Author Topic: Review : Mystery of the Abbey  (Read 183 times)

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Review : Mystery of the Abbey
« on: March 20, 2018, 12:29:09 AM »
Hi there, My name is Fin
When asked about the genesis of The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco famously remarked, “I desired to poison a monk.”
Apparently the good Professor is not alone. I first heard about Mystery of the Abbey from a visitor to Porta Ludovica, a kind soul who informed me that a certain game in Europe was quite busy poisoning monks. Well, actually one monk – Brother Adelmo, the same unfortunate fellow from The Name of the Rose. Figuring that any game based on Eco’s novel would be worth playing, I acquired a copy....
....and let it sit on my shelf for three months. Of course, I glanced through it first: a handsome board, some nifty cards featuring dozens of shifty-looking monks, and a tiny bell to ring. Overall, it looked like an offbeat imitation of Clue, with Brother Adelmo standing in for Mr. Body. Using check-off sheets, each player interrogated the other players, trying to solve the murder through the process of elimination. Cute, I thought, and then filed it away, waiting until I could scrounge up five other players to give it a good test run.
Ah, foolish me. Had I known how complex, devious, and, well, bizarre the game was, I would never have let it languish, lonely and unplayed, gathering dust between Star Trek Monopoly and “Cooties.” Happily, it was not to suffer the same bleak fate as its shelf-mates, their novelty long worn off and spirits departed to the Island of Misfit Toys. A few months later, some visiting friends suggested that a board game might be a fun way to spend the evening. Somewhere between the second case of beer and the pot of hot-dogs-boiled-in-beer, I pulled out Mystery of the Abbey. Not only did it look comfortably familiar to Clue, there was that mysterious little bell to ring. Perfect.
But before I describe our experience, a few words about the basic rules. To win, all you need to do is find the identity of the killer – the room and weapon are immaterial. There are 24 “suspect cards,” each sporting a picture of a monk. Each “suspect” has a set of identifying characteristics: fat or thin, hooded or unhooded, bearded or clean-shaven. Additionally, each monk is a member of one of three orders, and has one of three ranks: novice, brother, or father. Each suspect card matches up to one unique arrangement of these five identifying features – for example, Brother Berengar is a fat, clean-shaven, unhooded Benedictine; whereas Father William is a thin, bearded Templar with a fondness for hoods. After randomly selecting a suspect card and placing it under the gameboard as the culprit, the remaining cards are shuffled out to players, with a few extras kept on the side for later circulation แทงบอลเงินสด
Aha, you think – you only have to find the killer? This should be easier than Clue! But this notion is woefully deceptive. For those of you keeping track, an Abbey player must navigate nearly twice as many variables as a Clue player: “I think the evildoer is a thin, clean-shaven, unhooded Franciscan novice!” versus “Professor Plum, in the Conservatory, with the Candlestick.” Additionally, unlike Clue, players do not win by a single, all-or-nothing guess. In Mystery of the Abbey, players accumulate points through “revelations,” public statements of fact regarding a single variable: “I think the killer is bearded,” or “The culprit is not a Franciscan.” Eventually, a player makes an “accusation” by naming the killer: if another player has that card, he reveals it, proving the accuser wrong, and the game continues. After the killer is correctly accused, the winner is determined by tallying points – points added for correct revelations and accusations, points deducted for incorrect revelations and accusations. Although the person who makes the correct accusation is often the winner, this is not certain – another player can win if he’s made strategic revelations throughout the game and accumulated enough points.
The rooms of the abbey are not part of the mystery itself, but areas where players may confront each other by asking questions: “Do you have any Templars,” “What was the last card you were shown,” or even, “Where are you going next?” The player so questioned may decline to answer, signifying an “oath of silence;” but if he answers, he is permitted to ask a question in return. Also, each room imposes its own rules: in the Confessional, you are allowed to sneak a peek at another’s cards, but the next person to visit the room gets a peek at your own. You may raid the other player’s “Home Cells,” but if they catch you, you are sent to the Chapel to do “penance,” losing a turn. If you stop in at the Crypt, you are filled with inner peace, and are awarded a free turn to use at any point during the game. If you are the player with the least amount of suspect cards in hand, the Library bestows you with a “Biblioteca” card, granting you a secret benefit. And so on.
So much for the “complex” part, but what ab