The Art Gallery Game:
20th Century Version

Doreen Clough (other EdTec project pages)
Paul Kerry
Beverly Vader

| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | References |

Instructional Objective

Learners will be able to identify paintings, artists and art movements (genres) from 20th century Art History given representations or examples of paintings, or other information or clues telling them about artwork or an artist. The learners will reinforce what they have learned in their existing Art History class. Students will learn to distinguish the styles of the individual artists and the characteristics of the different genres and movements through a more social, entertaining method than that of traditional lecture and slide memorization.

The Art Gallery Game will encourage collaboration and competition among students, as well as reinforce visual identification--sometimes the only time the students see a specific work of art is in class during the slide show lectures--many times the same artwork is not in their textbook and yet they will be tested on it. With repeated viewings of specific works the students will start to categorize certain styles within certain genres and associate certain artists with their style of work. Other information (biographical, philosophical, cultural, critical and art related to other disciplines) will assist students in their awareness of a more systematic "big picture" view of their world (art and beyond).

Rationale: Memorization is the traditional way to learn art history. A board game will add fun to the memorization process and aid students in their classification skills. It will also be a way to discuss art with their peers. By seeing all the art throughout the game, they may recognize characteristics they had not noticed before or make new associations in their memory.

This game also conforms to the National Educational Standards for Visual Arts, Grades 9 to 12 (NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating a Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas and NA-VA.9-12.3 Understanding Visual Arts in Relation to History and Cultures):

  • Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture.
  • Students describe the origins of specific images and ideas and explain why they are of value in their artwork and in the work of others.
  • Students differentiate among a variety of historical and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of works of art.
  • Students describe the function and explore the meaning of specific art objects within varied cultures, times and places.
  • Students analyze and interpret works of art to one another in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture, justifying conclusions made in analysis and using such conclusions to inform their own art making.
  • Students analyze and interpret artworks for relationships among form, context, purposes, and critical models, showing understanding of the work of critics, historians, aestheticians, and artists.
  • Students analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning.

Learners & Context of Use

The target learner group(s) are junior high, high school or college Art History students (a number of Art History classes are required to earn a B.A. in art ). This game is also designed for individuals interested in Art Appreciation for personal enrichment.

The game could be used in the classroom, during student breaks and group study sessions, or at home to review the material taught in class. It could be used many times, and even more times if more artists, genres and information were added to more cards. The same game could also be used for many different time periods throughout the history of art.

Object of the Game

The game uses an Artist and Collector metaphor. Similar to "real life," artists try to "create" (compile) enough art work to have a gallery exhibition and art collectors also try to "collect" (compile) enough work from varied art periods to have a gallery exhibition. Whoever completes their collection first not only gets to have their own gallery exhibition, but they also gain recognition, fame and fortune. And, best of all, they win the game.

Collectors: Complete your art collection before your opponents. Your collection consists of one work of art from each of the 6 periods titled on your Collection Easel.

Artists: Complete your art collection before your opponents. Your collection consists of 6 works of art by the same artist (as determined during Setup, step 3 below).

Game Materials

1 board, 4 player pieces (cubes of primary colors), 1 die, 4 Collector easels and 4 Artist easels (2 sections each), 108 Gallery cards (includes 4 Wild cards and 4 Punishment cards), 100 Question cards, 18 Forgery cards and 7 artist’s Portrait cards (See Samples Images and Rules/Procedures for specific descriptions and detail)

Game Board



Collectors move around Blue (Outside) Track Artists move around Red (Inside) Track


Collector Easels (Front)


These easels fold in half and stand up in front of each player so the word "Collector" faces out toward the other players. Each Collector has two easels so they can collect 6 works of art from 6 different movements.

Collector Easels (Back)


This side of the easel has Six sections (2 easels with 3 movements each total 6) for the collectors to collect their artwork cards from 6 different Movements (Genres): Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, Cubism, Pop Art, Expressionism,

Artist Easels (Front)


These easels fold in half and stand up in front of each player so the word "Artist" faces out toward the other players. There is also place to put the Artist Portrait card face down. Each Artist has two easels.

Artist Easels (Back)


This side of the easel has Six sections (2 easels with 3 artworks each total 6) for the Artists to"create" (hypothetically) and, therefore, compile enough of their own artwork (only their artwork) to have a Gallery show (hence winning the game).

Artist Cards (Back and Front)


7 Different Artists to choose from:

Andy Warhol, Pop Art
Jackson Pollock, Abstract Expressionism
Roberst Rauschenberg, Abstract Expressionism
Francis Bacon, Expressionism
Pablo Picasso, Cubism
Salvador Dali, Surrealism
Mark Rothko, Color Field



Gallery Cards (Front and Back)


Art from 6 different movements:

Abstract Expressionism
Color Field
Pop Art

Question Cards (Front and Back)


Questions from 6 different movements:

Abstract Expressionism
Color Field
Pop Art

Forgery Cards (Front and Back)


Is this a Forgery - Yes or No?

Wild Cards and Punishment Cards


Get a Wild Card, you're lucky.
Get a Punishment Card, you're not.

Time Required

The game would take about 2 minutes to set up: Unfold the board, organize, lay out cards, shuffle cards, determine roles of the players, roll die and start moving around the board. Playing time varies from 30 minutes to 1 hour. See Alternative Rules for possible changes in adjusting the length of play.

The Rules

1. Unfold the game board

2. Shuffle each of the three groups of cards and place them as follows:
Gallery cards (red) – place face down in the gallery (center of the board)
Question cards (yellow) – place artwork up, answer info down on side of board
Forgery cards (blue) – place forgeries up, answer info down on side of board

3. Each player rolls the die to determine their role as either Artist or Collector.
a. Odd number roll becomes an Artist, even roll becomes a Collector
b. Artist players choose a player piece, then Collectors
c. All players choose appropriate easels (easels are in 2 sections)
d. Artist players secretly choose an artist from the artist portrait cards, placing the portrait face down inside the frame on the front of their easel (so as to hide its identity from the other players).

Roll the die and move your piece the corresponding number of squares on the board in clockwise motion, beginning from the lower left corner of the board; Artists play the inner track (red), Collectors play the outside track (blue). Perform one of the following based on the type of board element you land on:

Board Elements

G - choose from the top of the Gallery stack, add to your collection (place on Collection Easel). If you don’t need the piece you may return it to the bottom of the stack or hold it as a strategy move (see Strategies below).
Wilds cards: can be used to represent anything the player chooses
Punishment cards: follow the directions on the card

? – player to your right chooses from the top of the Question stack and reads you the question. Add to your collection only if you can correctly answer the question. If you don’t need the piece, return it to the bottom of the stack or hold it as a strategy move. Note: If you answer incorrectly, player reading the question should provide you with the correct answer.

F – look at the top card on the Forgery stack, answer yes or no as to whether it is a forgery or not. Check your answer by flipping card over. Add to your collection only if you answered correctly. If you answered incorrectly, or don’t need or want the piece, return it to the bottom of the stack.

Enter Gallery: Choose from any of the three card stacks (Gallery, Question or Forgery) based on your current needs, knowledge and/or strategy. Add to your collection based on outcome described above for each of the cards.

Guess (for Collectors only): Guess the identity of one of the mystery artists (one of the 7). If you guess correctly, Artist must choose one piece to forfeit to the Collector (if they currently have at least one piece in their collection). If you guess incorrectly, you must choose one piece to forfeit to the Artist. Add to your collection if needed or return it to the bottom of the stack, same for Artist.

Lose a turn: Lose a turn!

Collectors - Consider the following:
a) You may keep one additional card from a movement you already have as a means of protecting your collection in the event that you have to forfeit a piece to an Artist.
b) When guessing an Artist, remember that the artist must be one of the seven; therefore, if you end up having to forfeit a piece, forfeit one that is not by one of the seven if you can!

Artists - You may keep one card by another artist for the following reasons:
a) to help obscure your identity from the Collectors
b) in the event that you have to forfeit a card to a Collector

Alternate Rules
To shorten or change the nature of the game, consider the following suggestions:
a) Players could collect fewer cards to win (a single easel section, perhaps)
b) Punishment cards could serve as additional Wild Cards
c) Players could elect to play as either all Artists or all Collectors and the game could run on either track (Artists could run on Collector’s track or vise versa)

Design Process

Our first thoughts were, let's learn more about games since that was our weak point. Two of us had not played a board game since we were very young. So we looked at existing games and searched the Internet for similar games (our Analysis phase). We, first, wanted to combine the Art History concept within a Mystery game. We took too much time trying to force the Mystery aspect. The best information was gathered by searching for "Boardgames" or "Mystery Boardgames" or "Bordgame Rules" then it took off from there following links within links etc. Unfortunately, after spending all that time searching, we had another brainstorming session and decided to drop the mystery aspect. There was too much information in the Art area to try to mix a mystery in with it--at least for now.

Regarding the Art aspect, two of us already have Art backgrounds and have digital collections of artwork and other information piled up so that part would be easy (we thought). However, after about one week, we found we lacked needed artwork or information in certain movements or we still needed certain artist portraits or biographies, so we went back to the web and to books and downloaded or scanned.

We wanted to use a work of art for the game board, but it had to not be too busy, loud or confusing and should have some sort of Path. Again, we thought, "Piece of Cake." WRONG! After some laborious searching nothing seemed right until we found the Josef Albers, "Homage to the Square." And we were glad to see that there were no copyright infringement problems since we would use this for educational purposes.

We were so happy with our first draft of the game; it seemed just perfect. WRONG!!! again. After playing the game only once, we realized we had to make MANY major revisions. This continued throughout the weeks: Play, Revise, Play, Revise, Play. Revise. So the game today is very, very different from the original draft--many changes were made. Finally, when we started having Fun and didn't want to stop playing the game we knew we had a playable Prototype.

Our biggest complaint: We spent way too much time and money (for paper and ink!) on production!!! We also never anticipated time-consuming technical difficulties (printer breakdown).

Comments and Critiques from the Boardgame Exhibition 10/29: 1) The Board could use a START square. (We had one, but eliminated it--will put it back and maybe give a reward every time someone passes over it). 2) We forgot to put on the board a copyright/acknowledgement of the artist who painted the painting that IS the actual board: Color Theorist, Josef Albers: "Study for Homage to the Square."


Books & Journals

Arnason, H. H., (1979). History of Modern Art, (2nd Edition), NY: Prentice-Hall.

Daiz, P. (1982). Cubists and cubism. New York: Rizzoli International Publishing, Inc.

Ferrier, J.L., Pichon, Y.L. (1988). Art of our century: The chronicle of western art 1900 to the present. New York: Prentice Hall Press.

Fineberg, J. (2000). Art since 1940: Strategies of being. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers.

Gallwitz, K. (1985). Picasso: The heroic years. New York: Abbeville Press.

Leiris, M. (1987). Francis Bacon, Barcelona: La Poligrafa.

Leggio, J. (Ed.). (1994). Great Modern Masters: Bacon, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Malone, T.W., Lepper, M.R. (1983). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning (Unpublished report) Conference on Aptitude, Learning and Instruction: Conative and Affective Process Analysis, Stanford University.

Seitz, W.C. (1983). Abstract Expressionist painting in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Siegel, J. (1999). Painting after Pollock: Structures of influence. Netherlands: Overseas Publishers Association GB Arts International.

Sylvester, D. (1975). Interviews with Francis Bacon. NY: Thames and Hudson.

Thomas, D. (1976). Abstract painting. New York: E.P. Dutton.

Wilson, S. (1994). Surrealist painting. London: Phaidon Press Limited.


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Last updated October xx 1999