Canvas

Canvas

RRP: £47.49
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RRP £47.49
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Canvas is a beautiful game about making beautiful paintings. In Canvas, you are a painter competing to win an art contest. What makes it unique is the use of sleeves and transparent cards to create a unique painting. Players start with 3 sleeved background cards and over the course of the game will gain art cards from a central display. Often they will need to pay for the cards they…
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Tags , , SKU ZKFOVER-CANVAS01 Availability 3+ in stock
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Canvas is a beautiful game about making beautiful paintings.

In Canvas, you are a painter competing to win an art contest. What makes it unique is the use of sleeves and transparent cards to create a unique painting. Players start with 3 sleeved background cards and over the course of the game will gain art cards from a central display. Often they will need to pay for the cards they want by placing inspiration tokens on the cards they skip. The end card is always free.

On your turn, you will either take an art card and any inspiration on it or make a painting. You can have a maximum of 5 art cards in hand, so if you hit that max you must make a painting. To make a painting you take exactly three of your art cards and arrange them in the order you want. The art cards are transparent apart from some sort of painted element (part of a landscape or an object), a title, and some icons on the bottom. Once arranged you slip them into one of the sleeved background cards creating your art, title and all!

You are aiming to have icons showing in a way that scores you the most points. However, some may be covered up unless you place them on top. But then you might be covering other icons you want! You will then score your painting against the 5 scoring objectives. Each one awards a ribbon for each time you achieve that goal. So if a goal requires two triangles and you have four, you would take two ribbons as you have achieved it twice. At the end, the ribbons score points according to the table at the bottom of their goal card. It’s a simple game that perfectly meshes theme and gameplay, in a way not often seen, With its clever use of transparent cards and sleeves it is a winner for showing off the hobby while having a ruddy good time!

Awards

Dice Tower

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Fantastic production with interesting art
  • Lots of variety for scoring variations
  • Can be mounted on the wall like a real piece of art

Might Not Like

  • The artwork irrelevant to the game
  • Not much depth of strategy
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Description

Canvas is a beautiful game about making beautiful paintings.

In Canvas, you are a painter competing to win an art contest. What makes it unique is the use of sleeves and transparent cards to create a unique painting. Players start with 3 sleeved background cards and over the course of the game will gain art cards from a central display. Often they will need to pay for the cards they want by placing inspiration tokens on the cards they skip. The end card is always free.

On your turn, you will either take an art card and any inspiration on it or make a painting. You can have a maximum of 5 art cards in hand, so if you hit that max you must make a painting. To make a painting you take exactly three of your art cards and arrange them in the order you want. The art cards are transparent apart from some sort of painted element (part of a landscape or an object), a title, and some icons on the bottom. Once arranged you slip them into one of the sleeved background cards creating your art, title and all!

You are aiming to have icons showing in a way that scores you the most points. However, some may be covered up unless you place them on top. But then you might be covering other icons you want! You will then score your painting against the 5 scoring objectives. Each one awards a ribbon for each time you achieve that goal. So if a goal requires two triangles and you have four, you would take two ribbons as you have achieved it twice. At the end, the ribbons score points according to the table at the bottom of their goal card. It’s a simple game that perfectly meshes theme and gameplay, in a way not often seen, With its clever use of transparent cards and sleeves it is a winner for showing off the hobby while having a ruddy good time!

Player count: 1-5
Time: 30 minutes
Age: 14+

Canvas Components

I am no artist. I don’t go to gallery openings; I don’t even think I own a polo neck sweater. But here I am with a copy of Canvas on my wall. What? On my wall? Yes! This is a game that seriously leans into its theme hard. To the point, there is a hangar on the back of the box so you hang it on the wall. Lovely.

Must I Paint You A Picture

Canvas is an art-themed set collection game for 1-5 players where players will be building up paintings from cards that you draft from a central store. Once you’ve got this painting completed, you’ll score points depending on which icons you’ve got on the bottom of your painting. The twist is that these cards are made from see-through plastic and the order in which you stack them is to form your painting matters. Some cards may cover up icons you don’t want, or worse cover up the ones you do want. It’s a clever little puzzle that have you trying to work out the optimum ordering of your cards when you’re making a painting.

So, to back up. At the beginning of the game, each player is given a few ‘inspiration tokens’. There is a row of 5 art cards laid out on top of a lovely canvas playing mat. On your turn you can pick up a picture card or make a painting. If you’re picking up a picture card you get the first card for free, but if you want a different card you need to drop an inspiration token on each card you’ve skipped. Any tokens on the card you pick up go into your supply.

Also, on this playmat are 4 scoring cards. These will dictate the various combination and positions of symbols that will net you awards which are worth points at the end of the game. This can be as simple as having one of the symbols present or as complex as having various combinations of symbols that must also follow positioning rules as well.

Canvas Board

Worth A Thousand Words

There are a lot of suggested combinations of these rules on the back of the rulebook. This gives you some nice introductory setups where you can just have a nice time making paintings or something a lot more fiendish that’ll have you scraping by for awards. You also get some par targets that you can use for solo play, which is nice. The game is over once every player has put the finishing touches to 3 pieces of art.

Let’s get the big elephant in the room dealt with: The components. They are absolutely beautiful. As I said in my opening gambit, this game really throws itself into its theme. Everything has a canvas finish to it and the game feels premium. The artwork on the cards is interesting and colourful. Upon finishing one of our masterpieces, me and my friends often found ourselves roleplaying as if we were artists trying to explain the meaning in our bizarre artworks. That was a lot of fun.

This game is incredibly approachable. I can explain Canvas, get it set up and get a game underway in under 5 minutes. It’s one of those games that just has an interesting theme that gets people hooked. I’m reminded a bit of Wingspan or Petrichor in that regard. That said, it is possible to play this game very tactically if you want to.

Each of the goal cards grants you different point totals if you manage to complete them multiple times. By aiming for specific goals with each of your paintings, you can really rake in the points. Add to that some goals being possible to score multiple times per painting and you can really start pushing things.

Canvas Box

The Mona Lisa’s Smile

It is possible to be clever about your draft in this game too. Because the cards are see-through you can see what your opponents are up to all the time. You can draft it instead of them. Or if you have the inspiration tokens, you can take cards further up the market row meaning they will never slide down into the cheaper positions, forcing them to take sub-optimal cards instead. You can absolutely be mean in this game should the moment take you.

I’ve enjoyed my time with Canvas but as much as the theme is dripping from the components, it’s not really there in the gameplay. At the end of the day, you’re trying to collect sets of icons on cards. The pictures on the cards could be anything. I’ve not really seen any correlation between the icons on the cards and the pictures. It’s not like cards with the icon for shape have lots of shapes on them, it’s seemingly random. At least it is to my completely untrained eye.

The most thematic the game has ever felt is when we were pretending to be artists explaining our work. But if the mechanisms don’t really follow the theme does that make Canvas a bad game? Absolutely not! This is a game that will have you trying out different orderings of your cards to try and get the right icons up front so you can score them. You’ll be looking out for that ideal card that’ll give you the set you need. So what if you’re not looking at the pictures on the card?

I jokingly mentioned to some of the other bloggers here at Zatu that I’d likely be looking for the expansion to canvas pretty soon after the base game hit my doormat. Is that still true? I’d say yeah, probably. I’m not desperate to grab it this second now, but I can definitely see myself picking it up at some point in the not too distant future. Canvas is the type of game I can’t really see anybody objecting to pulling it off the shelf. It’s quick, it’s clever and by Jove it’s gorgeous.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Fantastic production with interesting art
  • Lots of variety for scoring variations
  • Can be mounted on the wall like a real piece of art

Might not like

  • The artwork irrelevant to the game
  • Not much depth of strategy