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Subject: Brief review of the included Fresco expansions rss

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KAS
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This is a short review of the 3 expansions that come with this game. I will assume you already know how to play Fresco and the rules for these expansions can be found here, so I will not go through them in any detail.

I have now played Fresco several times and have had fun with the game. It is a light, family game that has a nice theme that manages to integrate some good worker placement and simultaneous action selection mechanics into it. I started adding the expansions that come with it, not sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised that, so far, all seem to be very good additions to an otherwise enjoyable game. Of course they add some length to the game, but after a few plays it does not seem to be too much. My brief thoughts on the included expansions:

Image by Innovan

Image by toob

Expansion #1: The addition of Brown and Pink paints are great (I really like that the paint cubes are different sizes based on the "value" of the paint). Adding this expansion tends to result in higher overall scores, but since you pull out 7 base tiles, it adds an additional variable to the game set up. Paying attention to what other players are doing does become more important since there are only 7 new tiles that use these colors. At a minimum, keeping track of which cubes are out of the workshop (and “in play”) can be critical. In addition to the tiles, there is an addition to the alter restoration that can be used as a backup plan (if all the pink and/or brown tiles are taken) resulting in a new max score of 21 points if you use 3 brown cubes at the altar. Due to additional visits to the workshop and some additional variety in the tiles, I would estimate that this adds between 5-15 mins to the game.

Image by Leonardo77

Expansion #2: Most of the cards that are added to the portrait gallery provide very good bonuses (with almost all being better than taking 3 coins), but none seems to be overly powerful. Some are certainly better than others, but this adds another important aspect to picking a wake-up time since only the first two players going to the portrait gallery would get first crack at them (note that even if you assign 2 or more workers there, you can only take one card). This expansion does result in more money, paints and VPS entering the game, but they do integrate nicely into the alternative game ending mechanic whereby the game ends after 9 rounds (when the cards run out). I have not done a detailed analysis on the cards yet, but I think the cards get progressively better from the "A" group to the "C" group. In a 4-player games it is certainly possible that all the Fresco tiles are gone from the Cathedral earlier than the 9th round, but as mentioned above if you combine this with expansion #1, the alter still provides an ability to score a significant amount of final round VPs (albeit, without the timing concern of Fresco tiles being taken before you get there). Other than flipping up two new cards each turn and letting player know what they are, this part seems to add very little to the game length.

Image by toob

Expansion #3: If you are able to get 3 Fresco tiles, you can trade them in for a Request tile that gives you, a small amount of VPs and 1 coin and 1 basic paint at the end of each round (except the final). Effectively resulting in an exchange of 2 coins for a basic paint each round. Not bad, but remember that every 2 coins equals a VP at the end of the game while unused paint cubes are not worth anything. The real benefit of the Request tiles is when you can get 3 Fresco tiles that use the same blended paint (Green, Orange or Purple). This allows you to trade them in for a Request tile that provides you a blended paint at the end of each round allowing more options in the Cathedral. When combined with Expansion #1, this could be a great combo to get to the Brown and Pink paints more efficiently. Since the VPs on these tiles do get slightly better worse from top to bottom, it can be important to pay attention to what Fresco tiles other players have and if you are planning to trade in a set of three of a color that someone else may also trade in, going later earlier in turn order may provide a slight benefit. I have seen players able to get two of these tiles (giving them two blended paints per round) but not 3 yet (9 Fresco tiles would be needed. It also seems very difficult that any of the bottom blended paint Request tiles would be obtainable since it would require 9 Fresco tiles using the same blended color). This expansion does not seem to add much time to the game except for the need to forgo mixing actions of one worker for the exchange.

Overall, I am very happy with these expansions and think they each add some additional depth and enjoyment to the game. Although I will likely always play with all 3 of them together in future games, I do like the modular aspect of them allowing groups to add less than all for a different gaming experience and complexity level (although all are relatively easy in terms of game play).
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Bob Hansen
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Nice review. So far we have only played the basic game in our house. We will be pushing these expansions soon. I really like the sound of the extra paints expansion. It adds a whole new level to the game.
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Randolph Bookman
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Kas

How does this game compare to say Stone Age? Is it along that level or is it a lighter game. I bought it, but now I'm worried it's going to be too light for my gaming group.


 
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KAS
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shieldwolf wrote:
Kas

How does this game compare to say Stone Age? Is it along that level or is it a lighter game. I bought it, but now I'm worried it's going to be too light for my gaming group.


Stone Age is a good comparison in my opinion. It has some similar elements (i.e. building huts vs. paining Fresco tiles, gathering resources vs. getting paints) and with the expansions I think it has about the same amount of weight. There is no ongoing pressure of feeding like there is in Stone Age, but the mood adjustment mechanic does add a nice level of required upkeep (competing with 4 actions vs. 5-6 would be very difficult). It may certainly be too light for some groups but I think there is enough decisions to keep it interesting for its length. I also thought that it was possible to play without the 2nd larger screen, but I think it would most likely result in the game outlasting it enjoyment due to the additional AP it would create. I have not played it with 2 players, but it does scale well with 3-4.

If you have a chance to play it, I would certainly recommend at least a try (with expansions if possible).
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Randolph Bookman
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I haven't read the rules yet, but I did notice 2 screens. What's the difference.


gets here on Friday so looks like I'll play it at least onece.
 
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Inno Van
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The smaller screen is used to program your workers for the turn. Everyone places their small workers on their own mat, then once everyone has done this, they're all removed at once to reveal how many workers each player is sending to each venue.

The second, larger screen is used to hide your paint cubes and money.
 
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KAS
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Innovan wrote:
The smaller screen is used to program your workers for the turn. Everyone places their small workers on their own mat, then once everyone has done this, they're all removed at once to reveal how many workers each player is sending to each venue.

The second, larger screen is used to hide your paint cubes and money.
Yeah. When I first read the rules, I thought, similar to Stone Age and other similar games, why are the larger screens needed at all, but I can only assume that they play tested the game without them and the added AP became too much.
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Evgeni Liakhovich
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kneumann wrote:

Since the VPs on these tiles do get slightly better from top to bottom,


Reading the rules, I think this works the other way around:

Place all paint pieces beside the game board.
Sort the 12 request tiles by type and place them face
up on the spaces of the workshop. Of each type the tile
with the lowest number is placed first, the other ones
on top of it in ascending order.


So the tiles get worse top to bottom. These "diminishing value bonuses" are pretty common in games and I think it works better that way.
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KAS
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Yep, had that backwards. The scary part is that I played it correctly a few times but in our most recent game we set it up backwards so that is what I remembered when I wrote this. At least I got it correct in my summary sheet I posted in the file section . Thanks
 
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Inno Van
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We were stacking these wrong also. Highest value on top for the Bishop Request expansion will make it much more interesting!
 
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Inno Van
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The Bishop's Expansion played correctly is much improved! With the tiles arranged with the highest value on top and the lowest value on bottom, it now resembles the race for points in Thurn and Taxis.

I'll also note that the 24 point tile in the Advanced Colors expansion can only be used to fulfill the low scoring General Request tile in the Bishop's Expansion --probably to avoid runaway leader syndrome.
 
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