Showbiz Shuffle
Rules and Clarifications

A Blood and Cardstock Game
by Joan Wendland
© 1998

Showbiz Shuffle is an exciting card game where you play the heads of rival movie studios. Out mogul your competition by using the best actors and directors to make big box office hits. Of course if that doesn’t work you could try giving them bad ratings or a drug problem! Tons of fun for 2-4 players.

Game Components:Showbiz Shuffle is a card game with 4 types of cards:

  • Bod Cards:
    • Actors and Directors
    • Showbiz Shuffle backs
  • Biz Cards:
    • Actions and Things
    • Biz backs
  • Genre Cards:
    • Markers Only
    • Two sided
  • Cheater Cards:
    • Reference Only
    • Two sided

Bod cards and Biz cards are held in players’ hands. There are rules governing when a player may draw these cards.

Genre cards and Cheater cards are used to help play run more smoothly. These cards can be taken at will.

Each Bod card has an icon at the top to denote it’s type. If a card has a star in the corner then it is a Star. If a card has a clapboard icon it is a Director. If a card has a human icon it is a Supporting Actor.

The film strip at the bottom of a Bod card has five cells which are color coded to show the movies the actor or director is good at making. If a Bod PLAYED FROM YOUR HAND does not have the color of the genre it is played in, it must be played upside down to remind players that its points will subtract, rather than add to the movie score. Bods played from your hand can be played in this way because your studio has a contract with them. Bods pulled from the cattle call can NOT be played out of genre at all. That is because they are free agents and will not agree to participate in a movie that will hurt their careers.

The 5 genres are:

  • Yellow: Action
  • Red: Romance
  • Blue: Drama
  • Green: Family
  • Purple: Specialty

Bod cards also have a number in the lower left hand corner. This number represents the value of the card. If a movie is made with this card, the number is added to the total value of the movie (unless the card is played out of genre). If a movie remains unfinished at the end of the game, the number is subtracted from the player’s total.

Some Bod cards contain text at the bottom. The text may instruct the player to draw Biz cards after playing the card, or there may be restrictions on playing the card, or bonuses for playing this card with certain other cards. Follow the directions of any optional text.

Biz cards simulate things and events. Follow the text on Biz cards carefully. For instance, the sample card can only be used with Action or Specialty films. Do not play this card with any of the other types of films. Follow the directions on the card when scoring a finished movie.

Some Biz cards cost a studio money, and some do not. If the Biz card has dollar signs at the top (as this one does) then it costs the studio money. If a Biz card with dollar signs is part of an unfinished movie at the end of the game, then subtract it’s value (in this case 2) from your total score. Biz cards without dollar signs do not count against you at the end of the game.

Genre cards are used to mark movies when you start them. This makes it easy to remember which type of movie you’re making. When you begin a movie with a Star or Director, you may make any type of movie which the Bod has color coding for. For instance, if the Bod has a yellow cell, then you may make an Action movie. Select an Action genre card and place it next to the Bod you started the movie with. You may select any genre the Bod has an aptitude for, but you may not change the genre once the movie is started. You do not need to do anything to get a genre card, just pick them up as you need them.

Genre cards are two sided. There is no significance to this; I was only saving cardstock.

Cheater cards are reminders of the most basic rules. One side lists all of the possible actions in a player’s turn, while the other side lists the criteria for finishing a movie. Each player should be given a cheater card to reference at the beginning of the game.

Game Set Up: Deal each player 5 Bod cards and 1 Biz card, and place 5 Bod cards face up in the center. The face up cards are called the Cattle Call. In addition, give each player a Cheater card for reference. Genre cards are used as markers only and are not dealt out.

Making Movies: Players place Bod cards face up in front of them to make a movie. A movie can only be started with a Star or a Director. When a movie is started, the player must declare the genre of the movie. The genre must match one of the colored cells of the starting Bod card. Take a genre card and place it next to the Bod you are using to start your movie. The genre can not be changed.

A complete movie consists of 1 Director, 2 Stars and 2 Supports unless otherwise noted on the cards. Biz cards may be added to a movie, but are not necessary. Points are scored only when a movie is completed. Only the Bods which are color coded as being useful in the declared genre count towards the movie total. Bods which do not match the movie genre are subtracted from the movie total. Place Bod cards which do not match the genre upside down to remind players that the points will subtract. Points from unfinished movies at the end of the game are subtracted from the player’s total.

A completed action movie contains 1 director, 2 stars, and 2 supporting actors. Each Bod card should have the sane color code on the card as the genre of the movie. That means that their points will add, rather than subtract from the movie total.

Cards: There are two decks of cards. The Bod cards are people. The Cattle Call and players’ hands are formed and replenished out of the Bod cards. The Biz cards are actions. Additional Biz cards may be drawn as directed by the Bod cards. When a player’s turn begins, he/she should draw until he/she has 5 Bod cards. Biz cards do not count towards the 5 Bod card hand.

Genre cards are used as markers when declaring the genre of a movie. Place the appropriate card next to a movie as soon as it is started. These cards do not have any points associated with them and only serve as a reminder to the players as to each movie’s genre.

Turns: Each turn starts with the Cattle Call filling to five cards regardless of how few Bods are there at the start of the turn. Next, the player draws to fill his/her hand up to five Bod cards regardless of how few Bod cards he/she has. During each turn a player may add to movies one card from the Cattle Call if the card matches the movie genre which it is played in, and two cards from his/her hand (these do not need to match, but will count as negative points if they don’t match). Players may also play one Biz card each turn. Players may choose to play fewer or no cards if desired. Bods drawn from the Cattle Call can not be taken into the player’s hand; they must proceed directly to a movie. If a movie completes during a player’s turn, that movie is scored immediately. After a movie is scored, all its Bod cards are placed in the Bod discard pile and all its Biz cards are placed in the Biz discard pile. The genre marker is returned to the genre pool.

If the player has not used up all his/her actions by making the movie, that player may continue play with the remaining actions. Players may have up to two movies in production at a time.

After filling his/her hand up to 5 Bod cards, the player may decline to play any cards and instead declare a Studio Shake-up. If a player chooses to execute a Studio Shake-up, he/she discards all Biz cards, then the player shuffles his/her hand into the Bod deck. The player then draws 5 new Bod cards. The Studio Shake-up takes up the entire turn. The player may not play any cards until his/her next turn.

End Game: When the last card in the Bod deck is drawn, the end game ensues. Beginning with the current player’s turn, each player may complete one final turn. While no further cards are available to be drawn, players may continue to play one card from the Cattle Call and two cards from their hands (if available) to complete their movies. Any points from unfinished movies are deducted from the players’ totals, and the player with the most points wins. Plusses from Biz cards with dollar signs on the cards must also be deducted from the player’s totals if the movie is not completed. Cards played out of genre, upstaged or made useless in any other manner are still paid for despite their poor performances and are therefore also added as negatives in unfinished movies.


  • At the beginning of each turn, replenish the Cattle Call first, then draw into your hand.
  • Cards drawn from the Cattle Call must match the genre of the movie which they are added to.
  • Genres can not change once declared.
  • The Biz discard pile can be reshuffled and reused as often as necessary.
  • Movies can only be started with a Director or a Star.
  • Only one Biz card can be played each turn.
  • Biz cards to not count towards the player’s 5 card hand.
  • Biz cards with dollar signs on them deduct from a player’s score if used in an unfinished movie.
  • When Biz modifiers are played, they should remain with the object played on, whether it be a single Bod card or a movie, until the movie is scored.
  • The Studio Shake-up takes an entire turn. Players executing a Studio Shake-up can not play any cards until the following turn.
  • Players must discard their entire hand – including the Biz cards – to execute a Studio Shake-up.
  • Players may chose to play fewer cards than they are allowed to on any given turn.
  • If a card is devalued for any reason (played out of genre, Upstaged, etc) the card will still count as a negative if caught in an unfinished movie at end game. No matter how bad the actors (or special effects etc.) you still paid to include them in your movie – and that money is now lost.

Play order:

  1. Fill Cattle Call to 5 Bod cards
  2. Fill your hand to 5 Bod cards
  3. Execute a Studio Shake-Up OR play cards – do not do both
    • Cards can be played in any order
    • Players may play fewer cards than the maximum
    • Players may chose to play no cards at all
  4. Score any finished movies
    • In the case of the endgame, subtract the points from unfinished movies

Dedication: This game is dedicated to my good friend David Haas. Without his instigation, this game would not exist. I thank you. Players may have a different opinion……

Copyrights: Both the game itself, and the artwork on the cards are copyrighted. Showbiz Shuffle © Joan Wendland 1998, Artwork © Lar DeSouza 1999

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