Tabletop Game Review – Atelier: The Painter’s Studio

 

Atelier: The Painter’s Studio by AEG
Price: ~$30.00
Players:
2 to 4
Playtime:
30 to 45 minutes
Perfect for:
Players looking for a light/introductory resource allocation and engine building game

Atelier: The Painter’s Studio is a game of paints and paintings. Players use their available actions strategically to send their students out for the colors necessary to create art, and these creations help unlock new abilities as well as score points to win the game. Before discussing the gameplay, here’s a quick summary of the theme from the publisher, AEG:

Take on the role of an artist managing an atelier, or art studio, during the 19th century. Roll dice, manage your assistants, collect needed paint, and complete famous works of art. Will you be a prolific artist completing many works for your patrons, or will you be known for just a few masterpieces that stand the test of time?

To begin Atelier: The Painter’s Studio, all players begin with a player board that helps organize collected paint and dice actions. Each person also receives a secret patron card noting how the player can score bonus points at the end of the game for fulfilling various objectives or finishing paintings of a particular type. At the beginning of a round, players roll four dice. The values of the die rolled indicate the actions the player can take on their turn. For example, with a 1 or 2, a player can place a student at a paint pile of a chosen color. This is important because a dice of roll of 4 allows an individual to collect paint from every color pile where they have a majority. A round consists of players playing each dice one at a time to perform the action of their choosing.

RELATED: Tabletop Game Review – Colors of Paris

Players do have the option of trading in dice for inspiration which can later be spent for other various actions, some of which mirror dice actions. For example, a die with a value of 5 can be used to paint a painting, as can spending two inspiration tokens (provided the player has procured the correct paints). All paintings have a score which contributes to the player’s total at the end of the game. Some paintings, after completed, allow players to take bonus actions either immediately or under certain conditions at the for the duration of play. Other paintings, designated as masterpieces, require more paint to complete, but are worth more points. The endgame is triggered when a player completes three masterpieces, and the person with the most cumulative points wins.

What works in Atelier: The Painter’s Studio is its airiness that allows new players great exposure to the basic mechanics of strategic resource allocation and engine building. The dice rolling system adds just a drop of luck into the proceedings, and it also helps further confine a set of limited options meaning less chance of new players getting overwhelmed. The simplicity in the proceedings means that people can learn some tabletop basics within the appropriately fun theme of artistic endeavor.

Players who are seeking a more advanced application of resource allocation mechanics may not enjoy Atelier: The Painter’s Studio as much as others. The rules and application are intentionally basic compared to other titles, so a group of seasoned players many want to seek out a game with a bit more complexity. Furthermore, players should note that under the “right” circumstances, a person can acquire a combination of paintings with complementary abilities enabling them to become an unstoppable score-generating powerhouse. That could make things….entertaining…but really for only one player.

Atelier: The Painter’s Studio is great introductory game for young or new players look to learn some fundamentals and basics of tabletop gaming. There’s likely not enough heft for regular gamers, but it will certainly provide enjoyment for families and those beginning to dabble further into the pastime.

Recommended if you like: My First Scythe, Little Town

Final Grade: B+

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Fox Troilo

Fox serves as an entertainment journalist in the Washington, D.C. When not covering cinematic news for LRM, he critiques films as a member of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Fox also has a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Strategy from Indiana University Bloomington.

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