Sunday, August 10, 2014

Shall we draw a snowman ?

If you are a regular reader/fan/viewer of our videos and posts, you will know by now that we are very fond of Oink games from Japan. They produce really good micro games of high quality and are great to look at. Its really an awesome load of fun in a very small package. Oink games latest release is actually a re-release of an older game but in an all new smaller package called "Fake Artist goes to New York". Seeing how I AM heading to New York, it seems fitting that I review this game.
What you get in the game. All those colors!

Fake Artist goes to New York is a party game that plays 5-10 players. Players take turns being the Question Giver. That means they will choose a category (i.e. Animals) and write down the item (i.e. Bear) for the other players to draw using the nice thick cardboard pieces provided. However, in one of the pieces, the Question Giver will mark an "X". The Question giver will then randomly distribute these pieces out to the other players. The player who receives the "X" will be the fake artist. All identities are kept secret for the round. Then starting with the player to the left of the Question giver, each other player is to draw 1 line onto a piece of paper using the appropriate color marker. Each player in turn will take that same piece of paper and do the same. This paper will make 2 rounds. 

Now once it has made 2 rounds, the players are allowed to discuss and then, simultaneously, point to whom they think is the Fake Artist. If they guessed wrongly, the Fake Artist will reveal him/herself and he/she and the Question Giver will score 2 points each. If they guessed correctly, the Fake artist has 1 chance to guess the item. If guessed correctly, again Fake Artist and Question Giver will score 2 points each. Otherwise, all real artists will score 1 point each.

In this way the game will go for several rounds and whomever has the most points at the end will win.

Result of a 9 player game and when people are trying to be too smart :P
I have only played this game with my cousins properly as we are quite a big group and perfect for a game like this. Interestingly, when I first brought out this game, almost half of them went "Oh I can't draw...". But after a few rounds they got into the game and they all enjoyed it. For a simple party game, it has surprising twists and angles to it. As a real artist, you don't want to make it too obvious else the Fake Artist will guess. You also don't want to confuse your fellow artists by drawing something nonsensical. As the Fake Artist, you want to try to blend in with the other artists. However if you are the FIRST to draw, then this will be very difficult and unlucky for you. Even the Question Giver also can play a tactical game. He/she can give something that is so simple to draw that the real Artists will have a hard time trying to be vague about what they are drawing and thus giving the Fake Artist a better chance at guessing in the end, thus scoring you 2 points. 

I must admit that when I first read the rules I was going "wow, this is incredibly light. I am not even sure where the fun is in this." I could not conceive the depth that it can provide and so I was very surprised at the amount of fun we had.

You would think we are all 1 year olds from the drawing :D
And let me tell you it was a load of fun. Because we are drawing lines, sometimes even the angle at which the drawing is perceived can lead to confusion and a lot of debate. Many a times when it comes to you to draw and you are the real artist, you are torn between what you can add so that it really doesn't give the drawing away. Sometimes people just draw a small circle. Sometimes people start to draw the surroundings. The Fake artist can be clever and follow someone's action but that could backfire. For example, if someone draws what looks like an eye, you could follow it and thus pretend to be the real artist. However everyone else can see the angle of the drawing and know you are just copying, then you will be exposed.

That said, it may not be for everyone. I will say that while most crowds will enjoy it, having the right crowd of people that know each other well, can banter and have good imagination, will make this shine. Very similar to how I feel about Dixit. The rules aren't very clear about what you can draw during your turn but you should just house rule it as whatever you feel like adding because the scoring system will sort itself out. If the group realises that the Fake Artists are getting too many points, I believe they will self adjust and modify the rules to suit their needs. This game is also very fun with kids as its just drawing on paper. RECOMMENDED!

Many thanks for Oink games for a review copy!

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