In Duckomenta Art (or Modern Art: the card game) players bet on Duckish works of art from five different eras. Works of art from Ancient times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque, Impressionistic, Modern art pieces. Not all eras are equally popular, there are less ancient pieces (17) than more modern ones (Impressionistic (20), Modern (21)).
Every player starts with a couple of cards in his or her hand. On each card you can see a work of art from a certain era and every era has a different colour. Cards can also have an action. Actions like draw a card, every player simultaneously places another artwork, place a second artwork from that era open in front of you, place a face-down card in front of you and, lastly, place a bonus token with value of two points on an era of your choosing.
A bonus token? That implies that there are regular tokens too? Yes, there are. A turn starts with a trendsetter, a random card that is drawn from the deck and put in front of the era it belongs to. Then, in turn, every player places one card in front of him, betting on that era. When that card has an action, you perform that action too. The round ends, immediately, when there are six cards from one era on the table. At that moment you check from which era there are the most, second most, third most cards on the table. These eras get a three point, a two point and a one point token. Players then score points. Let’s say Modern art was the most abundant, then Baroque and then the Middle Ages. Only these three eras, the ones that are the most abundant that round, score points. So, if you have two Baroque cards, one Modern and one Ancient one, you will score 2×2 plus 3 equals 7 point. The games plays over four rounds, every round you get new cards (except in the last round) and every round eras have tokens awarded to them and therefore are worth more at the end of the last round than after the first. The player with the most points at the end of round four, wins Duckomenta.
This is very quick and easy betting game from Reiner Knizia, a filler. It’s formerly known as Modern Art: the card game. Pegasus Spiele changed the look (made it better, it looks more fun), but the game remained the same. It’s a pretty nice betting game. You bet on the different eras to ensure that they are worth the most that round. Keep in mind though that in later rounds eras are worth more points than at the beginning, but only if players bet on them in earlier rounds, so they get point tokens awarded to them. Go easy, when you have shot your bolt in the first round, you only give the other players the possibility to profit from you work later.
Some rounds are over in a second, when every player puts down a card of the same era, and some rounds take a little longer and are more like a betting war. There is a nice push your luck element in this game. For instance, there are five ‘Modern’ cards on the table. You can end the round by playing the sixth one or you play an other era card and hope the round doesn’t end before your next turn. The special actions give you more tactical abilities and that’s nice.
Duckomenta, from Reiner Knizia, is just a very clever game. Easy rules, but still you have make some interesting decisions. You need to look at the other players and bluff a little. Just play your cards right and you can have a pretty good time.