Heads will roll in Guillotine (sorry, had to do it). In this 2-5 player card game set in the French Revolution, players take turns executing different nobles. Each noble is assigned a point value based on how much their execution is worth. For instance, beheading Marie Antoinette will earn you a lot of points, while a lowly guard is only worth one. After three “days”, the person with the most points at the end of the game wins. Or, morbidly speaking, the player with the most valuable set of heads wins. While the game at a root level is dark nature, Guillotine is actually a humourous and fun card game.
The game takes place over three “days”. Each day, 12 Noble cards are placed horizontally, with the guillotine stand-up placed at the very right of the set. During each turn, players would normally take the card closest to the guillotine as a means of executing them while adding that noble to your point total. However, by playing an action card, you could manipulate the order to make things better for yourself. See a character that’s worth a lot more further back in the line? If you have a card that can move them to the front, play it! Days end when there are no more Noble cards to be executed. After three days, the player with the most points is deemed the master executor.
The fun of Guillotine primarily comes from your action cards. Each time one is played, someone is reaping the rewards while screwing someone else over. In certain cases, there’s no personal gain that comes from using an action card besides the satisfaction of making things worse for others. There’s the back-and-forth drama that comes with messing with your friends, but there’s also joy to be had from the way in which you maximize your score. You’ll have to put some thought into how to manage your hand and how to manipulate the line in order to get the most points. This is by no means a difficult game for anyone to play, but there is a fair amount of strategy involved to keep things interesting. At times, play can slow down due to analysis paralysis from players assessing their cards for the best way forward, though this will be minimized over time as you get more comfortable with how each card works.
Guillotine is a hit with our board game group and one we’ll certainly play again. Learning it is a breeze for all audiences, while providing just enough strategic depth to make things engaging over a series of plays. I also love how confrontational the game can get as players are constantly screwing each other over in order to score the most points. For a game that costs under $20, you’ll get more than your money’s worth out of this one.