Colors of Paris is a game from Super Meeple and being brought to the U.S. by Luma Imports. Players are taking part in the “Bateau Lavoir”, a competition between painters in an artist workshop in Montmartre, Paris. Will you follow in the footsteps of some of Paris’ most famous artists?
Before we even sat down to play this game at Origins 2019, I was attracted to the theme and concept of Colors of Paris. There are some great painting games on the market already such as Starving Artist, Bob Ross: The Art of Chill, Fresco and the art gallery curating game The Gallerist. So what can Colors of Paris do to stand apart from the competition but also encourage the whole family to pick up our paint brushes?
Players start the game with a very well made recessed played board, 3 primary color pigments and 3 artist meeples in their player color. Colors of Paris is primarily a worker placement game centered on a rondel that has two layers of actions. Players will drop their painter meeples onto this central board to gain paint pigments, draft a canvas to paint, mix paints for additional colors and more.
The real serious actions are found in the center of the board and that’s when the game goes from a friendly night of painting to a no holds barred artist throw down. The center of the board allows players to take the action of another painter meeple, take the first player token, receive a wild pigment color or control the rotation of the rondel. In turn order, players place meeples, then take their actions, then the rondel moves one turn to the right. If a player has chosen the space controlling this turning of the rondel, they can chose to turn the rondel 2 spaces or no spaces at all. Taking this space at the right time gives a player a lot of control and forces others to play offensively.
At the end of the round, players are allowed to leave a single artist meeple on the board. As the game plays out, players will use this to their advantage as they plan one move ahead of everyone else. More competitive players will find the right actions to get what they need and keep other players from advancing their painting.
Colors of Paris have great set of restrictions that keep players adjusting their strategy throughout the game. At the end of the round, players have to discard down to 12 color pigments which feels very restrictive as the game progresses. Spaces on the rondel can sometimes only allow one painter meeple to take the action while others can allow up to three meeples on that action.
Painting for Points
While the goal of the game is to complete two paintings, there’s also a variety of other ways to get points. Turning in 3 secondary colors allow players to create a black pigment which is worth 6 victory points at the end of the game. Upgrading your three primary actions also allows you to earn 6 victory points or 10 victory points for maxing out that action. Players can forgo the 6 victory points to earn an additional painter which really gives you a lot more freedom.
So what makes Colors of Paris my new go-to painting game? I really like the weight of the game play. I never felt overwhelmed while learning the game but there were plenty of ways to earn points and build a strategy. It’s not a light-weight game but it still feels really good for families that have kids that are familiar with gaming.
The components and overall quality of the game is very good. I love the recessed player boards and the painter meeples are excellent. During an average game, you will feel the tension of not getting the action you need while pigment cubes pile up. The game feels like a puzzle at times where performing the right actions in the right sequence make you feel like a pro.
I guess the only critique I have revolves around the how we look back at the artists of this time period. Colors of Paris comes with painter cards of 8 painters, some of which most people know like Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. One side of the card is just the artist and the other side gives you an asymmetric ability during the game.
The first time my daughter sat down to play, she immediately recognized this lack of diversity asking “Where are the girl artists?” It offered a great learning opportunity for us to talk about art history and look at minorities that contributed to the art culture during this time. A quick search online shows that there are some incredible artists who are women and people of color that don’t get the attention they deserve. Some of these studied or moved to Paris or had their art on display in France. I really would have loved to see the designer take the opportunity to educate gamers on some artists that didn’t have the immediate name recognition.
Colors of Paris does a great job of bringing game mechanics together along with enough tension to keep players engaged. I’m a big fan of the artwork on the cards and each of the components in the game. After becoming a professional painter, players can introduce “bonus cards” and the asymmetric painter abilities. Colors of Paris is the medium-weight art game that I’ve been waiting to add to my game shelf.
Visit your local game store to order Colors of Paris or preorder it on Miniature Market.
Luma Imports provided us with a retail copy of Colors of Paris for this review. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game.
- Excellent components across the board
- Lots of opportunities to score points in the game
- Always changing board keeps players engaged
- Bonus cards and painter abilities add additional depth
- Artist cards lack diversity
- Sometimes it can be a fight to get the actions you need