Director Face-Off: Master’s of Hollywood

Two weeks ago, I made the bold decision to ignore the comfort and familiarity of a digital project and pursue a physical card game. After pitching my idea to guest lecturer Talen Lee and Chris, I have managed to combine my passion for film with a narrative-based card game, where the player embodies one of Hollywood’s famous directors and competes to make “the perfect movie”.


In accordance with this week’s suggestion to present in a Prezi format, I have chosen to discuss my project briefly through a slideshow, and more extensively below.

Director Face-Off: Master of Hollywood

It’s award season and the year is about to close with no strong contender for the “Best Picture” Oscar. But what is this? Hollywood’s best four director’s battle it out to make the best movie of the year. The fate of their production, is in your hands.

Cards (so far)

Character (4) – The four character cards assigned at the beginning

Composer (TBA) – Composer’s whom cost points to bring on production, but have their own perks.

Studio (TBA) – Studio’s you can partner your production with, cost points but have their own perks.

Production (TBA) – Give player points, but can have positive or negative impacts on production, composed of scenarios one might face while making a movie.

Rules (so far…)

1. In a group of 1-4 players, each player randomly picks a “character card” where they will become one of Hollywood’s best four modern directors; Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg or JJ Abrams.

2. One player (how this is decided is TBA) will say a random number allowed (based on how many genres I finish with) which will then be a card chosen from the deck. (The top of the deck being “1”)

3. This is the “Genre” for the entire game, which will give strengths and weaknesses to certain characters, encouraging tactical play.

4. Each turn, players are offered an opportunity to engage with “Production”, “Composer”, “Studio” and “Production” cards which all offer strengths and weaknesses for a player’s film, these cost or add points depending on the card.

5. First player to reach 10 points or “the perfect movie”, with both a studio and composer card wins.

6. Some cards might have “end-game” perks which can lead to one last battle for Oscar glory.


As the initial card game only revolves around a small deck of cards, and is intended to be a short game, the costs are surprisingly minimal. After some research into how much bulk buying would cost, I discovered that most websites cheapen the price depending on the size of the order. On the website I was looking at for the size cards I would use for my game this was evident. Therefore the cost of production, if produced on a professional level would be quite cheap.

Distribution and Marketing

As card games, albeit non-popular card games, are primarily advertised online, I would advertise the game through online indie board game and card producing sites. As Talen Lee proved in his guest lecture, there is still a relatively good market for indie board and card games which he has taken advantage of through selling his games on a number of indie platforms. In this way I could find a “specialist” website to promote and sell my game as to capitalise on the indie market.

There would be very little reason to publicise it on a mainstream site, unless it got popular in the indie market.

I am very much looking forward to develop this game, as I can see it being a fun “time-waster” in which people who don’t want to sit down and play extensive board games, can come together with their friends and have some fun. As casual gaming is becoming more prominent these days, I hope Director Face-Off: Master of Hollywood can appease a rapidly expanding and prominent market.

– Tom

7 thoughts on “Director Face-Off: Master’s of Hollywood

  1. As a fellow film maker i think this would be an excellent educational game! Broadening your understanding of various director niches as well as strengthening your ability to create works under (albeit disproportionate) time and technique restraints. 10/10 would recommend. However, how were you thinking of making this more universally accessible? There might be a bit more to offer as far as creating level difficulties (or equivalents) for less adept film analysers, just a thought. Love the concept behind making something so narrowed to a certain culture though 🙂


  2. The idea you have for your board game is great! I’ve never seen a game like this before, and i’m keen to play! I think it’s a great idea that you’ve developed how important production/composure/studio are, because it reflects what actually are important in the movie industry!
    The only thing i’d suggest adding, is maybe adding a famous actor deck. Picking a great actor depending on what the movie is can change how good or bad it is.


    1. Originally teased that idea (actor card) as it seemed like a logical inclusion, but I’m still trying to find a great way to include it without it seeming like it’s been put in “just cause”. Thanks for the advice though Jake!


  3. This is such a strong concept for a game, one which I’m sure would create a pretty fun atmosphere. One thing I would suggest however is the use of actual directors names in the game. In doing so, you’d run the risk of alienating players who may not be strongly interested in these directors. Also, licensing issues would surely arise as using both name and likeness of actual people is a tricky minefield to cross. You could tackle this by creating caricatures that resemble the directors you envision but deviate enough for you to be able to publish the game without backlash.


  4. Hi Tom,

    Your idea is so different and interesting. I am excited to see the summarization’s of these directors in your character cards as you develop your game further. I know you said your goal of the game was a fun time waster but wouldn’t it be great to learn some great directing and film skills along the way? Also quick question what does constitute ‘the perfect movie’ in your game? I am not sure if you would have come across the little digital game yet but it is lots of fun and is relevant to your concept! Good luck.


  5. I’m really interested in the way genre will affect the game. The strengths and weaknesses alone would be interesting to see – but mostly, it adds a lot of replayability value. Every game will be a little bit different. That’s really important for a short game like this.

    You mentioned it would be 1-4 players… does that mean we have the option to play alone? That’s going to be interesting. It makes me think the game leans more towards “players vs. game,” rather than “players vs. each other,” despite the mechanics seeming very competitive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a huge fan of film I think this idea is pretty much perfect. I think this can be much more than just a “fun time waster” even though there’s nothing wrong with that. You can get a lot of replay value from this game and just being able to see the different pitches thrown out there would be very entertaining to be a part of, even just imagining how these films would play out in our minds.


  7. Pretty cool concept Tom. I definitely like the casual approach as opposed to some of the heavier, and more “serious” kind of card games flying around at the moment (not that there’s anything wrong with that either).

    I enjoy the use of directors as characters, and relating concepts such as genre, composer etc. The only thing I need to ask is; how exactly do you play the game? It’s great that you have a premise and an end game, but how does one actually “advance” in the game? Is it random chance? Is it through discussion? Is it based on card draw? Or are you all assigned four cards to begin with, and then you try and trade and deal around your cards to other players, Monopoly-property-deal style?


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