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David Peterson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Okay - before I start let me just mention a couple things. First, I own two games by Days of Wonder - this and Pirates Cove. I can honestly say that, in my mind other than Rio Grande Games D.O.W. may be the best game company out there. I think that they're really showing everyone in the gaming community that they produce top quality products that are easy to learn, well thought out, and (bottom line) just a lot of fun to play.

That being said, Mystery of the Abbey is another DOW game that looks better than just about anything I've seen. The components are all top notch. The cards, illustrations, player aids, even the DICE are cool. This is no suprise from DOW. in fact, I've come to expect this kind of quality from them.

The theme of the game reminds me a lot of the movie "The Name of the Rose". The theme centers around a monk that has been murdered in an Abbey. There are a variety of suspects to investigate. The suspects all have specific qualities - hooded and non-hooded monks, bearded and non-bearded monks, monks that are fat and skinny, monks of three different denominations, and of three different levels of rank (Father, Brother and Novice). Through process of elimination the players must determine who committed the murder.

Those in my game group initially described the game as "Clue on Steroids" - but we soon learned that the similarities with Abbey and Clue are very few. Players conducting their investigations each have a number of suspect cards. These cards can be checked off a great looking suspect list that shows all the potential suspects (and their specific qualities). As a player moves around the wonderfully illustrated board they are able to ask other players questions. Instead of saying something like in Clue "I think Col. Mustard did it with the knife in the library" a player is free to ask any kind of question they wish (with a few exceptions).

The game is split into turns - a turn includes an action by each player. At the end of a turn each player is called to a "Mass" where special things happen and a number of suspect cards are passed from player to player. Play continues until a player makes a correct accusation and guesses the identity of the murderer.

Also, unlike Clue, in Abbey players may make "revelations" when they think they have discovered particular traits of the murderer, but haven't actually deduced his full identity yet. for successful revelations (and a successful accusation) players receive points at the end of the game. Whoever has the most points by game end wins. In this way, just because a player correctly guesses the identity of the culprit, they are not gauranteed the win. This makes the game far more balanced.

In addition, going to different places in the Abbey allows players to draw special cards and take a variety of special actions. Each of these cards are wonderfully illustrated (again, as I expect from DOW).

Bottom line - Abbey is great. Everyone who I know who's played it loves it. There are some who claim that once you figure out what kinds of questions to ask the games loses its luster. I disagree. Whereas you certainly find out quickly what kind of questions NOT to ask - there are so many suspects and so many variables and so many subtle strategies that I doubt Abbey could ever become dull.

This is yet another fantastic product from DOW. Highly recommended.

Enjoy,
Dave
 
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Michel Fortin
Canada
Montréal
Québec
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Re:User Review
The theme of the game reminds me a lot of the movie "The Name of the Rose".

In fact, the book of Umberto Eco upon which the movie is based IS listed in the bibliography (!) section of the rules. At least, it is in the french rules.
 
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David Peterson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Re:User Review
Really? That's cool - I'll have to check on that.

fortinm (#31857),
 
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David J
United States
Waterville
Maine
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Re:User Review
The illustration of Father William in the rules does evoke Sean Connery's "William of Baskerville" (who was a Franciscan brother in the book and movie). While the illustration also resembles the art on the card, the card does not resemble Sean Connery.

Other characters names who were borrowed from the story and appear in the game are Malachi, Michael, and Berengar, who is a dead ringer for the Berengar in the film.

In the original story, it was a Benedictine abbey, all of the monks were Benedictine brothers and novices except William, who was a Franciscan brother. There were no Templars and no Fathers. And the abbot was most definitely a suspect!
 
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