If you haven’t played The Gallerist – check out my review for a short (well as short as I could) description of the game, the mechanics and the theme. It’s a tough and tightly intertwined game to describe, but if you have already seen that and wonder how to increase your points here are my initial thoughts:
During the game:
Trading Places: The game points you towards exhibiting art, but watch out as making money through trading during the game will help you own more art at the end of the game or indeed get more money for other parts of the engine. Simply buying and holding every piece of art is going to be very limiting! This early game trading is a core part of my strategy to get the money rolling in. While there are still artists to discover the quick turnover of stock seems pretty effective! Once there are no new artists watch out that your spreads don’t get crushed!
Follow: This game rewards you for backing an artist that others promote / buy art from. Some times it’s obvious that the discovered artist will be bought by the other player, sometimes you can see the player will likely promote the artist next round, and sometimes you just get lucky. Watching for others building up an artists and getting in early can help give you value for art without the headache of the promotion. Watch out for others riding your coat-tails though!
Tiles: The market spaces and the third slot in the gallery offer a bonus tile. It’s less important which ones you pick up, but significant that you pick up 3-6 per game to get a multitude of ways to score points. If you can’t score the points at the game end then you have to rely on a very heavy trading strategy.
Kick-out (of you!): Kick outs are the secondary action in someone’s turn – when they go in the spot you had a worker in. Three things to note; (1) leave workers when you can to get this bonus, you can always pull them out of the location if you need them (2) Try to avoid losing 5 influence by gaining or losing influence in smaller blocks – e.g. promoting an artist. (3) Lastly, you want to make sure you can use the bonus even if that means having a contract on your board and a spare worker – even this executive action can be useful, although a full turn with enough cash / influence will generally be better!
Influence & Money: Influence can be good to get the kick out actions but experienced players will also manipulate this track to get money and fame (see icons below and above the track) – balancing these alterante uses will help you to avoid losing too much influence just for the kick out actions! Do this early and throughout the game to manage influence as efficiently as possible.
Secrets: You are given secrete objectives at the start of the game and you should expect to fulfill at least 2-3 across the cards. It doesn’t matter whether that’s curation or sales but you should have this in mind at the start and build towards the ones that work well together. For the exhibition / curation bonus, utilise the easels given out at the end to score big (see below)
Easel (Does it!): The curator / exhibition bonus will require a high number of variant pieces of art in the gallery. Gathering these is difficult, but if you are the winner in the auctions then you have one last chance to pick out art at the end of the game. The art is there throughout, so manage your in game purchases to leave you with the chance of a big end game windfall!
Markets: Also watch out that you will need 3-6 tiles from the markets to ensure that you have enough ways to score points. Don’t forget, winning the columns is also a lot of bonus points (especially if you are using auction actions above). Second place in multiple markets is not enough – you need to be winning one of these three columns and coming second elsewhere.
Starting Places: Going from last to first there are different views on where you should start and what to do first. I see a lot of players who “start” in the artist colony with the likelihood of being kicked out before their turn. Watch out though, because my favourite opening move would be to go for a contract (extra executive action possible). If the last player goes for the artist colony, they can find themselves needing to move before they even bought an artist. That said, leaving behind a worker does protect you a little.