From Railroads to Vampires, from Unicorns to Kings in Dilemma. Horrible Guild cover it all!
Striving for originality and entertainment, Horrible Guild publish games they think are “cool!” Based out of Milan, Italy, Horrible Guild have a proud history of making games that bring “simple, pure, unbridled fun for everyone.”
In this top three we take a look at three of our favourites from their magnificent portfolio of games.
3-6 players. Officially 14 plus. Can be understood from 8. Card art may not be suitable until older.
Vampire the Masquerade was a huge tabletop RPG in the 90’sm winning awards, fans and plaudits all round. There were numerous spin off video games, dice games, novels and even a short-lived TV show in 1996.
Then in 2020, a successful Kickstarter ran with 4,731 backers for a new game, Vampire: The Masquerade – Vendetta. A card-based area-majority game, with asymmetric player powers, take-that and sumptuous art.
Vampires have always intrigued. From the early films coming from the states, Russia and Europe, to the 50s Hammer films, Vampires have always been a part of modern popular culture. In the 90’s, many of us grew up watching Buffy, Angel and Blade. And more recently The Vampire Diaries, What we do in the Shadows and Preacher have brought a new generation to the clan!
It’s the mix between violence, romance, power, control, and eternal life I think that interest’s people so much. But how dos that translate to board game form? Very well is the short answer! Vendetta delivers in fascinating mix of bluff, card play and strategy in a deeply engrossing way.
I want to bite your neck!
Set-up is relatively simple. After each player chooses their faction, everyone receives their respective cards, stay or withdraw tokens and blood and influence cache. You then lay out the parts of Chicago you will visit in the game according to player count, and each player places their marker there. Each player receives one victim card to draw blood from and once the game has started, an Ally card is placed at each location. In the game, you will simply place a card and blood if you chose, at the locations you want to try and have influence over it, in an attempt to win more alliances.
There are only three rounds of this and you can only lay a few cards each round. Always one less than your hand size, starting with two from three cards in round one and increasing by one each turn. In a three-player game, you play three cards from four in round one. This is the only major difference to a four player plus game other than being able to hold one more card in your hand. For the full rules you can head here.
Bluff, Bravado & Brains!
This game is a delicious blend of bluff, bravado and brains. I absolutely loved playing this game and introducing these mechanisms to different groups. Each person I taught this to found it a fresh and enjoyable experience. One area that was new to many was the opportunity to play cards either face up or down. Face down costs you one blood but allows you to hide not just the cards powers, but your intent. Once all cards have been played, players then reveal if they intend to stay and fight at each location, or retreat to the final stage at the Princes Haven.
Cards could have been placed face down to hide some game changing or rule bending powers that would allow a player to win a location easier than the quantity of cards and blood might have suggested. Or it could be a bluff or double bluff, hiding weak or powerful cards that are destined to fight at this area or another. There is a lot to think about! But it all happens very quickly and in a highly entertaining way.
My Vampire and your Vampire, sitting by the fire.