Fatal Rendez Vous (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer:  Oliver Finet
  • Publisher:  Gigamic
  • Players:  5-20 (Best with >10)
  • Ages:  8 and Up
  • Time:  30 Minutes
  • Times Played:   > 5 (On Review Copy)

FRV

Fatal Rendez Vous is a social deduction game from Gigamic.  Each player arrives at a Parisian mansion for a relaxing weekend, but soon tragedy strikes: one of the guests is murdered.  It turns out that among the guests are two assassins determined to carry out their evil plans.  The guests must try to identify these evildoers and lock them in prison.

Fatal Rendez Vous plays a bit like Werewolf or Mafia, but with a clever twist: the players need to identify the two bad guys and put them in prison at the same time.  As an added bonus, this game comes with some cool props to enhance the thematic atmosphere.  If you or your group like social deduction games, this is worth checking out.  

Gameplay Walkthrough

There are two ways to play Fatal Rendez Vous: with 10 or more players, or with 5-9 players.  At the lower player count the game is very similar to the Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.  But with ten or more, this game really shines.  As such, in this walkthrough I’m going to assume the higher player count.

Each player takes a role card at the start of the game, and they are not permitted to show this to other players.  One player is the Butler, and he or she acts as the moderator.  He gets the bow tie.  (Yes, there’s with a bow tie in the box!)  Two players are “assassins.”  Most other players are invitees.  The game comes with a few additional special roles, and those can be mixed in to switch up the fun.  

The game is played over five turns: Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night, Sunday day, and Sunday night.  The invitees will win if they simultaneously put the two assassins in prison by the end of Sunday.  Otherwise, the assassins win.  

Each turn has four phases:

  1. Murder.  This varies with the day and night turns.  On the night turns, one of the assassins moves towards a victim and taps him on the shoulder three times.  The victim then counts from 10 to 0, which gives the assassin time to return to his place.  When the countdown reaches zero, the victim dies by shouting.  The daytime murders are tougher.  All players turn around three times, keeping their eyes open, and the assassin that didn’t act at night will silently murder a victim by winking at them.  Once a victim is dead, they exit the game.  (If the assassin that is supposed to wink is in prison, then the other assassin does the dirty work.)
  2. Freeing of the suspects.  The players put in prison on the previous turn are freed.  
  3. Voting.  The players discuss the mayhem amongst themselves, and then a vote happens.  When the Butler calls the vote, each player points to two different players.  The players with the two most votes are sent to prison.
  4. Imprisonment of the suspects.  The two players with the most votes against them go to prison.  If there is a tie, the vote is repeated but only against the players in question.  If there is still a tie, the younger player goes to prison.  These two players take the handcuffs (yes, there are handcuffs!) and go sit separately.  

If the two assassins are ever in jail at the same time, the invitees win.  Otherwise, the assassins win at the end of the fifth night.  

FRV Components

The other roles:

  • Cardiac.  If killed during the night phase, he dies in five seconds instead of ten, giving the assassin less time to make it back to his spot.
  • Insomniac.  He can open his eyes and peek at night… potentially to his peril.
  • Vampire.  If the murderer kills the vampire at night, the cards are switched, and the previous assassin dies on returning to his spot.
  • Vamp.  During the day, the vamp can blow a kiss to a player, and they must vote the same way as the Vamp during the rest of the game.  
  • Alchemist.  If killed at night, he still counts down to 0, but then mysteriously comes back to life.  This can only happen once per game.
  • Myopic.  During the day the myopic cannot see the winks of Assassins or kisses of Vamps.  Therefore, he is not subject to their wickedness or charms.  

My thoughts on the game…

My game group loves social deduction games, and we’re always on the lookout for new titles, particularly those that can accommodate higher player counts.  We’ve gotten to play Fatal Rendez Vous a few times, and we’ve really enjoyed it.

The twist here is clever: it isn’t good enough to find the bad guys one at a time, as in Werewolf.  Rather, you need to find both assassins simultaneously.  That makes the game a bit challenging at times, as you can’t as easily count on a lucky guess.  The game is harder still because there isn’t the equivalent of the “Seer” from Werewolf.

But Fatal Rendez Vous makes up for that in different ways.  At night, players must closely observe the other guests on waking up, because odds are one of them just had to move quickly around the room.  It makes it where the assassins tend to target people close to them, especially if the Cardiac is in the game.  And catching that daytime wink can also help out quite a bit.  We’ve had victories by the assassins and victories by the guests, and Fatal Rendez Vous feels balanced.

The artwork on the cards is beautiful, and the extra components add fun to the game.  The bow tie, the handcuffs, and the murder-mystery themed rules all make for a fun experience.  Limiting this to five nights makes the game faster than many other games in the genre.  

If your group likes game like Werewolf or Mafia — and particularly if you can garner more than 10 players — this is worth checking out.  This is a clever twist on the genre, and Gigamic did a fantastic job with the game’s production value.  

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Chris Wray
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…
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