Art Museum Madness!

Holly Peters , Gina Yusypchuk , Sean McCarty

BUY NOW!!! Only $10.26 (+4.95 w/shipping) GameCrafter presents Art Museum Madness

Instructional Objectives

  1. Identify characteristics of different art movements (concept)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how paintings are grouped together in a museum (concept)
  3. Describe appropriate museum behavior (principle)
  4. Identify the following aspects of famous works of art (facts): title, artist, art movement, time period, medium

Learners & Context of Use

This game would ideally be available for purchase in a museum gift shop. It is designed for adults with an affinity for fine art, and would appeal to the average museum visitor (the majority are age 20-30 and have a college degree). Players would most likely play the game at home with friends and family after dinner or on a weekend afternoon. The game is flexible enough to include children, if desired, and fun enough to play over and over again.

Competing Products

Games with similar content:
  1. Masterpiece (out of print)
  2. The Fine Art Game (EdTec 670 2001)
  3. Modern Art Board Game
  4. Art Shark
  5. The Fine Art Game (Published by PIatnik)
  6. Mystery Museum: The Biblical Artifacts Detective Game
  7. Clue: The Great Museum Caper
  8. Art Links & Kinks

These games are similar because they feature works of fine art and facts about each art piece. What makes our game different is the additional layer of allowing the player to actually participate in the concept of classifying art pieces into distinct galleries of the museum. Many of the existing games focus on the financial gain that can be had from buying and selling art. In our game, we chose to eliminate any discussion of monetary value of the artwork in favor of focusing instead on the aesthetic qualities of the art itself. In addition, many competing games focus on stealing or recovering art pieces. Rather than making this a mystery or caper, our game reflects a higher level of learning (concepts and principles, rather than just facts) and explores the realities of the museum as well as the art pieces themselves, thus providing our players with a more enriching experience that is relevant in the real world.

Object of the Game

The goal is to be the first to hang all your paintings (play all the cards in your hand), or secondarily, to hang the most paintings.

Content Analysis

Content Type
Content Elements
Game Elements


Artwork information
(title, artist, art movement, date, location, medium)
- Information on the back of Masterpiece cards


Characteristics of different art movements
(Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Impressionism)
- Grouping Masterpiece cards into categories


Museum ettiquette
(relating to the museum, others, and the artwork)
- Docent cards reward appropriate and punish inappropriate museum behavior



The process of putting together an art exhibition (gathering and grouping similar paintings)
- Gathering and appropriately grouping Masterpiece cards into themed galleries



Viewing artwork in an art museum
- Players move on a board representing the hallways and galleries in an art museum

Vantage Points

Curator, cleaning crew, museum visitors, docents
- Players fantasize they are art experts helping out the curator

Game Materials

  • One die
  • One board
  • 4 pawn pieces
  • 60 Masterpiece cards
  • 20 Docent cards

Die - Standard six-sided white die
Pawn pieces - Standard pawns of 4 different colors
Board - Spaces to represent hallways and galleries in a museum

Final Board Design

The cards can be found at the following link:

Masterpiece cards - An image of the masterpiece (painting or sculpture) and its title will appear on the front of each card. The back of the card displays a thumnail image of the masterpiece and the artist, time period, medium and art movement. Below is a prototype of the Masterpiece cards.



Docent cards - These cards pertain to museum etiquette. You will be rewarded for displaying appropriate museum etiquette and punished for not doing so.


Question cards - These cards contain art questions.


Time Required

Set up time is about 5 minutes. An average game will last about 30 minutes, and should be played in one sitting.

The Rules

Official rules can be found at the following link:

You and your friends arrive early to the museum and find the curator in a frenzy. The cleaning crew went crazy last night with their spring cleaning. They removed all the masterpieces from the walls stacked them up in a pile. Luckily, you and your friends are very knowledgeable about art and agree to help the curator return all of the masterpieces to the appropriate galleries. You get to decide how they are group (by art movement, time period, artist, or some other way). But hurry -- the museum opens in 1 hour.

Set up

    1. Shuffle the Masterpiece cards and deal 5 cards to each player.
    2. Place the remaining stack of Masterpiece cards image side up on the board where indicated.
    3. Shuffle the Docent cards and place the stack image side up on the board where indicated.
    4. All players must agree on which gallery themes to allow (see suggestions below).
    5. Each player chooses a pawn and places it on the "Start" area on the board.
    6. Each player rolls the die and the player with the lowest number goes first.

Suggestions for gallery themes:

  • Easy
    • Color (masterpieces with the color red, etc.)
    • Subject matter (figures, landscapes, flowers, etc.)
  • Moderate
    • Artist
    • Art movement (Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical)
    • Medium (oil, marble, fresco, etc.)
  • Difficult
    • Century (masterpieces within the same century)
    • Artist, chronological order
    • Art movement, chronological order

Playing the Game

  1. On your turn, roll the die and move your pawn the number of squares that corresponds with the number you rolled.
  2. Play according to the type of square you land on as described below:
    • Masterpiece: Draw one Masterpiece card from the top of the stack and add it to your hand.
    • Docent: Draw one Docent card and follow the instructions on the card. Then place the card face up next to the stack.
    • Question: Draw one Question card and give it to the player on your left who will read the question aloud. Answer the question correctly and you may send a masterpiece to storage (discard a masterpiece card from your hand and place it image side down next to the stack of masterpiece cards). Answer incorrectly and you must draw one Masterpiece card and add it to your hand.
    • Gallery entrance: You may pass through the gallery (counting the gallery as one square) or stay to hang paintings. You do not have to roll an exact number to enter a gallery.
  3. Once you enter a gallery (and only inside of a gallery), you may hang a painting. Here's how:
    • First time hanging: You must hang at least 3 paintings with the same theme at once. Lay the Masterpiece cards out in front of you.
    • All other hangings: You may hang as many paintings as you want during the same turn including starting a new theme (with at lest 3 cards), or adding masterpieces to an existing themed gallery (as few as 1 card).

Winning the Game

  1. The first player to hang all their masterpieces (play all the cards in their hand) is the winner.
  2. If no player hangs all their masterpieces before the stack of Masterpiece cards is run out, the winner is the player that hangs the most paintings. After the last Masterpiece card is drawn, each player takes on more turn. Then everyone counts to number of cards laid out in front of them. That's the number of paintings hung.

Motivational Issues

Ultimate strategy - In order to win the game, a player must either lay down all the cards in his/her hand first or place the most paintings in galleries (if all the cards are drawn before someone goes out). Players must decide to strategically get rid of cards or compile more paintings to create more galleries.

Combination of Criteria – Players must decide on how to most efficiently create galleries given the cards they draw. A player must also weigh whether a particular gallery criteria may be easy for a competing player to add to.

Players have control over a number of factors in the game, including:
1. Criteria for creating a gallery.
2. When to create a gallery.
3. Whether to create more galleries or attempt to quickly go out.
4. Players can decide on allowable criteria for galleries at outset of game.

1. The board is linear and players must move in only one direction.
2. Players must roll the number on the thrown dice.
3. Players must follow directions of square they land on.
4. Players must follow directions on the Docent and Question cards.

Players are ultimately competing against each other in an “every man for himself” simple game-play. However, players can add to other players’ galleries. This adds a cooperative dynamic that each player must take into account. Players can choose to help each other or intentionally create galleries that are difficult to add to.

Design Process

Initial Stages - Design decisions at this stage were based on brainstorming sessions of three group members.

Storyline - The game was initially conceived as an “Art Thief” premise. The storyline changed directions away from a thief/sleuth romp around the world and the focus was narrowed to a single art museum focus. Rationale: Change was intended to broaden learning objectives to teach players about museums and museum etiquette in addition to the art within the museums. The thief/sleuth concept was also deemed too broad and difficult to tailor to learning objectives of games.

Concept – Players were first going to be an art detective tracking down paintings that have been stolen. The game changed to an art museum volunteer faced with the challenge of creating themed galleries. Rationale: The change was intended to more closely fit learning objectives. The art detective had a geography/travel component that muddled the focus of the game. The concept of creating galleries better focused the game on art and museums.

Play-Testing - Design at this stage was based on 3 play-testing sessions of prototypes of game.

Board – The board was originally planned to be a floor plan layout of a single museum. Players would be free to move about the board in any direction they wished. The floor plan of the museum was kept, but the board was changed to be a single path with a single direction for all players. Rationale: An open board made game-play too easy. Game-play quickly ended. By dictating the flow of the players throughout the board, obstacles and challenges could be better controlled.
Original draft of game board

Mock-up created based on play-testing

Cards – Masterpiece/painting cards were initially going to be free of information except for title and picture. Players would be expected to know or guess information to match paintings in a gallery. If players did not know information on paintings they would have to “earn” information by answering art and museum questions. The Masterpiece cards were changed to include painting information. Questions would only have to be answered if a player lands on a Question space. Rationale: Separating information from the Masterpiece cards gave Subject Matter Experts a significant advantage over art novices. By including information on the cards, players could easily learn the information about each painting and focus more on strategy of how best to create galleries.

Game-play – Game-play was originally very free and allowed players a great deal of choice in determining how each turn would develop. In play-testing players were free to move about the board in any direction and choose if they wanted to move about the board, draw a painting or create a gallery. More rules and structure were added so that players had to move in one direction and turns were determine by the throw of the dice rather than player choice. Rationale: Players had too much control over the game and could too easily avoid undesirable obstacles (and as a result, a lot of learning opportunities). More structure to game-play helped build in a more consistent learning experience for every player.