Burn in Hell
Over the weekend I had the chance to play a fun game from Steve Jackson Games called Burn in Hell – a card collecting, wheeling and dealing game that is not for the weak of heart. I’ve heard a few things about this game. I’ve heard its unplayable. I’ve heard its tons of fun. Opinions seem to be wildly disparate and I’m going to take a look at why this may be, as well as the game itself.
Before I dive into the review, let me say that this is not a game for beginners. If you’d like to lure someone into the board and card game world, I would not start with this! It is a bit complicated, and the rules read a bit like that opening paragraph in your college statistics book. While the game looks like it might be fun, the complicated turn setup, randomly interjected card stealing and rule book slog can turn a lot of people off.
So is it worth it to play? I say yes, read on to find out why.
The premise of the game is that you and your fellow demons are gathered around the giant BBQ pit that is hell, cavorting with the cast down souls of those who’ve committed one or more of the seven deadly sins. As a demon, you’re hell bent on getting the best souls out of the lot, regardless of if you have to steal, bluff or trade your way to them.
Sounds like a fun time, right? We thought so. Over the course of an hour and a half, we got two games in. The first taking almost an hour as we taught ourselves how to play. The second game went much smoother, with higher scores and only took a half hour.
Hell Freezes Over
Now that you know the premise, here’s how the game works. First, Hell starts off at a warmish 100 C. Every time you cast a helpless soul into the pit, the temperature of Hell decreases by that souls value (a number ranging from 2 – 10). When Hell freezes over, the game is complete and people must do math. We’ll get to that shortly.
Every player is dealt a hand of five cards to begin the game. 5 cards are also dealt directly into the ‘pit’. All cards are laid out on the table face up – everyone knows who’s in the pit, and who everyone else has. Also, the top card on the deck is always face up.