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Blood on the Clocktower

RRP: £159.99
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RRP £159.99
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Get ready to enter a world of mystery and intrigue with Blood on the Clocktower, the thrilling new social deduction game that will have you on the edge of your seat. This game is perfect for anyone who loves strategy, deception, and the thrill of solving a complex puzzle. In Blood on the Clocktower, players take on the roles of villagers in a small town that has been cursed by an ev…
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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-TPM01001 Availability Out of stock
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Awards

Dice Tower

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Social deduction with crunchier logic puzzle thrown in
  • Highly replayable
  • Possible (and encouraged) to make custom setups
  • Flexible player count
  • Beautifully designed components

Might Not Like

  • Complex and potentially difficult to get into
  • Works best with high player count
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Description

Get ready to enter a world of mystery and intrigue with Blood on the Clocktower, the thrilling new social deduction game that will have you on the edge of your seat. This game is perfect for anyone who loves strategy, deception, and the thrill of solving a complex puzzle.

In Blood on the Clocktower, players take on the roles of villagers in a small town that has been cursed by an evil demon. Each night, the demon chooses a victim to kill, and it's up to the players to figure out who the demon is and stop them before it's too late.

But things are not always what they seem in this game. Each player is given a secret role, and some of them may be working for the demon, trying to sabotage the efforts of the villagers from within. This creates a complex web of deception and intrigue that will keep you guessing until the very end.

One of the standout features of this game is the unique storytelling system. Instead of relying on a game master to guide the action, the game is run by a "narrator" who tells the story of the town and its inhabitants. This creates a truly immersive experience that feels like you're living in a fantasy world.

As players gather information and try to uncover the demon's identity, they'll have to use their strategic skills and powers of deduction to outwit their opponents. And when the game ends, there's always a twist - the demon may have one last trick up their sleeve that can turn the tables in an instant.

With its gripping storyline, immersive gameplay, and endless possibilities for strategy and deception, Blood on the Clocktower is the perfect game for anyone who loves a good mystery. So gather your friends and get ready to enter a world of darkness and danger - the clock is ticking!

Players - 5-20

 

A demon has killed Werewolf and is impersonating it around town! But a lot of the townsfolk actually seem to like it a lot more…

Blood on the Clocktower is a social deduction game for 5-20 players plus a moderator, called the Storyteller. One player (usually) will be a demon who kills at night, supported by a team of Minions. The good team (Townsfolk and Outsiders) must find and execute the demon to win. But if the demon survives until there are only two players left alive, the evil team wins. Play alternates between the day and night phases. During the day, players discuss the game and call for executions, and by night the demon kills and some other characters use their abilities. All of this will sound very familiar to anyone who has played Werewolf or Mafia or any of several other social deduction games. But Blood on the Clocktower is a slightly different beast.

Unlike some social deduction games, every player gets their own unique character role and a unique ability. Each game uses a specific set of characters (called the script) so players know which ones might be in play. Many townsfolk abilities gain additional information for that player. Some protect players from harm and some can interfere with other characters’ abilities. Outsider abilities are mostly hindrances for the good team and can distract them from the true evil players. Minion abilities actively harm the good team or interfere with their information.

Another big difference with Werewolf and co is that players aren’t out of the game when they are killed. A dead player loses their ability and can’t nominate for execution, but otherwise is free to work with the other players to solve the game. The other restriction on dead players is that they only get one more chance to vote on an execution for the rest of the game. These ‘ghost votes’ can be hugely influential at the end of the game when there are very few players left alive.

The Good

This game calls itself a social deduction game, and that’s clearly a big part of it. But to me it feels very different to other social deduction games. (Admittedly I’m hardly an expert – I’ve played a few games of Avalon and Coup and enjoyed them but not sought them out to play again.) A big game of Blood on the Clocktower plays a lot more like a murder mystery party, with everyone having their own part to play in figuring out the puzzle.

What makes it more compelling than pure social deduction or pure murder mystery is the roles that gain information. These roles mean you don’t always have to trust other players based on a social read alone. Some players will have some info they know they can trust completely because it’s part of their ability. Except that they might be drunk or poisoned, which means the Storyteller can lie to them…

This mix of reliable and unreliable information quickly becomes a tangled web. Players put forward conflicting world views, and the game turns into a big logic puzzle. It’s an engaging challenge for the good team, and for the evil team there are lots of opportunities to present evidence to support their falsehoods. For less socially-adept players, it’s possible to focus more on spotting liars based on logic rather than on their mannerisms.

Playing as the Storyteller is a different but equally fun experience. As the moderator you get to move around between conversations, hearing everyone’s theories and deceptions. Some player abilities, such as poisoning another player, force you to make choices about what happens in the game. This gives you opportunities to sway the game one way or another, and you can use this influence to support whichever team needs it most. The Storyteller also decides which characters to put into play, which can have a lot of impact on what kind of game it will be.

The Evil

Unfortunately there are several barriers to entry for this game. The biggest one for most is probably the price. I do think for the quality and quantity of game you get, it’s not bad value.

But it is a lot of up-front cost. Also the number of players needed may be a problem for actually organising a game. The minimum player count is 5 (not including the Storyteller), but it’s clearly really intended for a group of 8 or more. There are good games to be had in the 5-7 player range, but they work best using a variant style of script with fewer characters. The game doesn’t include any of these smaller scripts, and could benefit from doing so to support these smaller games.

Unfortunately the manual for Blood on the Clocktower also doesn’t offer the Storyteller a lot of support for which characters to include in a game. It gives a few suggestions for different 8-player setups. But for any other player count the advice boils down to “choose whatever you think will be interesting”. For new Storytellers this is a little unhelpful.

In general it can be difficult to get to grips with the game as a new player, especially as some of the roles are fairly complex. This is made worse if the Storyteller doesn’t already have a good grasp of the game. Because the players don’t know what roles are in play, the Storyteller needs to be familiar with every role on the script. So groups with no experienced players might struggle unless someone is willing to do a fair amount of research beforehand.

The Beautiful Components

So now is the part of the review where I wax lyrical about the components. Simply put, this game is just an absolute pleasure to look at and a lot of thought has clearly gone into it. The size and book design of the box is gives it a real physical presence and the inside is lined with black felt. The two sides of the box clip together (clips are included) to imitate an open book and rests on a stand (also included). The Storyteller uses the inside of the box to track the state of the game with many reminder tokens. The tokens are also lined with felt, so the box can freely be moved around during the game without worrying that they will slide around. The whole thing not only looks great but really supports the atmosphere while you play.

A lot is made of the cost of the game, and not unfairly, it’s a pricey one. But you do get a lot of game for that money. The game comes with three scripts, each with their own set of possible characters. For each script there is a token per character, reminder tokens for abilities, a manual describing character-specific rules, twenty-something laminated reference sheets and a smaller box to keep the tokens tidy. This is a big box and it’s packed absolutely full of great quality components.

Final Thoughts

Blood on the Clocktower is a game with bags of character. It’s enormous, and silly, and it can be a lot of fun. Each game plays out differently so even just the three scripts in the box offer a huge variety of experiences. There are also many custom scripts available online with new characters and combinations. That kind of depth makes it far more engaging to me than any similar game I’ve come across.

This game can also be difficult to get into though, given the price and player count. You may be able to find local groups that run it regularly, and if so I recommend giving it a try at least once, especially if you’re unsure about it. But if you’ve played any social deduction game and at least not hated it, you should definitely play Blood on the Clocktower.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Social deduction with crunchier logic puzzle thrown in
  • Highly replayable
  • Possible (and encouraged) to make custom setups
  • Flexible player count
  • Beautifully designed components

Might not like

  • Complex and potentially difficult to get into
  • Works best with high player count