The Bloody Inn is Hotel California the board game

How good is your Borat impression?

The Bloody Inn, released in 2015, is an engine/murder machine builder that lets you recreate the hotel from Les Miserables.

The Bloody Inn box art shows a man from an earlier time period holding an oil lamp. His face shows pure terror.

Players: 1-4

Publishers: Pearl Games

Year Published: 2015

Designer: Nicolas Robert

Artists: Luis Francisco, Weberson Santiago

This game is the Heart of Darkness of hotel simulators. Each turn you become more and more nefarious. As you’re limited to the following choices:

  • Bribing guests into joining you in a life of crime
  • Building these bribed guests a hotel annex
  • Murder guests to your hotel
  • Or burying a body in the backyard, looting as you go.

All actions in the game need you to pay a price. And usually that price is cards from your hand. Which is one of my all time favourite mechanics in board games. As the tough decision of what stays and what goes is one that not even Marie Kondo could help you with.

To make the decision a little easier, cards are divided into 5 different types. Each type is aligned with an action you can take. If you use the action matching the card. Then you don’t have to throw it away.

The downside to this, is at the end of the round you have to pay 1 money (victory point) for each card left in your hand.

Therefore, getting rid of cards can be good, but then limits the actions you can take next turn. ARGGHHHHH! Just thinking about this decision making process gives me flashbacks.

Some of the cards from The Bloody Inn, the art is angular, and the shades colours are macabre.
Notice the icons at the top of the cards

While it’s possible to earn money by not being evil, the more likely way to win is to take notes from the movie Hostel. Each person you kill gives you money equal to the difficulty of their death. And if you have the most money at game’s end, you win!

If I’m putting you off with my description of the game that’s only because I’m having fun. Because despite it’s name and beautiful grimy artwork, the game doesn’t lean too heavily on this theme. For me, it was easy to focus on the mechanics and decisions you have to make instead of the whole building a blue print for a 1920’s death house thing.

And of course, the mechanics are fantastic.

It’s the pace of the game that lets it down.

The Bloody Inn board is setup in the middle, and guests have arrived at the Inn.
The board in play. I love this art style!

Throughout the game, you’ll be building an engine that becomes more and more efficient at killing people and taking their money. However, even at its peak you’ll still take two or three turns putting someone into this meat grinder before you reap the rewards.

I don’t want to wait three turns. I want to kill people now!

And this is where the game feels dated. Or, more likely, my taste for instant gratification and more impactful moves has grown. For instance, I was playing Innovation the other night and each turn changed the game state dramatically, and I could feel myself growing in power.

The Bloody Inn is slower and subtler about this building process. Leaving you always wanting to do more each turn.

For years I’ve loved playing The Bloody Inn, but more recently it’s sat on the shelf. Because while there haven’t been too many games that have hit the same thematic notes. The engine building has been left in the dust. Games like Jump Drive, Wingspan, or Space Base have that same engine building experience but are so much sharper in their execution.

The Bloody Inn box in the foreground, while a cute corgi is laying down in the background looking at the camera.
I love how this guy looks afraid of Chester

Hi Cultists!

I’m back to refining my collection again. I’ve had to make some tough choices. The Bloody Inn being one of them. Others include: Powergrid, Crosstalk, and Quacks of Quedlinburg. Two of those you’ll notice are Critical Hits. However, I’ve found that I have newer games that have superseded them.

In other news over on Dude Take Your Turn, Dave finally revealed whether Architects of the West Kingdom is better than Paladins of the West Kingdom. So I’ll be looking to get my greasy mitts on ONE of them soon.


David Norris

Lover of dogs, books, comics, movies, anime, television, video games and most importantly board games. My site is all about the latter, and my journey through the glorious hobby.

6 thoughts on “The Bloody Inn is Hotel California the board game

  1. Hey David! I enjoyed this review. I will look more into this game. The art and the theme is really drawing me in. There’s something luring about playing a “bad guy”.


      1. I really enjoy Raiders, but it was in my Top 15 when I did my Top 25 a year ago. I’d say it’s still in there, but has moved down slightly. I haven’t played it with the two expansions yet (I have them, but haven’t gotten them out yet).

        I enjoy Paladins a lot more. More stuff to do, more avenues to win.


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