Few things are as chill as Bob Ross painting happy little trees or styling a charming cabin next to a body of water. Bob was the pioneer of public television tutorials and inspired generations of artists. When my friend Ric told me that Bob Ross: The Art of Chill was one of his top 5 games of 2017, I struggled to take him seriously. Does this 2017 release from Big G Creative paint a beautiful portrait or does it feel like a toddler’s finger painting?
After making fun of Ric for a couple days, I had to find out why he enjoyed this game so much. Our family had seen the game at our local Target for months but wondered if the game was any good. Ric taught us how to play the game, we got the kids involved and just days later had to purchase this great game.
A Palette of Fun
In Bob Ross: The Art of Chill, players are collecting paint colors and tools in order to complete an element of one of Bob’s iconic paintings. Paint colors are represented on cards in the middle of the table. These cards each have a color and a paint brush type and are played onto a player’s paint palette in front of them to be used. Players get to take 3 actions on their turn in any combination they want, which can allow them to get more paint, add it to their canvas, or complete a portion of the painting.
As players paint different elements of Bob’s painting, they earn points based on the number of different colors used. They can also earn bonuses if they paint an item before other players or the afroed master himself. These bonus points are really valuable and definitely worth paying attention to.
Bob Ross: The Art of Chill has a die that we lovingly refer to as the “Bob die” which is rolled at the start of each player’s turn. This can give players a bonuses like extra actions or cards, or it can give Bob the chance to paint. Whenever the die lands on a side that features that iconic afro, a card is drawn from the ‘Chill’ deck. These cards always feature a lovable quote from Bob himself, as well as some instructions that change the rules, always to the benefit of players. This could include giving bonus points for using certain colors to paint, or allowing all players to draw an extra card. In most cases, the little wooden Bob token will also move across the bottom of the easel, signifying his work towards completing the painting. When Bob comes to the end of the track, a new painting comes out onto the easel.
You can even earn points by turning in pairs of cards to earn Technique cards. This gives you an immediate 2 points along with a bonus point each time that paint or brush type is used in your painting. There’s enough going on with this game to keep everyone engaged while not being overwhelming to new players.
Players score points and climb up the “Chill” meter to be the first player to 30 chill points.
Happy Little Gamers (and Trees)
I was really impressed with this game and how family friendly it is. The game is easy to teach and we’ve had some great times playing with friends, family and co-workers. Players should know coming in that Bob Ross isn’t going to be a deep gaming experience. This game delivers a casual and pretty chill experience. There are no “take that” mechanics, and most of the game revolves around making the best of the situation you find yourself in.
This is an easy set collection game that has some fun elements that I’ve really enjoyed. Because of the die rolls, sometimes paintings change quickly or sit on the easel for a couple rotations around the table. This element of the game keeps players guessing as to when a round will end. Do you have enough time to collect those last two paints? Is it worth it if you can’t get bonus points? This mild amount of tension never leaves you frustrated but adds some challenge to the game.
Bob Ross: The Art of Chill captures the iconic paintings and gives players a unique experience that is a lot of fun. We’ve played at least half a dozen times and still haven’t seen all the great paintings included in the game. I’ve got to admit that I didn’t give this game the credit it deserved when Ric shared his love for the game last year.
Bob Ross: The Art of Chill has lots of charm with a small learning curve for new players. This game is more than a nostalgia trip for people who grew up watching Bob. This is a legitimately good game that was a welcome addition to our family game shelf. Gather your family and friends, ready those brushes and let’s get chill.
Another Look from Ric White
I purchased Bob Ross: The Art of Chill almost as a joke. Yet after a few plays, I realized that while the game is having fun with its inspiration, it really has a solid set of mechanics underneath. Players won’t just win by chance – you need to have a solid strategy to ensure that you’re gathering the right colors and brushes to paint each section. You have to manage your time correctly to ensure the maximum number of points. But at the same time, the strategy is very obvious and any player can figure it out, so there’s not going to be much of a difference between a veteran and inexperienced player beyond how they treat little details, like the Technique cards. As a result, almost anyone can win, and even if you don’t, you won’t be too sore about it. I think players are going to come for the nostalgia, but they’ll stick around for the solid, light, family-friendly gameplay.
You can pick up Bob Ross: The Art of Chill at your local Target store or order it though Amazon today.
- Beautiful paintings
- Big G Creative does a great job with the Bob Ross license
- Great casual game for kids and adults
- Simple to teach and easy gameplay loop
- Avoid playing with people who agonize over decisions
- Casual gameplay may not be what some gamers are looking for