Anyone who has ever attempted to organise a group photo knows the pain in the butt they can be. Trying to capture everyone smiling and with their eyes open is nightmare enough without the argument about who stands next to ‘farty’ auntie Mabel. It is this wonderful theme that is the heart of Picture Perfect
– finding the perfect shot while keeping your subjects as happy as possible.
The culmination of this is taking an actual photo on your smart phone to make sure you got the right angles for scoring. It’s a quick playing game that has as much excitement in the scoring as it does the rest of the game. It’s also easy to teach – as we will see…
Probably the biggest problem with Picture Perfect is the set up. Each of the 14 ‘characters’ of your photo come as standees which each player gets a set off. Each standee has one cardboard envelope that three preference cards much be put in secretly during set up. These three cards will determine the character’s preferences for the photo. Sometimes they will contradict each other but even meeting one of them will score you points at the end of the game.
Players place a screen up and a player mat that holds a cardboard table and gives you the spaces around the table that you can place the characters on to. You can do this in whatever way you please during the game, but at the end each character must be in one space only and facing the front.
I keep saying characters because two of them aren’t human. One is a tree, and the other a dog, and neither of these characters are assigned gender. Which is important as some preferences are to be stood next to or not stood next to one gender or another.
Others preferences are about where they stand – next to the table, away from the table. On the left, on the right. Often these contrary and fickle folk will want to be on the left and the right! Oh the life of a photographer!
There are also some vain people who want to be stood at the front, others who’d prefer not to be seen, and then bullies who want to stop others from being seen! Depending on player count you will be given a number of the envelopes and allowed to look at the cards in them one at a timeeverything in frame and not shoot above the player screen, you can wiggle left or right to make sure the right faces are covered by the right people and so on. In practice, this isn’t really essential unless you have some super serious scorers, but it does add to the fun.
is a game I can easily teach to friends and family, and also a hit with gamers too. In fact it’s such winner that on a recent gaming weekend for serious gamers that I seriously went on (I lost a lot of games) Picture Perfect was easily the most played, barely put back in the box before being grabbed again.
Unusually it also scales to player count really well. So much so that I’ve added the 5-6 player expansion to mine, as it adds nothing to the game length, and allows me to add in a load of new players. And Picture Perfect is the perfect game for new players!
All photos can be edited in post, but board games not so much. For all that is perfect in this game there are a few niggles. The standees are great but the holders for them can fall off quite easily. Then there is the storage itself. Really you want to pop all 14 standees in a bag together but then they don’t sit that neatly in the box.
The 3D tables are also a nice touch, but probably need to be glued if you play as much as I have. I’m also not sure of the long term viability of the player screens. You have to fold them down at the scoring phase as they have the score boards on, and I’m not sure how long the folds will last. Also to track the scores they provide some tiny cubes, which seems like a solution that is a bit out of step with the rest of the game.
Then there is the aforementioned box and player screen art. While the character design is fine the box art is particularly weird. It drew almost as much attention the impressive table presence of the actual gameplay!
Ultimately though these are minor niggles compared to the joy of playing the game. In most other games scoring is not that exciting, but in picture perfect
there is a joy to discovering how well you remembered and guessed the preferences of the characters. For a game that only takes 30 minutes to play at all player counts, there is a lot of joy and fun to be had here.