As I mentioned in the box opening for Pastiche previously I knew I would have to have this game as soon as I saw it. I love art. I love mixing colors. Yada-yada.
I've played it a handful of times now and am ready to tell you if I actually LIKE this game or not. Well, not until a bit later.....first let me tell you about the components.
|Pastiche! The box!|
|The palette board with cards on it and|
example of the size of a card (back showing)
I DID wonder why it wasn't organized differently with perhaps the primary colors grouped together with white and black, then the others listed in some other manner perhaps by value or something. I think this arrangement (or perhaps a myriad of other possible arrangements) could have been laid out. In practice, it just doesn't matter much - you get used to where the colors are and generally can spot them quickly. And, if it really bothers you, just lay them out in any order you want because it won't affect the game one bit!
The Player Aids
In looking at the player aids, I wondered why they didn't show pictures of the color trading rather than writing it out in words -- it seemed symbolically it might be more clear. In thinking about it more, it's probably because they either would have had to invent a 'multi-colored' icon of some kind and/or shown all the possible combinations - neither of which would have improved the player aid at all. Overall, I really like this player aid and it does ultimately make it easier to look for color combinations in most cases:
|Summary card - turn order summary on one side,|
color mixing on the other side.
The Commission Cards
Here are a couple of example cards:
|Commission cards - some with splotches on the right, some on the bottom.|
I again have a couple of small issues:
- I think the color splotches could have consistently been in one location - either all on one side or all along the bottom (or maybe even the top). I believe the variation in location was due to the shape of the paintings versus the shape of the tiles. As is consistent with my 'issues' with this game, this is only a small quibble and doesn't really hurt the game play much, if at all. I suppose it could be argued that it gives the commission tiles variety and interest as well.....
- The name of the artist is in a cursive type of font and in a rather small print - this makes it somewhat difficult to match up paintings from the same artist as you have to look very closely to spot the matching names and may be somewhat troublesome for those with old/failing eyes. Something to help indicate artist matches might have been helpful - or at least make them a bit more readable from across the table. Perhaps this is an intended purpose - to encourage/prevent matching. Or perhaps it's just forcing you to get cozy with the people you are playing with....
|The palette tiles sorted by center color splotch.|
- Trade in color cards for other color cards with the 'bank' (board) OR trade with other players.
- Complete commission cards (i.e. turn in matching color cards according to the color splotches)
- Swap out one of the public commission cards for one in your hand.
- I like the puzzliness to the game trying to find the best combination of colors to efficiently produce more/better paintings.
- I love the race mechanic of trying to get done first AND with the most points at the same time. The tension is great and continues to escalate throughout. The ability to come from behind and win is not unreasonable (and is actually likely to occur) so you never feel like you are out of the game.
- I love games that have simple rules but squeeze a lot out of those rules. This suggests a well-designed game and it shows. Also, because the rules are simple it makes it accessible to a wide range of players. The recommended age is 10+ but I think kids as young as 8 could play this game successfully and even younger would have a great time playing the tiles and getting the color cards, although they might have a tougher time planning very far in advance.
- And, finally, I find the game just flat out fun!
- Luck of the draw - There are two occurrences of draw luck here - commission cards that come out and hex tiles that you draw.
- The Commission cards - if the matching cards don't come out for the artists you complete, you will miss out on the bonuses. Yes, the bonuses are small, but as we all know, games are won or lost by small margins when considering equal players. My most recent loss of this game was due to me not getting a bonus and the other player getting one. And, sometimes there's nothing you can do to prevent it due to a lucky commission card drawn directly into their hand.
- The Hex tiles - sometimes the tiles you get just don't help you get the color you want. Now, this is not a huge issue as usually you can get other cards that let you trade up to what you actually need. But, I've sometimes been stuck with 2 identical tiles, neither of which has the color splotch on them that I need (such as lacking a blue when that's what I need). Usually there's a spot you can leverage on the table that helps you accomplish your goal, but occasionally you can get stuck with nothing immediately helpful.
- Imperfect theme fit - For a majority of the game, the theme fits very well. However, I have two issues with the reality of the theme in relation to the game:
- The fact that primary colors are more difficult to obtain (and worth more) than mixed colors is counter-intuitive if you already know how to mix colors. You would think you would start with primaries (easier to get) and mix them to get other colors (harder to get). This is not the case in Pastiche as primary colors are much more difficult to get than most of the other colors available which is really weird to me. I'm comfortable with it in terms of the game rules, but not in relation to the reality of mixing colors.
- Some color mixing combinations aren't exactly true-to-life. What could be a factual exercise in actual color mixing begins to break down to the point of having to be cautious of using it as a learning tool. For instance, red and blue actually make purple, not violet (you must mix 2 blues and a red here to make purple). Some of the other Tertiary colors are questionable as well. Yes, I realize that perhaps the proportions of each color might give you the colors indicated when mixed, but the implication is more like equal parts, thus my complaint. Also, trading in 3 of one color to get a white or black just doesn't make sense thematically. Lesson to learn: be cautious if you use this game as a learning tool for properly mixing colors.
- Confusion around palette TILE colors, palette CARD colors and color mixing. There's a whole lot of colors going on in this game. Note that the primary colors on the palette hexes are NOT primary colors you can use in your works. ONLY the palette CARDS can be used to complete paintings. But, if you already HAVE the primary colors on the tiles and are mixing them together, why can't you just use them directly? This concept is not a problem for me and I haven't seen it directly, but I have heard instances where this is a problem for other people and I can definitely see potential for confusion there.
Speaking of confusion, it's important to note that the player aids show, as an example, Olive = Yellow+Yellow+Blue. Can you trade in an Olive to get two Yellows and a Blue? NO. For those that understand color mixing this isn't a problem, but it could be for non-artist types.