What's Eric Playing? #123 - A Fake Artist Goes to New York
Well, I’ve already powered through two Oink Games reviews (I’d link to them, but who knowswhen I’ll arbitrarily decide to publish the darn things), so I figure let’s just get through all the ones I own, at least until Startups arrives or I decide to buy The Pyramid’s Deadline or In A Grove or whatever they’ll sell me. And it’s true! I already wrote up Insider. Check it out!
Anyways. In A Fake Artist Goes to New York, you’ve just arrived at a massive art exhibition with famous artists from all over to work on a collaborative art piece. It will be incredible and shown to thousands, if not millions. The problem is, well, you’re not a real artist; you’re a fake. Can you successfully hide yourself from the true artists? And if you’re not the fake, then, well, who is?
This is a very easy game to set up. Choose one player to be the Question Master, and hand them a dry-erase marker and these tiles:
The other players should each get a marker:
Set out the drawing pad in view of all players, and you’re pretty much ready to go:
Essentially, this game is a lot like Spyfall, but with some setup changes. Here’s how it works: each player is an artist, drawing a picture chosen by the Question Master. Everyone knows the theme of the work (a broad category), but the Fake Artist doesn’t actually know what the picture is. What fun, right? The catch is that the Question Master is on the Fake Artist’s team.
Anyways. Have the Question Master pick a theme. Generally, it should be a broad category like “clothing” or “hats” or “furniture” or something. Then, they write the specific example of the theme on each tile. This might be like “shirt” or “sombrero” or “table”. On one tile, instead of writing the word, they’ll write an “X” — this is how you know that you’re the Fake Artist. To that end, please don’t make the theme “Letters of the Alphabet”, as that will be needlessly confusing.
The Question Master then passes out the tiles in whatever order they want and chooses the Start Player.
On your turn, you draw one contiguous stroke with your marker. As soon as your marker leaves the paper, you’re done, and you pass it to the next person. Once the drawing pad has completed two full rounds, it goes back to the Question Master, who shows it to all players.
At this point, every player should hold up their marker so that every other player can see what color they are. The players should take a good look at it and try to figure out which color clearly has no idea what’s going on. Then, One Night Ultimate Werewolf-style, they should count down and point at who they believe the Fake Artist is. If there’s a tie for most votes, they are both (or all, depending on how good you are at ties) named the Fake Artist. If the Fake Artist has been named, they have one last shot — they can try to guess what the picture should be, and if they’re correct, they win!
That’s pretty much the whole game. There’s a point-scoring system, but, like Spyfall, I just kind of ignore it.
PLAYER COUNT DIFFERENCES
I find that this game is pretty hard for the Fake Artist in general, but even more so at low player counts. That’s probably why the minimum is like, 5 players. I would recommend this at most player counts, though — it’s a lot of fun.
- Question Master: remember that you’re on the Fake Artist’s team. I’ve been in unfortunate games where the Question Master has forgotten this and picked a very difficult clue. If the Fake Artist loses, so do you.
- Question Master: pick a pretty general clue. This partially goes with the first bit, but picking something that’s generic and broad means that it’ll be difficult for the other artists to sufficiently draw it without cluing in the Fake Artist. There’s definitely an art to clue picking.
- Fake Artist: try to copy someone else’s work. If you commit early and you’re wrong, well, that sucks, but it also means that the other artists might be so convinced that you’re the Fake Artist that they stop drawing so that they don’t give you more information. That’s not good. What you should do is try to duplicate certain things in the image if you think that’ll work. See a bird? Add another. See a mountain? Now it’s two mountains. See an eye? Why not give it two? That’s generally an alright way to slide under some radars.
- If you think the Fake Artist is obvious, don’t give them extra information. You should provide as little information as possible, but enough that you don’t get accused of being the Fake Artist. It’s pretty difficult.
- Don’t go overboard. I see a lot of games where players get a bit too into drawing and end up just drawing the word, meaning that the Fake Artist can pretty much instantly guess it, if they get accused at all.
- Be patient and don’t necessarily jump to conclusions. I know I just said to deny the Fake Artist extra information, but that’s only in egregious cases. A lot of the time, the person going first gets briefly suspected of being the Fake Artist, but they’re trying to just convey very little information to not provide hints. Again, like Spyfall, stay your hand for a bit.
PROS, MEHS, AND CONS
- It’s Spyfall Pictionary. What’s not to like?
- Very fun. Most of the time people just laugh about how terrible of a picture they drew and then immediately want to play again. I’ve played 10 consecutive rounds of this before; it’s very well-received in most of my groups.
- Easy to learn. I usually just say “it’s Spyfall Pictionary” and that’s good enough. I think, though, that easy to learn / transport is kind of a hallmark of Oink Games, which I appreciate.
- Easy to transport. Look at the tiny box! All Oink Games are great for this, though.
- Low stress, for a hidden traitor game. Sure, you have to draw a picture that you have no idea how to draw if you’re the Fake Artist, but I’ve been told by many people that they vastly prefer being the Fake Artist to the Spy, and I generally agree. You only have to go twice in AFGTNY, whereas you might be asked a lot of questions in Spyfall.
- Vibrant. That box is a bright pink. It looks great on the shelf and catches the eye when you’re pulling it out at game night. Insider’s bright red box is similar in that regard.
- Having a box to date the drawing is a nice touch. Lets you reflect on fun past games you’ve played.
- It’s definitely a tough game. It’s kind of interesting that for a party game it’s so difficult, but I think most people enjoy it enough that they don’t really care that much. I’d still argue being the Spy in Spyfall is tougher than being the Fake Artist, but identifying the Fake Artist is tougher. Being the Insider in Insider, on the other hand, is much easier.
- It’s difficult to fill out the tiles without people noticing that you’re writing far less on one. We generally have the Question Master go somewhere else, but this is another game that might benefit somewhat from an app. I guess you’d need a tablet and a pen, but at least the dissemination of information would be much easier.
- The marker colors don’t match the tile colors. I suppose that’s because a yellow marker just doesn’t work, but it irks me slightly.
- I’m not … 100% sure what New York has to do with any part of this game. I generally just call it Fake Artist, but … yeah. It’s a long title.
- It’s going to be hard to replace those markers. I’m already kind of stressed about it.
- There’s a typo on the drawing pad. It’s kind of hilariously bad — “Artisrs”. You can see it in the picture I took in Setup, but it’s on every sheet of paper. It’s … it’s a whole thing.
OVERALL: 8.5 / 10
Overall, A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a fantastic party game. The best part is, it’s easy to transport, so there’s almost no reason to leave it behind when you’re going somewhere. It gets people talking and laughing and bonding over the fact that pretty much everyone sucks at drawing when you force them to draw collaboratively one stroke at a time. I have a very slight preference for Werewords, but this is certainly no slouch, and I’d definitely bring both if I’m ever headed to a game night with a bunch of people. It shines at most player counts, it’s bright and colorful, and you get to preserve your finished “masterpiece” after you’re done! It’s a great game, and I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for party games.