How To Play: Fresco – Setup, rule summary and strategy

This overview touches on essential Fresco strategies, including market timing, optimal usage of Mixer tiles, and effective apprentices management. It spans from game setup, through nuanced gameplay tactics, to winning strategies. A focus on the importance of wake-up timing and the Bishop's favor rounds out the guide.

Hey there, fellow board game enthusiasts! Today, I’m dishing out a comprehensive guide to mastering Fresco, a game where you’re a Renaissance painter with a mission to restore a cathedral’s fresco. This guide isn’t just any old rules rundown. Nope. It’s packed with the niftiest strategies to have you winning in no time. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your paintbrush, and let’s get to it.


Here, you’ll find everything from a brief of the game rules to my top tips for securing that win.

What’s in the box

  • 1 Game board
  • 14 Market tiles
  • 54 Fresco tiles
  • 24 Portrait cards
  • 4 Bishop’s favor tiles
  • 60 Coins
  • 4 Cathedral boards
  • 20 Paint pots (4 each of 5 colors)
  • 12 Apprentices
  • 4 Master painters
  • 4 Screens
  • 1 Bell tower
  • 2 Paint mixers
  • 1 Starting player token
  • 1 Score pad
  • 4 Scoring markers
  • 1 Rulebook

How To Play Fresco: Rules Summary

Ever found yourself thinking, ‘Hey, I want to restore a grand fresco in a Renaissance church’? No? Well, Fresco gives you that chance without the risk of paint stains! Let’s break down how you can go from apprentice to master painter in a few easy steps. Trust me, it’s easier than pronouncing ‘Michelangelo’.


  1. Set up the game board in the center of the table. It’s big and pretty, you can’t miss it.
  2. Each player picks a color and gets the matching pawns and screen. Your secret moves stay secret with these screens.
  3. Distribute the starting materials: a few coins, 2 fresco tiles, and some paint cubes. Feels like starting an art kit, right?
  4. Place the market tiles and the bishop on their respective spots. He’s watching, so no sloppy painting.


  1. Plan your day early. Choose when you wanna wake up. Early bird gets the worm, but loses some happiness.
  2. Send your workers to the market to buy paint. Prices change, so be smart!
  3. Mixing paints lets you get fancy colors. Think of it as playing with your food, but with paint.
  4. Paint a section of the fresco. It earns you points and the bishop’s nod. Aim to please!
  5. Catch some extra Zs or earn some coin in the theater. Rest or hustle, your call.


  1. The game ends when someone completes their section of the fresco. Victory by painting!
  2. Points from paintings, fresco tiles, and leftover paints determine the winner. It’s like tallying up your art school credits.

Special Rules & Conditions

  1. If the bishop’s on your fresco tile, big points! He’s hard to please, but worth it.
  2. Running low on happiness? Your workers might sleep in, costing you precious time.
  3. Mixing certain paints can only happen once per turn. Be strategic with your palette.

And there you have it, folks! Grab your brushes, and let’s turn that dull church ceiling into a masterpiece worthy of fame and glory. Happy painting!

Best Fresco Strategies

Mastering the Market: A Fresco Buying Guide

Winning in Fresco hinges on smart market dealings. Here’s how we played it smart. First, let’s break it down.

Know the Market

  1. Watch the market closely. When paint prices drop, that’s your cue to buy in bulk.
  2. Anticipate your opponents’ moves. If they’re eyeing the same colors, beat them to it or adjust your strategy.

Timing is Everything

  1. Don’t rush to the market at game start. Let others drive the prices down, then swoop in.
  2. Plan your big painting projects around your market visits. Secure the colors you need when they’re cheapest.

Strategic Buying

  1. Balance your purchases. Getting all the cheap paint is great, but don’t ignore the rarer colors you might need later.
  2. Use the market to bluff. Fake interest in certain colors to manipulate prices for your real targets.

Master the Art of Mixing: Winning Strategies for Fresco Mixer Tiles

Timing Is Everything

Firstly, choosing the right moment to grab a mixer tile is crucial. Aim for when you can immediately use it to complete a high-value fresco section.

Strategic Selection

  1. Assess which mixer tiles are most beneficial for your current paint inventory. Don’t just grab any tile; it should align with your game plan.
  2. Consider taking a tile that your opponent desperately needs. It’s a competitive game, after all.

Maximize Tile Usage

Finally, don’t hold onto mixer tiles for too long. Use them to quickly turn the tide in your favor, keeping a steady flow of points and throwing off your opponents’ strategies.

The Master’s Guide to Apprenticeship: Winning Through Strategic Management

Handling your apprentices effectively is key. Here’s how:

Choosing the Right Tasks

  1. Always evaluate the board. Prioritize actions that bolster your position.
  2. Adjust tasks based on your current needs and goals.

Timely Deployment

  1. Deploy apprentices when it maximizes your actions, not just when you can.
  2. Keep an eye on your opponents. Sometimes, it’s about blocking them.

Maintaining Flexibility

  1. Stay adaptable. Shift your focus as the game progresses.
  2. Don’t overcommit to one strategy. Be ready to change.

## Master Your Art: Winning Fresco Revealed
In wrapping up our journey through the vibrant world of Fresco, remember, it’s all about balance. Sure, waking up early gives you first dibs at the market, but don’t let your painters get too grouchy, or they’ll start dragging their brushes. Apprentice management is key; those extra hands can be a game-changer if you deploy them wisely. Don’t underestimate the power of the Mixer tiles either. They’re not just for fixing mistakes but can set you up for those big, game-winning moves. And always, always keep an eye on the Bishop. His favor can turn the tide in ways you can’t imagine. So grab your palette, strategize smart, and may the best artist win. Here’s to painting your way to victory!

Want to know what we think of Fresco? Read our detailed review of Fresco here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.