Review: Abstract Academy
You have enrolled in Abstract Academy where the competition for the professors top marks is fierce. Art school is quite expensive these day so you must share your canvas with your rival classmates. We are taking a look at Abstract Academy designed by Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich and published by Flatout Games.
Abstract Academy is a 2 OR 4 player game. So if there is only three there is someone sitting out or going to a different art school. The game is played over 3 rounds and in each round you will lay out cards on the table to form a 4x4 grid. Each round has a random set of goals that will earn the players points, the player with the most points at the end is the winner.
To setup Abstract academy pull out all the cards and sort them into 6 decks and place them to the side. The canvas deck is the deck of cards used to make the 4x4 grid. There is the Blue, Red, and Yellow assignment decks these with the professor deck are going to be where you draw the goals for each round. The inspiration deck is a special deck that each play draws only one card into hand per round and this is your secret goal. Finally there are some reference cards for the players and a Teacher's Pet card, this is the first player marker.
To start the game you will deal out 3 canvas cards to each player. Then the teachers pet will draw the scoring cards for the round. Round one draw one of each color assignment card for scoring. Round two draw 2 professor cards for scoring and in round three you will draw 1 professor and 2 of any color. Now the game is ready to get played.
The first turn of the round each player will draw a Inspiration card. At the end of each round there is a scoring phase and each round you will only be able to score one of your inspiration cards. So try and complete an inspiration card every turn for the extra points. Players will take turns playing one card from their hand to form the 4x4 grid. Its pretty free form until you get 4 cards in a column or a row then that axis is locked.
The two center rows anyone can play on and you may use that to build your side up or block your canvas partner.
When you are laying cards to create the canvas and you have 4 cards in a column between the players then you activate some special rules. The row closest to each player is your home row and you can only play in that row unless there is no other valid move for the other player. The two rows closest to you are your scoring zone. This is where you will score your points. The two center rows anyone can play on and you may use that to build your side up or block your canvas partner.
When your canvas is complete you then score first each player (starting with the teachers pet) you may score one of your inspiration cards. Then take turns scoring the color cards or the professor cards for the round once one player scores a card place it in front of the player to total the points at the end. If there is a tie then you the player with the teachers pet card hands it to the other player and and takes the scoring card. There is a four player variant that uses a 5x5 grid and and you start by flipping a card up from the deck to start.
Abstract Academy is a fast and fun game for the entire family. It feels like you are making an abstract painting in a very tetris kind of way but that is not a bad thing! The box says 20-40 minutes but with two players who have a grasp of the rules its more along the lines of 15 if there are four players look more to that 40 minute mark. All in all Abstract Academy is solid choice for a casual gamer or new gamer and a really good choice for the younger people in your group.
Players: 2 or 4
Year Published: 2022
Recommended Ages: 8+
Time to Play: 45-60
A review copy of Abstract Academy was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes .