THE BLOODY INN
Set in France in 1831, The Bloody Inn lets 1-4 players act as murderous innkeepers. Each player gets a color, five francs on the game board, a Check for 10 francs, one room key (which goes on the board), two Peasant Cards, and one Player Aid card (which also functions as a rank-2 annex). A number of neutral room keys are placed on the game board (based on the number of players), a number of Guest cards are discarded (based on the number of players and whether everyone wants a short or long game), and the game begins!
At the start of each round (Welcome Travelers -- Evening), the first player draws Guest cards from the deck and places them in each room, one at a time. Each Guest card has a type and color (merchant -- blue; artisan -- red; police -- grey; religious -- purple; and nobles -- green; and Peasants -- yellow), a rank (from 0-3), money, sometimes an annex, and sometimes an aptitude. After the Guests are placed comes the next phase (Player Actions -- Night), when each player (starting with the first player and going clockwise) takes an action, then after everyone went takes a second action.
The next player clockwise becomes the new First Player, and new Guests are drawn from the deck and placed in rooms. If the deck is out of cards, the discarded Guests at the Exit Stack are shuffled and become the new deck. The second time the deck is emptied, the game ends, Checks are cashed in and become francs, and whoever has the most francs wins!
The Bloody Inn is a morbidly cheerful strategy game, revolving around murder, bribery, building, and burial. There's a good deal of planning involved, whether it's selecting which Annexes to build, placing Guests so they'll leave your room in Morning and not be in opponents' rooms then, making sure your created corpses won't go to the gravedigger, or opting to murder low-rank Guests (easy to do, but little reward) or higher-rank Guests (who require a lot more cards but pay a lot more), Also, having a lot of cards gives you more options for future turns -- but costs you a lot in paying accomplices. While there's no humor per se in the game, the artwork has a slight edge to it that suits the feel of the game. The Bloody Inn is an enjoyable, thoughtful, and challenging game for anyone with a slightly dark side.
Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch