Bob Ross’ iconic TV program “The Joy of Painting” is all about the calming delight that can come from taking time out and painting. Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game tries to capture this feeling in a family-friendly board game. Relax as you create gorgeous landscapes together. You too can paint almighty pictures.
"You too can Paint Almighty Pictures."
Each artist gets a paint palette and a range of art supplies. Place a painting card on the little easel and you are good to go. Fully leaning into its theme, the person who gets to go first in Bob Ross: Art of Chill is the one who painted a picture most recently.
You win the game by being the first person to hit maximum Chill. The whole game is pitched towards Bob Ross’ ambience of tranquillity and peace. Each painting card has got features on it that are recognisable from Ross’ TV show, such as, Fluffy Clouds and Happy Little Trees.
You earn Chill Points for collecting the correct paints and implements to complete each element of the painting. Bob is painting at the same time as you and, as he moves along the Bob Track, he paints various Features. If he gets there first, you lose potential bonus points. Then, when he has completed the whole picture, the painting on your easel changes. At that point you start a whole new picture. Despite the overall calm feeling of the game, this is where a very mild element of jeopardy is added. If the new picture uses a different range of colours to last one, all your strategy can go out the window.
"There's Nothing Wrong with Having a Tree as a Friend."
Each turn you roll the dice and then take your turn. The dice either gives you a bonus turn or makes you draw a Chill Card. Chill Cards add conditions and bonuses to each round and advance Bob along the Bob Track. On your turn, you get to do one of the following actions:
- Draw an Art Supplies Card
- Apply Paint to Your Palette
- Wash Your Palette
- Sweep away the Art Supplies Cards
- Earn a Technique Card
- Paint a Feature
Art Supplies Card gain you the paints and brushes you need to complete the painting. These need to be placed on your Palette in order to paint a Feature. You have to be careful placing the paints onto your Palette, because if you mix the wrong colours together, you have to wash everything away. You keep collecting Art Supplies and painting Features until someone reaches maximum Chill. That person is the winner, though, as the rules tell you, when playing a Bob Ross game, Everyone’s a winner!
"That's a Crooked Tree. We'll Send Him to Washington."
Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game is the kind of game that I would refer to as a “Palette Cleanser”. In our gaming group, people tend to get very involved in games and this can mean we need something low energy and low-stakes to break the tension afterwards. At the minute, we use Takenoko and Dixit to calm people down before we return to something very competitive. Bob Ross: The Art of Chill definitely falls into the same category. Moving at a gentle pace, this game is quite cute and requires mild strategy, but nothing too taxing. It is engaging enough to get everyone involved, but not so stressful that arguments break out.
It doesn’t affect the gameplay or the strategy, but I wonder how much of the theme would land without a basic knowledge of Bob Ross and his show. The Features all nod to his catchphrases and his face features heavily on the box. The whole thing is clearly aimed at a novelty market, though the game is still entertaining and fun to play.
Whether it is the tree in Everdell or the Birdfeeder in Wingspan, I am a sucker for a game with dinky components. The little easel in this fulfilled that category splendidly. If I was going to use one word to describe this game, it would be cute. The whole thing has a nice, calm tone, the components are amusing and the gameplay is relaxed. There is definitely strategy involved, but I would say it is light strategy. You think a few moves ahead, but the whole thing chugs forward at a leisurely pace. Finding this game was a Happy Little Accident.