Synopsis of Toy

Just about everybody would like to be a high-roller. The benefits are numerous: plenty of money, the opportunities to mingle with the upper-crust, and days filled with excitement from constant wheeling and dealing. Just the same, a person could end up in the poor-house if they do too much high-rolling. How can someone experience the fun of wheeling and dealing without any of the risks? Parker Brothers answered this question in 1970 when they released the board game Masterpiece.

The action of Masterpiece threw you directly into the high-rolling world of art dealers. The heart of the game was a series of 24 value cards and 24 painting cards, the latter of which were reproduction of genuine masterpieces from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The value cards determined the worth of the paintings, and these values ranged from $20 million to a forgery (in other words, worthless). At the beginning of the game, the decks of painting cards and value cards were shuffled so the people who receive these paintings would not know their true worth until they acquired them.

The game was designed for three to six players, each of whom had the option of playing as themselves or adopting an art-dealer persona created by the game, like ‘V. Elton Whitehall’ or ‘Baron von Oberlitzer.’ The game began with players selecting their playing pieces and placing them anywhere on the game board’s circle of spaces. Each player started with $1.5 million and a painting of his or her own, the value of which was known only to that player.

As the players moved around the board, spaces marked Bank Auction and Private Auction allowed them opportunities to sell their paintings or buy other people’s paintings. Other spaces offered opportunities to buy paintings from or sell paintings to the bank at set prices, to buy paintings at set prices from other players, and to inherit paintings. The game ended when all the paintings found their way into the collections of various players. The winner was the person with the greatest combined assets.

Masterpiece lived up to its name by staying popular with board-game fans for a long time. In fact, this game managed to stay on the toy shelves until it stopped being manufactured by Parker Brothers in 1996. Although it has been off the market for a few years, Masterpiece continues to be a favorite in the board-game world. As long as people love to wheel and deal, there will always be room on the auction block for a game like Masterpiece.

Release History of Toy

1970 - Masterpiece

Sub Categories of Toys

board games

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Parker Brothers

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