During one of my weekly Kickstarter sweeps, I ran across this project and was instantly drawn to it.
When I was in college, I took almost every humanities based course my school had to offer. There was a lot of focus on artists, writers, and architects. I majored in the social sciences later, but these courses were my absolute favorites, and I can remember studying so many of the paintings featured in this game. Having also played games like Pastiche, I knew this would be right up my alley.
I suppose what initially attracted me, was how nostalgic it made me feel. However, after looking past that, this game has so much more to offer than just simple nostalgia.
What It Offers
This game includes:
- 52 works of art on jumbo sized cards
- 4 player reference cards
- 145 acrylic cubes in:
- 4 player nutrition markers
- First player marker
- Paint bag
The components to this game are simple, but will be aesthetically pleasing and of good quality. One of the only issues I can see, is that the pieces aren’t exactly colorblind friendly. However, the designer does provide a simple remedy to this on the canvas cards and in the form of a game playmat.
The Starving of Artists
Starving Artists has a simple goal: Sell as many paintings as you can, but make sure you can keep yourself fed.
The game runs off a paint economy. Paint is your money, paint is what you use to create your art, paint is what assures you will be fed. The paint cubes represent your money and medium, so you have to be rather smart in how you choose to spend or paint with them.
The paintings have several features which are important for players to note. Each canvas card shows:
The player reference sheets are multipurpose. They track your hunger level, the round turns based on the first player, the options for each turn and also the name of the artist you represent. You can get a better look at these cards on the campaign page.
The game is played over a series of days. During the day players have two turns to take actions and complete their works of art, so there is a bit of a time crunch to get your paintings completed. On a player’s turn they may take one of three actions: Work, paint, or buy a canvas. There are also two free actions that a player may take: Trade for paint cubes or reset the canvas board. At the end of the last player’s second turn, the day will end and players will have the opportunity to sell their works. Even if you have completed a work, you may choose not to sell your painting. Sometimes the payday market does not have enough cubes to pay out the full worth of your painting, so knowing when to sell your art for the most profit is all part of the strategy. After the selling process has ended, the hunger track gets decreased by one.
The game will repeat like this until the end is triggered by one of the following:
- Any one player’s hunger moves below 1
- Remaining players will have two more days after this point to complete paintings and earn points
- If no player has starved, any of these will trigger the immediate end of the game based on the number of players:
- 2 players: 20 star points or 11 completed paintings
- 3 players: 18 star points or 10 completed paintings
- 4 players: 15 star points or 8 completed paintings
The game will play 1-4 and should take between 30-60 minutes to play. If you are interested in trying it out before backing, the designer does offer a free print-n-play, as well as a copy of the draft rules. And if you are a PC gamer, you can also find the game on Tabletop Simulator and you can subscribe to it here.
If you’d like to watch a really fun overview of gameplay, Gameosity Reviews does a great job. There is also a really nice review/overview done by Tantrum House on their Kickstarter Conniption segment. Both of these can be watched right from the Starving Artists campaign page.
Starving Artists is also an award winner. Out of 69 entries, it was chosen as the winner of The Survival Challenge Design Contest, put on by Grey Gnome Games.
The Pledge Levels
This campaign offers 5 different pledge levels, ranging from $1 to $125 (USD). Because the PnP is free to tryout, the $1 level is a pretty sweet tier. If you choose this level, you will have access to all of the downloadable content and you will be able to vote on potential canvas cards. It’s a good deal, especially if you have the means to make a nice PnP.
Next is the $29 level. This gets you a copy of the game, access to downloadable content, any stretch goals reached, and voting rights on potential canvases. The $49 level boasts all of that, but it also includes the playmat. Most backers will back one of these two levels.
The $90 pledge level is aimed towards retailers.
The $125 pledge level (6 spots left out of 10) allows you to work directly with the designer to select a painting to be added into the base game. It also gives you everything included in the $29 level.
As for add-ons, you can snag a playmat by adding $20 to your pledge and if you want any extra copies of the game, you can add $25 per copy.
At 22 days left, the campaign has already been funded ($12,000 goal) and two stretch goals have already been unlocked! The first stretch goal was unlocked at $14,000 and adds 10 clear cubes, which will act as wilds during game play (the draft rules have not yet been updated to include rules for these special cubes). The second stretch goal was unlocked at $15,500 and it adds 8 science-themed canvases to the base set.
The campaign has posted two more stretch goals that have yet to be filled, but are definitely still in reach. The $19,000 goal will add another 8 canvases that will feature different locations around the world, and the $24,000 level will upgrade the box to be a magnetic, book-style box. This is a really great feature, that I personally, am looking forward to.
TWO more stretch goals have been added!
At $29,000 another set of art will be unlocked for the base game! This time it will feature comic, illustration, and pop art! From what I hear, this specific set of art will be adding a twist to the game. You can read more about them here.
At $34,000 a set of split color art will be added. The split color art will have cube spaces that allow for 2 different color cubes to be used to complete your painting. This lets players choose which color they want to use in that space.
*Hint Hint*There are more possible stretch goals to come- Linen finish, upgraded wood pieces.
I’m hoping they reach some of these future goals. There are just 14 days left in the campaign, so there is still plenty of time to get your pledges in.
UPDATEd UPDATE! #2
With 3 days left to go, one more stretch goal has been added! At $37, 500, backers will unlock linen-finished cards! I’m really hoping the campaign get pull this one out; it will be such a nice finish for them and a sweet treat for backers!
Fairway 3 Games
The mind behind Fairway 3 Games and the designer of Starving Artists is Mike Wokasch. If you are a fan of The Inquisitive Meeple, then the Fairway name is not new to you. Mike writes their Fairway’s Scorecard Reviews. You may also know him from the work he does with The Game Crafter as a moderator/curator. As someone who does a lot of playtesting, I can’t even tell you how awesome The Game Crafter is for designers. So, I can totally get behind someone who is involved with them.
One thing I really appreciated, was that when I backed this, I received a personalised message of thanks in a Kickstarter PM. This doesn’t happen often enough. I know that it can get kind of difficult to thank every individual backer, especially once you start getting into the hundreds or thousands, but it is such an awesome thing to do and it makes your backers feel super appreciated.
I am really excited about this game, not only because it reminds me of my favorite courses in college, but because it offers so much in a such a simple package. This is a game that anyone can learn, but it will still provide enough strategy for gamers who like a little more frown on their meeples. Not only will it be fun to play, it will be just beautiful to look at. All those coloured cubes and wonderful works of art, I can’t wait!
At the point of writing this, the Starving Artists campaign has 22 days left and is already funded. So, if you are not sold yet, you have plenty of time to make a PnP or get it on Tabletop Simulator to give it a try for yourself. 🙂
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