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Subject: 20 Questions About Fresco... rss

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The Compulsive Completist
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1) What kind of games do I like?
I like light and medium weight games. My collection consists of games like Dominion, Cosmic Encounter, 7 Wonders, The Resistance and Pandemic. Fresco has a game weight of 2.6.

2) How would I describe Fresco?
A preschool lesson, worker placement blend.

3) What made me get Fresco?
I picked this up in the discount bin at Barnes and Noble. I was familiar with Fresco before and was somewhat intrigued by it, when I saw it for 60% off I took the plunge.

4) What ages is it best for?
The box says 10 and my 11 year old had no problems at all. 10 seems like an accurate low-end age.

5) Is the rulebook clear, concise and beutiful?
I really like the rule book. For the most part it broke things down in sections so it was easy to refer to as needed. I twice ran into a couple issues with rules about the market. The rule book didn't overlook anything but it could have stressed key rules. Maybe with boldface or repetition.

6) How are the components?
Lots of colored cubes that you can find in many games but actually work very well in this game. A green cube wasn't a sheep or a virus or something I had to imagine. A green cub was green. The shields that you put up in front of each player has specific colored drapes that match the carpet player's meeples. Very handy. The tiles all have good heft to them and more than sufficient.

7) Is there much set up time?
There is a bit. Blind draw meeples for turn order, blind draw tiles for the market, blind draw the tiles in the center, divide the currency in three stacks, divide the paint in six piles, place more meeples on the board, pass even more meeples to the players, give out action sheets, give out small screens and give out large screens to each player. For a lighter weight game there seemed to be a lot of "stuff".

8) How is the artwork?
Outstanding! Probably the prettiest game in my collection. Not only is the board beautiful but the inside of the box is also cleverly so.

9) A pretty board does not make a good board, does it?
In this case it does. The board is well thought out. After just one round the board makes sense as you spiral your way around it. It takes what could be six confusing steps and lays them out so they make sense.

10) What else is good about Fresco?
The "waking up" mechanic is awesome. It is very clever...if you want to go first next turn your punishment is the possibility of losing actions and items being more expensive.

11) What is bad about Fresco?
The mechanic is the game's biggest strength but not strong enough to carry the game. The novlety and decision making of it gets a bit tired. The game seems to last 4-5 rounds and 30 minutes too long.

12) Anything else bad?
It is a bit troubling to have the player in last choose their wake up time first. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when a game is so blatantly obvious about leveling itself. It seems like any game could guarantee close finishes using this method. If this were my only complaint about Fresco it could be easily forgiven.

13) How long does a game last?
The box says 60 minutes but ours seem to last 60-90 minutes. About 30-45 minutes too long. It is possible the game just feels that long. Thats no good.

14) Does religion seem to overwhelm the game?
Well, you're working in a Cathedral, dealing with a Bishop and sometimes you're at the altar. I am not a religious person and actually prefer to avoid games with religious themes. Fresco's theme did not put me off and felt more like an art themed game than a religious one.

15) How would I improve the game?
The most obvious thing in my eyes is the "happiness" grid. There seemed to be too much wiggle room where you could chug right along in the even or +1 area. The range should be tighter (-3, -2, -1, E, +1). If you have not played the game this won't make any sense at all. If you have played it probably still isn't clear. Oh well, skip to the next question and we'll act like this never happened.

16) What surprised me the most?
The game mechanics require you to always be planning ahead. It forces you to think 2-4 moves ahead to have any kind of success. Playing Fresco, you never seem to be playing in the present. This can be a great quality in a game. Unfortunately, in the game's final moments we tend to be planning ahead to our next game of something else.

17) How are the expansions?
Three are included and others are available. I have only played with the pink/brown paint expansion so I can't speak for any of the others but it adds more of the same but didn't seem to improve the game any significant amount.

18) Do I recommend Fresco?
I can't say that I can. The game has a clever mechanic and for the first few turns provides a little energy as you try and figure out the best strategy. Newbies get that smile as they discover what they have to give up to get what they need. But midgame on, the smiles fade as Fresco tends to drag and you trudge through the same chores. The game feels like it is one tweak away from being a much better game but it isn't really worth my while to figure out what that tweak might be. If the theme really hits home for your family the game might prove to be a must for your collection. Me? No.

19) Am I just a sour puss who likes to rag on popular games?
Actually, quite the opposite. I typically don't purchase disappointing games because I have researched it enough to know if it will be successful. In fact, most of my reviews are very positive. I have had a few misses (Galaxy Truckers) but far more hits. Like I said earlier, this was picked up in the bargain bin so I grabbed it while I could. Luckily, there was a second game in the bin that has been a huge hit. Look for that review very soon.

20) Where does Fresco rank in my collection?
724 Questions About... (34 Games Reviewed and Ranked!)
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The Dave
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With regards to 17,as someone who has played Fresco over 15 times I have to say the "expansions" included are misnamed. They are actually critical to the design of the game and should never have been labeled as expansions. I fear many gamers try Fresco without these "expansions" and really miss how tight the game is.

I really recommend you give it a go once more with the full game before chucking it.
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Dundy O
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"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
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whattheproblemis wrote:
With regards to 17,as someone who has played Fresco over 15 times I have to say the "expansions" included are misnamed. They are actually critical to the design of the game and should never have been labeled as expansions. I fear many gamers try Fresco without these "expansions" and really miss how tight the game is.

I really recommend you give it a go once more with the full game before chucking it.


I've heard this comment a lot. And It's true.
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Ted Duby
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If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
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whattheproblemis wrote:
With regards to 17,as someone who has played Fresco over 15 times I have to say the "expansions" included are misnamed. They are actually critical to the design of the game and should never have been labeled as expansions. I fear many gamers try Fresco without these "expansions" and really miss how tight the game is.

I really recommend you give it a go once more with the full game before chucking it.


+1000
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whattheproblemis wrote:
With regards to 17,as someone who has played Fresco over 15 times I have to say the "expansions" included are misnamed. They are actually critical to the design of the game and should never have been labeled as expansions. I fear many gamers try Fresco without these "expansions" and really miss how tight the game is.

I really recommend you give it a go once more with the full game before chucking it.


Agreed. Unless you're new into euro/ boardgaming, I can't see playing without all the "expansions". In fact IMO the color expansion seems to add the least gameplay changes.

Without the expansions, waking up early has only a few benefits ( 1st pick of colors and cathedral tiles) at the cost of higher pricing and the risk of losing 1 worker. In reality going last would still potentially get you the colors you need in the future(at a cheaper cost), and rarely would you have a moment where the 1 tile you wanted to go for is completed by a player earlier than you would leave you very crippled.

With the bishop's favors and cards expansions, you now have an incentive to go 1st in a round, thus making choices less obvious and adds more depth to the game.
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Kim Williams
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Thanks for the review. I like your writing style!
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The Compulsive Completist
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It is encouraging to hear that the included expansions have merit and I will definately not give up on the game before trying them out.

Thanks for the feedback.
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James W
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Hockey Mask wrote:
It is encouraging to hear that the included expansions have merit and I will definately not give up on the game before trying them out.

Thanks for the feedback.


They definitely do. Think of Fresco without the 3 extra rules as the Learning variant and Fresco with the 3 extra rules as the actual full game.

Would you ever stop playing a game because the "Beginner's" game wasn't good?

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David B
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I have played with all the expansions. They do add somewhat to the game, but not enough for me out pull the game out anymore than I do, which is about once every couple of months. As long as Fresco is rated above Macao in the rankings, it is overrated.
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Steve Duff
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pfctsqr wrote:
As long as Fresco is rated above Macao in the rankings, it is overrated.


Fresco is where it should be, it's Macao that's criminally under-rated.
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David B
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:
As long as Fresco is rated above Macao in the rankings, it is overrated.


Fresco is where it should be, it's Macao that's criminally under-rated.


Well said
 
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Ethan Larson
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:
As long as Fresco is rated above Macao in the rankings, it is overrated.


Fresco is where it should be, it's Macao that's criminally under-rated. :)


Macao is definitely criminally-underrated.
 
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Pat Nas
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So if I think Macao is a very 'meh' game I will definately not like Fresco?
 
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Steve Duff
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Dragon64 wrote:
So if I think Macao is a very 'meh' game I will definately not like Fresco?


The two games are really nothing alike, so I don't think there's much correlation between liking one and liking the other.
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