Make it Happen Review


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20 October 2022
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An original fashion game that’s all mouth and no trousers

Make It Happen takes place during New York City Fashion Week, as two rival design teams compete to create the most eye-catching outfits and show them off on the catwalk. Since style is, of course, subjective, you also have to hype up your fashion choices so when your collection launches everyone will think it’s the new hotness.

You accomplish this by drawing cards from a personal deck of fabric styles, from polka dot or stripes to floral or tartan, and slotting these behind models wearing various outfits. The model cards have the clothing sections cut out, meaning when you slip a pattern behind them, they’re suddenly wearing a stripy top or a flowery ballgown. It’s a neat, immediately appealing bit of component design that anyone can immediately understand, one that makes you excited to get cracking.

The theme here is really interesting. There are very few fashion-based games, and Make It Happen offers the chance – like many of the best games – for you to actually build something. At the end of the game, both teams – unless you’ve really messed up – have a roster of models wearing outfits you’ve created.

The uniqueness of the theme and some of the attractive component choices make it all the more disappointing that the underlying game, when you get down to it, is close to non-existent. You might raise an eyebrow at seeing the box’s claim that this game can seat 2-12 players, and you’d be right to. This is only true in the sense that Scrabble is a 28 player game if you split into teams of 4 and give everyone one tile each.

You can see why the designer might have wanted this to feel like a team game, to create the appropriately thematic atmosphere of a fashion house rushing to get outfits ready for the big show, but the mechanics don’t support this. You draw cards, and either put them into an outfit or discard them to draw new ones. Splitting this task between multiple players doesn’t achieve anything except making it more of
a hassle.

You can discard cards to two boards – a ‘Hot’ and a ‘Not’ board – from which, at the end of the game, you’ll draw three cards. If a model is wearing a pattern draw from the ‘Not’ board, they’re booed from the stage and score zero. You have almost no control over this, so you can spend 20-30 minutes drawing and discarding cards, only to flip three that mean you get nothing.

Perhaps if the cycles were faster and you had more catwalk phases, this precarity – this simulation of the fickle winds of fashion – would be thrilling and funny, but in practice it makes the entire game feel random and pointless. You have very little control, you’re not called upon to make any meaningful or interesting decisions, then everything you’ve achieved comes down to three topdecked cards. Of course, you can stack the Not deck with particular styles, but your opponents are doing that too, and since there are only two teams, in the end it’s a coin toss who pulls patterns favourable to them.

Make It Happen feels like it falls awkwardly between two game styles. One is a fun, silly Munchkin/Fluxx style fashion game full of big ‘take that’ cards and continually shifting goal posts where lots of players are racing to score different outfits. The other is a Modern Art esque contest where you’re trying to subtly influence taste then create garments to profit off of it.

Make It Happen offers the powerless futility of take that games with none of the humour or fun. The broad shape of the game makes sense thematically, and its premise is original and interesting, but it’s just not enjoyable to play.

Tim Clare

PLAY IT? NO

TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED Modern Art

The sad thing about Make It Happen is its theme is relatively rare in tabletop games, but if you want something fun that scratches roughly the same itch, Modern Art is a game about auctioning paintings where you’re manipulating taste and then attempting to exploit it.

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Buy a copy here

Read the full review here

Designer: Jaime Miller

Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards

Time: 30 minutes

Players: 2-12

Ages: 14+

Price: £20

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