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Subject: Guillotine Review by a GANONGAF rss

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Jonathan Er
Singapore
Singapore
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a common theme in all my reviews is that I am doing it from a GANONGAF perspective.
GANONGAF – Gamer with NON-Gamer Friends

Reason being, I often look for games to buy for my group of friends and myself to enjoy, but its often hard to find a review for such a group.

The bunch of friends I board game with are basically non-gamers
In short, they would choose a night of drinking, or a night of poker, or a nice big dinner over a night of board games. How unfortunate. *sigh*

Regardless, let me begin


Gist of the Game

There are 3 days of play, and on each day there are a bunch of nobles lined up for the chopping block.
Each turn you do the following in order: play an action card (which helps to rearrange the order of the line), take the first noble in line, draw more action cards
Each noble is worth a certain number of points, and at the end of 3 days, the person with the most points is declared the winner.


Components

Guillotine is very basic components wise.
They provide you all that you need (which is just the deck of cards really) with the addition of one pop up guillotine stand so that you can use it to differentiate the start from the end of the line.

But that’s it. And honestly, I have NEVER ever used the pop up guillotine. It’s just too redundant. It’s not hard to pick and remember where the start point is.
The artwork on the cards are, I would say, average. Its not something you would look at and go: “wow these are really nice!”. It’s got the “nothing much” feel to it.

Rating: 5.8 / 10


Complexity of Game

Guillotine may seem simple at first. And it is. But with a few exceptions.
It’s easy enough to explain “ok, you play an action card, you shift the line, you chop the first head, and you take more cards”. That’s the gist of it, and what everyone will totally understand. But the problem lies with the description of some of the abilities on the cards.

Not to get too long winded but the main problems lie with the “Master Spy” Noble and the “Callous Guards” action card.

Often with the Master Spy Noble, it’s hard to decide if he moves to the back of the line (after an action card is played) no matter what happens, or if he moves to the back of the line when the action card is played but is subject to the effects of the card.
And with the Callous Guards, it’s hard to determine what “changes” the order of the nobles. Does putting the first noble in line into your opponent’s hand considered changing ? If so, why does chopping a noble’s head on your turn not consider changing ?

And the rules never satisfy you with a proper solution.
For me, as long as we settle on it beforehand, and everyone plays with the same rules, we are a go. No delay needed.

But in the first place, this shows a loophole, or at least an uncertainty in the rules, and I feel that it’s quite unfortunate as I believe games should always be well thought out and presented in a clear and concise manner.

Rating: 6.7 / 10


Playing Experience / Fun Factor

I wouldn’t mind a game or two of Guillotine, but I don’t actually prefer it that much either. I can easily think of many other games I would rather be playing.
As for my friends, they have a good laugh here and there, but likewise it’s a game seldom requested to the table.

The fun of it all really doesn’t come from building up your points but from screwing things up for the next player. In fact, on most play throughs, we seldom keep track of scores in the middle of the game. We just have a rough estimation of who’s running away with it and we work our way to put a dent in his/her glorious plans.

Guillotine is a game that you could play to start off or to end the evening. That would be what I would say is the best way to introduce it (while not getting any strong objections from anyone else).

Just to add a comment that was made when one of my friends suggested to play Guillotine.

Linn: “let’s play Guillotine !”
Champy (nickname, not real name): “Guillotine ?!? That game is beneath me”

Rating: 6.2 / 10


Replayability

Guillotine will be like a breath of fresh air after playing other games for too long.
But while you’re having loads of fun with your other games, Guillotine will be taking a backseat for a really long time.
It will see table time if you have friends who really love it, but that would hardly be the case (in my opinion) and it can never be the only game you play on games night. Meaning, it wont satisfy the gaming hunger in you.

Rating: 5.4 / 10


Variants

Guillotine is a 5 player game which can easily be made into a 6 player game by drawing 15 nobles a day instead of the usual 12. This helps to accommodate the 6th player without unbalancing the game too much. (We never had a runaway leader)

But if you ask me, any more than 6 players is pushing it as there isn’t sufficient nobles to last 3 days (should you increase it to over 15 nobles a day and taking into consideration the action cards that help a player claim more than 1 noble a turn)

Another Variant – playing without the Callous Guards.
Trust me, it’s just more fun this way. That card is a real pain and a fun-robber.


Overall Rating (not an average of above scores but an overall grade): 5.9 / 10
* I do not score based on an average of the above scores because it may result in a boring game with great components outscoring a pretty average game with average components but one which my friends and I enjoyed a whole lot more.

edits: spelling check & amended rating for game. after multiple plays, it doesnt hold up as well as alot of other games. old rating: 6.9


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Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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I think I like Guillotine a little more (but not a lot more) than you do. I agree that it's a nice change-of-pace game and that it's the appetizer, not the main course.
 
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Gordon Adams
United Kingdom
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Nice review and I agree about some uncertainties in the rules re: Callous Guards and Master Spy.
This cg could have been so much better, alas I do not rate it as high as Jonathan but that is my opinion. I would score it 5.5.

Kind regards.
 
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Rod Batten
Canada
St. John's
Newfoundland
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A nice concise review, thanks!

I usually play this with non-gamer friends as well. It's easy to explain, easy to play and has a lot of player interaction. I find it's also good, as you said, as a break from 'heavier' games.
 
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Peter Latimer
England
Blackpool
Lancashire
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this is the one game that has universally gone down really well with my non gamer friends so far, and in fact has been requested to play when we've travelled together on work train journeys.

they love the anarchy and screwing the other players, picking on the leader, etc.

quick & easy, and so much different to "traditional" games they're used to.

(agree with the comments on master spy & callous guards, but a quick look at the forum here at bgg settled how they work)
 
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