Game of Blame from Warm Acre Games gives players the chance to serve as ministers in a kingdom in trouble. Rather than having players attempt to overcome these troubles, Game of Blame is a little sillier (or perhaps a little more realistic) as players instead work to shift the queen’s focus to other matters, particularly those that point out faults in one’s opponents.
In the Game of Blame, each player takes on a Role, such as Treasurer, Archbishop, or Spymaster, correlating to an emblem that designates matters of responsibility. Players draw Issues bearing these emblems and take turns playing their cards to shift the blame away from themselves, primarily by finding someone else at fault.
For example, when the queen questions what happened to the navy’s budget on the “Pirates on our Trade Routes” card, the Treasurer and General are in trouble. The next player then might point out that pirates are the least of the kingdom’s worries as “The Dragons have Returned” shows that the Wizards’ College has been negligent in its wyrm-keeping and the General has allowed the Dragon Slayers Guild to become a bunch of “fat old men.”
Much of the fun of Game of Blame comes with the hilarious flavor-text on each Issue card. The queen’s government is portrayed as corrupt, inept, and completely out of touch with the peasantry. “Murderous Plots” paints the picture, “The Queen receives so many death warrants each day that she have given the job of approving them to her court jester. She was, however, somewhat taken aback by a request for her own termination. The emblem on the scroll is incriminating, but Her Majesty wishes a full investigation…”
Players lay as many cards as they wish, gaining special moves if they play more than one card. At two cards, the player swaps two roles. This is an excellent opportunity to change up the game, so that an opponent who had been in the Queen’s good graces as Spymaster with little blame might suddenly become the despised Viceroy. Playing three cards brings up an Accusation, where the player “duels” another by counting up the number of blame emblems in the stack of cards in play. Whoever has the most takes the pile into their hand, while everyone else may tuck away a card into a “Secrets” pile that will not be counted in the final tally at the end of the game.
Game of Blame ends immediately when the draw pile is empty. Players add up the cards currently in their hands that bear the emblem of their role as well as any messy Treason cards that count for six points. Players will need to maintain a careful count on which cards have been played and who holds them after an accusation, which is all the more difficult to do as the stories and passing-the-buck are so much fun. Bonus optional rules give unique powers to each role, making for all the more chaos and hilarity.
Game of Blame is a card game for two to four players aged 12 and up. Games last about half an hour, although seasoned players will trim that time down. With the game’s energetic and smooth play, the social component is strong, making it perfect for small parties or lighter fun for players who want more than straight strategy on their game nights, such as backstabbing and some mild vendetta.