Translated by Peter Wotruba

Welcome to the Art Business!

As a gallery owner, you control the destinies of five rising artists. Generosity demands that you leave one ice cold, and the others out in the rain. Your only objective is to rake in as much money as possible.

And here are the artists upon whom you are counting on:

ELFRIEDA KRACH (born 1955, Austrian)

In style, this young free-lancer calls herself E. Krach in her circular "Selfportrait out of my Eye" her first painting from her soul. The crafty, fascinating expression of her pictures has their origin in the unique technique of Elfrieda Krach.

JOE BOYZ (born 1952, USA)

Joe Boyz tries to capture everyday commonplace things in the anonyminity of human surroundings. Through his partially un- appealing and alienating methods, he gives his art objects a singular identity - so that the viewer will consciously know the whole meaning of that common item.

The original object from which his work "Barrel" was taken, is no longer available. Too many eager, neat women misunderstood the piece of art, and cleared out the barrel. So today he is no longer associated with the original.

DONNA SALVA KALI (born 1941, Brasilian Surrealist)

Donna Salva Kali tries to banish from the canvas the inspiration of the subconscious and visions. In his paintings, environmental problems play a big role. As his work "Piqued Heavenly Nose" shows with acid rain and mthe hole in the ozone in the background. Also his painting "Carefree Singing Bird" has a double meaning. He also warns of the departure of conservative moralistic values with his picture "Dissolving Minature Garden".

KARL HERING (born 1962, German Graffiti Artist)

With his work "The Agony, the Lust, the Refuse, and the Honeycake", he caused a sensation in the art scene. Hering's paintings always show a person in simple surroundings with everyday items. Through this method, it is made frightening clear to the viewer, the isolation of the modern person. Hering's longing after security always comes across, and is especially clear in his "Hotkisses".

RON LIGHTENSTONE (born 1942, English Pop-Artist)

As a motive for his pictures' Ron Lightenstone chooses so much pop-art, that at first it appears impossible amoung the cultured standard of his artworks. Yet, Lightenstone goes even further. He tries to communicate as much of his motives with his artwork as the viewer will allow.

Important Hint: You are of course free to change the personalities of these artists if you want. Any resemblance with living or dead artists, or the events in the art scene are entirely coincidental.



Vernissage is not a difficult game. The main principle of the game is simple. As a gallery owner you aquire pieces of art from the different artists. During the game you try through 'sales plans' and 'Vernissagen' to augment the fame that the artist by way of their works of art possesses. In this manner, you will earn money.

You try to belittle the fame of the other artists (the ones that you are not displaying at your gallery), through scandals and criticisms. This will cause the other players to lose money. Whoever possesses the most money in the form of gold bars and artist's works at the end wins.

Pay attention to the following:

1) First read the section "Introduction and Preparation". For best understanding you should lay out the board and game materials, and play through the game while reading the rules.

2) Now read sections A, B, & C under the gameflow section. Then you will know how the different pieces of the game are used.

3) Then read the rules which describe the special cases. These are described in sections A1 - A5.

4) Before your first game, all players should read the playing tips.

During your first game, use the backside of your gallery cards. Then you will know what you must do when you are on your own. Besides, you will see when the special cases A1 - A5 come into play.


- Lay the game board in the middle of the table.

- Every player chooses one of the five gallery cards. The color of the gallery card is the same as the chosen game color.

- All five artists are placed in the marked areas on the bottom of the staircase.

- Every player takes three agents in the color of their gallery.

- Every player places two of their agents on the board.
- One each on the first two steps of the staircase.
- The third agent is kept in front of each player.

- Sort the circular fate counters into their three respective symbols.

- Place each artist's fame marker on the space with the gold sack.

- The cards are sorted according to the color of their backs.

a) Brown cards are shuffled.
- three cards are dealt to each player. (If someone recieves three works of art, they can draw again).
- from the rest of the brown cards, seven piles of seven cards are dealt.
- These seven piles are placed face down on the game board on the spaces with the brown edges. Under every space, the cost to purchase one of the cards from the pile is listed.

b) Grey cards are shuffled and placed on the board in the space marked with the grey borders.

- Everybody gets starting money equal to 200,000 Rubens.

- The rest of the money forms the bank.

- The Critic's Feather is placed next to the game board.

Sequence of Play

All players roll both dice, and the person with the highest roll starts, and play proceeds in a clockwise order. Each player, on his turn, does the following in order:


Assigning Fate Counters

Every player, who's turn it is, must play a fate counter if they have influence over at least one artist.

A player has influence over an artist, if one of his agents is on the same step as the artist. (At the beginning of the game, each person has influence over every artist).

1) The player rolls the die (with the symbols on it)

a) If the die shows one of the three fate counter symbols:
- The player chooses one of the fate counters with the corresponding symbol on it. (The counters of a group all have different values - the player may choose which one he wants).
- Should the die show a counter from a group which are all being used, the player can choose a counter with a different symbol.

b) If the die shows a question mark:
- The player has the choice of all the counters

c) If the die shows a minus sign:
- The player has the choice between scandal counters, and critique counters.

2) The player assigns the fate counter
- On the next empty step in front of an artist he has influence over. - If a player only has influence over one artist, he must place the fate counter in front of that artist.

3) Now the player must wait to see if one or more of the other players raise an objection about the placement of the counter.

- Whoever would prevent the counter from being placed where it is, must speak up.
- Objections can only be raised by players who have influence over the same artist.
- If an agreement is reached with the objectors, the placed counter is exchanged for another.
- If no agreement is reached, then a powerplay follows.

4) If a player raises an objection, please read the following sections:

Objections -- Section A1

Powerplays -- Section A2

5) If there is no objection from the other players, the artist's fame marker is moved (as many spaces as the fate marker showed).

- If the number on the fate counter is positive, the fame marker of the artist is moved in the direction of the IN space - the fame of the artist is growing.
- If the numer on the fate counter is negative, however, the artist's fame marker is moved towards the OUT space - the artist's fame shrinks.

- If the Artist's fame marker is in the golden IN space, please read section A3 - The Artist is IN.
- If the artist's fame marker goes into the violet OUT space, please read section A4 - The Artist is OUT.
- If all three types of fate counters, one of each type, are placed in front of an artist please read section A5 - VERNISSAGE.

An Example:

The player with the grey agents has rolled 'scandal'.

He has (with his agent) influence over Karl Hering, Donna Salva Kali, & Joe Boyz

The player chooses a scandal counter with the value of -6, and places it in the next empty space in front of Boyz.

The player with the white agent has no objection to that move. The fame marker of Joe Boyz is then moved six spaces towards the OUT space.

Buy a Card

A Player, who's turn it is, must buy a card.

If the player decides to buy a brown card, he chooses one of the seven piles, and:

- pays the corresponding puchase price for this pile of cards to the bank, and picks up the whole pile.
- the player may look at all of the cards in that pile, and choose one.
- The rest of the cards are placed back on the corresponding space.
- If a player can not find a suitable card, he then gets no card, and does not recieve his money back.


Pieces of art may not be resold. Once bought, a piece of art is kept until the end of the game.

If the player decides on a grey card:

- He pays 10,000 Rubens to the bank, and takes the top card.

Promissary Notes

Whoever runs out of cash, must borrow 100,000 Rubens from the bank in order to buy cards. Along with the cash, he takes a prommissary note for 150,000 Rubens. A promissary note reduces the worth of a player at the end of the game by 150,000 Rubens. Every player can have as many promissary notes as they need.

Playing Cards

At the end of his turn, a player may play one or two cards. A player who plays two cards must follow these rules:

- The first card played must be a 'step changing' card.

- After that, critic cards may be played.

Playing a Step-Changing card (agent cards)

Unlimited Step Change (brown backs)

Whoever plays this card is permitted to:

- move every one of his agents which are on the white areas of the staircase.

- and place any or all of his agents which are not in play, on any step in the white area.

The played card goes back to the bank. It is now out of the game.

Limited Step Change (grey backs)

Whoever plays such a card may:

- move one of his agents up to as many steps as the number showing on the card.

- or he may place one of his agents, which is not in play, in the white area of the staircase. This agent can only be placed as high on the staircase as the number on the card.

The played card goes back to the bank. Should the grey card pile be all used up, the discarded cards are shuffled and placed back on the grey space.


Two agents of the same color are not permitted on the same step.

Playing a Critic Card (placed on an artist to damage them)

- Whoever wants to put the critic into play, must play a critic card.

- A player may only play a critic card on an artist in which he has influence.

- Whoever plays a critic card, takes the critic's feather (it does not matter if it was not on the board yet, or on a different artist), and places it on an artist on which he has influence.

- The critic card is now removed from the game.

Result of the Critic's Feather

- The fame marker of the stricken artist is moved five spaces in the direction o the OUT space.

- As long as an artist is carying the critic's feather, every fate counter, which is placed in front of him, also has the value of negative five (-5). (The value of the fate counter moves the fame marker, then it is moved a further 5 spaces downward).


In front of the artist Joe Boyz, a scandal counter with the value of (-6) is placed. The fame marker of that artist is moved eleven spaces towards the OUT space (-6 plus -5 = -11).

- An artist gets rid of the critic's feather if a new critic card is played: because now the feather will be placed on another artist.


The artist, who is carrying the critic's feather, can not earn / recieve VERNISSAGE. (see section A5)



Once a player places a fate counter in front of an artist, he must wait to see if one or more of the other players will disagree with the placement of the counter. Other players may only object if they have influence over the same artist.

a) The player, who's turn it is, and the player(s) who is (are) objecting try to reach an agreement to change the value of the placed fate counter. For example exchanging a just-placed scandal (-6) counter with a scandal (-3) counter.


Exchanges can only be for a different value of the type of counter being placed. The counter can not be totally removed from in front of the artist, nor may a different type of counter be substituted.

b) If the players can come to an agreement about the value of the new counter, the new counter goes in front of the artist, and the old counter goes back to the pile.

After exchangeing the counters, the artist's fame marker gets moved the corresponding number of spaces.

c) If the players can not agree:

- The played fate counter remains in place.

- Whoever objected may now choose to resolve it through a Trial of Strength, to see if the counter will be changed.

- If no Trial of Strength occurs, then the counter remains, and the fame marker is moved accordingly.

Trial of Strength

During a Trial of Strength, the player who's turn it is (Pro-Player) fights so that the counter he placed in front of an artist will remain. The player who objected (Contra-Player) fights to change the fate counter.

1) At the start of the Trial of Strenth, whoever would play might cards (suitcases stuffed with money) must play them face-up on the table.

- The Contra-Player(s) must play might cards first. They may play more cards after the Pro-Player, but the Pro-Player always has the last decision.

- Only those players participating in the trial of strength may play might cards.

2) Once all might cards are played, both players roll both dice (Contra- Player first).

- All players add the total on the dice to the number of might cards played.

- whoever has the highest total of might cards plus dice roll wins the Trial of Strength.

- If the Pro-Player and one or more of the Contra-Players tie for the highest total, the dice are rolled again, and new totals are figured.

a) Pro-Player Wins:

- The played fate counter remains.

- Every Contra-Player looses their agents which had influence over the contested artist. The agent gets taken off the board, and placed in front of the owning player.

- The Pro-Player continues his turn

- & moves the artist's fame marker.

b) Contra-Player Wins

- The played fate counter is removed from the board.

- The Pro-Player removes his agent from the same step as the contested artist.

3) After the Trial of Strength is over, all players retrieve their played might cards, and the Pro-Player continues his turn (buying cards etc).

The Artist is _IN_

As soon as an artist's fame marker ends up in one of the gold colored IN spaces, all players can earn money if they own this artist's paintings.

- Every player who will earn money must own at least one of this artist's works (paintings). T recieve this money, the player puts the work of art face up next to his gallery.

- For every artist's painting displayed, the player recieves an ammount of money from the bank equal to the number under the artist's fame marker.


The fame marker of Joe Boyz is on the 60,000 Rubens space. Player A shows 2 of Boyz's works, and thus recieves 120,000 Rubens from the bank.

- After this payment, the artist's fame marker is moved to the first space ouside of the IN section.


Once played, works of art remain face up in front of a player for the rest of the game. They give the owner money everytime the artist's fame marker enters the IN section.

The Artist is _OUT_

- As soon as the fame marker of an artist enters the violet colored OUT section - the game is over for this artist.

- The artist and his (or her) fame marker is removed from the game.

- All of the artist's artworks remain in play - no matter if they are on display, or in someone's hand.


Every piece of art from an artist who is OUT of the game, subtracts 100,000 Rubens from the owner at the end of the game.


As soon as two artists end up in the OUT section, the game is over.

The Vernissage

As soon as there is three different types of counters in front of an artist (ie 1 purchase, 1 criticsm, & 1 scandal), the artist jumps up the staircase of success.

The artist is moved up the staircase, over the fate counters, to the next free step.

- If after moving up the staircase, the artist is equal to or higher up the staicase than any other artist (moved up into first place), he earns a Great Vernissage. His fame marker moves twelve spaces towards the IN section.

- If the artist ends up in second position after moving up the staircase, he earns a Small Vernissage, and his fame marker moves six spaces.

- A jump into third or fourth positions do not earn a bonus.

- The fate counters, over which the artist moved, are placed with the others at the side of the board. They may now be used again.


If an artist is carrying the critic's feather, his fame marker is not moved. That artist does not recieve a Vernissage bonus.

The End of the Game

The game ends as soon as one of these three conditions is met:

1) A fate counter is placed on the top step and remains (after a possible Trial of Strength).

2) An artist moves up to the top step.

3) Two artists are OUT of the game.

- If the last fate counter placed in front of an artist would give him a Great Vernissage, his fame counter is still moved, and any bonuses earned are still paid.

- The same is true, if the artist jumps to the top step. (Since this would naturally earn him the Great Vernissage bonus).


If the artist is carrying the critic's feather, no bonuses are paid.

Once the game is over, every player must add up the total assets of his gallery.

- Every artist's painting has a value equal to the number printed on the space on which his fame marker rests.

- Paintings in the negative valued spaces cost the owner that much money.

- Paintings of artists who are OUT cost each player 100,000 Rubens each.

- Every promissary note costs 150,000 Rubens.

Whoever has the most assets, both in cash and in paintings, has won the game.


Should players be of the opinion that the might cards have too great an influence, they should try the following change:

- If the players (in the Trial of Strength) have a total roll equal to or greater than 14, he must discard one of his might cards. This card is taken out of the game.

Game Tips

In Vernissage, each of the different cards have a separate role. With their help you can influence the outcome. The most valuable of the cards are the ones with the brown backs.

You need pieces of art to be able to win. Once a piece of art is purchased, it can not be given or sold back. It is bad luck when your artist ends up in the OUT space. Therefore do not stake everything on one artist prematurely. Rather wait a round or two to see how one of the particular artists develop. It is risky to buy works of art from only one artist, but also you should not spread yourself out between more than three artists.

Unlimited change of rank (Unlimited Step Change) is one of the most important cards. Because with it, you can obtain influence over every artist. Seize it as soon as you see such a card.

Might cards - secure your luck for the power play. You should try to get at least two or three of these cards. They will improve your luck at the dice duel (dice-off).

With the Critic card, you can rapidly drive down the value of an artist. Only with a critic card, can one get rid of the feather. Therefore it should be one of the first cards you should have.

All these cards are important, and many increase in power when in combination with other cards. Indeed, with many might cards, you will frequently get your way. If you have not bought enough artwork, critic cards can cause the other players' artists works to decrease in value if you have influence on those artists. You must experiment to arrive at the correct combination.

Searching for Allies

Going it alone is difficult. Find one of the other players who has the same artist as you do. An ally is both very useful, and a pillar of strength.

Caution during the Power Play

The bargining about the fate counters is the heart of the game. Make use of that, and raise objections if you have influence on the same artist. With the power play, however, you should be cautious for you could lose influence. Reflect well therefore, particularly at the beginning of the game, if you consider a dice- duel important.

Consider the Fallout

The uncovering of works of art is always accompanied by risk. By buying or showing an artist's works, you will disclose which artist's work you collect. The other players will not watch inactively, They may want to collect 'your' piece of art. Reflect about that if you consider a payment important to you.

No Anger of the Debtors

Promissary notes are a bad term. Still you should not give up if you need to obtain one. It is better to pay rent at the end for the use of the money, instead of staying within ones means in the midst of the active trading of the other players.

Good Bluffing Helps One to Win

Whatever else you do, do not disclose your intentions for free. Do not offer the other players any obvious points to attack. Keep in the background, and let the other players work for you.

You will see Vernissage offers you a multitude of possibilities. Already after your first game, you will develop a strategy, and make it into your game.

Here is the English translation for the example on pg. 5.

The brown cards are laid face-down here in seven piles of 7 cards. Every space shows the purchase price of the relevant cards.


Every piece of art is worth 100,000 Rubens at the start of the game.


If an artist's fame marker ends up in this gold colored space, all players earn money if they show the works of these artists.

Here the grey cards are placed face-down. The cards here are only for climbing the stairway of change.


The red spaces on the staircase are for the atists, and the fate counters. The fate counters are placed on the steps in front of the artists. White areas are for the agents.


The spaces, on which the fame markers are placed, show the actual worth of an artist's works. An agent has influence over an artist who is on the same step.


Here the fame marker moves between IN and OUT. Every artist has their own fame marker.


An artist is only moved if 3 different fate counters are on the step in front of them. When this occurs, the artist jumps over the counters, moving up to the next empty space.


If an artist's fame marker lands upon the out space, the game is over for him! His artworks remain in play, and give the owner a loss of 100,000 Rubens.


These counters are placed face-up next to the board. In the game these counters are placed on the step above the artists.

The buying results raise the fame of an artist; scandal and creative criticism impairs it. The change of an artist's fame is shown by moving that artist's fame marker on the Scale-o'-Fame.


At the beginning of the game, everyone has influence over all 5 artists. On every step, only one art agent of every color is permitted to stay. Art agents can move up the Staircase o' fame through playing of cards.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell