Game: The Bloody Inn
Publisher: Pearl Games
Designer: Nicholas Robert
The Bloody Inn was a 2015 release that was still getting a lot of buzz by the time we visited the UK Games Expo during 2016. I received a number of glares when I picked up a copy quite cheaply in the bring and buy sale! However, it now seems that no-one is talking about it, perhaps because beyond the theme, it is just a hand management style card game.
The theme of The Bloody Inn is actually quite dark and I suppose some people might take offense to that, but I’m sure it’s not a barrier to many, after all, games are just fictional worlds. In this game you are a French innkeeper, keen to make a fortune from your quests – not just charging them for rooms, but robbing them and in some cases resorting to murder in order to take all of their money or indeed to protect yourself from being caught by murdering the law enforcement.
During the game you have just two actions in each round – something which can be very limiting and hard to get used to! All cards have multiple uses but all operate in the same way where each card is worth one of whatever you wish to do with it. One option is bribery – you can bribe a guest in the inn to come and help you (be part of your hand). Alternatively, you can also shoot a guest in the inn. Or, if you have a corpse to deal with then it’s a good idea to bury them, both to hide them from the police and also to be able to loot their corpse. Finally, if you’re running out of space and you’ve been on a bit of a spree you’re going to need to build more buildings to hide those bodies under. (Having written this paragraph I now get a feeling for quite how dark this them is!!)
The mechanics are really satisfying in their simplicity. To do any action you need to pay the number of card depicted o the card you want to do it to. Eg. To shoot one of the larger hotel guests with lots of money you might need to use 3 cards from your hand and the cards you use are discarded unless these depict the shooting symbol. You’d do exactly the same to bribe the same guest, except you’d discard all cards but the ones that display the bribery symbol.
|Cards depicting their cst, type and the money they have on their person...or the 'opportunity' as it might otherwise be called.|
With only two actions a round you have to be very careful with what actions to take, particularly to ensure your hand isn’t bloated saving up for future actions – each round you have to pay all of the people in your hand. The other key thing at the end of each round is to not have any un buried corpses if there are any police left in the inn. You’ll get caught and lose money as well as all the progress made in killing them in the first place! Make sure you either bury ll your corpses or bribe or shoot all the police in the inn to make sure you don’t get caught!
Some other details that add to the heavy decision making each turn are the need to waste a turn cashing in your coins for cheques – the scoreboard is short for a reason – you can’t carry too many coins. Also, the small amount of money you gain for having a quest in your rooms in the inn, which can often impact on where you choose to place cards at the start of the round as well as which cards you take during the round. The tight turns and heavy decision making does make the game pretty prone to causing analysis paralysis, especially with new players.
We’ve mainly played The Bloody Inn as a two-player game and I’ve been really enjoying it. Now that we’re familiar with the game, the intense decision making and tight turns make the game very satisfying because every decision matters. The different card types can mean that you develop a strategy, for example to be very aggressive and shoot at the high value cards or to create lots of buildings which have end game bonuses. These strategies will dictate your ability to retain cards and probably make your play more efficiency. Efficient play definitely wins this game!
For us The Bloody Inn is a great 2-player card game. We’ve often found it a bit harder to teach and it seems to not always be a hit with new players, so this game stays at home and gets a fair amount of play. Perhaps it could also make a decent travel game with its small thin box. Overall, the Yellow Meeple gives The Bloody Inn a 6.5/10.