Investigating the Mystery of the Abbey

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Other famous Investigators & common Monk notations' systems.

Rule #2 - ask questions.
Don't be fooled: looking at many cards (stealing, using Parlatorium, etc.) is very useful, but also slow and unsure (after you have seen the majority of cards, you'll start to se again those you already know, wasting time and actions). Asking questions is the fastest way to collect precious information, so don't be afraid: even if this leads the other player in the strongest position (see Rule #1) it is still worth the effort.
Obviously, to maximize the effect, you should try to ask "clever" questions. What's clever? A question giving more information to you than to the others.
Examples:
-) "Do you have Father Bruno?" isn't clever: it gives the same advantage to all players;
-) "How many Templar Novices do you have?" may be clever, in fact if you have two of them and the answer is "one" you know which one, while other players have only an imperfect information (note that the interrogated player could be so wise to ask "and you?" ruining the effect; that's one of the reason of Rule #1)
-) "How many Brothers (of the same order of the card I've just given to you) do you have eliminated from your suspect sheet?" is clever (but of course can be used only in particular circumstances: after Mass, after suffering a theft due to Cell or Confessional, etc.).
11/13/2003 by Luke the Flaming - 1 comment by gdozzi on 01/08/2005     
 
Some common notations
Tracking information correctly is one of the key to being a successfull investigative monk. It matters somewhat less to more foolhardy/lucky players, but for those analytical souls out there, here are a few hints worth exploring:

On your suspect sheet, mark monks you have seen with your eyes differently than those you know others have seen. For instance, systematically use marks in the upper corners of a suspect illustration to keep tracks of monks you have visually seen the card off. And the lower corners for those you have been told have been seen, but which you haven't seen for yourself.

Likewise, use the other players initial(s) to keep track of the source of a card or info. So if Alan gave you Father Sergio, put an A in the upper corner of Father Sergio's box.

Likewise, keep track of cards you receive and pass out during a Mass, using a prefix such as M1, M2, ... depending on the Mass they have been seen at.
05/22/2003 by eric - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Strategy/Tactics with Suspect Cards
What I usually do when I play the MotA game is I hold the cards that were originally dealt to me, and I try to keep that information secret from everyone else (meaning don't pass those cards during masses, etc)

that strategy usually works rather well with me.
11/10/2003 by dicegods - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Rule #1 - being asked a question is the strongest position.
Why? Because you can hear the question and then choose what to do; besides if you answer, you can do an "unstoppable" question. So always try to put your pawn in a place where others can reach you. Example: in the first turn go to the Crypta: you get a powerful card for later use AND probably someone is going to follow you (since they get the card and the exchange of information). If this doesn't happen, you can use the Crypta card to take back the turn you've used.
11/13/2003 by Luke the Flaming - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Rule #3 - answer questions.
You can ask an unstoppable question as reward for answering; besides if you refuse to answer you'll probably been asked that question again when someone is interrogated by you and get to ask the unstoppable question (and it's a BAD idea not interrogating anyone for the rest of the game). There are two exceptions: you know who is the assassin and you're just running to Capitulum OR you have passed a certain card during Mass (or because of a theft). Example: if you've all the three Templar Novices it could be good to deny the answer to "How many Templar Novices do you have?", but try to get rid of at least one of them (during Mass at last) to be able to answer the question if it is asked again to you.
11/13/2003 by Luke the Flaming - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Rule #4 - accuse only if 100% sure.
A wrong accusation means you won't win the game: -2 points and two lost turns (one used to go to the Capitulum and one for penance) are too heavy to recover. Even if you've a doubt between only two suspects, clarify it before meeting the Abbot.
11/13/2003 by Luke the Flaming - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Rule #5 - have fun!
You're playing a game with friends or relatives, so be nice and accept defeat even if due to bad luck rather than poor strategy. Soon another Brother Adelmo will die and a new investigation will begin... Smile
11/13/2003 by Luke the Flaming - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Locations
Crypta - "play again" is definitely a powerful effect; it can give you the advantage you need in the final rush to the Capitulum (sometimes many players discover the culprit at the same moment: maybe because of the "dance of the cards" during Mass or because of the answer to a critical question). Besides, the simple possibility to move 4 squares if desired, is usually enough to keep the opponents away from your Cell (if necessary, reminds them that you COULD move so much, if only they're so eager to do penance).

Confessionals & Cells - "steal a card" is an interesting option, especially at the beginning of the game (later your chance to draw a card you already know is so high that you probably have better options). The best targets are: the player after you (because you'll pass him the card you've stolen during Mass, effectively reducing his gain of information) and the player opposed to you (because he's the player you have less interaction with during Mass, so your chances to steal something useful are higher).
Note that the outer confessional is better than the other (it allows you to reach Parlatorium or Scriptorium in 2 turns instead of 3).
Never visit a Cell if you risk to be caught (look at the Crypt cards!): losing a turn to penance (and the card in hand) is a price too high for a single peek (that could be useless).

Parlatorium - the strongest location after Library. You get a card not seen by anyone (excellent choice for "the card I'll try to never show to anyone, so they won't be sure about the assassin") and your hand size grows (something useful to keep a certain card or two hidden as long as possible during Masses). When cards are all drawn, you still have a powerful option: "show me a card so and so" is something like an unstoppable question (of course you're a bit limited, but that's just fair); it maybe the best way to discover those cards everyone is keeping hidden from the beginning of the game.

Scriptorium - a really random location: some books can be very useful, but sometimes you've just wasted your turn (some books have a very narrow use). You should try to visit Parlatorium rather than Scriptorium, unless a player is in the Scriptorium, none is in the Parlatorium and you guess no one is going to visit the Parlatorium OR you have the right to visit the Library (in this case consider the Scriptorium as a "bonus" on the way to reach your real objective).

Library - insane. As soon as you can, visit it! There are some books that can almost win the game for you (you accumulate so much news in just a turn!). You risk getting one of the minor effects ("Play again, moving anywhere") but they aren't too bad in any case (and you have to dare if you wish to read the powerful tomes).
When you want a more strategic game you really have to close the Library (alternatively, remove from the deck "Mirror of the World" and "Gospel of Judas"; unless you're playing with 6 players they are game-breaking... and if you're playing with 6, the game isn't very strategic in any case).

Capitulum - revelations are weak. Two right revelations still lose to the right accusation (due to the tie-breaking rule) and if you're able to make three right revelations you should know the assassin. If you try random revelations your chances to get 6 points are as low as 12,5%... not reliable (and not fun). Go to the Capitulum only for the accusation (and remember Rule #4).
11/13/2003 by Luke the Flaming - No comments. Add a first comment to this article