Tabletop RPG Review: Movie Night

Another tabletop roleplaying game that attempts to recreate the feeling of 1980s cinema, Movie Night seems like a good option for folks looking for a short game, or for introducing younger people to the hobby.  Though it feels like maybe the default game would tend toward the Kid Adventure genre of films, like “The Goonies,” “E.T.,” or “BMX Bandits,” it provides material for leaning into the more teen and adult focused stuff, too.  You might try something like “WarGames” or “The Terminator,” or even dive fully into full-on genre territory, like “Dragonslayer” or “Star Wars.”

The system is very simple and only uses six-sided dice, which you can find in almost every board game you’ve ever owned.  It’s basically just adding a number or two to a six sided die roll and seeing if you meet a target number.  There are a few extra things that can be done or adjusted, but that’s basically it.

Like Tales from the Loop, it’s meant to be played in scenes.  This is taken to a bit more of an extreme, however, and I think maybe I’m here for it.  Scenarios have a sort of structure built in, where you find out about the “bad thing,” have some kind of open conflict with it, then face the finale where you either face it and triumph or fail.  You can add a few more scenes in, but that’s the core of it.

There are a whole bunch of sample settings and scenarios based on 80s movies you’ll recognize.  With what you get in this little book, I think you could easily have hours upon hours of fun.  My first thought would be to use this as a fill-in game.  If you’ve got a regular meeting group, but enough players can’t make a session that you don’t want to play your regular thing, grab this and have a few hours of fun.  Or, if a long-term game has ended and you want a breather before starting another one, this might be nice.  Heck, maybe you want to have friends over to watch a couple movies and you want to play a round of this in between.

I look forward to trying it out.  I suspect Tales from the Loop will remain my go-to for 80s adventure, but this does seem to get the balance right more than Kids on Bikes. There are a few things in this book that I’m likely to lift for my own games, even if I don’t run it straight. More and more I’m liking the idea of running a game in ‘scenes.’ It’s something I need to work on. Not ever game, certainly, but for something like Call of Cthulhu, it might be a good idea.

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