Final Touch Card Game - Review

Over the weekend I smashed out loads of games of Final Touch, a card game by Mike Elliot and published by Asmodee. Final Touch is at its heart a hand-management game in which you play an artist come forger. You make your living by forging famous works of art, because being an artist is a tough gig. Problem is you’re sharing studio space and their are other - players - artists also working on the forgeries. It’s a tough business and at times you’ll see the other forgers messing up your hard work, or you messing up theirs. After all, the first one to make $25 might be able to get their own studio.

So how does it work? The game comes with two decks, one is the double-sided paintings deck, the other is the much smaller paint deck (consisting of 5 different colors). Each player starts with 5 color cards and a painting card is placed showing the colors needed to complete it. The trick is, all players are trying to complete it, so even if you have almost all the colors, you might want to only add a couple, hoping the other player(s) will add one you perhaps don’t have, leaving it open for you to complete on your next turn.

If you can’t add a color needed, or if you want to dash your opponents chances of finishing the piece, you can smear it with a color not required to finish the piece. You dastardly fiend! If it’s the third smear suffered by the painting your opponent takes it, but only scores half the sale value (shown on the unfinished side of the painting card). If you manage to finish a painting you flip it over, adore your work and of course score more points than a smeared image. First player to 25 points (or dollars) wins the game!

I’m hoping I managed to get across how simple the gameplay is, it’s super snappy and extremely simple to play. However don’t let simplicity fool you, there’s actually a tiny bit of depth here with regards to strategy. Sure there’s a luck element, wherein if you don’t draw the colors you need to complete it you’re in a bind. The strategy comes in knowing when to smear, what to hold onto and when to play specific colors.

As I mentioned in the intro, the trick is in trying to complete the paintings, without aiding your opponent in doing so first. So whilst there is indeed luck and it can be slightly frustrating not drawing the colors you need, there’s also strategic options open to you that can help you win if you use them in a clever way, despite the merciless randomness of the draw.

I have to say I really enjoyed playing Final Touch. Not only does it look great, with its silly cartoonesq imagery of some well known paintings, but the fun you have smearing a painting you know your opponent wants is a pure joy.

Final Touch isn’t going to be for everyone, as tabletop games go it is super light and has a sense of silliness to it, but therein lay the joy. There’s no stress to Final Touch, despite it being non-cooperative, it’s just a short, fun little filler game that you could easily introduce newbies to without issue. Final Touch also manages to play quickly, meaning if you’re enjoying it you can crank out loads of games, one after the other. It also scales well with slightly different rules dependent on the player count of 2-4.

Overall I would have to say I thoroughly enjoyed playing Final Touch and it’s definitely a keeper for my collection. Bravo to Mike Elliot on designing such a nice little game and artist Pandaluna for giving it a light-hearted look. Final Touch retails in Australia for around $30AUD (I got mine in the US for $15USD).

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