It’s been quiet on the blog for a few days because I moved about a week ago. We’ve been living life without the internet since then…it’s a long story that involves a modem and a router that refuse to speak to each other, and we don’t know why. So I’ve been trying to work on these on iPad, and WordPress doesn’t work well on iPad. Nevertheless, I’m back with post about dressmaking!
Rokoko is a game by Matthias Cramer, Louis Malz, and Stefan Malz that is being published by eggertspiele. It’s a game for 2-5 players that takes 90 minutes to play. This game is all about making dresses in pre-revolutionary France, specifically during the reign of Louis XV. Your task is to gain the most prestige by making dresses, funding decorations, and putting employees to work before the final ball.
Rokoko comes with a double-sided game board; a starting player marker; 42 dress tiles, each with a draft side and a rental side; 16 lace markers (white cubes); 16 yarn markers (gray cubes); a cloth bag; 48 coins (called livre); 48 prestige markers; a favor card; 28 employee cards (Masters, Journeymen, and Apprentices); 25 base employee cards; 48 resource tiles; 80 property markers; and 5 player boards. The general employee stack we’ll be set up with level one cards on top all the way down to level six on the bottom. Dress tiles go in the bag, and resources go in face down stacks. Each player gets a board, 5 base employees, and 16 property markers of their color, as well as 15 livre, a lace marker, and a yarn marker.
The game lasts for seven rounds, each of which has the same four phases:
1) Prepare for a new round. In this phase, the starting player switches of someone received the favor card in the previous round. Four employee cards are drawn and placed next to the board, replacing any remaining from the previous round. Empty warehouse spaces are filled with resources, and the window spaces of the workshop,are filled with dress cards.
2) Select three hand cards. From your entire supply, select three cards to play. If you don’t have enough, take what’s left and choose the remainder from your discard pile (which becomes the supply).
3) Take actions. In turn order, each player plays one card from their hand and takes an action. The available actions are:
- Claim the Queen’s favor – Take the favor card and 5 livre. You’ll be starting player next round. This action can only be taken by Masters and Journeymen.
- Acquire resources – Take one resource tile from any warehouse segment, paying money based on its location. You may keep it face down to use it as silk later on, or you may discard it for one yarn or one lace. Any employee can do this action.
- Make a dress – Pay the cost shown on the window for the dress you want to make (0-8 livre), then turn in the indicated resources. Face down resources can only be used as silk, not yarn or lace. Once you have made the dress, you either rent it for points at the end of the game, or sell it for immediate money. Only Journeymen and Masters can do this action.
- Hire a new employee – Take a face up employee card, adding it to your hand and paying 0-5 livre (depending on how many other employees are on display). Only Masters can perform this action.
- Depute your employee – Remove the employee from the game, gaining money based on its type. Any employee can do this.
- Fund a decoration – Put a property disc on one decoration space on the game board, paying livre. This will get you prestige at the end of the game. Any employee can do this.
After performing your main action, you can use the employee bonus on the card. You can always choose to forfeit the main action and/or the bonus.
4) Collect income. Each player gets 5 livre, plus money based on your funding of the fountain.
After the seventh round, the ball occurs and a final scoring takes place – you get one point per 10 livre you have left, 3 points for having the favor card, plus bonus points for employees, having a hall majority, having a fireworks majority, statues, and property markers on the board. The player with the most prestige wins.
This is the second ball-themed game I’ve covered recently (the first being Belle of the Ball), which is unusual since it’s not a very well explored theme in games. The concept of making dresses is NOT going to appeal to your standard Ameritrasher, but that’s not the audience. This is a Eurogame through and through, designed to appeal to families. It’s a tame theme, and, I think, probably a good one to bring in some females that feel left out by the ultra-violent, bra busting world of fantasy gaming.
Mechanically, the thing that stands out to me is that you basically have a deck-building game here that has taken out nearly all of the luck. Your deck is basically your hand from which you select the cards you want to play. Your discard doesn’t get reshuffled when your deck is empty, it simply turns into your deck. I like the aspect of hiring an employee directly into your hand…this way, you don’t have to be at the mercy of the shuffle, but can use him right away.
Overall, I think Rokoko looks like an excellent game. The theme is unique, and I’m very curious to see how this no-luck-DBGS turns out. I have a feeling this will be big at Spiel. Thanks for reading!