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Brushing Up: Painters Guild Comes To Steam

Painters Guild [official site] is a charming little management sim where you run a guild of artists. I wrote about it a little while ago thanks to a free demo but it’s out today on Steam so I’m re-mentioning it.

Currently all is not well at the Guild of Pip. My main artist is languishing in a jail cell after brawling because I couldn’t pay his fine leaving my newly recruited trainee to hold the fort and keep a roof over all of our heads. He didn’t do any on-screen brawling. As far as I could tell he was tucked up in bed but the pop-up said otherwise and thus I am in a bit of a pickle.

I think we’ll be okay, though, I just need to get through a little period of this one guy grinding pigment, painting commissions, and having naps.

I have big plans for my current guild. I want to keep costs down by not hiring superstars from the Renaissance, so I’m recruiting from a local city and then using the money I save to buy furniture that helps with my reputation, as well as letting people rest more efficiently and grind pigment simultaneously.

The thing that I’m a little unsure of is these pop-up events. They add a bit of interest beyond the basic events of the period (news of important inventions and deaths are delivered via courier) but there’s one which might just screw up your guild entirely. It’s that there’s an option to start the game with a gay character and the game points out that it’s “historically punishable by death”.

I had a different save on my main gaming machine and a pop-up related to my character’s orientation triggered carrying with it a 5% risk of execution. That would possibly have put an end to my guild entirely. I get the point that the option makes but I think leaving it as an option is a mistake, both from a symbolic perspective (i.e. gayness as a choice) and from a gameplay one (if you’re going to invest time into the game you’re less likely to go with the option that might end the game early, or at least significantly affect your progress).

Maybe that’s okay because it’s still making the point about historical attitudes, but the choice element is one I keep chewing over because I don’t think it quite works.

Anyway, yes. Painters Guild is a tight management sim which I’m rather enjoying.

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Philippa Warr

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