Hidden away in the conscious of each person’s mind is an innate desire: to steal famous paintings from their friends, and give them phony lookalikes in return, right?
Dodgy Dealers gives you that chance. Even though this is all done through harmless card play, one might feel that exhilarating rush of pulling off a heist and securing victory. Side note: I’m not condoning art gallery robbery.
How to be a Hustler
In Dodgy Dealers, players shuffle up and dish out a hand of five paintings from master artists, like Van Gogh and Claude Monet. Each artist has six paintings in the deck, each of which has three cards: two fakes, and the real painting.
Each player is given a contract card for one of the in-game artists. The player has the goal of obtaining four authentic paintings for their designated artist. Upon retrieval of the fourth, the game ends and you score points.
On a player’s turn, they have their own personal, face-down gallery in front of them. They may blind draw from the black market deck, take one of the face-up paintings from black market row, or look through the shipping or storage decks and draw a card (these consisting of discards from previous rounds). Upon drawing from anywhere, the player must discard one face-down painting from their gallery.
After each player has completed this phase, players may discuss trades on a one-to-one ratio (painting cards or contract cards). Players are encouraged to lie, be sneaky, reveal cards traded to the table, etc. After trades are concluded, if players chose not to draw previously, they may heist a painting from another player’s gallery. Once done, that player goes into hiding, withdrawing their gallery, and essentially skipping their next turn.
As mentioned, the game ends once a player has collected four authentic paintings from their contracted artist. Fake paintings are worth minus points, and authentic paintings from non-contracted artists are worth a few points each.
It’s All about the Art
Now, I’m not totally enthralled by masterpiece paintings on cards. Why? Cards are tiny. Most times, the beauty of art is in the details, and you miss a lot of that on a tiny canvas. Card design is representative of paintings wrapped in shipping paper.
I would be remiss to mention the cool effect of the graphic design though. These painting cards are intended to simulate someone ripping off a brown paper strip to check the authenticity of the painting underneath. This is cool. In addition, the given contract cards are graphically wrapped up in an envelope with lots of scribbling underneath. One scribble in the mess is the name of the artist you are seeking paintings of.
So even though some of the artwork is obscured, the thematic graphic design is on point.