Picture Perfect is a breath of fresh air. In our collection full of worker placement games (no disrespect intended), this is such a welcome change of pace. You’ll need to challenge your memory and deduction skills if you want to be the best photographer at the party!
What’s Picture Perfect all about?
You’ll play as photographers at a party, and your job is simple: score the ultimate picture of the guests in attendance. Problem is, the guests are difficult. The guests care where they stand in the picture, and who’s next to them. In some cases, they want to block other guests from being in the picture all together.
Each player starts the game with 14 guest standees (there’s a plant and dog in the mix), a floor mat, table, and a VIP card. Over the course of the game, you’ll work to organize your guests on the grid pattern found on the floor mat. There’s also a table filled with various decorations, and a screen to keep your arrangement hidden from your rival photographers.
Have you ever played a game of Clue and the murderer’s identity is tucked safely in that little manilla folder? Picture Perfect uses that same concept. Each of the guests (plant and dog included) have their own folder. You’ll randomly place 3 preference cards into each folder for safe keeping. The preference cards will tell you how each guests wants to be placed in the picture. Unfortunately, some of the guests are indecisive and will have contradictory preference cards. This will force you to pick and choose which preferences you attempt to fulfill.
How to Play Picture Perfect
At the beginning of each game (and depending on player count) players will receive between 2-5 of the preference folders dealt at random. Place the remaining folders in the center of the table. Players will open each of their folders, one at a time, and use the clues to place the corresponding guests in the picture.
Also in the center of the table is a small deck of 6 exchange cards. At the end of each round, players will flip over a new card. These exchange cards allow you to swap your preference folders for different ones so you can place more guests in your picture. Each exchange card is different. Some will allow you to draw new folders from the center of the table, while others will allow you to pass a folder to your neighbor.
The game ends at the end of the sixth round!
Once gameplay has ended, and everyone has placed (or removed) the appropriate guests, a picture is taken. Seriously, pull out your phone and take a picture of the party! Remember, some of your guests will want to block other guests. Try using different camera angles to get the best picture! Picture Perfect does include a photography guide with additional guidance.
Every photographer begins the game with a single VIP card. Sometimes you just know that you’re going to fulfill all three guest preferences. When this happens, place your VIP card into that guest’s preference folder. When it’s time for final scoring, this guest will be scored twice!
Once you’ve taken the perfect picture, flip over your screen. On the backside there’s a very handy score track and a tracker token that you can use to help with scoring. One at a time you’ll go through each of the guest’s preference folders and count up how many preferences you’ve fulfilled. Below is a look at the scoring!
Picture Perfect Wrap-up
We’ve yet to play a game of Picture Perfect that we haven’t enjoyed. This game is different than most games we play, and has definitely earned a spot in our collection. There are 4 expansions available, including one that provides enough parts to expand the player count up to 6. The other 3 expansions add some new flavor to the game to keep it more interesting.
A few things to be aware of when you play:
- Players take turns simultaneously. This is great, except for when you’re playing with someone suffering from AP. Everyone just ends up sitting around bored.
- At the end of the sixth round, you’ll have a lot of guest standees very carefully arranged on your floor mat. One bump of the table will most certainly send them all flying. Make sure you take the final picture, even if you think it’s not necessary!
- Setting up the game can be a bit laborious. You’ll need to shuffle all those preference cards and place 3 into each guest folder!
- Sadly, one of our player screens has already begun to tear at the hinge. The game, overall, has great components, but do be aware that the screens are a touch flimsy!
A note about auctions
There is an auction variant that you may choose to use during gameplay. The exchange cards are replaced with auction cards. All of the decorations on your table act as currency. Players will auction off their preference folders hoping to earn extra decorations which are worth victory points at the end of the game.
For example: If you really can’t remember who the dog wants to stand next to, you can attempt to bid on the dog folder to get another peek at their preference cards. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth giving up a decoration to score more fulfillment points for the dog!