“Good evening sir and welcome to the Inn. What’s that stain on the wall you ask? Oh nothing to worry about, it’s just an old building. Enjoy your stay, sleep well and we may see you in the morning.”
Assign the stranger a room and plot who would be best to kill this evening to aid your profit, in a bid to defeat the other owners.
The Bloody Inn is a push-your-luck style game where you and your fellow players have joint control of an Inn. Think of it as AirBnB but with more death. Your goal is to gain money by killing off the guests that stay in the rooms without being caught by the constabulary.
- Number of players: 1-4
- Approx play time: 45 min
- Age advisory: 14+
- Made by: Pearl Games (Facebook link)
- Board Game Geek link
The board has an incredibly simple setup. Issue each player 2 peasants, a 10 franc cheque and then 5 francs on the scoreboard to start with. Allow them to pick a room, which is then assigned to their colour. There is no strategic advantage to having your room in a certain position. Finally, take the pile of guest cards and shuffle them; placing the pile face up on the entrance. The first player token is given to the person with the most cash in their pockets.
They greet the guests one by one by picking up the top card of the guest deck, then assigning that guest a room. This way they will be able to see who is next, which might sway where they put their current guest. Once every room is full, the first player must perform the first of their two actions, then the play is passed clockwise to the next player. Once all players have performed both actions, we resolve who gets paid and who pays what; dependant on who still has a guest in their room and who gets fined, if the police find any dead bodies.
Play continues like this until you have gone through the guest deck twice. At the end, any bonuses are calculated and the player with the most money is declared the winner.
Guest card types and player actions
The actions that a player can take are heavily influenced by the types of guest that visit the Inn. I thought it would be better to run through the guests first.
We start with the lowly peasants that each player is supplied at the beginning of the game. These are mostly used as a way to pay for other cards and are recycled throughout the game. The building type (red) usually makes building annexes cheaper; the news type (blue) is used to make bribing other guests cheaper; the police type (white) make killing people easier; the religious type (purple) makes burying bodies easier and finally the rich types who give bonuses to funds.
Each card has three values, the first is the cost (in cards) you must pay to perform the action you wish. The second is the number of spaces that person gives you, should you use them to build an annexe. The third is the amount of coins you gain if you kill this particular guest and bury them successfully. The actions you can perform per round are as follows.
Bribe a guest
Pay the number of cards depicted on the guest to take them into your hand. Any news-based card can return to your hand. This enables you to either use them to build an annex, or help you perform other actions.
Build an annex
You can only build an annex from cards that are already in your hand. Pay the relevant number of cards and place the card on the table, face up. Any builder type cards that were used to build the annex are returned to your hand. Annexes provide you with more space to bury bodies and you get to activate any special ability listed on the cards description.
Kill a guest
Murder can be good for the pockets. Pay the number of cards listed and then collect the card and place them face down on the table. Any police-based cards that were used to pay for the kill return to your hand. You don’t get the money yet, you still need to bury the body.
Bury a body
Pay the number of cards depicted by the guest you are trying to bury. Then place them underneath an annex that still has space. Any religious based cards that were used to bury the body are returned to your hand. Finally, collect the number of coins that the body is worth. Cards that cost more generally get you more cash.
You may choose to do nothing, in my experience this is a rare occurrence. It’s much more likely that you will take your turn to launder money. You may only have a maximum of 40 francs on the scoreboard, so you’ll need to turn cash into cheques so that you can maximize your profit.
It’s all about the money
This whole game is about profit, so it’s important that you try to gain as much cash as you can. I have already explained that you get money by burying bodies, but you also gain money for guests still being alive and staying in your room (1 franc per guest) and/or taking breakfast (1 franc). You do, however, need to pay the people that you employ. 1 franc per card you hold in your hand sounds cheap, but it all adds up. If you get caught by the police, it will cost you 10 francs to pay the gravedigger to make your problem go away.
I was introduced to The Bloody Inn over two years ago and it sat on my wishlist for at least a year. I eventually decided to treat myself and grab a copy. I think it’s a great game and I’m not just saying that because I actually paid for it. It has a large amount of replay value; the game can change a huge amount dependant on who is playing and how the cards fall. Some of the higher power cards can make a player almost untouchable if they manage to activate their special ability, but these cards also give the most amount of coins if you kill them. The game is really well designed, not only in terms of balance but also in accessibility because it does not really rely upon colours to play.
The artwork has a very distinct style that also distinguishes who the characters are and what they do really well.
Do you like this kind of game where risk can be rewarded? Have you played The Bloody Inn and agree or disagree with my opinion? We would love your feedback in the comments section or over on Twitter or Facebook.
Love and buried corpses
Note: Some images were taken from this Amazon link, where you can pick up your own copy of The Bloody Inn today.