Strategically Thematic: Modern Art

July 13, 2018

Strategically Thematic is a segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Token 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 Modern Art.

In Modern Art, you're playing as a museum trying to collect and sell different pieces of art, which are represented by different cards. The art's from five different artists, and each card has a different piece of art on it. The game takes place over four rounds, and each round, players alternate auctioning off pieces of art by playing them down, and other players bid on them. There's different types of auctions though, like an open auction, or a hidden auction, or even a double auction, where you can sell two pieces of art instead of one. And that makes it pretty interesting and fun to have different types of auctions.

So far it doesn't sound that thematic, since it's just auctioning off a bunch of different pieces of art, but I think the theme shows itself when you sell the art at the end of each round. During the rounds, you don't know how much each piece of art will be worth, but as more art from the same artist gets played and sold, that artist becomes more popular, which makes their art more in demand and a higher price. So the way the pricing works is you compare the amount of art by each artist and whoever has the most will be worth the most points and whoever has the least will not be worth anything, because there's only so much art that people can buy, and they'll be interested in the more popular artists.

The popularity of the artists also carries over from round to round. So in the fourth round, an artist that was popular earlier on will still be worth more for the new paintings because now that artist is very popular. But a new artist that just comes in the fourth round and hasn't been seen at all in the previous rounds won't be worth that much because no one knows about them, which makes sense with the theme.

Modern Art is a lot of fun with the auctioning and bidding for something where you don't know the price of it until the end of the round. So you're trying to figure out how much you want to pay for this art and speculating on the art prices. A lot of people like the game, and it actually got a bunch of different reprints recently, so if you wanna try it out, you can pick the one that has the best art!

Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Let me know what you think in the comments!
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