Masterpiece, originally manufactured by Parker Brothers and later by Hasbro, is a classic board game utilising famous works of art. Masterpiece originally appeared on the market in 1970, and was released again in an updated version in 1996. The game is now out of print. If you own a copy, Masterpiece is a great way to enjoy classic paintings while playing a fun game.
Masterpiece is an art auction game, so players must bid on pieces of art in an attempt to obtain the priciest collection by the end of the game. Once the bank sells all the paintings, the game is over.
The easel included in the game box must stand on its three legs in a prominent position where all players can see it. Every player must select a token and put it on any space on the circle track on the game board. Every player gets a value chart. The value cards are shuffled and placed facedown on the playing board, and the painting cards are set face up on the board.
Starting the Game
Players must choose one player as the Banker; this player distributes £9 million to each player. Then, starting with the banker, every player must draw the top painting card and the top value card, placing the value card under the painting card to keep it secret. All painting cards are placed face up in front of each player.
Each player must roll the dice; whoever gets the highest score goes first. That player must move his or her token on the game board the rolled number of spaces and complete the action dictated by the game board. Play continues clockwise.
Buying and Selling
Since several auctions are involved in the game, players must pay attention to the auction they can initiate. If a player lands on a “Bank Auction” space, he or she must take the top painting card and place it on the easel; bidding begins at £0.6 million, with that player acting as the auctioneer. Bidding continues until no one bids higher. The winning bidder draws the top value card and slips it underneath the painting card; the actual value of the painting, shown on the value card, is known only to the highest bidder.
For a private auction, any player may choose to bid on a painting of the player who rolled the die. The player who rolled the die may not bid on his or her own painting in a private auction. The winning bidder takes the painting and the value card.
If a player lands on the space that says, “Sell a Painting to the Bank for £2,275,000,” that player must sell one piece of art to the bank. Strategic players will sell their least valuable painting to the bank. Once a piece of art is turned in, the value card is displayed for all players to see and then turned facedown along with the painting.
Play continues until the last painting is sold. Players add up the total of their cash and painting value, and the player with the highest total wins.