Jesus Christ, I have absolutely no idea where to even start with Lisboa, the latest table-hogging, mind-destroying eurogame from the highly respected Vital Lacerda. I’ve reviewed one game from Vital previously and utterly adored its lavish production values and stellar gameplay, but damn was it hard to review simply due to the way every mechanic tied to everything else. To explain one thing meant having to digress into about a billion other things before stumbling back to the original topic like a drunk emerging from a pub lock-in. It was confusing. Lisboa is just as complex and tricky to discuss, so please forgive me as I muddle through talking about Lacerda’s latest attempt to turn my already worryingly overheating brain into a melting pot of pink goo.
Designed by the very well respected Vital Lacerda the Gallerist let’s you take control of a gallery in the hopes of turning it into the premier destination for art lovers and collectors alike. You’ll buy and sell the four different forms of artwork available, discover new talented individuals and promote them, hire assistants and send them off to butter up important people and bid on world famous pieces of art, and attract visitors to your gallery whose mere presence can help you garner more influence and money. The Gallerist is practically dripping in theme, every inch of its mechanics making perfect thematic sense while also creating a series of important decisions for the player to make at every turn. Although I try not to gush over any videogame, boardgame, book, movie, TV show or album I’m going to gush about this one; the Gallerist is stunning, and it has taken its place as one of my favorite boardgames, albeit perhaps one that might be difficult to persuade friends to play due to its daunting nature. It’s a perfect demonstration of excellent design, and shows how diverse in theme boardgames can be.