‘Guillotine’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Viva la révolution! What better way to celebrate a great nation winning independence than by lopping off the heads of anyone who’d ever wronged you?
Guillotine (1998) is a thematic hand management game for two to five players, designed by Paul Peterson, and most recently published by Wizards of the Coast. In the game, cards with various people are lined up before the guillotine. Each character has a different point value, faction, and special effect. On a player’s turn, they can play cards from their hand to affect the lineup, and then claim the character card next to the guillotine. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Guillotine mitigates its morbid themes though humour. Illustrations are very approachable and funny, and the actions cards tell a story of the ill-fated proletarians trying desperately to delay their fate. This theme caries over into the gameplay, as players are not just trying to score points but also actively interfere with other players’ strategies. I did find that sometimes the winner was all but decided as the game came to a close, which can cause the last few rounds to be pointless or cause players to end the game early.
I found Guillotine to be a fun and highly competitive game, but with a short play time and simple rules. The humour of the game can take some of the harshness out of the competitive aspect, which can plague some other games. This makes it ideal for players without a lot of experience or a desire for longer or more in-depth games.