At work I am part of a gaming group at lunch and today was the second time we have played this game. After our first game we decided that we were paying way too much for each painting as one guy didn't buy a single painting the whole game and lost by only $1k.
So in today's game we had 5 players in order of Austin, John, Me, Jeremy, and Travis. We started out playing things safe and thinking more about who is actually making how much money with each purchase. We learned that it is important to realize that even though we might for example make a profit of $20k by buying a painting for $40k and selling it back for $60k, in the end we are still falling behind by $20k since the one selling the piece made $40k.
The first round the paintings were selling for really low prices. I even was able to purchase one painting for as low as $2k in a sealed auction. The top 3 types of paintings were Lite Metals, Yokos, and Kryptos. The second round of bidding was much higher as everyone focused only on putting up Lite Metals, Yokos, and Kryptos as they are obviously worth more at this point. I had at least one of each painting and ended up making decent money off them at the end of the round.
The third round was particularly interesting, but went so fast we didn't know what happened. I started the round by putting up a Double Auction of Kryptos with a fixed price of $70k which if it ended up being the top selling painting would be worth $70k each. The player to my left, Jeremy, bought them and immediately put up a Krypto of his own which Travis bought. The Travis then put up a Krypto which Austin bought. And then Austin put up a Krypto to end the round. He really should have put up a Lite Metal or a Yoko at this point as they would sell for a lot, but he didn't think about that and was happy to come away with his small profit and limit everyone else.
Since the third round ended so fast and left everyone feeling unsatisfied, the fourth round became more of a scramble. Once again the Lite Metals and Yokos were presented at the auction, but finally Austin put up a Double Auction of Karl Gitters that Travis bought for $15k as he figured to make a profit of $5k as the round was about to end, and didn't care that Austin made more off it since he was behind everyone else. But to his surprise John put up the first card of a Christian P Double Auction which I gladly added onto with my own Christian P. John and I split the profits and Jeremy ended the game, making Travis's previous purchase a complete waste.
Once we added up all of our money Travis and I both thought we were in good shape as we discovered we had tied with $400k each, but then Jeremy announced that he had $430k and won the game.
Overall, Modern Art is a decent game. But I liked Knizia's Medici better than this, and liked Ra (and Priests of Ra) even better than that. So I think his Auction Trilogy definitely got better with time. Would I play Modern Art again? Probably. Would it be anywhere near the top of my list of favorite games? Definitely not.