Snake Oil where you have to sell someone on your concept and prove your idea is better than everyone else's. I'm kind of excited to see what expansion Skybound Games eventually puts into this one as they've done others because there are so many directions this could go. Especially if they created a version that branched into television. I highly recommend it for long party games or stuff to do with your friends for a game night where you're focusing on a single game since this one can go long.