Updated: Oct 24
I was pleasantly surprised by the slender packaging of this pre-production preview copy - I hope they keep the box depth similarly compact in the final release. Promenade is a fast-playing deck-building market-manipulating game set in the world of impressionist art. The objective is to acquire paintings and gold to fund exhibits of said paintings in the galleries of a museum, with the possibility of bonuses for doing so. The key twist to the game is that the value of each of the five painting genres rises independently as works are first bought and then exhibited: this latter means that, while gaining essential VPs, you may well be losing considerable purchasing power in doing so (you'll get the valuable victory points for exhibiting but you'll be filleting these increasingly high value cards from your deck).
The mainstay of the game is to build your deck, which is a rapid process, most likely culling the currency chaff you start with by using their one-off powers, and then acquiring the genres/colours of cards you want to make more valuable. That value extends to every player's hands, but if you monopolise a genre, not only can you profit most from its increases, you may well be able to capitalise on an end-game bonus in one of the five exhibitions. The paintings vs gold comparative worth seems well balanced, but the end-game bonuses - which may not even trigger - were relatively small. That said, in a close-fought game those bonuses could make the difference so you had best not fall behind in exhibiting. All games end at 12 paintings in the museum and, in a two-player game, if you are down 5-7, you'd best hope to have some high-value paintings left in your deck. End-game scoring hides another little design treat: flip your player aid over and use it to easily section off your scoring cards: nice touch!
The design and the attractive art is by Ta-Te Wu. It's just a pity that the art cards are not all unique (there are a lot of different pantings but, in our preview edition at least, the same artworks reappeared more than once). Publishers Sunrise Tornado have done a very good job with the production, so we're looking forward to seeing how this game does in its upcoming Kickstarter campaign. The KS is now live. Click here to check it out and back the game.
(Review by David Fox)