Swatch Review

23 December 2022
Swatch mixes up a palette of solid and satisfying abstract gameplay with a clean Bauhaus design that should appeal to many.

Of all the riveting moments in adult life, shuffling around a hardware shop thumbing through those bookmark-esque paint swatches in the midst of a decorating binge probably ranks pretty highly. So much so, it seems, that there’s now a game about it.

Well, not quite. There’s actually no theme at all in Scott James’ Swatch, but as it’s abstract simplicity demonstrates, that’s not such a bad thing.

In this one to four player game players are racing to mix up the three colours needed to satisfy the paint combinations found on their ‘scheme’ card. By playing cards, players will amass the foundational cubes of cyan, magenta, and yellow needed to create the cylindrical reds, greens, and blues which form the basis of each swatch card. When spent in specific ratios, these colours mix to create anything from Pop-Punk Princess to Rousing Royal and everything in between. Whoever finishes their trio of swatches first is the winner.

As mentioned, all of this works through card-play with each turn starting with players drawing a card blindly from the deck and then choosing another from the ‘active row’ of a central three by five grid. A single card can then be played to either add, trade, or mix colours.

Despite this being a race, Swatch rolls along quite placidly. There’s a simple sense of satisfaction found in working out how best to mix up these gradually amassed cubes of colour in a manner similar to the classic Fresco, and this boldly abstract simplicity is spread well across both its aesthetic and its gameplay.

For a small box card game there’s a fair amount of setup and tear down, but ultimately there’s enough depth here to justify this minor niggle. All in all, Swatch mixes up a palette of solid and satisfying abstract gameplay with a clean Bauhaus design that should appeal to many.



Designer: Scott James

Publisher: Minerva Tabletop Games

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Time: 30-60m

Players: 1-4 

Ages: 14+

Price: £28

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