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Digital Subscriptions > The Best Games of 2019 > The Best Games of 2019 > PRÊT-À-PORTER: THIRD EDITION

PRÊT-À-PORTER: THIRD EDITION

A brain-burning collision of finance and fashion

PRÊT-À-PORTER: THIRD EDITION

A brain-burning collision of finance and fashion

In 2010, Polish designer Ignacy Trzewiczek released the first edition of Prêt-à-Porter, a complex economic strategy game which cast players as the CEOs of rival clothing companies. It was tough, taxing and intensely competitive, and quickly earned a reputation for being every bit as cut-throat as the fashion industry itself.

Now Trzewiczek has returned with a new edition, much to the delight of players who have spent years trying to get hold of the previously hard-to- find game.

The first thing that strikes you about this latest incarnation is the breathtaking box art by illustrator Kwanchai Moraiya. It exudes boldness and style – suitably enough for a game about high fashion – and the rulebook comes with the same visual flair, featuring a diverse cast of characters showing off different styles of couture on every page. It’s enough to make your mouth water before you’ve even started punching out the components.

Once you have, you’re presented with a game that’s as brainy as it is beautiful. Over the course of one ingame year, you and your opponents compete to design stylish garments, hire talented staff, buy high-quality fabrics and organise prestigious catwalk shows. Your ultimate goal is to make more money than your rivals – that requires the ability to adapt to constantly changing circumstances, always thinking two or three moves ahead.

Throughout the game you’ll dispatch your employees to take different types of actions on behalf of your company. Most of your available options involve acquiring cards representing models and managers for hire, new departments to add to your office or new designs for items of clothing.

Different cards come with different effects, letting you take new types of actions and giving you advantages over your fellow players; spotting and exploiting useful synergies between them is a huge step towards victory. Any cards that players don’t snap up during a round are discarded before the next one begins, meaning you’ll need to be quick and perceptive enough to take advantage of fleeting opportunities.

To become the world’s most prestigious design house, you’ll aim to dominate a series of fashion shows held in cities around the world. Each rewards companies for different things. Some prioritise the quality of your collections. Others reward players who manage to release a bigger range of clothes than their opponents. Some are obsessed with current trends, while others grant prestige points to the companies with the slickest PR operations. To win, you’ll need to spot the shows you stand the best chance of impressing at, while working to do as well as you can in the ones that aren’t to your advantage.

The end result is tense and stressful in all the best ways. You’ll need to constantly evaluate whether the money you spend hiring staff, training employees or developing a particular clothing line is going to provide a worthwhile return on your investment, and it’s dangerously easy to get it wrong. Prêt-à-Porter emphatically isn’t a candidate for a chilled-out game night, but it encapsulates the high stakes risk-andreward of running a business in a way that’s often thrilling.

OWEN DUFFY

WE SAY

It’s tense, tight and strategic. It’s visually stunning. Its well-laid-out rulebook breaks a complex game down into easily understandable steps. Its economic theme won’t please everyone, and it comes with some admin that can sometimes feel a bit fiddly and repetitive. But, if you fall into the niche it’s aimed at, Prêt-à-Porter has a huge amount to offer.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

► Game board

► Four player boards

► 50 design cards

► 24 contract cards

► 24 building cards

► 24 employee cards

► 10 credit cards

► Three loan cards

► Four player aid cards

► 10 fashion show tiles

► 197 tokens

► First player marker

► 12 action markers

► Turn order tile

► Eight upkeep markers

► Calendar marker

TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED… CASTELL

Like the Catalan-themed game of daring acrobats, Prêt-à-Porter sees you planning for a series of critically-important events and hoping to reap the rewards.

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About The Best Games of 2019

Must Plays and more in our Best Games of 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Over the next 196 pages discover all of the most positively reviewed games of the year. With a massive 181 games reviewed, this is the definitive “what to play next” guide of 2019! Games reviewed include: Wingspan Copenhagen Hellboy: The Board Game Res Arcana Lifeform Century: A New World Megacity: Oceania Pandemic: Fall of Rome Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rough Nights & Hard Days Azul: Stained Glass of Sinatra Tapestry Letter Jam Hako Onna Everdell Battle Ravens Dune + Many more!

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