Review: Pastiche – famous artists on a plate

Pastiche - packaging

You got painting palette for Christmas. You cherish with love individual wells for colors and imagine, what the impossible, they will allow you to do. Once you fill it up and make a variety of the colors, nothing suddenly is an obstacle for you. You can go anywhere, your fantasy takes you. Just a few strokes and you’re there. In a world on canvas.

This beautiful and elegant colorful life on the easel is now moving into your living room. You do not have to worry, that you will get your carpet or hands dirty. This time it is the pure fun, that will widen your horizons. Get ready for a flood of works of art..

Floodgates are opened by board game , which was released for the first time in , but it still deserves our attention and focus. Its author is , graphic design was provided by Pixel Productions. Main component of the graphic are works of art from famous painters, which was provided in printable form by Bridgeman Art Library in New York.

Pastiche - game is ready

Game was published by originally in America, but game arrived also on our old continent. Its thanks to Fred Distribution company. With us you can get a glimpse of how Pastiche plays.

Box is for its smaller size (approximately landscape A4) surprisingly heavy. What is cause of this weight? Certainly not rules, although brochure with many languages is quite thick. Rules themselves are written basically in English, but they are not long and contain also full-page examples of gameplay. It is currently one of the best prepared of rules, we have ever seen. But its also true, that the game is really easy in its basics to play. Learning to play Pastiche with them is an absolute breeze.

Under instructions, there is a game board hidden, folded in half. But it did not really serves for actual playing, but instead as a reservoir for available painting colors. It has perfect shape of painting palette with a total of seventeen colors on it! And yes, they will all be avaialable to you as well!

Pastiche - game is ready

You’ll need a fairly extensive pile of cards with colored spots to populate it. There is seventeen species of them and altogether make up for a deck of 132 cards. Apart from English name, you will find also its point value at the top of the card, which you get at the end of the game.

But now, it is important to mention further division of colors, which are not obvious at first glance, although they are very important. Pastiche divides colors into primary (red, yellow and blue, all are worth 4 points), secondary (orange, green, purple and brown, each with only one point value), tertiaries (such as olive or purple bring you two points), shadows (white and black are three point cards and gray counts for six) and we also have to mention the last one – four points bisque. Distribution of colors is based on how you can mix them together – out of two or three primary color components.

In addition to these paint cards, there are also several hexagonal tiles with seven colored spots on them. One on each of peak and last in the middle. All these colors are only primary and you create others by mixing them together. One tile made of three such pieces serves for start of the game.

Pastiche - game is ready

And now we are left only with famous paintings, we discussed earlier. These are the main reason for weight of whole box, because these 34 cards are made of solid, thick cardboard. On every card, one painitng is drawn, and contains not only its original name, but also author, year of origin and place, where you can find it. In the upper right corner, there is point value received, when you can gather and sacrifice all the necessary colors. These are, of course, also present on these cards individually even with their name, so also color-blind person can play this colorful game.

It would already seem, that we do not need anything else to play. And that’s quite right. But guys from production company went further into the game and added wooden easels! Two for each player. These are typical wooden tripods, where you keep unfinished paintings hidden from your opponent, but easily visible to you. Players will appreciate also cards with hints, which suggest all possible color combinations and their result.

Now we finally worked through to preparation, which is actually very simple. Players lay a starting tri-hexagonal piece in the middle of the table, all the others hexes are shuffled and put aside. Each player gets two random ones for himself. You spread variety of individual color cards on the game board. You also get few basic color cards in the beginning. Board must be put on the side as there has to be lot of free space for hex building in the middle of the table. We recommend not to hold color cards in hand, but put them on the table, because there is no reason to keep them as a secret from opponents. And you have also much better oversight.

Pastiche - game in progress

Now we have all the players involved take a pair of stands and randomly draw their two initial contract. Actually, until now, we have not realized, that game can be seen also as counterfeiters faking famous paintings! And maybe collect victory for them! Super!

The other paintings create drawing supply, but also public menu made of four cards. With this gallery, players can swap their orders, on which they have no interest on participate and they got it by random drawing (at the beginning or during the game). Individual images vary according to points, but also in direct proportion to difficulty.

Pastiche has very simple gameplay. At the beginning of your turn, you always take one of two hex tiles and place it in the center of the ever growing game plan. Rotation and the position is up to you, the piece must simply touch one or more tiles already lying there.

Pastiche - game in progress

And here comes a key strategic task for each of the players. Placing the piece corresponds to mixing colors for your studio, where you will be able to use them. You simply always combine basic colors of your hex with its neighbors on the table, equipping you usually with exactly two secondary colors. For example, blue and yellow comes out as green, while combination of red and blue will bring purple.

But usually you can get even one tertiary color, the place where three hexagon peaks meet. Here, you combine adjacent colors of three dots. A combination always creates some special color, which could be otherwise very uneasy to obtain. As an example, we will need red + yellow + blue to make a brown.

From each of these colors, you obtain one card from the palette board and place it in front of you. As an exception remains situation, when you attach two equally colored dots. In such a situation, you will not get anything (!), because primary colors can only be obtained otherwise. So watch out, how you place your hexes. To get a primary color (red, yellow or blue) you have to sacrifice an entire hex tile and instead of classic color combinations, you take one base according to stain, which is printed in the middle of the hexagon.

Pastiche - game in progress

Once you’ve bagged some new colors, you can trade them to get another. Some colors are rarer, because you can not mix them with three basics – of course we’re talking about black, white, gray and beige. You just have to get them in exchange for three other color cards. With an exception of gray, for which you need to combine (give up) black and white.

Besides trading with palette, you can also arrange business with any of the rivals. Because they all have their colors openly lying ahead, you can directly speak your wishes and offer them something in return. Sometimes such interjections are really mutually beneficial and the players will appreciate it.

It is also thsi particular time, when you can replace one of your contracts with gallery. Simply take your current painting off the stand, place it in the menu and take one of those images for yourself instead. Yes, rivals will know, what you’re painting, but you might have better and easier task. So can sometimes tactically use this option to gain points quickly, if you do not draw correct colors for your orders.

Pastiche - paintings

The most important option is to paint the picture. Just announce, that you managed to gather colors, show your opponents and return cards according to painting back to bank. When all the needed colors are back on the palette, you rest your finished painting in front of you and take one random new from the pile (not the gallery!).

At the end of each round, you can have only up to eight color cards in front of you. So it’s good to use them, when you can, to exchange them for others. Then you can draw only one new six-piece and pass an imaginary paintbrush to another player.

The game ends after the specified number of points has been gathered by any of the players. It differs with numbers of opponents involved in a match and you simply get score by adding point values of paintings. Once one player reaches this level, you must finish one last round, so all players have same number of rounds. Then points obtained for images are added with points for colors of unfinished paintings (cards in hand, which can be used) and collectible bonus for multiple images from a single author. Then it is easy to determine the winner with the highest number of points.

Pastiche - cards

Pastiche is a visual feast for your eyes. That’s good, because when the game is dealing with such a sensitive topic such as art, it should itself be flirting with perfection. And this game at least in terms of processing definitely thrives. And what are our impressions regarding gameplay?

If something really gets to you, it’s color mixing. Is treated with absolute ease and after several moves, it passes into your blood. The game teaches you to know all the combinations of colors and their results, which can be also used in everyday life. Moreover, there is a lot of fun in way colored dots combine.

Plenty of places to put your hex gives you a good workout. Best place is rarely seen at a glance, so you have to watch and look carefully. But then your opponent takes it for himself, and you can search all over again. You can encounter occasional longer turns of the players in the game, especially if you play with thoughtful and careful opponent.

Pastiche - paintings

But everything else is excellent. Even if you are assigned with a random bad contract, which does not suit you, you can replace it with the gallery. Just randomly drawn pieces sometimes can thwart your plans, but you can work on two images simultaneously. If you’re unable to combine colors for one, you can usually find a way to use the piece in favor of another.

The only significant deficiency Pastiche has is a small degree of interaction. The entire game takes place in several parts of the table, but players do not interfere with each other. They can not spoil painting endeavors of others and winner will be decided simply by the ability to be the best in combining colors. But that is certainly not a bad thing, when you look at it right.

On the contrary, scoring is excellently solved. Although the game can end just before you can complete the picture, you get points for it. Respectively for the colors, you already have and you can use to complete it. And because value of the resulting painting is sum of the point values of all the necessary colors, its not a problem, you have not finished it by the end. Only those authors bonuses were not popular with us. They add uncertainty to the game and we played without them.

Pastiche - game is ready

Pastiche is an excellent strategy game, that really makes a thoughtful addition to your art collection. Its offering entertainment in the form of paintings and eye candy in terms of processing. Pastiche is perfect for all, who love colors, their combinations and thinking. Thoughtful, elegant and fun.Pastiche is a feast for the eyes as well as for tactical spirit.

DesignerSean MacDonald
ArtistJean Frédéric Bazille, Sandro Botticelli, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Winslow Homer, Édouard Manet, Franz Marc, Claude Monet, Raphael (I), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Gerard ter Borch, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Rogier van der Weyden, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Diego Velázquez, Johannes Vermeer
PublisherEagle-Gryphon Games, Pegasus Spiele
Year Published2011
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(29 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages10 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(14 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(12 voters)
CategoryEducational, Renaissance
MechanicHand Management, Open Drafting, Pattern Building, Set Collection, Tile Placement, Trading
ExpansionPastiche: Expansion Pack #1, Pastiche: Expansion Pack #2, Pastiche: First Edition Commission Cards, Petite Pastiche: Extra Commissions #1, Petite Pastiche: Extra Commissions #2, Petite Pastiche: Extra Commissions #3
FamilyComponents: Hexagonal Tiles, Misc: Mensa Select, Series: Family Games (Gryphon Games), Theme: Art, Theme: Fine Art and Art Museums, Theme: Painting / Paintings
Primary NamePastiche
Alternate NamesPetite Pastiche

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Pastiche – famous artists on a plate
Final word
Pastiche is a beautiful family strategy game, which excels by unique processing of all gaming parts. Game is about painting images and it can intrigue everybody regardless of age and interests. Your basic instrument during the whole match is a color pallette. And its almost a real one, because game board is made in its shape. This is, where you get all your colors from. All shades can be created using triplet of basic colours, which is here in a form of putting one new hex to already placed ones. Players have therefore perfect control over colors, they mix and get. To complete your commissions, you need a strictly given amount of specified colors and once you play them, you get the points for finished painting. Match is quick, full of tactical decisions and contains almost no secrets among rivals. Yes, it can be slower due to analysis-paralysis, but you have to choose your opponents more carefully. Only paintings are hidden and for your eyes only, until finished, standing on beautiful wooden stands. So if you are looking for a little untraditional, but still strategic game, which will capture attention even of less experienced players, then Pastiche is your perfect choice.
Reader Rating0 Votes
excellently trains color perception
beautiful paintings of famous artists
elegant and addictive gameplay
variable game
players can trade with each other
strategy and a bit of luck
stands for paintings
higher price (but beautiful materials)
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