Modern Art: My favorite betting game

Modern Art

Modern art was a game I had heard some raving about, and figured should be on our shelves. But it was a luck and betting game, so there was little enthusiasm about it’s arrival.  Luck and betting games are games like Monopoly, Shoots and Ladders, and even Poker. Not the kinds of games I get worked up over. But when I finally gave in, sat down, and played this game I was really surprised by its depth of play.

One of the signs that a game is awesome is when there are multiple strategies to achieve a victory, and this one has that.  This idea that you can choose different strategies to win keeps a game fresh, and allows for much more individualism.  This also helps keep the game from being a “roll and move”, or some other similar style of game, that really plays itself and you just help by moving the pieces where you’re told.

MA also is very easy to teach new players.  Usually within five to ten minutes the new player is rolling with it, making deals and hosting auctions like a pro.   Yet, the game isn’t so simple as to be unexciting. Actually the game is all in the nuiances.

The game consists of auctioning off paintings and attempting to buy other peoples paintings for the lowest amount.  Unlike real art, the artist that is most prevalent on the table is worth the most money.  So you want to buy low, and sell high. This tends to cause people to buy for cheap the kinds of paintings that they have in their hand, because they know they can make it worth more in the end.

Two major strategies have emerged while I’ve been playing.  The first one strikes me as rather traditional:  Hoard all of a single type of card until a round where you can make it worth a ton, then do double auctions to really rake in the dough.  The second I find much much more interesting:  Don’t bother to buy paintings, simply sell at the highest price you can manage.  By never purchasing any paintings you are never taking a risk that they will be worth nothing.  Instead you just sit back and rake in the dough.  Of course not everyone at the table can play this second strategy, because someone has to buy them.

So, I think it’s obvious now what my opinion is on this game, however, hopefully the reason why is now a bit more clear:  Ease of learning, intricate manipulation of game play, and a plethora of strategic possibilities make this game one of my favorites.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 9:37 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Luck and Betting Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Comment

  1. Tyler says:

    I actually own this game now. I played it about 3 years ago and I loved it!! I could never find a copy of it as it seemed like it was out of print. I recently went into a game shop here in Las Vegas and they were able to order me a copy of it!! I was sooo excited.. Weve played this game once so far in my game group but plan on bringing it out again very soon as a few others really liked it and want to play it again. I recommend getting this game if your into auction style games. It does have a bit of strategy to it for those that simply must only play games with strategy.

    If youve never played this game before then you might think that auctioning off paintings for a game is a bit boring but it does not have that luck of the dice style as in other games that are “roll and move” and it doesnt have a random winner style with games such as Killer Bunnies. You the player can control what happens in the game and control who wins just buy buying & making certain paintings worth more. But beware that other players will also be trying to control who wins and what happens in the game. I think this game has a better game element style then that of the “roll & move” games. “Roll & move” games tend to get old a litttle bit because you depend on the luck of the dice to make your move or a move rather than you the player being able to control your move or a move.

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