The A.R.T. Project

The A.R.T. Project

In The A.R.T. Project, players band together as the Art Rescue Team to fight against the evil entity “The White Hand”. This group is responsible for stealing numerous works of art from around the globe! From Japan to the United States, Egypt to Scandinavia, ART must travel the world to uncover stolen works of art and reunite them with their rightful owners.

The A.R.T. Project is a cooperative game for 2-6 players ages 12+, and plays require approximately 40 minutes. The game also includes a solo mode.

Set Up

First, choose a map and place it in the center of the table. The Japan mission is recommended for your first play, as other maps include different layouts and challenges. We will cover the general setup and how setting up the Japan map works.

Japan map for The A.R.T. Project
Use the Japan map for your first play.

Next, each player collects a colored pawn, matching character card, a matching die, and three health tokens. (For an easier or more challenging game, the number of health tokens distributed per player can be adjusted.) Then, place the player pawns on the starting city of each map and two agent pawns (hands) on each city.

Take three fuel tokens, three walkie talkie tokens, and three gun tokens from the shared supply. Place them on the van to use as shared resources.

Shuffle the mission cards into a deck and place it near the map board. Finally, put the “end tile” twelve cards up from the bottom of the deck.

Game Play

Each round of the game is comprised of four phases:

The Mission

Each player draws two cards from the deck, then takes turns choosing one card to play. Carry out the steps on the card from top to bottom. Work to collect sets of three matching pieces of art. There is no turn order, so players need to decide the most strategic order to play their cards.

Three player cards in game The A.R.T. Project
When playing a card, you must complete the steps from top to bottom.

Mission cards often require payment of resources, dictate the addition of White Hand agents at various locations on the map, provide resources, and display 1-2 art symbols needed for collecting works of art.

Whenever a player creates a set of three matching art pieces they discard these cards and place a crate on the board at its location. The ART team can collect it in future phases of the game.

Playing a card in The A.R.T. Project:  lose a gas can and two guns, gain two hearts.
 When playing a card, you must spend the resources in the first box, but you will earn the resources in the third box.

The Movement

Once each player has played a Mission Card, everyone must decide together if any pawns will move during the round. The team spends one fuel token for each road traveled. If a player ends their movement in a city with a crate and no White Hand agents, move the crate to the Art Piece Track.

The Fight

If players are located in cities with White Hand agents present, they may decide to fight them. To do so, the player who is fighting rolls their player die and any acquired ally dice and sums them. If the number is greater than the target number, they win the fight. The target is the number of agent hands in that city + the threat level of the agents on the Art Piece Track + the number of agent hands on the White Hand Spot.

If the player wins the fight they move the White Hand tokens back to the supply. Then, with no White Hand agents in the city, move any art crates to the Art Piece Track.

If the player loses the fight, they can discard clue cards and reroll dice, spend gun tokens for additional strength, or admit defeat and lose a health token.

The End of the Round

At the end of the round, any cities with at least five White Hand agents become Lost. The White Hand has taken control! Players cannot stop in or go through Lost Cities for the rest of the game.

The city in Tokkaido has already been lost, and the city in Honshu (where the blue pawn is) will be lost at the end of the round if the White Hands are not removed.

Throughout the Game

Heart tokens are allowed to be used in place of resources if resources are not available.

Winning or Losing the Game

To win the game, ART must successfully recover all stolen art work and fill the Art Piece Track with crates.

ART immediately loses the game if any of these scenarios occur:

  • One player loses their last health token
  • The end tile is revealed and players cannot win the game in that final round
  • No White Hand or Lost City tokens remain in the supply
Crates for the ART rescue team
If you reclaim enough crates to fill the Art Piece Track, you win the game!


We sat down for our first play with the Japan map and quickly realized the rules were simple to follow and felt familiar to other cooperative games we have played. Rounds passed quickly as the game progressed and we felt more familiar with the actions we needed to take. The game box states 40 minutes for play, and our games were all between 15-30 minutes, making this a nice weeknight board game.

The components are fantastic and well-made, and Vincent Dutrait‘s art is stunning as always. We enjoyed talking through each decision together and determining our next steps.

A Difficult Coop!

This talking and planning is important for winning the game, but players also need lucky card draws and dice rolls. The acquisition of fuel, walkie talkies, and health in this game is extremely challenging. This is made even more difficult when Mission Cards require players to spend resources before completing the subsequent tasks on the card. Walkie talkies, in particular, are necessary for trading for ally dice. Getting these dice as soon as possible is necessary to stand a chance against White Hand.

Fighting White Hand agents requires high numbers, even at the beginning of the game. Difficult given your constrained resources right away; it only becomes more brutal later.

Dice mitigation is possible, but with scarce resources, it’s not always effective. We often found that our turn decisions were based on doing “whatever doesn’t kill us”. That meant not truly being able to choose which card to play, then not fighting, then watching cities become lost because fighting was pointless. That part of the game also felt frustrating.

A Specific Audience

Some board gamers might thrive on the nail-biting tension caused by resource acquisition and challenging fighting in this game. We, however, often found it overly frustrating in many of our plays. During a play using the Egypt map, we realized after the first round we couldn’t see a path to victory. Sure enough, the game ended for us a few minutes later.

The A.R.T. Project leaves little room for error, and the tightness of the game makes it better for adults or families with older children. We also found ourselves talking and planning much more than other cooperative games we have played (such as Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters and Horrified), which would bore younger players who need a bit more action.

A small gripe: Because this was a cooperative game, I was expecting each character to have variable player powers. The art on the character cards is so fun,  it would have been nice for each ART agent to have special abilities to help us through the game.

Character cards
Vincent Dutrait’s art is as amazing as always, but variable player powers would have been an easy (and fun!) addition to the game!

Final Thoughts

Many cooperative games make for great family games, as players must work together toward a common goal. Shared game play also allows for working through strategy together and teaching new mechanisms to players that aren’t familiar with them. These are two of our favorite reasons for playing cooperative games together as a family.

The A.R.T. Project will feel familiar to players who are accustomed to the set-up and general turn structure of co-op games, but the variability really makes this game shine. With six unique maps to choose from, each one presenting a new layout, set-up adjustments, or challenges to overcome, every game play can feel different. For families with older children or adults who like a challenge, The A.R.T. Project is a solid (and gorgeous) addition to your game collection.

You can get The A.R.T. Project online directly from The Op, on Amazon, or from your friendly local game store.

The A.R.T. Project

The Family Gamers received a copy of The A.R.T. Project from The Op for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

The A.R.T. Project
  • 9/10
    Art - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Mechanics - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Family Fun - 7/10


Age Range: 12+
Number of Players: 1-6
Playtime: 40 minutes