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Review of Masters Gallery from Gryphon Games


The Story:  The players play art critics who influence the price or different artists masterpieces through out the game.  The player who best anticipates the changing taste of the critics gets to make off with the most valued collection.

Play:  In Masters Gallery, each player will start out with 13 cards drawn from the masterpiece deck.  In this deck, their are 95 works by different artist, represented by 5 different colors.  There are 5 artist cards laying in play representing, Vermeer, Degas, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.  Each player will go in order laying down 1 card out of there hand, influencing the value of of the artist that they play.  Some cards have symbols in the corner allowing you to do a little more than the average turn, for example lay a second cards face down, or maybe draw a card.  Play continues around the table till there are 6 of 1 color in play among all critics.  The round ends and value tokens are laid on the Artist Cards.  The artist with the most represented masterpieces gets a 3 token, 2nd most gets a two, and 3rd most gets a one.  Everyone adds up the scores of their gallery and discard their played cards, four more cards are dealt out to each player and play continues, doing the same thing as round 1 leaving the tokens on the Artist Cards.  This leads to higher scores toward the end of the game, weighing the importance of the latter rounds.  You play four rounds top score wins.

My Take:  When deciding what "Bookshelf Game" I wanted to review next, Masters Gallery was high on my list.  I'm a fan of Knizia, and his game Modern Art, which is loved by many, never really set well with me when I played it years ago.  Masters Gallery is the card game based on Modern Art.   Really the only difference is that there is no bidding in this game, where as Modern Art had a variety of bidding.  Some would argue that this takes away a layer of complexity from the game, however I don't see why this is a bad thing.   The different types of bidding is what had always threw me off on Modern Art and losing it is an addition by subtraction situation my my opinion.  After a few plays of this I can really see that it is going to be a great filler game for my group of friends.  Ive already worked it in with a couple that are not gamers at all and they seemed to not only enjoy the game, but also understood the little things needed to get themselves the win.  Modern Art was on one of my last big orders from Funagain, but with the arrival of this game, I don't think I am going to be in any rush to get it to the table.  Masters Gallery certainly fills a niche that would normally be covered by it's more complex older brother.

The Components:  100 cards and 17 tokens and a well written rulebook.  The card stock is fantastic, I could see these things lasting forever.  One thing that I have noticed while rummaging through my 4 different "Bookshelf Games" is that the components for these games leave nothing to be desired.    With the relatively small price tag, Gryphon makes sure that you get more than your moneys worth out of each game.  I am looking forward to trying out more stuff from them.


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Reader Comments (1)

Very cool. Sounds like a game I'd like to play.

April 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Sergent

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