Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday 4 January 2018

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- The Bloody Inn: The Carnies

Game: The Bloody Inn: The Carnies

Publisher: Pearl Games

Designer: Nicholas Robert

Year: 2017

The Bloody Inn is a kind of grotesque themed card game that we reviewed back in 2016. At the time, I said that it was quite a difficult game to pick up and teach to new players and over time we have found that it hasn't really hit the table a lot, partially because of this. However, a new expansion is normally a great excuse for me to get a new game that doesn't take up any more shelf space and also to bring an older game back to our table. The Carnies expansion for The Bloody Inn is a very small box, but let's see what it adds to the game.

The Carnies is a pick-n-mix style expansion with 3 different modules. The first are the objects - these are cards that you draft at the start of the game and you each have 10 money to spend on them - they each give you a one use, rule-breaking special ability. The second module are the notables, which are included in the visitor deck to replace the nobles from the base game - where the nobles just gave you money when built as an annex, the notables have some slightly more complex abilities. The final module includes the eponymous Carnies. The Carnies are added to the visitor deck and have some very different special abilities as well as different value when they're in your hand or at the Inn. In addition, you can introduce events which are triggered whenever a Carnie is present in the Inn at the end of a round.
A snapshot of everything included in this small box expansion.
The expansion certainly increases the variety in the game. We've played games with all four aspects thrown into the mix, but also games where we've introduced the new elements on-by-one. The Notables can fold easily into your base game and we'll probably use those as a permanent feature of our deck, rather than the nobles, simply because they're more interesting. The objects will also work in any game you play but they definitely start to add more complexity as you try and juggle more elements. The Carnies can be played without the events, but the events cannot be played without the Carnies and as a combination they definitely make the game more complex, slower and I would definitely not recommend them when introducing new players.

The random events which are 90% negative.
I've really struggled with The Carnies expansion, I've found that it actually causes me to stop enjoying The Bloody Inn. The Bloody Inn has always been a really challenging game, where you are desperate to have more than two actions per round to achieve everything you need to, as well as watching out for the police and trying not to hoard cards in your hand that you need to pay for at the end of the round. Both the events and the object cards seem to serve to make your life even harder, pulling you in more different directions with your meagre two actions per turn. The events in particular are an aspect of this expansion I'd never play with again as dealing with them takes up at least one action per turn either removing the carnie from the inn or making sure you're not in a position to be hit heavily by the event's consequences. You could however play with the Carnies and no events just t add some more interesting visitors to the mix.

In the long run I'll probably add the Carnies and the Notables to my game and leave the rest of the expansion out. Is that worth £10.99? Well, probably - it's a very low price point for an expansion and it does bring an older game back to the table. However, I think I would've rather not had the three bad games that this expansion gave me, so I can't recommened The Carnies, and it's a 4/10 for the Yellow Meeple.

The Bloody Inn: The Carnies was a review copy provided by Esdevium Games Ltd. It is available for an RRP of £10.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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