You are part of an elite team, working to recover priceless artwork from “The White Hand”. Your team will have to gather resources, gather clues to find the artwork and keep the thieves at bay. The A.R.T. Project is a co-operative game for up to 6 players from The OP and there’s a lot to love in this slender little box.
Get a Clue
Each round starts the same way with players taking two new clue cards before your team puts their plan into action. These cards have 3 sections. The top of the card will show you what resources you need to give up. Below that is the locations where The White Hand will add agents. Next, is the resources that your team will gain with the card.
There are 3 primary resources in The A.R.T. Project. Gas cans allow players to move from city to city on the chosen map. The walkie-talkies are turned in to build up your supply of allies. Guns will give players a boost to your dice when you fight The White Hand during the round.
Players are also using heart tokens to track their health during the game. These heart tokens can be used as wild resources when any of the 3 primary resources are not available. This can be a huge boost when you need just one more token.
The clue cards that are played during the round will dictate where the artwork appears on the map. Artwork shows up on the board as wooden crates at different locations.
On the Move
Once all the players have played a clue card, it’s time to move the team into action. Players can move from city to city by using gas can tokens or a heart if this resource is empty. Gas cans, like all the resources in the game, can be very limited. Planning the movement with your team is key.
While playing clue cards, The White Hand will be added to different cities on the map. Your team has to keep the number of agents low from round to round. Cities that have more than 5 agents will become overrun and those cities will be “lost”.
The Art of War
Fighting the enemy in The A.R.T. Project starts off very basic and ends up feeling like an uphill battle. Each time a piece of art is recovered in the game, the difficulty increases while the cost of gaining allies decreases. When a player(s) are in the same location as The White Hand, they can choose to fight.
Any players in that location will contribute dice along with any allies that you’ve gained during the game. The player leading the fight at that location has to roll a higher number than the number of agents at a location plus the enemy level. For example, if the enemy level is 12 and there are 4 agents at your location, you have to roll a 16 or higher to defeat The White Hand.
Players need to go into a fight feeling confident that they have the dice they need to defeat the enemies. Each player at a location will contribute a 6-sided die. Ally dice are black 6-sided dice that can be gained by turning in a number of walkie-talkie tokens in between any phases in a round. The allies are incredibly useful because they stay with you throughout the game.
You can off-set bad die rolls by adding gun tokens to your total. These tokens add +2 to your roll for each gun. Don’t forget that giving up heart tokens act as guns when there are no more in the supply.
A Great Art Heist
The goal of The A.R.T. Project is to recover 7 art pieces before losing 3 cities, running out of clue cards or having a member of your team lose their last heart. This isn’t an easy task! Our first 3 games were pretty disastrous. The White Hand overwhelmed us and there was lots of mismanagement of resources. We were playing on moderate difficulty and were very humbled by our experience.
Once we had a win under our belt, we realized some of our mistakes in previous games. Players have to make the best out of the clue cards they have in their hands and communication is key. Dividing up around the map gives you a lot of coverage but sticking together as a team gives you more attack power with more dice.
The A.R.T. Project is a co-operative game that does an excellent job of eliminating the problem of “quarterbacking”. Players have to make the best decision with what they have in hand. Gathering resources and taking out agents is everyone’s responsibility.
One of the most impressive things about The A.R.T. Project is the amount of content in the box. There are 6 different maps including locations like Egypt, Rio de Janeiro and Japan. The basic gameplay never changes but there are unique rules that apply to each map. This will affect how players move around the map, how clue cards are played or how art is discovered.
With each map introducing a slight twist, there is a lot for players to explore. Each time we faced defeat on a map, we knew that we had to jump back into that location the next time the game hit the table. These different maps feel like something that could have easily been “expansion” content. I applaud The OP for making the The A.R.T. Project such a replayable game by including all these locations in the box.
As we come to the end of the calendar year, this was my most anticipated game and it did not disappoint. The incredible art from Vincent Dutrait was what originally drew me in. Almost every game has been a tight resource management puzzle. Losing a city during a game can cut off part of the map and makes everything tougher on the team.
Designers Florian Sirieix and Benoit Turpin did a fantastic job of creating a tense game filled with interesting decisions that will affect how each game plays out. The iconography throughout the game is well done and immediately recognizable. Wooden tokens and great card quality means this game will hold up to a lot of time on the table.
In a lot of ways, The A.R.T. Project has exceeded my expectations. Erin is not a huge fan of co-op games and she has loved every time we’ve played. Just because you succeed on one map doesn’t mean you’ll find success on a different one. With this and the adjustable difficulty, The A.R.T. Project will be in our collection for years to come.
If this sounds like a game that you would enjoy, grab a team and get ready to put up a fight for some priceless art.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Excellent production from rulebook to components
- All players contribute to the success of the missions
- Difficulty ramps up as more art is discovered
- Supports up to 6 players
- Losing cities early on can make the game feel impossible