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Store:  Card Games, Strategy Games
Edition:  Guillotine
Theme:  French Revolution
Genre:  Beer & Pretzels
Format:  Card Games


German edition

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 45 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Paul Peterson

Manufacturer(s): Amigo

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Product Description

This card game is a black-humored view of the French Revolution. The players operate the Guillotine and want to behead the most important nobles. Since Marie Antoinette gives a player more points than a usual count, the players' action cards can change the order in which the nobles go to the Guillotine, to change who gets which points.

If you lead the other players by a head, you win!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Paul Peterson

  • Manufacturer(s): Amigo

  • Artist(s): Quinton Hoover, Mike Raabe

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 45 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 291 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components contain substantial foreign text. An English translation of the rules is provided, but no translation of the cards is available.


  • 50 noble cards
  • 60 action cards
  • 1 guillotine
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.9 in 39 reviews

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December 30, 2004
Nothing wrong with this game. In the many, many times we've played the game we have found no "house rules" that have ever stuck. The game is developed extremely well, that art and text humor is fantastic and the concept is just cheeky. Grab a copy and start decapitating.
Great light game for gamers and non gamers
April 06, 2004

As I said and so many others, this is a great light game that has mass appeal. I have used this game several times as a fantastic filler while a group wait for others to arrive for a bigger game. It has also served as a wonderful game for youth groups. Kids and adults can pick it up in no time and be off having fun (and with the heads). It is also a nice and rather 'thinking' game with just two players. The more players the more luck (but the more banter and fun). Keep chopping them heads. Now only if they would come up with a Bush administration version!

Fantastic Game
January 21, 2004

Once my husband & I introduced our friends to this game, when they invite us around for dinner all they want us to bring is Guillotine. They Love the game. We have just taught our 7yr old nephew and he caught on so quickly. It is a game for children & adults!!!

by Zach
Great game for all audiences
September 29, 2003

We had a great time with this game, played with two, played with 3, played with 7, and it worked well, everyone who has played it with us has enjoyed it and its a fun little theme that keeps things light.

Highly recommended. Any person can enjoy this sober or not! Bring to a party!

Fun game and quick and simple
September 19, 2003

We really liked this game. It got better with each round, and we ended up playing well into the night. We could't stop!

It has a fun aspect of strategizing with many different possibilities depending on your hand. The game gets to be more fun as it speeds up, so as we learned it became better! It also seemed to move quicker with only 3 people. We highly recommend this game!

July 30, 2003

Amazing how a game sow much simple that magic can be so addictive as guillotine. I played with people of all ages and it was very esay to learn and very addictive.

Its a littl edifficult to find here in Portugal, but i played it in a store that sells magic, rpg and stuff.

Conclusion: 5 STARS *****

There's no bread... Let 'em Eat Cake!
July 20, 2003

Everything about this game is fantastic! The artwork and cards are of the highest quality, and the humor is priceless. The only confusion arised with the 'Master Spy' card. If we can't agree on a rule for it, we just leave it out.

WE LOVE THIS GAME! Mondo repeat factor here!

Simple yet compelling fun.
March 31, 2003

This is a great light hearted game. It plays out fairly quickly which allows non-gamers to join in and enjoy themselves (I.E. strategy hating wives) yet envolves enough decision making to keep the the true gamer happy. There's a few hurt-thy-neighbor cards that keep the revenge factor at a healthy level and I always feel sad when the game is over. Oh well, lets play again.

Dollar for dollar the most satisfying game I ever bought, you can't beat the price!

by Dave
Line up the nobles!
August 26, 2002

Gaming is so subjective and I guess that's what makes it so much fun. For us this game is a bull's eye! We have had such a good time that it's hard to stop. Granted it isn't a deep strategy game but there are fun, thinking choices to make that will affect your score. and there are action cards that can be deliciously cut throat. i highly recommend this light,fun card game. We've had tons of fun. Let them eat cake indeed!

by Roger
Loads of fun
August 17, 2001

I found this game to be one of the most fun games I have ever played. The idea of lopping heads off took a few moments to warm my friends to the idea of the theme, but once we got into it, they became hooked. The action cards give plenty of options in what you can do to rearrange the line to your advantage and to the other players' disadvantage, if you are holding the right ones. They make the game unpredictable which, in my opinion, makes a game great. There is a certain amount of strategy involved, but it changes with every turn of a card. It is a game that takes only minutes to learn the rules, and only a few hands to master. The artwork is exceptional and adds to the overall enjoyment of play. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a good card game.

by Ron Jr
Trip, double feature, I'll take Louis and Marie.
July 29, 2001

This is a great, fun-filled card game. Simple mechanics, a little strategy, a little luck, and lots of curses and squeals. As with just about any game, you have to find the right group. Personally, the Saturday group has a blast with this one. But then, I also play it with my parents, who enjoy a good game as well. In both cases, I am never going to regret picking this one up.

Play a card, take a noble, draw a card. It's that simple... or is it?

Best with Two
December 14, 2000

I have played Guillotine many times, usually with two people, and I love it. It's a lot of fun, and I see myself playing it for a long time to come. Quinton Hoover's colorful, expressive cartoons are masterfully drawn, and the theme, with each player trying to become the most popular executioner of the French Terror, is brilliant. Each game is short, lasting about half an hour.

The game will appeal most to those players who appreciate a light mechanic and a healthy dose of luck. But while there is not much strategy with four or five players, I agree with Paul from NY, who notes in his review that there is more strategy when only two players play (three can be good, too).

In Guillotine as a two-player game, there are frequently meaningful and difficult decisions to make among the cards in your hand. Sometimes your play is obvious. Frequently, decisions are tougher. You might have to decide between a certain, immediate gain and an uncertain, but possibly greater, gain later on. You might have to decide whether to take the greater gain for yourself, or take the lesser gain but leave less for your opponent. Or if you have a card that removes cards from an opponent's hand, do you play that card this turn, or a card that gives you an additional point? And once you and your opponent learn what cards are in the deck, you may find yourself making decisions based on what's still out there. You might find yourself playing a card now that you'd rather hold on to, for instance, because you know that there are cards out there that remove cards from your hand--use it or lose it! You're making decisions to maximize your points and minimize your opponent's points, but you don't always have enough information to know how your choices will translate into points.

Are all the cards equally valuable? No, luck still plays a role. But the inequality of the cards also makes for strategic dilemmas. Do you play the card that trades hands with an opponent, not knowing whether they have better or worse cards than you do?

Guillotine is still light, but there's enough strategy to encourage you to think, especially with two players. If you like a little strategy, I recommend treating Guillotine as a game you'll play mostly with two. I suspect you'll appreciate it quite a bit if you do. And those players who are theme-oriented can still enjoy it with more people.

I love this game
November 20, 2000

I love Guillotine. It was so easy to learn and when friends come over it doesn't take much time at all to explain and you'll be playing in minutes. My brother-in-law had it and got me addicted so when we went home my husband went to the game store and ordered it. All of my friends who have played ask to play it every time they come to visit and many have bought it for themselves.

One notch a head of the rest
October 09, 2000

Easy to set up, easy to play, great art--this is a first-rate game. A definite favorite for my lunch time gaming group, where we only have a limited amount of time. Guillotine allows for 2 fun-filled games during our hour break. It is one of the few games that multiple friends have bought just to have their own copy.

Fast, Fun + Easy Card Game
December 31, 1998

This is a great card game. I am 10 years old and I think this game is good for all ages. It is a simple card game where French Nobles get their heads chopped off and their heads give you points. Along with the game are action cards that help you move Nobles to the front of the line so you can get their heads!

give it a shot
November 10, 2003

A friend of mine introduced me to this game. It's a great insomniac game, with little math involved. It is similar to Family Buisness, but easier to pick up in my opinion. If you are looking for something that will not take up alot of time or brain power, this is for you.

by Mary
Easy to learn!
September 29, 2003

Even an 8-yr old picked this game up quickly. After you are familiar with the cards, play can really speed up. You never know who might play an action card that cripples you. One of the best things is the leader can change hands many times.

The one weird thing is the pictures on the cards -- they are, um, suggestive. We can only imagine the inclination of the game's creators.

Vive la revolucion!

Hilarious half hour of history
August 02, 2003

The gameplay is innovative, the concept fantastic and the theme truly funny!

What it lacks in depth, it gains in playability and humour.

A true gem for all occasional gamers and families. And for all gamers; let your shoulders down and enjoy this fast paced and nice game.

Best with 2 players and one of the best 2 player light games
August 19, 2002

i agree whole heartedly with nick (the review below). we never play this with more than 2 players, with 2 players you can set up the line by moving nobles backwards and forwards to set up your next turn (with 3 or more people you have less and less control leading to a uninteresting game), with 2 players you find yourself taking a lower noble 1 turn to set up a higher one the next and so on.

I'll take this over Lost Cities any day
August 17, 2002

Guillotine is a very easy card game that is loads of fun. It is much better with less players; any more than 3 people just ruins the game. Comparing it to Lost Cities, Guillotine easily wins. There is much more interaction with the others player(s) in Guillotine and there is also more planing involved throughout the game. In Lost Cities it is just stocking up the hand cards and 1 or 2 colors, playing them at the end, and scoring 200-300 points and round. That equals basiclly no luck and no skill, except for counting the cards left in the draw pile so you know when to start playing your hand cards. In Guillotine, you have to balance helping yourself and hindering your oppenent(s). There and just more aspects of this game and makes Guillotine one of the best 2 player card based games out. I an sure if it where was a Euro game, it would be getting much more light shed on it.

by Tom J
Great game if you have time to Kill Mwah ha ha ha.
April 09, 2001

In Guillotine, players take turns lopping the heads off nobles in an attempt to acquire the highest point value for those nobles. The nobles point values range from -3 to 5, and include some cards that will increase in point values depending on the amount of those cards a player obtains.

The game starts out with 12 nobles lined up for the chopping block, and each player is dealt 5 action cards. On a player's turn, they can either take the head of the first noble in line, or play an action card that can alter the line so a higher ranking noble is at the front, and then take his head. Other action cards may change the scoring of cards, or just mess with the other players. Once they have the head of the noble, they draw another card and their turn ends. After all the nobles' heads are collected, or a round-ending card is played, a new set of 12 nobles is lined up. This continues until three rounds have been played.

There are some very unique cards that add interest to the game, and can drastically change the outcome, so there is always a close race. Guillotine is fast paced, and fun for all. It is even possible to play with more players than the game suggests--we had 6 and sometimes 7 players, and it still played well. If you want a quick time-filler game that can be taken anywhere, this is the game for you.

by Pazzy
Off With Their... Head?
January 04, 2001

This is a game that opened to so-so reviews, but has really picked up steam the last few weeks. After debuting at our Thanksgiving family holiday, Guillotine got a luke-warm response. I decided to give it a try with my more seasoned (and more critical) game players, and they really enjoyed it. It has been requested each game night since then, and doesn't disappoint. I find that 3 people works best for the game, and if they are familiar with the action cards, the game hops right along. A lot of fun, albeit light. But nothing wrong with that at all, is there?

by David
Two heads are better then one
April 04, 2000

This is a fun light game of line manipulation. Twelve nobles are laid out in a line and on your turn you take the Noble who is in the front of the line. Nobles range in worth from five to a few negative numbers. There is a deck of special cards that lets you do all sorts of mischievous such as rearranging the line or raiding other players hands or scored nobles. The only real problem with this game is a card, Callous Guards, that allows no line manipulation. Since this is the heart of the game it's a card that deflates all fun out of the game. My recommendation is leave it out and have fun.

A card game on the cutting edge
November 25, 1999

Guillotine has been nothing short of a delightful addition to my game collection. From the humorous artwork to the simplicity of play, it is a game that will be played again and again. You can read the mechanics of the game elsewhere. What I most want to convey is that after picking up the game, you'll be playing it within 10 minutes. The rules are simple and straightforward but that doesn't mean the game lacks strategy! Trust me when I say that everyone I have played this game with has wanted their own copy. Some friends recently carried it to England and it was hit there, too. With Guillotine, you'll never be short of entertainment.

A fast card game where you have to get a head to win!
December 07, 1998

Fans of games like Nuclear War and Family Business will enjoy this new game from Wizards of the Coast. Set during the bloodiest days of the French Revolution, players take on the roles of rival executioners trying to gain notoriety by collecting the heads of the nobles most reviled by the mob. The rules are easy to learn and interaction among the players is spirited as the heads start collecting in the baskets. While the subject matter is a bit morbid, the illustrations on the cards help to lighten the mood. This game is a great one to take out when you and your friends have a little time

March 07, 2002

In guillotine, you compete against other executioners, during the french revolution. Your aim is to behead the highest number of nobles (and the most hated and famous the nobles are, the better).

The game lasts 3 virtual days. Each 'day', 12 'noble cards' are laid to form the queue. Each noble card is worth a certain amount of victory points (some have negative values, these are nobles the people like). Some of those cards also have special effect (more on that later).

At the start of the game, all players are dealt 5 'action cards'. Most of these cards have the effect of modifying the queue, by adding, removing nobles or (more frequently) by changing the order of the nobles in the queue. Others can give you bonus points for certain noble cards or bother your oponents in a variety of ways

3 actions are performed during a player's turn :

1. play an action card (optional)

2. put the noble in the first place in the queue into your collection.

3. draw a new action card.

The day ends when the queue is empty (or on some special occasions, like when a player plays an action card which has the effect of ending the day). A new queue is then created (except at the end of the third day because that's the end of the game).

About those 'special effects' on noble cards I mentioned above... I'll give you a couple of examples : the clown is worth -2 points, but when you collect it,instead of putting him into your own collection, you hand him to another player. The count is worth 4 points instead of 2 if you also own the countess. The palace guards are worth 1 point for each palace guard you own (so owning 3 palace gards is worth 3*3=9 points). And so on.

The first couple of times I played this game, I was pretty impressed. The comic art was excellent, the theme was daring and innovative, and the game provides many ways to do nasty things to your oponents (which is always fun).

However, it proved to be a disappointment in the long run : it is purely luck-diven. I usually don't mind that much when a game is luck-driven, because I don't always want to use my brain extensively when playing a game.

But here, I feel a potential sadly lost. See, many action cards look like this : ' move the noble of your choice 3 places forward'. So at first sight, you could think : 'wow! now I have a choice... either I use this to get a good card, or I use this so that my oponent has good odds to get an awful card'. Well, you almost never succeed in forcing your oponent to get a bad noble card, because you can almost be sure he also has a similar action card, allowing him to bring a good noble card to the front of the queue. So, ultimately, you only use your action cards to move the best possible noble card in the front so you can immediately pick it up.

The various 'action cards' are also hugely unbalanced : some bring you the power to pick up any noble of your choice in the queue, while others are just totally random or worse, worthless.

So overall, the game is fun the first few times you play it, and maybe it can act as a good filler from time to time. It also looks great and has a very original theme (even though the mechanics aren't really related). But you'll soon realize how limited it ultimately is.

I wouldn't necessarily advise you not to buy it though, because it's so cheap. The first few games are fun enough to justify the low, low price.

by Tom
A good beer and pretzels game
December 31, 2000

This is a fun little game to pass time with. Good for holiday get-togethers or any occasion where you just want a quick, light game. The only thing that I don't like about this game is that all of the action cards have a short paragraph on them describing how they can be used. When playing with people who are new to the game you find yourself explaining to them what their cards mean throughout the entire game. This can make game play excruciatingly slow with a group of 4 or 5. Also, we found some of the cards to be slightly ambiguous (like the spy card. Can an action card be used to bring it to the front of the line and taken?) so we had to agree on a few house rules.

This game is a lot of fun when everybody playing understands (and agrees on) the effects of all the cards and game play can move quickly. It's true there is not a lot of skill involved but card games can usually get away with that because of the inherent suspense offered by revealing cards to opponents only when they are played.

The artwork on the cards is very good and quite amusing. All in all, I found the game to be enjoyable with a group of people who knew how to play. It's a very light game which can be turned into a good little gambling game too by assigning, say, a quarter per point. We also made a little rule variation to keep the nobles that youve collected face down. This way you aren't always sure if you are winning and unpopular cards--such as the one that ends the round after your turn--aren't played as often. This also speeds up game play because people were spending a minute of their turns adding up everyone else's points to see if they were in the lead.

by Ken Mc
A head in the basket is worth two...
December 13, 2000

Guillotine is a light, fun filler game for casual play. The game comes with two types of card decks. Noblemen, whose heads are worth points (both positive & negative). And Action cards, which can alter the line-up, add additional points to your coffers, and many, many other options too numerous to mention here.

A high-quality production, especially the artwork on the cards. The game also comes with a cardboard guillotine which indicated the 'head' of the line. A nice--if macabre--touch. Speaking of macabre, one action card in particular has the executioner holding his foot because the severed head has bounced off it (very funny). Despite the cartoon-like artwork however, I would not recommend this game to tykes (under 10), unless you are comfortable with the subject matter.

On the down side, there is no real long-term strategy here and luck can play a big role. Thus the three star rating.

I do recommend it for gaming groups (official or not) that enjoy light card-based games.

by Paul
Doesn't quite get ahead
April 05, 2000

There's something missing that keeps this game from being great. The art is great. The play is simple, but nearly automatic. There's very little to actually think about, since most moves are obvious. It's simply the surprise of what the other players may have in their hand that keeps the amusement up.

Two player games tend to allow more strategy, but playing with more can be a bit more fun.

A great filler, but not the main course...
November 27, 1999

Things to like about the game:

  1. It's fun and funny once you get over the lopping off heads part of the theme.
  2. It plays quickly. Three rounds of head choppings and the winner is the one with the highest total value of chopped heads.
  3. The rules are easy to learn. Lay out 12 nobles heading for the chop block. Take five action cards to start. Each turn, you may play an action card (optional) which will do things to rearrange the line or give/take a card from you opponent(s). Take the card at the front of the line. Basically, that's it.
  4. It transports well. Like most card games, you can take this on the family picnic or camp out.

Things not to like:

  1. It plays quickly. Three rounds of twelve heads (with some exceptions) is good for scoring, but to even out the luck factor, play to 100 points like in rummy (scoring after every third round).
  2. Not much strategy. Despite the other reviews that tout strategy, every person will have action cards that will allow some type of manipulation of the line. The draw of action cards is purely luck-based. Strategy boils down to making the obvious choice of playing the action card that will get you the most valuable head. Occasionally, you will play a card to make your opponent miserable, but that's about it. This does make for an even distribution of winners.
  3. The theme. Some people may object to a game where you win by chopping off heads. But hey, get over it. The card quality is great and the graphics are funny. Personally, I like to whack off the cardinal's head.

It ranks a 65 db on the Mulder Meter. Maybe a 70 db (extra five for the card art and cardboard guillotine). It's a great starter for gaming night as a filler before the main course of bigger and better fun. Right on the border of being worth the purchase. You decide which side.

Very light and fun filled 30 minute game
November 20, 1999

This is a great little 'filler' game for any gaming group. Whether you are waiting for the rest of the gaming group to arrive (there is always somebody running late), need a transition game, or need something light to finish your evening, this game will fit your bill.

Light on rules, this game is easily learned. Most of what you need to know is already printed on the cards. Game play reminds me very much of Family Business. I much prefer this game over Family Business, however, and it is much harder for two or more players to gang up and eliminate a single player.

People complain that there is not a lot of strategy involved, and I can agree to some extent. Things are fairly well balanced, though, and there are few cards that can be devastating to any player. Strategy mainly comes down to knowing what card will maximize your point potential, when your turn comes around. Not a lot of planning involved when the line of executionees keeps changing before you.

The final thing to note about this game is the high production value. The cards and card art are both very good, and reminds me of the many 'Disney-like' animated movies.

Despite the lack of strategy, I like this game. It is quick, fun, and light. As for gift ideas, this is ideal as a campy and sarcastic gift for French history buffs (especially the French Revolution).

Line 'em up. Lop 'em off. What fun!
August 27, 1999

Its the French revolution, and the nobility and all their cronies must go! What to do? How about make a card game out of it! Yes, gather all your friends together to have a fun time chopping people's heads off! Now, as macabre as the description sounds, this delightful card game is a fun family treat with unique player interplay and interesting game mechanics.

Guillotine includes two decks of high quality cards - Nobles and Action cards. Twelve random nobles per day are lined up to face the guillotine (the Nobles deck) and each player in turn collects the first noble for points. The player with the most points after three days is the winner. This simple mechanic is spiced up by the fact that some nobles are worth negative points (like the Hero of the People), or have special abilities (like the Master Spy). But, its the utilization of the action cards that adds the strategy aspect. These allow players to rearrange nobles, add nobles, etc., in an attempt to maximize their points while hindering others.

Even so, this fun little game would normally only garner a two star rating from me for its lack of depth, but the caricatures on the Noble and Action cards are fabulous! Play this anytime for a good chuckle.

by Toni
Silly Fun
February 03, 1999

A time filler between more serious games. Or if you have relatives around, you can explain this in a minute and have everyone laugh until they are blue in the face. That's the strength of this game, it can lighten any evening, but you really don't care if you win in the end, it was fun just playing.

by Mike
Fun, But Not Satisfying
January 29, 1999

In Guillotine from Wizards, each player tries to amass the most points by collecting cards representing nobles killed on Bastille Day. At the beginning of each round, noble cards are placed in a line. On their turn, players play an action card and collect the noble card at the 'front' of the line. Players manipulate the line by playing cards from their hand. When all the nobles are collected from the line, the round is over. The game is played in three rounds.

The noble cards are wonderfully illustrated by Quinton Hoover. The game play is clever, but can get bogged down by players wanting to play the 'perfect card.' Additionally, you can end the game with a stack of action cards, which is annoying.

All in all, a game worth having! It just isn't something you'll want to play over and over again. And look out for my favorite card, the 'Piss Boy.'

Take a pass.
June 25, 2001

This game is so light, it should float away. All is not lost, however, as this is not a terrible game to start--or perhaps end--the gaming night with. There is no strategy whatsoever, it's total luck of the draw. The up side is that it is playable by gamers and non-gamers alike. Not a hard game to pick up, but an easy one to put in the closet and forget about. Try at your own risk :)

by Matt
A game that cuts off heads, but won't turn them.
June 17, 2001

This game has one good aspect, which is the greatly drawn characters on each of the cards. The artwork is magnificent and funny as well. However, the game play is not nearly as good. After a few games, it starts to get repetitive, and with little player interaction, it starts to get boring as well. It is also far too dependent on luck, or too much for my taste, at least. Overall, this game is fun if it is brought out once in a while, but don't expect too much.

Family Business, French Revolution-style
April 27, 2001

Guillotine is dismayingly similar to Family Business both in gameplay and in theme. Cards are lined up and the card at the front of the line gets killed off. Ho hum.

While there is a bit more variety and strategy to Guillotine than to Family Business, I still find the game too light by half. Given half an hour to play a game, I can think of a dozen games that are more challenging and more fun than Guillotine.

Yes, it is intended as a beer-and-pretzels romp. Yes, the graphics do a lot to make the gory premise more palatable. No, I still don't like it much.

Only recommended for those who prefer very light fare.

Nothing special
January 29, 2001

This game looks fantastic. It has all the elements. A good plot, nice box, exceptional looking cards, but sadly, very little strategy and gameplay. It all just pretty much happens and there's little anyone can do to really impact the game much. It's fun a few times but loses its luster quickly.

October 11, 2000

I don't like this game at all. Cute theme and nice artwork, but the game is pretty much Family Business with less player interaction (feels like group solitaire). Very little skill here, and the game just feels to slowly-paced to make it a light filler game in my book.

Imagine a game where you are waiting in line but get to move people around in it. Manipulating a single line is the heart of this game. Sorry, but it is a snoozer in my book. 2 stars, instead of 1, because theme-driven gamers really like it.

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