Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Modern Art - Second Play

At the last meetup, I played Modern Art again and won easily.

From the standpoint of determining play strategy, games typically fall into one of three categories:
  1. It is difficult to figure out how the game mechanics interrelate and thus hard to determine what moves to make.
  2. There is a natural progression where I figure it out more and more as I gain experience.
  3. It feels intuitive to me.

Games in category 2 are easy for me to analyze, and I can put my thoughts into words for this blog. The other two categories are much more difficult. With the first type, I don't know what to do myself, so it's the blind leading the blind. With the final type, it's hard to break out tips from play that simply "feels right" to me.

Unfortunately, Modern Art falls into the 3rd category, but I'll try for discern some tips anyway:

  1. I'm not that aggressive in the first round. I have no information to tell me what artists are going to be valuable later on, so I'd rather bide my time.
  2. As the game progresses, the cards in your hand become more valuable, so don't get rid of cards unnecessarily in the early rounds. Save those double auctions for the end.
  3. Pay attention to how many paintings of each artist have been sold in the early rounds; it will allow you to estimate value for the final round. That artist that had five paintings out in Rounds 1 and 2 and another 3 in 3 isn't going to have a lot left to sell in Round 4. Conversely, you can pretty much guarantee that that artist that hasn't sold much the entire game is going to be pretty high on the list for that final round.
  4. This game is all about maximizing value. To win, you have to buy paintings for less than they're worth and sell them for more. To do so, you must correctly judge value and use metagaming on your opponents.
  5. In general, it's bad to close out a round. You're losing a minimum of $30,000. On the other hand, if there are two artists with 4 paintings out and you own a bunch of the one that you can close, the difference between first and second makes it equal if you own 3 paintings and a profit if you own all 4.
  6. There are 12 paintings for Lite Metal, 13 for Yoko, 14 for Cristin P, 15 for Gitter, and 16 for Krypto. Obviously, more players are going to have more paintings from Krypto than for Lite Metal. Therefore, Krypto is going to have a greater chance of coming out than Lite Metal. Note, however, that the fewer paintings an artist has available the higher ranking in tiebreakers. If Krypto sold 5 and both Gitter and Yoko sold 4, Yoko will be worth $20,000 to Gitter's $10,000.

That's all I have for now. Hopefully, you can glean some information from this post that helps you in your bidding.

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