One Board Family: The Bloody Inn: The Carnies Review
The train has pulled into town bringing a load of new characters to your shady French inn. The traveling carnival workers need a place to sleep but they don’t know of the dark secrets that your establishment holds. The Bloody Inn: The Carnies is an expansion for one of our absolute favorite games. Since picking up this expansion in the Spring, we haven’t sat down to play The Bloody Innwithout these new guests.
If you’re unfamiliar to The Bloody Inn, you really should do yourself a favor and check out our 2016 review of this game. This expansion is more than a couple additional cards to throw into the game. Instead, it introduces 3 modules that add new twists to the gameplay and adding one module to the original game is simple. I’m going to share some thoughts on these different modules and hopefully give you an idea of the value this menagerie of carnival workers bring to The Bloody Inn.
This first module adds 14 new guests along with 8 event cards to the base game. The carnies are an interesting crew of visitors because they have two values represented on their card. The first number has a pillow behind it which means this is their value when they are in a room. The other value is used when they are outside of the inn. For example, the Bearded Lady has a value of 2 when recruiting or killing her during her stay at the inn. However, she only has a rank of 1 when turning her into an annex or burying her to gain money. These values can really change your strategy as carnies enter the inn.
Four of these carnies will allow you to turn them into “trailers”. These are built next to the board and the player who built the trailer takes control of this new room by placing a key token on it. While this trailer is occupied by a traveler, the owner will earn 1 Frank (these are victory points in the game). Trailers are a really fun addition to the game and can be a powerful tool in the right hands.
Some carnies have specific rules on how they can be buried. These unique rules fit so well into the theme and change the value for the dwarf, bearded lady and the twins as the visit.
Probably the most powerful change to the gameplay in this module are the 8 event cards. These are totally optional and sit separate from the traveler deck of cards. When a carnie is placed on a room for the first time, you flip over the top event and read it aloud. If any carnies occupy a room at the end of the round, players must resolve this card.
Some of these event cards are incredibly brutal. While I like this new card type, these can feel very unfair in specific situations. Players can stop an event from triggering by taking out the carnies that occupy the rooms. But, when three or four rooms are filled with these characters, you better hope someone at the table will help you to stop the event. This event deck will either connect or really turn some players off. Since it’s optional, don’t feel bad about leaving this in the box. The first time we played with this deck, the “Broken Safe” card wiped out half of Erin’s money while I sat there watching from last place. I had a tiny amount of guilt when I beat her in this game.
In the base game of The Bloody Inn, the nobles are represented by the color green and I personally feel like they lack the value of the other classes of visitors. The Notables are a deck of 14 cards that actually replace the noble cards in the original game. This is a great module that doesn’t drastically change the game.
These new cards have two different values exactly like the Carnies module. I really like the annexes that these new cards introduce and they play really well with the base game. The designer Nicolas Robert, has done a great job of pairing annex abilities with the notable on the card. I’ve almost considered tossing the original noble cards into another box and replacing them permanently with this Notables module.
Aunt Ginette’s Tips & Tricks
Aunt Ginette has some pretty interesting tools at her disposal and she’s sharing her stash with you. These 16 cards can be drafted before the start of the game. Each player will get 3 cards that have a cost of 0 to 3 franks. These cards are pretty devious and are a lot of fun addition to the game. These new cards will stay in the players hand and can only be played at specific times during a round.
You can poison visitors that arrive at the inn, dump corpses in front of other players or hide a body in a snow pile. With 16 different cards, you have a good variety of options and with time will probably have a couple favorites. The cards are balanced pretty well based on their initial cost. The cards that cost 3 Franks are powerful but players will start the game completely broke if they only take these high priced cards.
It’s fun to play one of these Tips & Tricks on an unsuspecting player. In our first game with this module, I spent 6 turns setting up the perfect scenario to unleash one of these cards. This is a great module for the seasoned player of The Bloody Inn.
The Carnies expansion is such a great value for what comes in the box. You’re getting three expansion modules that all bring something new to the game as well as cards containing 50 frank checks for those who are rolling in the money. The rule book is clear and covers each of the cards really well if anyone has a question. The illustrations are done by Weberson Santiago and this art style is still one of my absolute favorites.
The Bloody Inn continues to be in my top 10 games of all time and The Carnies expansion gives me even more reasons to play the game. If you’re an owner of The Bloody Inn, do yourself a favor and pick up The Carnies expansion. This is a must own for fans of this game.
You can find The Bloody Inn: The Carnies at your local game store or purchase it on Amazon today.
Artwork, gameplay and characters all fit perfectly into this morbid theme
Three different modules mean more ways to play The Bloody Inn
Keeps the original game fresh and gives more strategic options
The event cards can cause big swings in the game
Wish the 50 frank checks were cardboard tokens and not cards