In Talon Strikes Studios' Salon de Paris, the 1-4 players are artists in the mid-19th Century. It's a euro game so you're aim is to earn fame, and of course victory points, by creating your works of art and getting them hung on the walls of the eponymous Salon de Paris.
The board may look busy but Marek Tupy's design isn't as complicated as it might initially seem because the actions you are taking mostly follow a logical sequence. It's a worker placement game where you'll be moving your artist meeple to different locations to take the actions there. En route you can expect to pick up painting tiles which go into your 'sketchbook'. You may need to spend these tho' in order to facilitate moves other than to your next adjacent location...
When you acquire canvases, you can transfer the painting tiles to those, and when a canvas is completed, you take a token from your board to indicate the painting is signed. Each token used to sign a painting unlocks spaces on your board for academy cards that can earn you more points, and these spaces can also give you bonus actions.
Tho' you cannot remove painting titles from a completed canvas, you can pick up and use 'overpaint' tiles. Judicious use of these can increase the scoring value of your completed paintings but the potentially largest points scores come from hanging your signed paintings in the Salon de Paris. This adds a polyomino challenge and it can be quite a fiddly process because there are some quite demanding adjacency rules, tho' it's possible to spend points to mitigate these. You can recruit apprentices to give you extra actions and you'll also want to earn the favour of art critics, not least because that will earn you bonuses, including scoring multipliers for certain types of painting.
Salon de Paris is a game where successful players will be stringing their actions together so that they trigger a sequence of bonus actions and, ultimately, scoring opportunities. It's certainly satisfying when you pull off a sequence of consecutive actions. The only frustration comes when you've planned a potentially high-scoring picture-hanging in the Salon only to find another player hangs a painting in just the space you intended to use. Other than this tho', Salon de Paris isn't a game where you're subjected to a lot of negative 'take that' interaction.
Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Salon de Paris that was sent to us only after the game had already launched on Kickstarter so we've only had a limited time to play the game. We've enjoyed its handful of outings tho' and we've been pleasantly surprised to find how quickly the game plays: the 60-90 minutes on the box seems to be spot on. Our one disappointment, given the theme, was that the art in the game seems bland, especially in comparison with James Churchill's impressive box art. Perhaps Talon Strikes Studios will have the chance to perk up the painting tiles during the course of the campaign. Click here to check out the Salon de Paris campaign on Kickstarter.