Rococo – Having a Ball, Preparing for The Ball
What if I told you a game had Deck building, resource management, worker placement and area control? You would probably think that some new designer was trying to cram all of the best mechanics into one game. Well what if I told you the designer was Mathias Kramer? Maybe you would re-consider? Some how this game brings all of these mechanics together in one fluid game that truly reflects the theme of preparing for the biggest ball being thrown by Louis XV yet. You are in charge of directing your employees (the deck) to gather material, lace or thread (the resources), make dresses (victory points and money), place them on the board (area control), purchase decorations (area control, victory points), purchase fireworks (score multipliers), hire new employees (build your deck), gain the favor of the queen or go serve the royal court (money).
It may seem like a lot is going on but it all makes an amazing amount of thematic sense and is easy to learn. After the first turn my wife and I were just clicking along. Trying to hire the employees with the best extra actions to help our plans (available employees change every turn) and gather the needed resources to build the available dresses.
The game starts with each player having five employee cards of which they pick three to play in the first round. That’s right this is a deck builder with out a random draw. You know what cards are going to be in your hand. You have to cycle through all you cards before re-using one a second time but part of the strategy is gathering the cards at the right time. The employees are then able to perform different tasks available based on their rank of Master, Journeyman or Apprentice. The different colored materials are purchased by using an employees action and paying the money required. When the correct material is in hand you may use a Master or a Journeyman to construct a dress which can then be sold to increase your money or put on display in one of the halls at the ball for victory points and area control. The Halls are scored at the end of the game and are based on majorities of dresses produced and placed by the players. Decorations and fireworks are purchased by players and some provide in game benefits such as increased income. Decorations purchased in the halls also provide additional tie breakers if needed. The fireworks add a multiplier to the players that purchased them and placed a dress in the King’s hall on the top of the board.
Rococo/Rokoko: This is a great game. Plenty of strategy and tons of options. The worker placement has a different way of blocking than your usual worker placement game. Instead of blocking an action that can be taken by another player you are taking resources that they possible need to make a dress. The area control of the different halls and the purchasing of the decoration all give so many ways to plan your strategy, yet it never seems overwhelming. Don’t let the theme discourage you. If I hadn’t seen Rohdo’s Great Video (see below) I don’t think I would have ever purchased a game about dress making. Overall this is a great game that will provide lots or replay-ability and thoughtful fun. On a side note, if you have a female you are trying to get into gaming, what a better way than trashing the Sci-fi or the fantasy theme and playing a game about fashion.
[edit: I was thinking of this last night and I thought why was this game so much fun with my wife? Then it hit me! This was a game that was complex enough for me to give my full effort to and not feel like I was attacking my wife. Often in heavier games if you really get to clicking you can smash you opponent but here that doesn’t happen. It is deep enough to challenge the most serious gamer but the mechanics are simple enough that a light gamer can get moving in the game quickly. My wife is a person that enjoys playing games because my daughter and I are having fun. She is not a “gamer” by choice but by circumstance and marriage. She did however crush me 59 to 38. If you have a wife/girlfriend/female you are trying to get to play heavier games this is a must buy.]
Suggested Movie: Madame De Pompadour: The King’s Favourite or Dangerous Liaisons. Both feature overblown fashion and feature balls reminiscent of the one in the game.
What Movie do you suggest? Let me know in the comments below.
Game Type: Euro, Deck Builder, Area Control
Ages: 12 and up
Size: Standard Square
Me – 10 (I loved this game. I will be asking to play it again and again)
My Wife – 8.5 (Really enjoyed the game. Will ask to play again. Enjoyed the level of difficulty, deep strategy without melting your brain. Enjoyed hiring employees, collecting the resources and planning your strategy)
Daughter – Did not play but was disappointed when she found out she miss out on playing.
AVERAGE SCORE – 9.25
Rahdo’s Run Through: