Designer: Prospero Hall
Publisher: Big G Creative
Players: 2-4, but 3-4 seem to work best
Ages: 12+, more for the potential difficulty
Time: about 30 minutes
I know very few people that have never watched an episode of the PBS show, “The Joy of Painting”. For the few reading this that have not seen this show: it was a 30-minute program, hosted by the Afro-permed Bob Ross. Ross would paint country, lake, meadow, and mountain scenes, using a pretty simple variety of colors and brushes. He would “paint along” with the viewers, instructing them in the techniques with an almost supernatural calm and gentleness to his voice. Here is an episode of his show (fair warning: you’ll be extra ‘chill’ by the end of it):
“Bob Ross: Arctic Beauty”
Big G Creative channeled that calm into a very interesting board called, Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game.
Each player starts with a blank “palette” and 3 Art Supply Cards; each card has one of seven Paints and one of 4 Tools. There is an Art Supply Card Deck, with the above mentioned cards, plus Wild Cards (they count as any of the Paints and/or Tools). There is also a Chill Card deck, which can grant different bonuses and could lead to player bonuses – these cards will be explained later.
This is the Painting Easel. One of about 30 different double-sided cards, with a Bob-Ross painting on each side, goes in the easel.
That multi-colored board in the top picture? That is the main board with the Painting Track. The center section contains the area for the Chill Cards, trackers for which section of each painting is completed, and the Chill Track.
The main object is to get to “Chill” status…. because you can’t paint like Bob Ross if you aren’t as Chill as Bob Ross. You become “Chill” by reaching the end of the Chill Track. To do that, you must start completing Paintings.
Before you begin your masterpieces, 4 Art Supply Cards are laid out, along with 4 special cards called Technique Cards (they offer bonus Chill Points for picking up, plus a bonus point per use).
To begin: the player rolls a dice that determines whether the player gets an extra action (you start with 3), draws an Art Supply card, plays a Paint to their Palette, or draws a Chill Card (with another possible effect). The player then has 3 Actions: those actions include drawing extra Art Supply cards, discarding 2 Art Supply cards to take a Technique Card (the discarded Art cards have to match whatever Technique card is being picked up), clearing out the 4 Art Supply Cards on the table (which can be a great play!), clean off half of their palette, or complete one of the sections of the painting:
Those 3 white sections correspond to the sections of the painting that players can complete, depending on what Paints and Brushes/Tools they have on their cards. The smiling Bob Ross face moves along that track (usually) when a Chill Card is drawn. When he reaches the end, that painting is finished. Players need to finish the painting before Bob.
During the Dice-Rolling phase, you may have to draw a Chill Card. These cards could tell you to not advance Bob Ross along that track at the bottom of the painting, giving the players a little more time to complete it. The cards also could let you draw a free Art card or give you a bonus to use certain Paints or Tools.
Completing the Painting
You have to collect the corresponding Paints and Tools to complete the different sections of each painting. You gain points per section finished, whether or not you were one of the first 2 to finish that section (bonus points), and if you used a Technique Card. Once all 3 sections of the painting are finished, or when Bob Ross reaches the end of his track, that painting is finished and another one is set up on the easel. The first player to reach the end of the Chill Track wins the game instantly!
Our merry band of Game Nighters (plus one!) played 2 games of this, with me sitting out the first one. This is a surprisingly quick game: I think the first game went about 40 minutes, the second went about 30 minutes. It can be a little difficult to remember what all you can do on your turn but the game play itself is relatively simple. The Chill Cards can really shorten how long each painting is available, so try to complete at least one section as quickly as possible.
I hope that this game becomes a staple of our Game Night games. It’s quick enough to play while we’re waiting for other players to get to our location (or when I leave), but it’s fun enough to play multiple times. Plus, who doesn’t want to paint some Fluffy Clouds and add a few Happy Trees to their painting?