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Board Game Review # 2 – Guillotine

2010 June 11
by Michael Schroeder

Review # 2 is about the game that got me into the board gaming hobby (well at least I think it was)…Guillotine, by Wizards of the Coast!


What’s the game about: Here is an excerpt from BoardGameGeek

“The French Revolution is famous in part for the use of the guillotine to put nobles to death, and this is the macabre subject of this light card game. As executioners pandering to the masses, the players are trying to behead the least popular nobles. Each day the nobles are lined up and players take turns killing the ones at the front of the line until all the nobles are gone. However, players are given cards which will manipulate the line order right before ‘harvesting,’ which is what makes the game interesting. After three days worth of chopping, the highest total carries the day.”

Basic Idea in my Own Words: The object of Guillotine is to get the most points at the end of 3 days. The game lasts for a duration of 3 days. At the beginning of each day, 12 cards or characters are laid out and at the beginning of everyones turn, you play an action card then you must take a character card. Every character card has a point value, ranging from -1 to 5 I believe. At times depending on special text on characters, you could essentially have worse points than -1. So as the game progresses, everyone is taking turns playing their cards to best suit them and at the same time screw the next player over, and then the player takes their character. Once all 12 characters are gone, a new day begins. So this happens for three rounds. There are cards that do cut down and add the number of characters in line, this is all part of the strategy, and just randomness of the special text on event cards. Here’s what some of the cards look like…edited – the noble that you must take must be the next one in line. You can’t just willy nilly take any noble, but again, that’s all part of the action cards (shifting them around).

Event Cards

Nobles, or “character cards”

Component Quality: 3/5

The cards are good stock, the box is alright, it’s really just an oversized tuck box. It does come with a small card board guillotine guy that shows where the line of nobles is going and it keeps some of the cards from going all over the box. But that being said, I’d still recommend some rubber bands. I debated sleeving these cards, but it’s one of those games where your shuffling a large deck of cards and it’s only a 10 dollar game, I’m not going to bother. The instruction manual is black and white, aside from the title I think, which is kinda lame, but it’s all that’s needed for this simple game. What I am most impressed with is the art. The art is just awesome, even in it’s goofiness.

Theme: 4/5

Lobbing peoples’ heads off, and it’s goofy, yet has some real history behind it. The theme is fun and lends to the game. I’m not too worried about playing this with young ones.

Instruction Manual: 2/5

Real simple, fits in box, but will get wrinkled over time. Black and white… 🙁

Luck Factor: 2/5

I’d say the biggest randomness to this game is just the order of where your sitting to other players. You’ll have plenty of cards in hand to affect the line up of cards (you MUST take the next noble in line, I failed to mention earlier). So I drop the luck down to a 2. But yes like any game, there is still randomness to it, such as what action card you get and how the noble line comes out.

Strategy: 2/5

It’s a simple game, what can I say, there’s not much deep seeded strategy in this game. It’s more tactical. You act in the now, and not 3 turns ahead. “I don’t want this card, so I’m laying out this action card..” next turn.

Overall Feelings: 3/5

I absolutely love this game. It’s a great filler! It’s even good to play with the young ones, we played with my little cousins. I did play this one with my friend Joe, but he hated it, he didn’t get it…? He’s not really into board games, and I think the text on the cards just confused him. I did play with my in laws and they picked it up quickly and enjoyed it. While I love this game, there are so many other choices I can choose from, so once my collection got bigger, this game came out less and less. But I’d defn recommend this game, especially when you can pick it up at an online retailer for $10, such as or Thoughthammer or ebay.

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