Is That A Tentacle?

January 26, 2011

What’s more fun than sitting around with your friends watching a bad B-Movie? Sitting around with your friends, playing a card game about making bad B-Movies! In 2001 Z-Man Games launched their hit series of make-your-own-bad-movie games with Grave Robbers From Outer Space.

Nine sequels have since followed in a rainbow of genre’s . Is your professional name Doctor Jones? There’s a game for you! Like movies where everything up to and including the trees walk? The Z-Man crew has something to make fun your beloved classic as well. You name it and they’ve probably thrown poop at it in the course of this series. Best of all, unlike actual movie sequels the quality has remained consistently good.

The games are simple, fun and can be combined or played independently.  Each card has a word written upside down at the bottom. At the start of the game you deal six cards and make a title for your film. “Skeletons Massacre The Robot Master On Bone Mountain” was one recent title at my house. After that, each player gets dealt a hand of six cards and strives to make the best movie they can while trashing their opponents.

Now, to make a movie you need stuff. You need a Location, some Creatures, a few Props, some Characters (I guess) and, of course, Special Effects.

A coherent plot and any semblance of an ability to act are strictly optional , as anyone who has ever seen a Megan Fox film can attest .


Most of the cards have a small number in the upper left corner . On Characters , Locations and Props, this is known as the Defensive Strength or DS of the card. On Creatures it is known as the Attack Strength. On your turn you play as many Characters as you like into your movie. If you’ve got any Props you can give those out as well, one to a customer per turn. Then comes the fun part; jacking with your fellow players!

If you want to mess with someone you can do one of two things. Your first choice is to play a Creature card. If the AS of the Creature card is equal to or greater than the entire combined AS of the defending movie the attack succeeds and one character of the attackers choice, along with all their props gets tossed in the discard pile.

The other option is to play Special Affect card on somebody and mess with their world that way.  FX cards can be played at any time and have a mix of offensive and defensive uses. Just like in the real movies they are the game changers of the game. But you can’t win with just a whole handful of Special Affects. Sit down and shut up Mr Cameron!

That right there is the essence of the game. Build a movie and wreck the other guys attempt to do the same. Just like Hollywood for real. Play continues until the bottom of the draw pile is reached or someone plays Roll The Credits. At that point everyone scores their film. And no I don’t mean you all scramble to hire to write a song for you.

Instead, everybody totals up the DS of their film, including Props, Characters and Locations. Remember the title of the film? Not really but who cares? Well, in this case it’s important because every card you have that has a word written upside down on the bottom that is in the title is worth five additional points. Highest score wins.

The games are fast paced and loaded with low-brow humor sure to appeal to any schlock cinema fan. The flavor text on the cards is hilarious and part of the fun is recognizing beloved characters from favorite films. “This is my boom stick” ring any bells?

Table talk and reading the flavor text on the cards is another big part of the fun. The quotes are frequently hilarious; “Dreeeeaamm Stalker, I believe he’ll kill me in the ni-ght!” is just one of about a billion examples I could spoilerize you with. Long story longer; if you’re a fan of MST3K or RiffTrax this is your kinda card game.

Something else to be aware of. These games are not meant for little kids. They come with a PG-13 rating right on the box and with good reason. A lot of the humor comes from the single entendres that are rife throughout the various iterations of the series. The movies that get made have an almost inevitable tendency to devolve into “American Pie”. Only not as subtle. The Town Cougar and the Teenage boy Desperate To Get Some are in the Sleazy Hotel? Gee, wonder where this is going? And don’t even get me started on the Pizza Delivery Guy and the Town Sheriff in the Tool Shed. Anyone besides me hearing bad  (like there’s some other kind) 70’s disco music?

At $19.95 a pop the G.R.O.S.S. games are highly affordable as well. Heck, these days they cost less than an actual trip to a theater.

The ability to combine decks means you’ve got almost limitless variation. If you’re feeling twisted and bored enough you can make a swashbuckling sci-fi horror film set in the Wild West. Just don’t blame me if Bruce Campbell spontaneously materializes in your living room.

Remember way back to the bygone era of Monday ?   Well the B Movie games are perfect for gamers on the go. A single deck measures four inches by five. Drop one in your pocket along with a pen and paper and you’re good to go.

Most quality shops carry them or they can be found at .   So grab some friends and some popcorn and make some movie magic!



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