The Gallerist: Review

WHITNEY'S REVIEW

My Rating:

Likes

  • thumbs-o-up
    Every action area is important.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Everything in the game is linked.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Even if it's not your turn, you may end up getting an additional turn due to being kicked out.
  • thumbs-o-up
    Lots of player interaction.


Dislikes

  • thumbs-o-down
    The rules are lengthy, wordy and sometimes confusing.
  • thumbs-o-down
    Influence can top out, so you may waste it.
  • thumbs-o-down
    Like any worker placement, it can take a long time to play.


First Impressions

I knew nothing about this game, and had never heard of it, when I borrowed it from a local board game cafe. The cafe owner told me the few players who'd chanced it thought it boring and long. (Spoiler alert: it's long but it's not boring. I think those guys weren't playing correctly.) I was a little overwhelmed with all the pieces, and a lot overwhelmed when I started reading the rules. It actually took Wes and I a few days to figure out setup and starting play between kids, work and life duties. It was so intimidating to me, I started wondering why the H we were playing. However, once we got past the "I hate myself" phase, things clicked into place and we really enjoyed ourselves. 

We love how beautiful this game is.

The Quick and Dirty

After you've setup the game, each player takes a gallerist pawn and the assistants (meeples) and player board in the matching colour. The starting player places their pawn on any action centre (and takes the bonus tile) and decides which of the two actions to take. When your turn is done, the next player goes, and so on. Even though you need to increase influence and fame, everything comes back to or converts to money, and that's how you'll win. (As the saying goes, "Money makes the world go 'round.") There are many ways to do this, and we did our best to simplify the rules to help you hit the ground running.

An important note: one of the actions you can take is to hire assistants. These assistants start in the office but can be placed anywhere with a corresponding action. If your gallerist pawn moves from an action centre, you can leave an assistant behind in that action centre. If another player moves to that action centre, your assistant is kicked out and can take special kicked-out actions. It's pretty awesome.

Kicked-out assistants taking an Executive Action.

Thoughts

This is a heavy game, without a doubt. It's a classic worker placement Eurogame and as is typical, it takes time to learn and play, especially the first time. Wes and I played it first together before introducing it to our fellow Hexagamers, and while we were doubtful at first, the more we played, the more we enjoyed it. It took us hours (see reasons: children, tantrums--ours and theirs--cooking, cleaning, work...) but when we finally wrapped up, we exclaimed, "I want to play again!" That's saying something for me, as I am generally not a worker placement fangirl. 

The Gallerist is spectacular. Even if they don't like it, board gamers will appreciate The Gallerist for its intricacies, beauty, creativity, challenge and the way it connects every piece of the game. There's no skipping over one of the actions if you want to succeed in becoming a renowned gallerist, and this is what I really appreciate about the game. Everything is important, and the turn count isn't limited so there's no frantic pressure as you watch rounds tick down. The game ends when two or more are true: there are no more tickets, no more visitors in the bag and/or two artists become celebrities. One of my favourite aspects of the game is the player interaction. With some board games, it takes forever for friends to take their turn or for your turn to come up. Not so with The Gallerist, thanks to those lovely kicked-out actions. And, the more players you have, the more chance you have of getting those opportunities. 

Tickets and the Artists Colony.

The theme of becoming the best gallerist is strong throughout the game, from discovering artists, promoting them and buying art, to selling art, hiring assistants and more, the actions you take run true to what you'd imagine an art dealer does. The art on the tiles are meticulously drawn and beautiful, and even the terminology (lobby, plaza, gallery, auction, masterpiece) increases game immersion. Even if you're not big into art, this is still a fun, engaging and challenging game. You don't need to know anything about or even enjoy art to enjoy The Gallerist.

Conclusion

What else can I say but I really love this game? It's not something I could play all the time or every day; I think my brain would fry with the longevity and depth, but it's certainly one I'd play repeatedly, and enjoy as every game would be different. The Gallerist is expensive, so it might be a try-before-you-buy. Most of our local board game cafes have it, and if the staff don't know it, you can watch one of many videos to help you through. Let us know if you've played and what you think! We hear more and more about this game on social media, and would love to hear your thoughts, too. We hope you like it as much as we do!

About the author

Whitney

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