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A Fake Artist Goes To New York mixes hidden roles and making art

Who’s the real artist and who’s just faking it?

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A Fake Artist Goes To New York is a mouthful of a title for a pretty simple board game about drawing, lying, and making wild accusations. We also played it on the latest episode of Overboard, and had a surprisingly difficult time figuring out who among us was actually the fake artist.

Here’s how it’s played. Each round, one player assumes the role of game master and selects a secret drawing prompt. They write it down on the handy dry erase cards included with the game, along with one card on which they write “FAKE”. The cards are shuffled together and given to the rest of the players.

For example, the game master could choose “Pizza” as their drawing prompt, writing it on all but one of the cards. One the last card, they just write “FAKE”.

Once everyone has taken a look at the secret drawing prompt (or found out that they were the fake), the game master writes down a category on the drawing pad. So in our example, the game master would probably write down “Food”. This way the fake at least knows that they’re trying to draw some type of food.

Now the art making can begin! One line at a time, the artists take turns adding to the group’s masterpiece. These lines can be as intricate or as simple as the player wants, but one line only: once the pen leaves the pad, their turn is over.

After all the artists have had two turns, they’re given a chance to discuss who among them is the fake, before the game master calls a vote. The players then point to who they think the fake is. If they fail to find them, the fake wins! However, even if they fake artist is outed, they haven’t lost. They get one chance to guess what they think the secret writing prompt was, and should they manage to guess correctly, the fake wins! The only way for the real artists to win is if they find the fake AND the fake fails to guess the prompt.

Playing A Fake Artist Goes To New York
Look at our Art.

Sounds simple right? Well it’s tougher than it seems. When drawing, players must find a balance between showing that they know what the secret prompt is without making it so obvious that the fake artist can guess it later. This gives the fake artist cover, because why would they draw something specific. They wouldn’t want to give it away.

This means that as much as drawing takes center stage, A Fake Artist Goes To New York is really a hidden role game. It’s not your drawing skills that are being tested, it’s your ability to convince everyone else you’re a part of the team – even when you aren’t.

A Fake Artist Goes To New York
A Fake Artist Goes To New York is a cute, portable game for up to 10 players.

Want to try it yourself? While we’d heartily recommend the adorable and highly portable version we picked up in Tokyo (it’s also available online), this is a game you can probably play with supplies you already own. Besides something to draw on, the only critical element is different colored pens or pencils, so the players can keep track of who drew what (you can just write down the secret drawing prompts on some scraps of paper).

If you want more board game play-throughs, check out our Overboard playlist. Make sure you subscribe to Polygon on YouTube to keep up with the next one!

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