WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 2-4
Published by: Funko Games
Designed by: Prospero Hall
This is a free review copy. See our review policy here.
There is something special about Disney. Whatever your own feelings are on the brand, there is a unique feeling associated with the entire Disney world. To me, it means family, fun, and queues! But overall the emotion conjured by the little mouse is happiness. And the thought that this could somehow be packaged into a box and distilled in cardboard form excites me! There are a lot of great Disney games on the market, you can check my review for a number of them here. But this new one from Funko intrigues me. It offers a cooperative experience, where players race to 'complete their films' before the time is up. A simple concept. But the feeling this gives... it's like I am transported back to a Disney studio in the 50's, at the beginning stages of creating a Disney classic. I cannot really say why. The art style does not suggest that. The gameplay does not encourage that. But it is how I feel when I play. Let's get it to the table and see how it feels for you.
There are five films to choose from. Make your choice as to which one you want to play with and simply place your background board face up in front of you, along with the background tiles placed to the left of your board, three character cell cards placed underneath, and your action board to the right. Then add any wood tokens your chosen film has near your action board and take one Magic token to start the game with.
Each board shows the films release date in the top right. The player whose film was released first becomes the first player and takes the first player token.
Next, place the Studio board in the middle of the table. Create a supply of the remaining magic tokens here, and then shuffle the Animation cards, placing them into their allocated slot. Each player draws three cards from this deck and adds them to their hand. Players can share this information freely with other players at any point.
The next step is to put the deadline token onto the starting position of the deadline track. Next, place the Paint tokens onto their spaces in the Ink and Paint section on the Studio board in any random location. Then take the Villain Tiles linked to the films each player chose. Place them onto the studio board, calamity side up, in order of the films release, earliest on top.
Then take the five Action tiles and place them face up on the five spaces on the main board. You can do this is any order. Next, take the calamity cards from the films the players chose and shuffle them together. Place them next to the top right of the main board. Then, based on the player count and level of difficulty you want, flip over one to eight calamity cards. You are now ready to start the game. Check the section in the rule book for the correct amount.
How To Play
The game plays through two main phases, starting with the players turn, then the villains. On the players phase, starting with the first player, players will take it in turns to choose one of the five action tiles, and place it in front of them. They will then carry out that action based on the number it was at. For example, if you took the Ink and Paint action tile from the three location, you can do this action three times. The five actions are as follows.
Sound: This lets you carry out your own unique player action, shown on your action board. Each character has their own power, such as the Alice in Wonderland player, who can draw two cards, then place the Cheshire cat token onto any other action card. Later, when another player chooses that action and returns the Cheshire cat to you, another player can then take the action this player is doing at the same value. Another example, is the Aladdin board, which allows you to place the Genie above any action, and similarly to the Cheshire cat, when taken, allows the Aladdin player, and the player who took the Genie to then carry out a bonus action detailed on the Aladdin players action board.
Animation This simply lets you draw extra animation cards.
Ink and Paint This allows you to take ink and paint tokens from the main board. This is used mainly to add your characters to your board when the background is finished, but also to ward off certain calamity cards.
Background This allows you to place the background tiles into your board. When they cover certain spots you can take additional actions, or claim extra magic tokens.
Magic This allows you to carry out any other action at its current cost for the payment of one magic token.
All of these actions are done in the process of traying to complete your background, add your characters, and then defeat your enemy.
When your action is done, move all the action cards along one space, and then replace the action you took back into the lowest available space.
Once you have taken your main action, you can then spend any cards or paint tokens you may have to either add a character cell (if the background is finished) activate a character (if they are on your board) and/or remove a calamity card(s).
Each round, new calamity cards will be drawn based on your player count and difficulty, and they need to be removed otherwise the villain that round will activate more often. The four types of calamity card are as follows.
Paint - Cards that need specific paint tokens to get rid of them.
Cards - Cards that need specific animation cards to get rid of them.
Actions - Cards that need specific actions to be taken to get rid of them. So the above card will need what ever action is currently in the second spot to be taken in order for this calamity card to be removed.
Unremovable cards - These cannot be removed, even using character powers.
Once all players have had their turn, it is then the turn of the current villain. Whichever one is currently top of the pile activates. Simply follow the instructions on the villain, advancing the deadline token one space, checking no one has more than seven cards, and then enacting the calamity effect for each calamity card still present.
Finally, draw back the correct amount of calamity cards and go again. The game continues until all players have successfully completed their film, or the time runs out. To complete your film, you need to fill your background, add your characters, and then defeat your villain. This is different for each player, but is shown on the action board. When you have added your final character, flip your action board to show your final task. This will be to discard a number of tokens and cards, alongside other unique requirements for each character. When this is done, you can take your specific villain back from the main board, flip it over and place it onto your own board. Your film is done! Now, try to help the other players do the same before it is too late!
When you are done, each film's components can be neatly packed away in its own little box, ready to go again another time.
Is It Fun?
As you can tailor this game very easily to the player count and difficulty, every game of Disney Animated has been a very tense affair for me. I have won or lost with a turn or two to spare every time. This is exactly what is needed with a game like this. Working cooperatively towards a team goal, based on a time limit without tension is just completing a series of tasks. With tension means you have a game. And a really fun one at that!
There is a real sense of progression in the game as you go through the various stages of completing your film. First with the background, then the characters, and finally the villain. It feels a little like an engine builder at this point too, as adding the characters to your background increases your powers, offering you new powerful options on your turn.
There are a few opportunities for cascading turns, as you cover certain spots with your background, or enact certain character powers. Which not only feels fun and satisfying, but also imperative! This is a race against the clock remember, and turn efficiency is crucial to winning.
There are five great film to choose from. All of which offer a very different experience, from the character powers you can use, the villain you need to defeat, and also the unique character powers given to you based on your sound action. It's great to see these different films interreact together. Although it feels somewhat abstract. You are a film. Not a character. The game doesn't even encourage you to feel like a producer, director or studio even. No, they want you to be the film. The concept of the movie. And you need to make it become a reality. But I love that. It genuinely works, and thrusts me into the wonderful world of Disney.
I like how most of the powers offer you a chance to help other players. Give them extra cards, or increase their turn power. In a cooperative game, I like it when this happens. It makes the experience better when you are encouraged to help others, and work together as a team.
I would recommend this film to any fan of Disney, family cooperative games, or people looking to bring a sense of light-hearted tension to their tables. I see this being endlessly expandable with new movies added at later stages. Something that I really hope happens! It would be such a simple but wonderful thing to do. I want every Disney film ever produced made in this format! This could be a real cash-cow for Funko. Cash cows sound bad, but they work as they are fun and popular. And a little bit addictive! Just like this game.