GTM #219 - Shutterbug
Reviewed by Jane Trudeau-Smith and Phillip Smith



Mythical creatures! Pegasus: Are they real? Have you seen one? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could snap pictures of one? In the game of Shutterbug, your goal is to do just that! It’s 1932, and the tabloids are ready to pay for you to get pictures that prove these creatures are REAL! Your goal is to get the most points by fulfilling the job assignment from a tabloid to get the pictures they want. Compete with your fellow players for tips on where those creatures are, and then try to get crisp, clear pictures of them! But even if you can’t get the best shot, don’t worry… The tabloids will settle for dark and blurry shots of these freaks of nature, too!

How is it Played?

Each player plays a freelance photographer trying to find and take the best pictures of these mysterious creatures. The game accommodates 2 players very well, by providing two photographer pawns in blue and red, so when two players are playing they each play two photographers. At first, we were worried that this game would not play as well, but it was well-balanced for just the two of us to really enjoy it! Along with your photographer pawn(s) each player receives a turn order card and 4 side job markers that help track bonus points you can earn in the game by doing side jobs.

The playing board has hex spaces on it that show a silhouette of one of the four possible creatures, spread across the six different terrains. For example, a space may show a silhouette of the Pegasus on a beach terrain, but other spaces showing the Pegasus are on different types of terrain. Six spaces on the board are city spaces. Each player starts their pawn in a city of choice; for 2 players you start with your pawns in two different cities. At the top of the board there are four “side jobs” you can try to go for during the game. For example, if you catch all four creatures you put your side job marker on that space and get bonus points at the end of the game. There is also a round counter on the board where you use a marker to count down eight rounds of play. When the eighth round is done, scoring is processed, and a winner declared!

There is a deck of 72 “Secret Assignment” cards. These are shuffled, and each player receives one – the rest go back in the box. The assignment card shows two different tabloids with an assignment – the assignment shows the three characters you are looking for, and the total quality of the pictures you must get. At the end of the game each player reveals this card and declares which tabloid they are fulfilling and gets the amount of points for that fulfillment. You don’t have to get all three, but you will get points for the ones that you do. Having 72 of these cards because the goal for each player will be different each time you play for a while.

There are 48 creature photo tiles – each shows one of the four creatures, and a number which depicts of the quality of the photo: 1 is blurry or dark, 2 is a little better, and 3 is bright and crisp. These tiles are put in a bag and mixed up.

Last, there is a deck of 48 “tip” cards that are shuffled to make a draw pile. Each player starts with 3 cards. These cards are used to obtain the photos.

Each player does the following on his or her turn:

  1. There should always be 7 creature tiles on the board. If there are not, the player first picks the number of tiles needed from the bag and places them on the board; the first player places all 7 on the first turn. Each tile is placed on the board in the matching creature + terrain space. These are now photographs the players can try to get.
  2. You then move your character (or characters in a 2-player game) 1, 2, or 3 spaces on the board. As you land on each space you can perform the following actions:
    1. If you land on a space that another player is on you can “trade” tips – basically meaning you take one of the cards in your hand that is no good to you and give it to that player, then take a random card from their hand. So, you get rid of something that is not helping you, but you take a chance on what you will get.
    2. If you move through a city space, you can draw one tip card from the deck. If you end your turn on a city space you can draw two tip cards
    3. If you land on a space that has a creature tile, you can take it as long as you…

                                          i.    Have that matching creature card in your hand of tips, and…

                                          ii.    On the creature card it shows a number that you must fulfill – so let’s say you land on a Pegasus on the beach that shows a 3 quality - you need to have at least 1 Pegasus tip card and then 2 more tip cards that either match the creature OR the terrain they are on

While looking at your assignment card, it is important to make sure you are trying for the creatures you need, but you have to pay attention to the quality too. Let’s say your assignment shows you need a Pegasus with a quality of 5 – so far you have one with a quality of 3 captured so you at least one more Pegasus with a quality of 2, or two more with a quality of 1, to fulfill that assignment.

As you get the pictures, don’t forget to monitor the side jobs you can be fulfilling, too!

  1. When your turn is over, make sure you do not have more than 7 tip cards in your hand.

After each player takes their turn the round marker moves up. Once the eighth round is over, scores are tallied:        

Each player chooses which tabloid to fulfill, takes the points for the creatures found for that tabloid, adds points for any side jobs completed, and if any pawn ended the last round in a city space they get an additional 2 points (or 1 per character in a two-player game) The most points wins the game.

Timing of the Game

With two players this game plays quickly – close to the 20 minute mark. We played a couple games our first time. We see no reason you cannot make the game longer, adding more rounds and possibly giving each player 2 secret assignments to fulfill.

Overall, Shutterbug is a fun game, and can easily be taught to younger players, too. We hope you will give it a try!


Fast Facts:

  • MSRP: $30.00
  • # of Players: 2-6
  • Age Range: 8+
  • Duration: 20-50 min