Thursday, September 22, 2011

Miscellany: Guillotine

Wizards of the Coast is best known for "Magic: The Gathering," a card game that requires enourmous amounts of strategy and planning (to the point where you have to metagame which decks will be at a given tournament). If you're in the mood for something more casual, Wizards also makes games like "Guillotine," a lighthearted take on the days of the French Revolution.

The object of the game is to "collect" the heads of the biggest enemies of the Revolution - nobles, clergy, and the military - in order to win the favor of the bloodthirsty crowd. There's a queue of cards, and each card represents a victim for the guillotine. You can play action cards that modify the order of the line, allow you to behead more than one person (the coveted "Double Feature"), and so on.

Gameplay is simple and chaotic. Since the other players' action cards can modify the execution queue, it becomes impossible to plan very far ahead, limiting the "brain burn" that can occurs with deeper strategy games. Don't worry about the grisly subject matter, either - the cards are cartoony and appropriate for children (if they have a macabre sense of humor). Overall, "Guillotine" is a fun, breezy card game that gets the Shangrila Towers stamp of approval.


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