Deadwood Studios, USALights. Camera. Fall off the roof.

Deadwood Studios, USA is the board game of acting badly. You’re an actor on a tiny Western backlot, trying to make a living in the bad movie business. It’s a rip-roaring good time, filled with simple but interesting decisions, and lots of opportunities for play-acting. So what are you waiting for? Your line is “AAAIIIGGGHHH!”

Players: 2-6 // Age: 12+ // Time: 60 minutes // Price: $40 // Rules


The game takes place over four “days.” The board represents the backlot at Deadwood Studios, with ten sets each shooting one scene each day. Players use dice as pawns. The number on the die represents the player’s rank as an actor (this value goes up throughout the game). You move from set to set, taking acting roles and earning money and fame. At the Casting office, you can spend your loot to gain a higher rank, which in turn gives you better-paying roles.

Actors can work “on” or “off” the scene cards. Working “on the card” gives you more fame, but less money, unless you are a high-ranking actor, in which case your share of the movie’s profits can be quite high indeed. High-value films can be difficult to complete, and players can work together on the same film to finish it faster. Trek across the board to the Casting Office to pay fame points and raise your rank, which lets you take better roles.


Deadwood was originally a black-and-white game, released in 1999, when it was nominated for an Origins Award for Best Board Game. The 2013 edition is a complete re-vamp, with updated rules, high-quality components, and all-new artwork from comic artist Phil Foglio.