Update: See the publisher’s response in the comments.

In Inquisitio, a game about torture during the Spanish Inquisition designed by Jani Rönkkönen and published by Tuonela Productions, the players’ goal is to survive torture alive and sane, while not confessing to too many crimes of heresy and witchcraft. You start by trying to bribe the guards to free you, but eventually one of the players is subjected to torture, pain, burns, lacerations, disfigurement, and disembowelment. In the end, the player with the most guilt is burned at the stake.


The designer claims that this game is supposed to be informative about a dark period in history, and that moral ambiguity is addressed by having the players as the victims rather than the torturers. I won’t argue the latter point. But abstract elimination through pretend killing somehow seems more palatable than lovingly illustrated abuse, cruelty, and dismemberment.

I could envision an art piece on the subject, but not a game designed for entertainment. I can’t see how playing with simulated torture, with graphical depictions and descriptions of the acts, could be an enjoyable way to spend your time, nor the best way to learn about an historical event.