A Fake Artist Goes to New York Review

A Fake Artist Goes to New York Feature
Released 2012
Designer Jun Sasaki
Publisher Oink Games (Website)
Players 5 – 10
Playing Time 20 minutes
Category Hidden Role
Deduction / Bluffing
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

A hidden role game with a major twist

When you have a large group of people wanting to play a game, party hidden role type games such as Werewolf, Spyfall or The Resistance tend to dominate in my gaming groups.

This is far from a problem for me – in general, I love all of these games.  But for some others, not so much.  Having to sit with a group of friends or even worse strangers and lie can be too stressful for some players.

This coupled with a problem I have with a lot of these games – player elimination during a long game – means some games are better than others for a group game.

Here is where the deceptively simple A Fake Artist Goes to New York comes along.  A game lasts about a minute a player as a rule of thumb.  It’s in a tiny package just like all Oink Games.

And best of all – it doesn’t look or play like a hidden role game.  Tell someone they are playing Werewolf with drawings, and I can’t imagine too many people jumping in.

But tell people they are playing Pictionary with a twist, and you have a wider audience willing to listen to you.

As usual with an Oink Game, tiny packaging holds a lot of components, but nothing too complicated either

Now don’t get me wrong I am not advocating tricking people into playing.  It’s just that I know plenty of people that just don’t like Hidden Role games, so no matter how different or fun any other game may be, they stop listening.

Luckily the rules explanation is really short, so if anyone still doesn’t think they will be interested it’s not much time lost.  But I have yet to find anyone I have explained the game to like this not willing to play. AndI have not had any players walk away unhappy or after just one game.

So set yourself up as the Question Master.  Players take turns with this role, and it makes life easier.

To do this, take a number of tiles equal to the number of other players.  Put the pad and all the coloured pens onto the table, and get everyone to pick a colour as you go off a little to the side.

Now I usually explain the below rules while I am writing on the tiles – it just makes life easier.  It also lets me ‘fix’ the first game so I know exactly who the Fake Artist is.

The Question Master pics a Topic that is said to everyone (e.g. Office) and writes a word associated with the topic on each tile (e.g. Desk) on all but one tile.  On one tile, you mark with an X or the word ‘FAKE’.  This is the hidden role in the game.

I prefer to write the word 'FAKE' but it is up to you. Just be careful - it's easy to wipe the word off the tiles!

While I am writing, I am explaining to everyone that they are artists that have been invited to come work at a prestigious gallery on a painting.  But it has come to light that someone has managed to sneak in – a Fake Artist!

Unfortunately, the painting needs to start now, but luckily all of the real artists know what they are here for (I hand out the tiles now).  Each tile is the invitation letter that tells you what you are here to draw, but keep them secret!  Everyone knows that the gallery is doing an exhibit on a subject (in this case, Office), but we can only find the Fake through their errors in designing the painting.

The Question Master then picks a starting player (Try not to pick the Fake Artist!), and the artists then take turns drawing part of the image with a single line.

Now some people literally draw a line, but the idea is to draw a part of the image (the desk in this example) without taking the pen back off the paper.  So for the desk, someone may draw a line as part of the desktop or side.  They may draw the outline of a phone because phones are on office desks.

The goal is to draw enough to let the real artists know you know what your doing, but without letting the Fake Artist know what is being drawn.

This has been completed, but you can see the two lines drawn by each colour (player). One line seems to be very wrong though...

After everyone has had 2 turns (around the table twice), the artists try and guess which colour belongs to the Fake Artist.

A bit of discussion doesn’t hurt, but you have to be careful to not get into ‘It can’t be me because my card says Desk’ territory.  Giving away the answer at the last minute hurts, and can happen in the heat of the moment!  So normally I give 30 seconds or just get people to point after a countdown of 5.

Now from here, there is a whole scoring system but to be honest I have yet to use it.  We just play rounds and have fun with the game.

It’s not the only deviation from the rules I normally make either.  I usually only play once around the table, to help with speed and also with keeping simple images vague enough to maybe throw the Fake Artist.

Once the vote is cast, if the Artists pick on of their own, the Fake Artist and the Question Master ‘win’!

If the Artists guess the Fake Artist, there is the last chance for them and the Question Master.  If the Fake Artist can correctly guess the subject, the pair of still win.

So the round has ended, and it doesn't look good for the blue player. But did they just have a different desk in mind? That's the sort of bluff that can save the Fake Artist

It sounds like the Artists have a hard time of winning, but not really.  You see one of the things I love about A Fake Artist Goes to New York is no one can draw really well in it.

By only having one motion to draw in coupled with a tiny pad, even talented artists are handicapped to draw like the rest of us.  And depending on your group, you can get cheeky and creative with your image.

A very literal group may just draw parts of a desk to show the desk, but in my example remember when I said someone could draw a phone because it sits on a desk?

If you just do the outline of a phone in one go (or phoneish shape at least), you are adding detail to the image without detracting from the desk proper.  But if you draw part of a phone in detail, when people should be working on the desk, it’s a suspicious move.  But then again, so is drawing a phone in the first place!

A Fake Artist Goes to New York is one of those great games where you can make the game what you want it to be very simply.  Want more bites at an image with a smaller group?  Play the formal two rounds rule.  10 people waiting to play?  Keep the images simple and play one round.  Want a bit more detail?  Allow 2 touches of the pen.

A Fake Artist Goes to New York is one of those great party games where you make of it what you want.  It’s like Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, Joking Hazard, even Dixit to a degree – play the game you want to play with the tools provided.

Opening the box this was the last game played. I now wish I was writing the words on the old pages, I can't tell what this was supposed to be!

But A Fake Artist goes one step further because it’s already language and scene independent.  Want a game full of inside jokes?  You are deciding the situations, so it’s easy!  Want an ‘After Dark’ version? Nothing is stopping you!

It’s this flexibility that makes A Fake Artist Goes to New York such a great game in my opinion.  And it certainly helps that it can be played almost anywhere and is so easy to take with you!

Until next time,

A Fake Artist Goes to New York - Werewolf, creative edition

Final thoughts

Similar to Kobayakawa, A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a deceptively fun and simple game.

You can tailor each game to the people playing – inside jokes, local references, anything like that is up for grabs as you decide the subject each time.

If you can find it, A Fake Artist Goes to New York is a no-brainer gift idea and/or addition to any collection.



  •  Easy to teach and play
  •  Minimal space required
  •  Can start a game almost anywhere


  •  Some people really don’t like drawing games
  •  Replacing whiteboard markers isn’t easy at that size
Want to send to someone that may enjoy this?