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Subject: The Only Fake Artist in New York (a Space-Biff! review) rss

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Daniel Thurot
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The Only Fake Artist in New York

Not too long ago, I wrote about a superb little ditty by the name of Spyfall, a game about asking questions in a vague yet informative manner so that one of the players — the SPY — would slip up and reveal themselves, while also ensuring that the other players wouldn’t jump to the conclusion you were the spy because your information was too wishy-washy. It was a tightrope social deduction game, simple enough that your curmudgeonly aunt could get along with it, but smart enough that the most jaded gamer would find something to love.

And now thanks to A Fake Artist Goes to New York, it’s back. In art form.

Describing A Fake Artist Goes to New York is uncannily like describing Spyfall. There’s a Question Master — who we call the “Curator,” since “Question Master” feels like a peccadillo of the game’s translation from Japanese — and everybody else at the table hands him their dry-erase boards, these cuter-than-your-beautiful-newborn-daughter objects that will make you tear up with joy when you see them. On each of these boards the Curator writes out what work of art he plans to commission. A honey badger, perhaps. Then he passes them back to their owners and announces the category. “Mammals,” maybe. Then one stroke at a time, each artist takes their colored pen and adds a single stroke to the group’s masterpiece.

Except one of the artists isn’t an artist at all. He’s a fake artist. Cue dramatic music. No, wait. An Inception horn.

It’s tough enough turning a piece of art, especially one as shoddy as anything I could create, into a labor of corporate effort. A pizza transforms into a scene from Pinocchio, except one from a parallel dimension where Pablo Picasso offed Walt Disney and has since assumed his identity. An ostrich neck, buried in the ground and seeming to you like a very clever visual cue, is perplexingly altered into a stumpy turtle leg. A pineapple starts to look uncannily like a hula dancer.

To be clear, this is the point of the game, because once everybody has made a couple additions to the picture, it’s time to vote the fake artist into the open. Even if the correct culprit is outed, she gets a chance to identify the picture, so being terrible at art can actually be a bit of a perk. If the fake artist guesses the correct subject matter or evades detection, she and the Curator win the round. Otherwise, all of the artists win. Repeat until satisfied.

Saying that this game is effortlessly smart is only half of it. It’s also adorable, quick, and rewards players who might not be as comfortable spinning lies on the fly — a must for success at Spyfall or any number of other social games. Here, you can let your pen do the talking. And I guarantee the after-game talk is memorable, everyone laughing about their artistic decisions and flubs. Recently, my platypus eggs were turned into chunky nub-legs, one of the best clues I’ve ever put together disappearing as the creature began to resemble a Pokemon.

Another perk is that it’s one of the most portable games I’ve ever played, brought to us from the same publisher behind Deep Sea Adventure, another game that can boast at fitting into your trousers without assuming you’re sporting cargo pants. You can finally say you’ve got a party in your pants and not sound like a total creep. Or, well, you still will, at least until you whip this baby out.

A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a brilliant little game, turning even all-thumbs art-rubes into master forgers, swingers of high society who draw in big confident swishes, persuading everyone around them that they’re definitely drawing a treasure chest even though they just made what looks like a bear outline. Or maybe they’ll slash a straight line through your koala’s otherwise adorable torso. Maybe it’s a spear. Bamboo. Yeah, bamboo.


This review was originally published at Space-Biff!, so if you like what you see, please head over there for more. http://spacebiff.com/2015/08/10/a-fake-artist/

Also, I suppose I ought to plug my Geeklist of reviews: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/169963/space-biff-histori...
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David Janik-Jones
Canada
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Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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Awesome review. Wasn't even on my radar. Now is.
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Bakai Ádám
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Hi!
We tried the paper and pencil version. And it didn't really work, for example because of the symetrical lines(for example in superman two arms, two legs, two sides of the cape). How do you feel about this issue?
I'm thinking about playing it again but with everybody creates a drawing on their own, then show it to the other artists. Do you think it could work?
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Daniel Thurot
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bakaiadam wrote:
Hi!
We tried the paper and pencil version. And it didn't really work, for example because of the symetrical lines(for example in superman two arms, two legs, two sides of the cape). How do you feel about this issue?
I'm thinking about playing it again but with everybody creates a drawing on their own, then show it to the other artists. Do you think it could work?

When we played, we'd heckle whoever drew the second half of any symmetry. For instance, in drawing "superman," if I drew a muscle-bound arm and then you did, we'd all immediately decry that player as the fake artist, since they hadn't contributed anything original. Soon enough everyone was making original (or original-seeming) contributions. This seemed to do the trick.

As for your proposed variant, I have no idea, but you ought to give it a shot and let us know how it worked out!
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Todd Kobell
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I spent 200 GeekGold...
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...and all I got was this lousy overtext.
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Great review. We need more drawing-based board games in my opinion.
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Peter Hazlewood
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I love party games that can be played with gamers and non-gamers alike. Just ordered this, so thanks for the review. You've whetted my appetite

P.S. It's music to my ears that being bad at drawing can be a perk. I am hopeless but will probably fly a bit under the radar due to my ineptness at drawing anything!
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Neil D
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Have to say that this sounds like a great game for my extended family.
Thanks for the review Dan!
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