Friday, January 17, 2014

Game Review: Guillotine by Paul Peterson

Guillotine designed by Paul Peterson

Guillotine is a card game set during the French Revolution where players are competing executioners. The game takes place in three rounds, representing three days. Each day twelve people line up for Madame Guillotine, represented by twelve cards from a deck. Each player takes turns executing the person at the front of the line. Before the execution, a player can play one of five action cards from their hand that either alters the line (hopefully making the front one more valuable) or effects the players in some way (e.g., making certain types of cards more valuable).

Sample action cards

The cards range in value from 5 to -3, depending on how worthy the person is of execution. They run the gambit from the King and Queen (worth 5 points) down to the Innocent Martyr and the Hero of the People (both worth negative points). The different background colors indicate different classes, such as light blue for the nobility or red for soldiers.

Sample nobility cards

Play continues until the line is empty. Then twelve new cards are dealt out and a new round begins. After the third round is complete, everyone totals their numbers to see who wins.

A two-player game in progress

While the theme of this game is rather grim, the cards are fairly cartoony and have more humor than horror. For example, one action card makes people "stumble forward" in the line. The game can be fun if players embrace the gallows humor. Play is light and quick, hardly lasting more than half an hour.

Zombie Apocalypse Appropriateness: While the game is very compact, it is not very solitaire-friendly. It plays okay with two players but is more fun with one or two more players. I don't know if it would make players feel better, i.e. I don't know that the French Revolution (as bad as it was) is worse than a zombie apocalypse.

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