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Subject: FMW Reviews #2: Rococo rss

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Antonio Guerra Gerdel
United States
Reno
Nevada
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When I first got into board games, I never thought I would get to see and play so many games. From the heavy to the ones that fit into your pocket. But with this, comes the theme. A great theme often times makes the game that much more enjoyable and Rococo is no exemption. We are hired by some of the wealthiest people to make them the best dresses, coats or to build some decorations for King Louis XV's upcoming ball. We must hire some workers to help make this a reality!

Rococo mixes a lot of different gaming elements into one single package of fun that my gaming group enjoys very well! It's not everyday we get to make some dresses for royalty and such. With some area control mixed in with some unique deck building, Rococo is one of the greats!

Now where did I leave my needle and yarn.



Rococo
Released: 2013
Pegasus-Spiele/eggertspiele
Area Control/Deck Building
2-5 Players


Components

For a game that focuses on making dresses and coats, it does have a lot of pieces all within this box:

42 Dress Tiles - These are what is used to make some of the best dresses and coats around. One side has the draft side, where you see what resources you need to make it, the victory points you can get and for the selling price on how many coins you get after you sell it. The other side is the rental side, which allows you to rent it out for the ball and gains you victory points at the end of the game. Often times, you will see a gold thimble on some of these tiles but more on that later.
28 Employee Cards - These cards change every round and allows you to buy more employees to help you with certain actions, plus they give you certain secondary actions as well.
25 Base Employee Cards - You start out with these cards, 5 for each player and they are color orientated.
16 piece of Yarn and 16 pieces of Lace. You get 48 Resource Tiles, each having a certain amount of fabric in different colors.
48 of both different valued coins and victory point tokens.
1 starting player marker, 1 favor card and 1 cloth bag to store all the dress tiles.
80 Player Tokens (16 in each color) - a player will use these tokens whenever they build a decoration or placing them on top of their dress when rented.
5 Player Boards - Very helpful in showing you what actions you can take and placing your discard pile too!
The game board is worth mentioning. On one side, it's for 2-3 players, while the other side is for 4-5 players. This is wonderful because not only does the board look great, it changes the feel on what you can do depending on how many people are playing.

All in all, Rococo has some beautiful components and its very eye catching with all the potential renters that come to the ball. Now then, it's time to get ready for the ball!!!

Gameplay

Over the course of 7 rounds, players will be using their employee cards to take certain actions in order to either make some dresses, hire some more employees, build some decorations or even call a favor from the queen! But we must talk about these employees first because they are really the heart of the game!

We have three different employees that we can use over the course of the game, each having a different colored thimble in the center of the card. You have the Master (Gold Thimble), Journeyman (Silver Thimble) and the Apprentice (Brass Thimble). These are important because they will allow you to perform actions based on what they are. For this, we take a look at what we can do on each round.

Out of the five cards you start with, you can only play three each round (this changes should you decide to buy more employees). There are 6 main actions you can perform and some are different then others due to what worker you can use:

1. Claim the Queen's Favor - The Apprentice can't perform this action. You call a favor to the Queen, allowing you not only to get the first player token but to also gain 5 coins from the bank.
2. Acquire Resources - Everyone can perform this action. You can select a resource from the resource warehouse on the board. The key factor is that the price varies on what row you get it from and how many resources are left on that row. Once you buy one, you either can put it face down in front of you, keeping the fabric, or you can exchange it for some Yarn and Lace, depending on the symbol.
3. Make a Dress - The Apprentice can't perform this action. Once you gathered enough resources, you can go ahead and make a dress to rent or to sell. The coins on top of where the dresses are determine how much you have to pay to make the dress. If you do decide to rent the dress out to someone, you can place them on the board with your player token on top of it. This in turn allows you to gain victory points at the end of the game if you control a certain hall with the most dresses. Also, some halls have golden fancy spaces which can only be done if you made a dress using a Master employee.
4. Hire a New Employee - Only the Master can perform this action - On the side of the board, you will see a couple of employee cards that will come out at the start of every round and each will be different. Once you do decide on who to buy, you pay the amount depending on how many employees are left. Instead of putting it in your discard pile, you put the new employee in your hand, giving you another turn in the current round.
5. Depute your Employee - Anyone can perform this action. Sometimes, the King may request your employee to be somewhere else so you gain some money in return. At least when you do perform this action, you can perform your employee's secondary action before they go away for the rest of the game.
6. Fund a Decoration - Anyone can perform this action. This is where most of your money may go to fund certain statues, decorations, fireworks to to be used at the end of the game to net you more bonus points and hire musicians into halls to help break tie breakers should they come at the end. Building part of the fountain will allow you to gain some more money once everyone starts getting paid.

So every round, you fill up the employee cards, fill up the resource warehouse, and put out dresses to buy. Every person gets to pick from three cards of the five they start with and will perform their main action. Some employees have a second action they can perform on the bottom of the card, which could range from taking another resource to gaining some coins. Remember that this changes with every round of new employees that come out so it could change the very game in your favor depending on who you decide to use.

Once everyone can't play any more cards, we gain some coins, with a base income of 5 coins plus however many more you gain depending on what side of the fountain you built, from having decorations to having a number of dresses. Once everyone gets paid, the old employees that haven't been bought are put away and a new set of employees enter the game. You restock the resource warehouse and add more dresses to the board (all the dresses that haven't been made are moved to the right of the track while any dresses that are in the unlit windows are discarded). Pick three cards from you draw pile and you begin the next round (if you can't draw anymore cards, that's when you grab all the cards in your discard pile and pick however many cards you have left to put in your hand).

After 7 rounds, you go into a final scoring and this is where the area control of the game shines. Not only do you get points from the dresses you rented, if you control a certain area with more dresses, you get more points. In case of a tie, you use the decoration you built within the hall to break it. If there's still a tie, then whoever has more dresses on the fancy spaces will get the points. Then, depending on if you have dresses on the very top of the building, you can move them to the roof and gain double victory points if you have built some fireworks. After scoring, you move towards the statues to give you points if you have a set of different dress colors you made. And finally, you gain the victory points on each dress you rented. Whoever has the most points is the winner of the game!

Deck Area Control Building

I have to admit one thing. I'm not much of a fan of area control games. It was never my kind of game mechanic. Maybe that's why I never liked Risk. But here, it's done so well that it balances out with whatever you are doing with your dresses. It's like you can go for some halls to gain points, or you can try to get some decorations up first so that you can avoid tie breakers. You have a choice in this game and not limited on what you can do.

There is some deck building in this game but it's a twist on the mechanic, meaning that you can look at all your cards and just get three to go forward. It's nice to know that you have a choice this round and in the next round, you can make the same choices depending on what you buy. It's always a nice mix that helps you determine what you want to do every round. If you want to get more employees so that your turn doesn't end for the round, go for it. But often times, you need money and sometimes its best to stop. I like deck building games and this is a great way to put a spin on that mechanic. Overall, this is something that can be enjoyed.

Final Verdict

So one of the biggest reasons I decided to buy Rococo was because I was wondering what my girlfriend would like to play. I knew she loved to wear dresses and such everyday so I thought this would be a fine game to play. And man, this is a fine game to play! From the beginning, you knew you have to have some plan in order to get points at the end of the game, Do you start getting resources right from the start to make dresses? Do you build some decorations to get you more money at the end of each round? How about getting some more employees so that you can have more turns in a round? The choice is yours to make and everything you do is judged on these employee cards. Some get better with each passing round and you just have to decide what you want to do. My gaming group really loves this game because you don't ever feel rushing and you can go at your own pace to determine what you want to do. Overall, dress making is indeed fun!

Overall, I give Rococo a solid nine and a half out of ten, proving that dress making can be a great theme to a board game if using the proper mechanics!

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Jack Francisco
United States
Cumberland
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Great review. Super fun game. It's just another example of not judging a book game by its cover. I never would have thought, when I was a kid, that I'd play a serious board game about dressmaking and love it. As an aside, I've also played more games about farming and church/cathedral building than I ever would have imagined too, though.
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Stephen Sanders
United States
Henderson
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DNA results:English, Dutch, Irish, German, French, Iberian Peninsula = 100% American!
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Hey, don't forget guys, you make suits too!!

Concise review, very capably laid out.
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