Unplugged: Musée (Boardgame)

musee_card_rawIt’s nice when the art of boardgame design meets more traditional art.  In Musée, players place art-covered cards into their three-tiered museum, attempting to place similar cards adjacent to each other in order to score points.  Simple and fast to play, Musée features more than 60 pieces of wonderful licensed art from the fifteenth to early twentieth century.  It is an attractive game appropriate for gamers and non-gamers alike.

Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-4
Time: 30 mins
(Review copy provided by Eagle-Gryphon Games)

My favorite part of the game are the cards.  The game uses sixty cards (only 50 are used in 2 and 4 player games) that come in five suits/colors.   In a nice touch, each suit corresponds to art within a particular theme: Landscapes (gray), Seascapes (blue), Animals (green), People (red) and Buildings (yellow).  Cards in a suit are numbered by fives, so a streak of all one color would go up in increments of five (2, 7, 12, etc…)



During play, each player plays cards to their own private “museum” which consists of eighteen spots for cards, in three rows of six cards.  On a turn, a player places one of their cards (from a hand of five) onto the game board in one of the eighteen slots, then draws a new card.  The catch lies in the fact cards played in each row must be arranged in order from lowest to highest number.  Cards can be placed in any location at any time, provided the card’s number is above the value of the cards on its left and below the value of any cards on the right.  Gameplay continues until both players “museums” are full of eighteen cards (or as many as can fit by the time the deck runs out.)  

End game scoring provides one point for each card played, plus bonus points for adjacent cards.  Every two adjacent cards of the same color in a row provide a bonus two points.  In between the rows, in each column, there are tiles that represent chandeliers and staircases.  Cards of a matching color that are above and below a staircase marker score an additional 3 bonus points.  During the game, the first player to completely fill each row (top, middle bottom) wins a 4 point bonus.

Obviously, the player with the highest score wins.  The game recommends a two out of three series of games, but I’ve found even a one-round game to still be fun.


I like it, especially playing with partners.  The two player game provides tension as you aren’t sure what cards you are going to get later.  Do you hold out for that possible perfect play or take the good play you see now so you can move on to other things.  In a two player game players are able to see about the same number of cards, but in a four player game there is additional information to be had… just what is my partner doing?  I liken it to trick taking games like Spades or Bridge, a good Musée player will be able to read their partner’s intentions in order to make more informed plays.  So while the two player version is just OK (and the three player game seems a bit of a kludge) I will keep it in my collection, but only take this one out for games with partners.

Kid Factor:  

Fairly simple rules, only involves sorting numbers and matching colors so this could be played by quite young kids.  They won’t win consistently, but will be able to play correctly and generate a reasonable score.  Oh, and double bonus points for exposing them to some great art history.

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