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Subject: Rococo: A Game of Threads, Tailoring and Tete a Tetes rss

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Brian Schwartz
United States
New York
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Rococo: A Game of Threads, Tailoring and Tete a Tetes

A Game for 2--5 Players

Oh ho ho ho ho! Welcome to the life of tailoring! You are a tailor who will work hard to make wonderful dresses with the help of your apprentices and other craftsmen. You will be making dresses to display at the ball or perhaps to sell on the side for some extra cash, which you can use to fund some decorations at the ball or even to help pay for some fireworks! This is a fun game with a mash up of different mechanics! So grab that needle and thread, stock up some lace and let’s begin to explore this game and what makes it a great game!

Is it pretty?

This game has very very nice artwork. Let’s start with the board, which is double sided. I always find it fun to have that option, as opposed to other games which have dummy players or spaces that have to be blocked off. The actual artwork on the board is very colorful and has beautifully drawn artwork. The halls are lavishly drawn as they should be, and the fireworks are especially colorful. On the cards, the artwork is very attractive as well. The iconography is fairly easy to understand and is placed in the right locations. This is not the best looking game I’ve ever seen by any means, but it’s definitely up there.

Artwork Score: 8/10.

What's in the box?

There are a lot of things in this box, most of them very nice. You will find a lot of cardboard; there are tokens that depict the various types of fabric that can be purchased at the shops. There is a cloth bag that holds the dress tokens that come in the four colors. There are a lot of discs that are used as player markers. In addition, there are a fair amount of cards, with a set going to each player, as well as several that represent the new workers that can be hired. You will also find wooden pieces that represent thread and lace. There is no scoring track in this game, instead you have point tokens! The game was a bit pricy, but contains a lot in the box, making it worthwhile.

Components Score: 8/10

Setup Time:

The game has a small amount of setup time, I would say it is average for a game of this type (a medium weight Euro). First, you give each player all of their individual components (player discs, set of cards, player board), and then you have to fill the store window on the lower left of the board with different types of fabric. The deck of workers that can be recruited should be sorted by number and each number should be shuffled and placed in sequential order (6 on the bottom, then 5 etc). Place the first four workers on their appropriate space on the board. Take the Queen’s Favor card and put it next to them. Choose a random player to be the start player and you are ready to go!

What's it Like to Play?

The game begins with each player selecting three of their five starting cards (The selection will grow as the game goes on.) The cards come in three main types: Apprentice, Journeyman and Master. Each card (except for your starting Masters) also have a bonus ability which can be done after they complete their main action. Each main action can be done by the Master, but the other actions have restrictions depending on which character you select to do the action. Let’s go through the 6 actions and see what they do!
Get The Queen’s Favor: This can NOT be done by the apprentice. This allows you to do a few things. First, you get to be starting player next round! (YAY!) In addition, you get 5 money, which can be a needed thing in this game! And if it is the very last turn of the game, this earns you 3 points.

Go Shopping: This lets you purchase a few things. The prices of the items vary depending on how many items have been purchased in the row that you are getting the item from. The most something will cost is 2, and sometimes you can get it for free. Any of the workers can do this action. Most tiles have a fabric on the top half and thread/lace on the bottom. Players should select one or the other when taking the tile.

Make a Dress: This can NOT be done by the apprentice. To make a dress, you need to have all of the materials listed on the tile. This includes some sort of fabric and may include thread/lace. Once you hand in all of those materials, you then have the choice. You can
A) Sell the dress for the money listed
B) Display the dress at the ball

If you wish to sell the dress, you discard it and collect the money listed. If you want to display it, it can place it on any of the four floors. There are a few restrictions. The dress can only be placed on a space on the board with a gold thimble if it was made by a master. Otherwise, it can be put in any other spot. If you pick a spot that has an icon depicted on it, you receive that bonus. Some of them may include a free material or some money or thread.
Placing your dresses in the buildings is pretty important because it allows you to strive to getting the majority. At the end of the game, whoever has the most dresses on a floor gets to receive a certain amount of points, with the second place person getting less. In addition, if you are the first person to have a dress on all four floors, you get to claim a spot on the top right of the board that will give you bonus points.

Dismiss a worker: You can “fire” one of your cards (The game says you are sending them to work for the king), which allows you to remove that card from the game. You will get some money by doing so, which is printed on the bottom of the card. Why would you want to do this? If you get a card that is an upgrade to a card you have already, you may want to get rid of the original card and keep the replacement.

Hire a New Worker: Only a master can do this. Depending on how many workers are available, the cost starts at 5, and goes down when less workers. When you buy a new worker, you get to add them immediately to your hand and it essentially will give you an extra turn that round, since you have a card to play.

Buy a Decoration: This allows you to pay a set amount printed on the board for different types of decorations. There are a few types of decorations:

Musicians: These are pretty simple and will serve as a tiebreaker if there is a tie for majority. These are the least expensive most of the time, and you can find them on almost every floor.

Fireworks: These are at the very top of the board and provide multiplier bonuses for your people who are placed on the top floor.

Fountain: There are two tiers and you can only place one of your markers on each tier. Both of these tiers allow you to increase your income. The top tier allows you to get one extra money for every decoration that you own. The bottom tier allows you to get one extra money for every dress you have on display.

Statues: These are end game scoring bonuses that allow you to score points for sets of the four colors of dresses.

After a player does one of the 6 main actions, they can carry out that card’s bonus action. These vary greatly, anything from buying an extra item to allowing you to get a random material for a low price. These are pretty useful and only apply when you hire new workers.
After the round is over, players discard the cards they played and most select their new hand from the cards that weren’t played. Any dresses in the far right spaces (2) are discarded, and the rest are slid down. New dresses are drawn. The store window is filled with new materials. Any workers not purchased are discarded and four new ones are drawn. The queen’s favor card is returned back to the track. Players are then paid a base of 5 income, with extra from the fountains added to that.

The play continues for 7 rounds until the final scoring!
Players are scored for a variety of things including: money, the majorities in the halls, decorations, dresses, and the fireworks. Whoever has the most points is declared the winner!

Gameplay Score: 9.5/10

New CATEGORY: Replayability
The game has a fair amount of replayability. The cards will come out in a different order, as will the dresses and materials. The game doesn’t have a huge difference from game to game, but there are a few different strategies that can be employed.


Final Thoughts

This was a pretty fun game. I really thought the theme was fun, and I enjoyed the way the board looked at the very end with all of the dresses and brightly colored discs. The gameplay was fun because it combined a little of deck building, some area control, and even some economic gameplay in terms of deciding which invest is the most worthwhile.
The game was noiminated a major gaming award, and while it didn’t’ win, I can definitely see the charm and appeal. This is the only fashion style game I’ve played (I’ve been eying Pret-a-Porter) so I think it fills a nice niche in my collection.
When comparing it to the other area control games I’ve played, such as Belfort or Eight Minute Empires it falls equal in terms of appeal for me.
I’ve played this twice with 4 and then 5 players and thought it worked just as well with the full compliment. I’d like to try it with less just to see how it plays but I think it would be equally good.
This game is fairly easy to teach and once players go through a round or two, they will easily grasp what has to be done.

Overall Score: 8.5/10
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Stephen Sanders
United States
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DNA results:Scottish, Dutch, English, Irish, German, French, Iberian Peninsula = 100% American!
Well said. This is one of my favorite 'new' games.
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