Tuonela Productions Ltd. is a game production company which seems to specialize in card-based games and Inquisitio, a game designed by Jani Rönkkönen and released in 2009, is one of their stable of games.
A passage from the rulebook explains the game theme rather well.
“It is the year 1609 in Logroño, northern Spain. The Spanish inquisition has undertaken a campaign to root out witchcraft and massive examinations are about to start. You are a suspect. Will you be able to assure the interrogators of your innocence through cunning, resilience and skillful use of bribes? Or will you break under torture and end up being burned at the stake as a witch?
“In Inquisitio players try to balance between enduring the horrors of brutal interrogations and not confessing to too many crimes of witchcraft. The player who manages to avoid being sentenced to the stake and is freed from the dungeon with the best combination of health, sanity and innocence will be the winner.”
In terms of a theme, the witch inquisitions are not a bad one on which to base a game.
But, does it work?
Well let’s start with the cards. For me the card art in a game like this is rather important. You want good aesthetics.
In Inquisitio the art is sort of hit, and miss.
Some, such as ‘relationship with a succubus’ are rather striking, although the use of a lot of background graphics limits the impact because it makes the actual art smaller than it could be.
On other cards the art is good, but they have over done the dark aspect, to the point the cards are simply too black.
Past the assorted cards the game has some small wooden tokens, and the rule set in three languages, and that’s it.
The game plays with three-to-five players, so it’s not a game for a couple. That means it will only come out when you have company for boardgames, which will limit game play options.
The game does require thought in terms of what you do.
Players are basically accused of sins and have to try to keep as much of your sanity and health while being tortured, yet not end up being the one with the most guilt points. Players may limit the damage they take by confessing, but that action gives you more guilt points.
However, as you confess it does also allow you to implicate others as guilty, which may be a wise strategy too.
The game isn’t overly complicated, and plays rather quickly, probably half an hour once you grasp the rules, and depending on the number of players.
Add in the dark theme, and Inquisitio becomes a solid little game to have around.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 21, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada