Canvas Finishing Touches board game

Canvas: Finishing Touches Review

Canvas Finishing Touches board game

Name: Canvas: Finishing Touches

Year of Release: 2023

Player Count: 1 – 5

Playing Time: 30 Minutes

Designer: Jeffrey Chin & Andrew Nerger

Publisher: R2i Games

Primary Mechanisms: Hand Management, Layering, Open Drafting, Set Collection

Weight (According to 1.83


Board Game expansions seem to be a controversial topic in today’s modern board gaming landscape.  Personally, I own many expansions and find myself almost always deploying them over just playing the base game.  To caveat this though, I am selective in my expansion purchases and don’t buy every expansion a game I like releases.  I’ve read plenty of opinions of people who feel that the majority of expansions are bloated cash-grabs, that end up just convoluting already well-designed games.  And then you have those who may or may not actually enjoy the expansions but are completionists and can’t stand the thought of owning just a part of a franchise. 

Today, I’m looking at Finishing Touches, the third installment in the Canvas series, following the base game and the first expansion, Reflections.  Read on to see what this new iteration adds to Canvas and leave your opinion of this new expansion in the comments section!

Canvas Finishing Touches board game

Creativity Icon 

In Finishing Touches, there are two brand-new icons that can appear on the Color Swatches at the bottom of the Art Cards.  The first of these icons is called the Creativity Icon and is depicted by a shining star.  The Creativity Icon acts as a wild Element, allowing players to turn it into any single Element, when scoring their completed painting.

Even though this seems like a tiny addition to the game, its impact is positively huge.  If you’ve played Canvas, you’re aware that the ceiling for scores can be low depending on the combination of Scoring Cards and Art Cards that make it out onto the table.  When none of these click, and players are struggling to create a painting that meets the scoring requirements, it can feel like an awfully unsatisfying playthrough.  So far, the Creativity Icon has gone a long way to improve this as there are plenty of Art Cards stamped with this icon and players can really start combining cards to excel at a multitude of Scoring Cards at once.  Much like the new board in Reflections, any increase in flexibility in Canvas is a welcome change.

Blend Icon

The second new icon isn’t quite the game changer that the Creativity Icon is, but is still a fun addition, nonetheless.  This icon is the Blend Icon, depicted by a brush and an arrow.  You’ll notice that the Color Swatch that this icon is printed on actually spans two different colors.  With this icon, any of the Elements that are adjacent to the Blend Icon are duplicated by it.  This mechanism can be used to great affect when a player uses it to duplicate the Creativity Icon, as the player can choose for each of the duplicated Creativity Icons to represent a different Element.  The Blend Icon is a must have when the Scoring Cards require a multitude of the same Element to score a Ribbon Token.

Frames and Platinum Ribbons

Canvas Finishing Touches board game

While the new icons are great, the biggest addition in Finishing Touches are the brand-new Frames.  Included in the game are four, large Frames, that prop up nicely to hold your paintings.  But these Frames aren’t just here for decoration, they actually score players Victory Points at the end of the game.  Each Frame is labeled with one of the four Elements, and in order for a player to capture a Frame, their newly created painting needs to have the most of the specific Element at the table.  Each Frame is also labeled with the Creativity Icon so players can add the count of these stars to their overall count when winning a Frame.  If a player wins a Frame, they slide their painting in it and grab themselves a Platinum Ribbon, worth four Victory Points.

The trick with the Frames is that they can be stolen by competitive painters throughout the game.  If another player finishes a painting and has used more of the specific Element printed on your Frame, they may steal the Frame from you, placing their painting in it and winning themselves a Platinum Ribbon as well.  While you do lose the Frame, you do keep your Platinum Ribbon, so you at least retain those four points.  Players steal these Frames back and forth throughout the game and only those players who hold a Frame once the game comes to an end, gain the extra two Victory Points per Frame.

In multiplayer games, the Frames are amazing, as they add a whole new level of player interaction that has been sorely lacking in Canvas since the beginning.  You can feel the tension as players swipe Frames from opponents, hoping those extra two points will push them to victory at game end.  Unfortunately, the Frames don’t quite live up to the hype within the solo game as there is no stealing from Vincent (the AI player) and instead, the solo player just needs to have a standard amount of Elements in their painting to take the Frame.  This is a small nag as I assume most Canvas players play multiplayer, but I wanted this fact to be known for all the solo players out there.

Canvas Finishing Touches board game
Landscape tiles

More Art Cards, Scoring Cards, and Background Cards

Obviously with the onset of two new icons, you should expect a whole stack of new Art Cards but players also get new Scoring Card and Background Cards.  I like how some of the new Scoring Cards don’t “synergize” well with previous Scoring Cards and the designers notated which don’t play well together on the card itself.  This helps to ensure that players don’t end up with a combination of Scoring Cards that all work against each other.  The Background Cards don’t add too much in the way of gameplay, but it’s always nice to have more choices to truly make your painting creations your own.

Painter Cards (Deluxe Only)

If you ordered the deluxe version of Reflections, you were awarded with a mini-variant called the Signature Style Variant.  The deluxe version of Finishing Touches does something similar, giving deluxe buyers a mini-variant called the Painter Variant.  This deck of cards contains a collection of famous painters, and each player will be given two at the beginning of the game and will have to choose to use one.  These cards enable a special player power, unique to that painter.  While none of these powers are Earth shattering, it is nice to have a little something extra up your sleeve that differentiates you from the other painters at the table.


The Canvas trilogy reminds me a lot of the PARKS trilogy in that the base game is an example of a fun and light game but each expansion adds a little more depth to the overall game.  Players can easily mix all three versions of Canvas together and never feel overwhelmed or burdened by unnecessary rule changes.  New and old fans alike will enjoy what Finishing Touches bring to the art world of Canvas.


Ratings are based on 5 main criteria: rulebook, setup, components, art & graphic design, and gameplay.  The first 4 criteria are rated 1 to 5 and the gameplay is rated 1 to 10.  These scores culminate in an “overall satisfaction” score that is rated from 1 to 10.  If the reviewed game has both a solo and multiplayer mode, I have assigned scores separately to give context to which mode we enjoy more.  


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Kristofer Solomon

Hey, everyone! I’m Kristofer Solomon and the creator of Board Game Breakdown. I’ve been playing board games since I was little, typically spending days on top of days playing Risk with kids from my neighborhood. As I moved into college, I started playing Magic: the Gathering with a group of guys and my love for board games slid to the wayside as I progressed into gulp adulthood (not to mention a long obsession with World of Warcraft.) Eventually, I fell back into the hobby in its current state when my wife (then girlfriend) bought me a copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition for my birthday in 2008. This simple to grasp, but strategic train game blew me away. I didn’t realize at the time that board games could be much more than your average game of Sorry or Trouble. We eventually got Catan, Small World, and other well-known titles and the rest is history.

I’m hopeful that the content of this website and its associated YouTube and Instagram channels can be informative to those who are either on the fence about getting a game, or maybe just looking for something new. About 50% of my gaming time is spent solo gaming so I enjoy touching on that subject when I discuss games as this is an area that is typically not focused on.

Thanks to all who spent even a minute perusing this site, it means a lot to me. Happy gaming!

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