I didn't think that a visually-average, out-of-print 2013 game would be remade to create exceptional gaming nights at my table in 2021.
As someone who had never played Rococo, the game was both interesting and yet unintriguing before the Deluxe Edition was released in 2020. Out of print for several years, it was still being mentioned regularly on premiere board game podcasts. But looking at images of the game quickly killed my desire to track down a copy. There's nothing wrong with the original edition, but it doesn't inspire in the ever-improving body of art in board games.
Eagle-Gryphon Games and Ian O'Toole changed that by executing so well on gameplay and graphical elements that are common in modern board games. Their decisions below show how.
1. Tile Racks for Cloth Tiles
Designed to hide the non-relevant section of each tile as you decide to go for cloth rather than thread/lace, these racks are functional and satisfying.
2. Player Board Design
The player boards are shaped with empty space to each side, making it perfectly intuitive that cards are drawn from the left, played to the right.
They become doubly useful by acting as a player aid, listing the round structure from top to bottom. The action icons map to those shown around the game board.
3. Metal Thimble as First Player Marker
By making it a weighty and thematic piece, you feel emotionally excited to claim the first player marker, which is typically a boring and purely tactical move in games.
What could have been better?
A common stumbling block in games, the internal box organization is not great. Despite a custom plastic tray system that does help with setup, it is difficult to get all components back in the box.
What do you find impressive about Rococo's production?