Strategically Thematic: Pret-a-Porter

April 27, 2017

Strategically Thematic is a segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Throat Punch Lunch videos about games where the theme and mechanics go together really well.

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Hi, this is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Strategically Thematic, a segment where I talk about theme in different strategic games. This time, I’m talking about Pret-a-Porter.

Pret-a-Porter is an economic game where you’re a fashion designer trying to get the most money by designing clothes, showing them off at fashion shows, and selling them. There are four fashion shows throughout the game that judge different categories - trendiness, quality, number of designs, and Public Relations, or PR.

For each fashion show, there are two preparation rounds, where you place your workers to do different things, like get designs, buy materials, or hire employees that help you. Fashion shows are scored by the designs that you show off at the show. But in order to show off your clothes, you need to have actually made them, so you need to have bought the material for them. All players are judged at the fashion show based on the same categories, and whoever has the best designs gets awards, or stars. The stars let you sell your designs for more money, since doing well in the fashion show has made your designs popular.

There are also a bunch of different cards for employees, buildings and contracts that can help you use different strategies to make better designs and get a lot of money. For example, you can hire a model as an employee, and since the model will show off your designs, you’ll get extra PR. Or you could get a Retail Outlet, which continues to sell your previous clothing and gives you additional income based on how well you did in the last fashion show.

Something that’s pretty thematic but requires a lot of bookkeeping is the maintenance phase. Each round in the game, you have to pay a salary to all your employees, plus a cost to upkeep your buildings. Income also happens in this phase, but most of the time you only get money from the fashion shows when you sell your designs. You have to plan ahead to make sure you have enough money to pay all of your maintenance costs each month, or else you’ll have to take a loan!

I don’t know much about fashion, but I like how Pret-a-Porter has a unique theme with actions and cards that work well with the mechanics. I like the engine building feel of the game - you need to gather everything required to make your designs and prepare to come out first in the fashion show, and when you do, you’ll have more money to prepare for the next show! But the fashion industry is cutthroat - if you fail to keep up at a fashion show, you’ll have to work extra hard to catch up to your opponents. Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Let me know what you think in the comments!
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