Canvas: Finishing Touches Board Game Preview

Polyhedron Collider Canvas Finishing Touches Board Game Review

Simply put, Finishing Touches gives you more Canvas.  All the things that are good about Canvas, well, there’s more of that stuff in this expansion too.  It’s the second expansion for the rather innovative game of creating works of art one layer at a time.  That cool innovative stuff has already happened, it’s already there in the DNA of this game and this expansion isn’t trying to add any more.  What Finishing Touches is doing is building on that foundation and giving you some more stuff that you enjoy when you play.

That’s not to diminish or to downplay what’s in the box, there are some new objectives for you to mix in and puzzle out how to score.  There are more gorgeous art cards too and these include new icons that give you more ways to meet those objectives.  The frames are the main feature of this expansion and these do take the game up a notch adding not only another scoring mechanism, they add (nasty) player interaction on top of that, they also add some fabulous board game bling.

Polyhedron Collider Canvas Finishing Touches Board Game Review Frames

These four frames are literal cardboard frames for you to slide your artwork into.  Given that Canvas already has this beautiful moment of theatre when you present your art for scoring, these frames add a bit more gravitas to that part of the game, it’s not all about the bling though, these frames will earn you some big points (which naturally come with a new scoring token, this time it’s an “iridescent rainbow holofoil finish”).  Most importantly though frames mean that there is now far more interaction between players in the game because these can be stolen.  

To win a frame you simply need to be first, or be best.  Each is awarded to a piece of completed art that has the most, Contrast, Texture, Colour or Shape, which means getting your art out early is a means to guarantee some points.  However, every time a new piece of art beats the previous high score there is this great moment where the current owner, with much chagrin, must remove their art and hand it over.  The new owner smugly slides their art in, collects the holofoil ribbon and if they still have the frame at the end of the game they get even more points. 

Polyhedron Collider Canvas Finishing Touches Board Game Review Holofoil Tokens

These four frames give Canvas something it was previously lacking, it gives players a strategic option, and it’s no longer a puzzle about churning out art, they add direct player competition and quite frankly they are theatrical, thematic and fun.

This principle changes how I approached creating my pieces, yes I’m still trying to score the objectives, and yes I’m still trying to score the Silver awards and the Gold awards, but now I’m also trying to score for these frames.  Let’s face it, all of these scoring objectives don’t always align, and trying to work out how to best meet as many of them as possible seems a bit much…but then you look down and you’re holding a playful kitten trying to catch some butterflies with a potted plant in the foreground.

Polyhedron Collider Canvas Finishing Touches Board Game Review New Icons

Trying to take this game seriously and focusing solely on the points and the objectives is like trying not to fuss a puppy (or if you are a cat person, a kitten – you weirdo, who doesn’t want to fuss a puppy?).  But that’s not the point of this game, it is light, it is social and creative and fun and on those merits alone Canvas excels. Finishing Touches adds to the overall Canvas experience without feeling like it’s bolted on or in any way “extra”. 

There is one more thing that this expansion adds though; the Painter Cards.  These are famous painters that represent some type of motivation/inspiration to you the player, basically; they give you some rule-bending/breaking player powers.  For me, introducing asymmetry into a game that doesn’t have it at the base is tricky.  Here I felt that these do more harm to the gameplay than good and do have that feeling of being bolted on.  That being said, I would be tempted to House Rule their use and have all players play with that artist’s motivation to add further variety between the games (if I took these cards out of the box at all).

Polyhedron Collider Canvas Finishing Touches Board Game Review Painter Cards

Finishing Touches didn’t break any moulds, it didn’t reinvent Canvas or innovate it any further.  Like a good follow-up album, it gives you more of what you want and like.  ‘Frames’ is the hit single and ‘Painter Cards’ are that dodgy third track.  This expansion adds more without complicating or changing what I enjoy about Canvas and I think the next time I play (which will be without the expansion) I will notice its absence.

This Kickstarter preview is based on a prototype version of the game provided by the publisher; the final product may look, play or smell different to that used in this preview.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment