Theme&andn’What is it?
About the Game
In Canvas, you play as a painter competing in an art competition. Players will collect art cards, layering 3 of them together to create their own unique Painting. Each card contains a piece of artwork as well as a set of icons used during scoring. Icons will be revealed or hidden based on the way players choose to layer the cards making for an exciting puzzle. Paintings are scored based on a set of Scoring cards which will change each game. Once players have created and scored 3 paintings the game ends.
On your turn you may either take an Art card or make a painting. Art cards are selected from a row of cards in the center of play. Each of these cards has a cost associated with their position. After selecting an Art card you must pay its cost by placing an Inspiration token on each of the cards to its left. If you do not have enough Inspiration tokens, you may not select that card. Any tokens on the card you have selected are kept for future turns. The far left card costs no Inspiration tokens to take.
If you have three or more Art cards you may chose to make a painting. Select 3 of your art cards, arrange them in any order and then score them by comparing the visible icons on your painting to the Scoring conditions.
Once all players have made 3 paintings the game ends.
The player with the most points wins!
—description from the publisher
Beautiful. And smart.
Canvas is a beautiful game, from the box through all of the components. The box even has a cut out on the back so you could, if you wanted to, hang it on the wall as an art piece! It’s that pretty. Inside the box is no less beautiful. Transparent cards featuring only a few colorful art elements are the immediate attraction. The scoring cards are thoughtful — they have icons on the front of the card and a thorough explanation on the back as reference.
In CANVAS, there is a display of transparent cards. Players may take any of the cards. The first transparent card is free, but if the player wants to draw a card further down the line, they they have to pay (using “Inspiration Tokens”, which are little painter’s palettes). Subsequent players claiming a card with an Inspiration Token on it also collect the Inspiration Token. Remaining cards slide down and a new transparent card is added to the line.
Any time a player chooses (or when they have collected 5 cards in their hard), players may create a painting by adding three (no more, no less than three) transparent cards to a sleeved background card to make their painting.
Paintings are scored according to the scoring conditions chosen at the beginning of the game. Four scoring condition cards are selected (randomly or specifically) from a stack of available conditions. The condition cards reward completion of various objectives, common for all players. The objectives offer variety of gameplay.
Below is one of my paintings, entitled “Precious Childhood”.
More Than Skin Deep
The quality of the game’s manufacture is high. The transparent cards have attractive colorful elements that merge together to create beautiful pictures. There is a nice cloth playmat included that makes sliding the cards easy, and collects everything in an attractive way inside the beautiful box.
Easy To Learn, Fun to Play
In addition to having a wonderful table presence, this game is great fun to play. Players consider the scoring goals and compare those to the cards available in the display. Then they must decide if they want to spend the Inspiration Tokens to get that one card, or wait until it slides down (and becomes cheaper), risking someone else taking it. There is no direct take-that in this game though you might feel frustrated if someone takes that one specific card you’re wanting before you can get it.
Games of Canvas move quickly and do not overstay their welcome. All players get the same number of turns, and scoring is straightforward.
The age guideline on the box is 14+ and on BGG its 8+. There is nothing objectionable in this game, so if your kid is old enough to understand the mechanics, they can play this game.
I Know Art When I See It
Canvas is destined to be a classic game. It’s light, easy to learn and teach, and beautiful. The non-confrontational mechanics will make it appeal to families who want to enjoy a game together. There is sufficient variety in the scoring conditions to make the game replayable. At the time of this writing, there is a Kickstarter for an expansion that adds more to the game.