A Fake Artist Goes To New York

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Players take turns being the Question Master, whose role is to set a category, write a word within that category on dry erase cards, and hand those out to other players as artists. At the same time, one player will have only an “X” written on his card. He is the fake artist! Players will then go around the table twice, drawing one contiguous stroke each on a paper to dra…
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Category Tags , , , , , SKU ZBG-OIN09031 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Pick-Up & Play
Golden Pear

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Modern retro styling.
  • Your friend's ham-fisted art skills.
  • The price.

Might Not Like

  • The Game Master is a spectator.
  • Gameplay is repetitive.
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Description

A Fake Artist Goes To New York by Jan Sasaki grabs your attention. It’s a party game (about drawing) by Oink Games, who produce excellent products in tiny boxes. They’re by no means a gimmick; these are brilliant designs. The box is also hot pink, so not exactly subtle! And then there’s those playing the game – they’ll be the ones crying with laughter.

One player is the Question Master. They pick a category (History) and then think of a word within that category (Henry VIII). In secret they’ll write this word down on individual dry-erase boards. But, on one of the boards, they’ll write an ‘X’. They’ll give these out, random, and still in secret, to all the other players. Now everyone has the same clue, except one player – the ‘Fake Artist’!

One at a time, each player has to draw one line or squiggle on a piece of paper in their own colour pen. They’ll aim to contribute towards drawing the Question Master’s clue. Of course, the Fake Artist doesn’t know what they’re supposed to be drawing! You’ll want your scrawls to be vague enough to thwart the Fake Artist. But, it needs to be subtle enough for everyone else to recognise it…

Each artist will draw two separate lines over two rounds. Then, with a 3-2-1 count-down, everyone at once has to point at the Fake Artist. The Fake Artist and the Question Master win if the Fake Artist isn’t picked. If the Fake Artist is guessed, but then cannot fathom what the actual word is, the artists score a victory.

A Fake Artist Goes To New York is a perfect appetiser or night cap to any gaming session. In fact, it’s so entertaining, it’s impossible to only play one round. It’s the kind of party game you could play over and over, and over again…

Player Count: 5-10 players
Time: 20 minutes
Age: 8+

In April 1993 Irish indie band, the Frank and Walters, released a jolly good-natured candyfloss song called “Fashion Crisis hits New York”. It made you smile, it made you dance, it was whimsical and light. And I can’t help singing the title of this game to its catchy chorus melody. Google it now and play it in the background while you read this review. You’ll see what I mean!

You can spot an Oink game easily from the other side of the games shop. In a world of big boxes with high art and armies of miniatures, Oink produce games with in business-card sized boxes using clear, simple modern retro styling. Distinctive. Stylish. Efficient.

Japanese company Oink Games have released one stone cold classic: Deep Sea Adventure and many of their others deserve an honourable mention. What about A Fake Artist Goes to New York, though?

Overview

Their elegant and spare design continues inside the box. You empty out a fold-out rule book done mainly in pictures (imagine a riff on IKEA instructions); 10 coloured felt pens; nine sturdy key-fob sized tiles – each a different colour; and a pad of sketch pages. No wonder Oink publish games at almost pocket-money prices.

The box claims a 20-minute playing time for five to 10 players of ages eight and up. So, we can deduce that it’s a quick, simple party game. The rules unfold to a single page, can be digested in one read-through and then you’re off!

Every so often a story comes out of the art world that some charlatan from way outside the ivory towers, with no training, has fooled the art world into taking them seriously. Think of Tony Hancock in The Rebel. Earnest critics have been duped, eye watering sums of money have changed hands. Then the fraud is revealed and everyone has red faces. The world chuckles at these events as a way of ridiculing the po-faced art establishments and a general idea that “Any-could do it”…“my toddler could paint a better picture”…and so on. Fake Artist turns this idea into a game.

Playing A Fake Artist Goes to New York

At the start of each round, The Game Master (GM) secretly writes a word (such as ‘lion’) on the backs of all but one of the tiles. They put a cross on the remaining one then share the category (in this instance ‘animal’). The GM hands out the tiles to the others players. Now you’ve got a group of ‘artists’ who know what to draw plus one ‘fake artist’ who has only the category to go on.

The pad is passed from player to player, each adding a single element to a collaborative drawing. In our example, the artists are drawing a lion together. The fake artist’s job is to join in without anyone spotting that they are a fraud and don’t know what they’re doing. The pad goes round twice so everyone gets to add two lines to the picture. After that, all the players vote to decide who they think is the fake artist. After the reveal the fake artist (win or lose) must guess the hidden theme. If the fake artist gets the majority of votes they (and the GM) lose, otherwise the artists lose. After the reveal the fake artist (win or lose) must guess the hidden theme. Simple.

Like all party games, A Fake Artist Goes to New York works best with a large group of people. The game makes a framework but it is up to us, the players, to fill it with fun. Adding a line to a sketch on a pad isn’t that amazing. Watching our friends suffer in the face of their drawing skills; laughing at the poor quality results; bluffing like a poker player is fun.

The rules don’t say it, but every group I’ve played with has adopted a don’t-talk-too-much policy. It must be the secrecy invoked by glancing covertly at the back of your tile. This means you tie yourself in knots trying to work out what the previous artist was trying to do – often adding an element that makes sense to you but not to anyone else. Hilarity ensues. This makes the fake artist’s job easier as, to a certain extent, all the players are working in the dark.

After the big reveal of the voting and the fake artist tries to guess the secret theme, there is a big round of noisy, “What was that bit supposed to be?” or “Why did you draw this?” or “Oh! I thought that was its tale” and the next round begins with a new GM and new topic. After the 20 minutes, you’ll have gone round the whole group and you can choose to stop.

Closing Thoughts on A Fake Artist Goes to New York

If you followed my instruction, that Frank and Walters song will now be stuck in your head. You’re welcome. Just like that song, A Fake Artist Goes to New York is light, fun, whimsical and good-natured. It’s not competitive enough to cause arguments. It’ll happily fill a gap while waiting for your meal in a restaurant or after a more heavy game.

No-one is going to make this their headline game for an evening of play but equally no-one will shake their heads and say “No,” either. The replay-ability is limited as, essentially, the gameplay is the same each time. The age guide of eight makes it a neat family game and certainly my children took to it easily. Having said that, after the initial set-up of the round the GM is merely a spectator which frustrated the younger players. Luckily, each round is just minutes long, so you don’t have to suffer it for long.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Modern retro styling.
  • Your friend's ham-fisted art skills.
  • The price.

Might not like

  • The Game Master is a spectator.
  • Gameplay is repetitive.