I have been saving the Fresco board game for over 3 years, waiting for us to study the Renaissance. I had this planned as part of a week of funschooling, and I had this theory I would share all of our activities for this fun homeschool history week as part of a series.
Then we did the activities, and they were fun, but nothing I’d could stretch into a whole post. Other than this game.
See back in August I went by Half Price Books and I picked up several DaVinci “science kits.” So the kids kept bugging me, “When are we going to do the Renaissance Fun Week?” Every day for 2 months. Finally back in October they were quite happy to come downstairs and see on our Illuminations* schedule “Renaissance Fun Week.” We put together the kits in a mad spree of building over an hour (except for the printing press, it just didn’t quite fit together). Then we sat down to play Fresco board game*.
What is Fresco board game?
It is the time of the Renaissance and you are a master painter in a town in Italy. The Cathedral fresco needs updating, and you are competing with other master painters in town to get the most fame and prestige for painting it. Each day you send out your apprentices to complete different tasks, and hope in the end to secure the most fame for yourself.
How do you play Fresco board game?
Fresco, like most of the games we own, is a strategy game. It has two different components to it.
Worker placement- There are finite resources and ability to do things, so you are placing your people to gain the most advantage from their work.
Resource management- You have to manage your resources, paint, money, people, and time to gain the most advantage from your resources. If you need to paint a section with 3 colors, but you don’t have those colors you’re rather stuck.
Fresco works under a turn based system, at the end of the round the person with the fewest points gets to choose when they go based on when their apprentices wake up. But waking up too early means your apprentices get mad at you and you might lose an apprentice (I almost always have an apprentice deficit as I am a horrible slave driver that makes my apprentices wake up at 5:00)
Then you decide what your apprentices will do: buy paint, mix paints, paint portraits, fix the cathedral, or attend a play (to improve morale).
There are two different theories on how this works. One is the get up as early as I can and get all the best stuff, or the wake up whenever and plan according to what’s left. I haven’t figured out which is better.
Strategies for play Fresco board game
As I said Fresco is all about how and where you place your workers, and planning a few turns ahead. Here’s a few tips.
- Paint the cathedral as early as you can that will gain you a permanent income as your apprentices constantly touch it up.
- plan early to get the big point paints. There are only so many of those, and only so many tiles you can paint like that.
- It can be worthwhile to pay for the Abbott to move closer to your painting, but it rarely is worth it until end game.
Fresco board game expansions
Fresco has 6 expansions released. The version I bought for Jeff a few years ago came with one of the expansions, but we’ve never been able to play it. We’re always teaching the game to new people, and the expansions look to add in a little bit of difficulty in play. They add in different ways to earn points and ways to gain advantages over players.