Roll Camera and the B-Movie Expansion Board Game Review

19 March 2024
Roll Camera, and its subsequent award winning expansion, calls for you to save a total disaster of a movie production, in a board game that'll have you channelling your inner Spielberg in no time. But will you win an Oscar or a Razzie? Our reviewer finds out.

Written by Chad Wilkinson

What is Roll Camera?

Roll Camera is a cooperative dice-placement game tasking players with completing a film before their budget or schedule runs out. Assuming the roles of director, cinematographer, and a plethora of others, players will use crew dice to tackle daily problems, hold production meetings, and arrange sets in accordance with storyboard cards. Players must also aim to have their scenes conform to the demands of the script, as doing so will boost the film’s quality, although, for an extra challenge, players can add in the B Movie Expansion, whereby new genre requirements make adhering to the script mandatory. In any case, if time or money run out, or the film fails to push past the red ‘zone of mediocrity’, players lose. Alternatively, if the film becomes ‘so bad it’s good’ they win!

Related Article: The best movie and TV themed board games

Whilst dice-placement forms the bulk of the mechanics, there’s also a crucial spatial-puzzle element in the form of the set piece tiles. Two matching crew symbols are needed to take a new tile (or move existing ones), which is then placed upon the board’s central five-by-five grid. What players are aiming to do is arrange them in such a way as to allow for the placement of specific dice symbols in the formations shown on one of the three storyboard cards. The challenge is that dice can only be placed on blue spaces - many of which have further requirements such as only permitting ‘camera’ crew. Once done, the scene is shot and the storyboard flipped to become a completed scene. It’s a decent puzzle but hardly puts the game amongst more traditional tile-layers. Indeed, many games will have players placing just a few tiles and mainly figuring out ways to (rather thematically) repurpose the sets.

Other mechanics are similarly thematic, particularly the problem cards. These farcically depict the everyday hurdles plaguing film sets. A production’s first problem is a breeze, requiring two of any dice to resolve, but the longer a problem is avoided the trickier its removal becomes. On the plus side, keeping on top of setbacks rewards players with bonuses to their budget or schedule.

Production meetings also engage with the theme masterfully, alongside being mechanically unique. Here, the active player and two others will submit an idea card representing a powerful ability. One will be activated immediately, another discarded, and a final one being placed upon the board to use later. As well as making the game feel truly cooperative by having players contribute out of turn, production meetings also help negate the issues of ‘quarterbacking’ so common to the genre by having only the active player decide upon how the cards are played.

The combination of these witty problem and idea cards, and the mechanics used to solve them, is deliciously thematic and - due to the smooth simplicity - affords players the space to laugh and engage with the game’s humour. Thankfully, the B Movie Expansion never overshadows this with unnecessary complexity. In fact, the addition of extra idea and problem cards enhances the games whimsical tone.

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Roll Camera B Movie Board Game Expansion

The B Movie Expansion is rare example of a designer adding just the right amount of content to a game; a tad more of what we’re already familiar with and a couple of new concepts to keep the game fresh. Arguably, with the base game already being quite simple and beginner-friendly - largely thanks to its tight and impeccably smooth design - the expansion may in fact elevate the game to a point where even longtime gamers remain engaged longer than they perhaps would have.

By adding the mandatory genre requirements to Roll Camera’s scripts, the expansion offers more challenge but also more of a clearly defined goal in a way that feels more thematic. Scripts now demand players have a particular amount of genre tokens present (or absent) in their final film. These are obtained upon shooting one of the seventy-five new scene cards, although various effects may add or remove tokens throughout the game. There’s five genres spread across these scene cards - which are, again, illustrated with knowledgeable wit and whimsy - and with script requirements stipulating the use of just one or two of them, players’ films become more enjoyably coherent than in the base game.

How does Roll Camera Look?

Roll Camera’s aesthetic is undoubtably plain, but striking nonetheless. White is the predominant colour here, interspersed with the doodle-like illustrations peppering the board, cards, and player mats. These pop with wry, witty humour, innocently satirising the film-industry and demonstrating the designer’s obvious knowledge, whilst remaining relatable for the players. I struggle to think of an alternative approach to the aesthetic that wouldn’t muddy the board layout’s straightforward readability. Much like a Hollywood screenplay, being lean and concise is key; details and immersion are reserved for the final cut which, in this case, is the emergent scenes.

Amazingly, designer Malachi Ray Rempen also covered the game’s writing, graphic design, and illustrations. His simple and surprisingly emotive ‘bean’ people have their origins in Malachi’s earlier web-comics, but have made the transition to the board game medium effortlessly. Despite both the film and gaming industries typically championing beauty and detail, Roll Camera’s minimalist illustrations manage to accurately represent the former and stand out within the latter. This is all heightened by other cute production choices, namely the ‘clapper’ style box and film canister plastic insert.

In regard to the completed scenes, these more than simply enliven the board; they serve as a distinctive visual reward for the players around the table. They’re the concrete evidence of a project, at last, being realised, with each one validating the actions and struggles of the players. This is an important component within the genre of cooperative games; these mini-achievements are brief flashes of earned respite which, essentially, divide a game into acts: Pandemic has its coloured cure tokens, Roll Camera has its scenes. And whilst players are merely trying to make a movie as opposed to saving the world from society-collapsing disease, these visual rewards feel more meaningful, or at least more connected to one another in an easily imaginable, familiar way.

Is Roll Camera the Board Game Good?

Ultimately, it’s this sense of familiarity with filmmaking that just about nudges Roll Camera beyond being a purely niche product. This is a creative industry that has been romanticised in popular media since at least Dziga Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera in 1929, with more contemporary examples including Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Paramount+ series The Offer. Aside from just familiarity, the effect of having the act of filmmaking be so prevalent has rendered this creative process desirable and somewhat attainable, particularly with the advent of the smartphone. As such, Roll Camera speaks to the film-lovers and wannabe filmmakers among us, wisely choosing ease of play and a light-hearted, humorous tone to connect with a broader audience who would’ve perhaps bounced off a more self-serious simulation.

Should you play Roll Camera and the B Movie Expansion?


Witty, cleverly thematic, and great fun for casual gamers.


Another gateway co-op title - just with less death and disease.

Designer: Malachi Ray Rempen

Publisher: Keen Bean Studio

Time: 45-90 minutes

Players: 1-4

Ages: 10+

Price: £45 for Roll Camera and £25 for the B Movie Expansion

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