A.R.T Project (the Art Rescue Team Project) is an upcoming fully cooperative game due out by the end of 2023. In this game the players are working together to recover a variety of stolen art and prevent the white hand gang from getting away with it.
We were lucky enough to be given a demo of this game at Handycon 9 and were thoroughly impressed by it. The game is the most cooperative game we have ever played, with no set turn order, limited resources and increasing threat, players have to communicate and discuss plans fully to stay on top and have a chance at winning.
When we first saw A.R.T. Project it was near the end of a game that others were playing and the discussion that the players were having really drew us in. Upon seeing the box, we were impressed with the size and design, and the gameboard and components out on the table were really nicely designed. It's compact yet has great table presence.
Game Play Overview
As I mentioned previously, this game is fully cooperative and has no set turn order, however each round is structured into 3 phases with a variable game length. Each round begins with the action phase whereby each player is dealt 2 cards and as a team they have to decide what order each player is going to act. When a player takes their turn, they will choose which of their 2 cards to play, paying the cost, adding the white hand gang threat to the depicted location and then finally gaining the resources printed. They then flip the card over and place it facedown below the resource van as a clue. Their other card is discarded. Once three symbols on the clues have been placed below the van, those cards are discarded and an art crate is placed at the location the clues indicated. After all players have taken their turns, it is onto phase 2: movement. The players now collectively decide how they wish to spend the remaining fuel by establishing which locations they need to visit and spending fuel and/or health accordingly. Once all players are happy with the movement agreed and any players have moved as discussed, you'll move onto phase 3: fight. Now, any location with both players and members of the white hand gang will resolve a battle for the location. Players at that location will choose one player to be the leader and then all players involved will roll their die along with any agents that they have acquired. Between them all they must beat the threat level of the white hand gang (shown by the lowest visible space on the art recovery track) if they succeed they remove all white hands from the location, if they fail however, the lead player suffers 1 damage. If the players are ever on a location with an art crate and there are no members of the white hand gang in the space, they will automatically recover the art crate and add it to the recovery row. Once 7 crates have been recovered the players immediately win the game, however if a single player ever runs out of health or you get down to the last 12 cards and you haven't recovered enough crates, then all players lose.
Pros and Cons
A.R.T. Project is socially cooperative and really gets players openly discussing the best moves and options. The limitation of resources is helped along by this and the fact that there is no set turn order which really helps players work together and resolve their actions in the most optimal way. The way the threat ramps up during the game makes the optimisation of player turns critically important. A.R.T. Project can be played with 1-6 players and scales really well regardless of player count. As the game progresses it balances really nicely between increasing the difficulty and making gaining assistance to help with the difficulty easier. Although we played a prototype version of the game, we were able to see posters of the final board designs and we were really impressed with the vibrancy and detail included. The game will include 6 different maps and missions in the core box along with a thumb-indexed rule book which made it really easy to use and tied in really nicely with the theme.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this game! (So much so that we actually ended up playing the game twice!) Both times we played with gamers who don't normally like cooperative games and even they were impressed with the game and really enjoyed the challenge despite working cooperatively towards the end goal. We are really excited for this game to be released and can't wait to share it with you all.
In conclusion, we would rate this game a 10/10.