As an abbot of a medieval monastery, you compete with other abbots to amass the greatest library of sacred books. To do so, you need to have both the workers and resources to run a well-functioning scriptorium. To acquire workers and resources, you use a limited supply of donated gold. In addition, you must be on good terms with the powerful bishop, who can help you in your quest.
Game Play Overview
The object of the game is to score the most victory points, which you earn by possessing the highest card values in one or more of the 5 five general card types (suits): Pigments (blue), Monks (brown), Forbidden Tomes (red), Holy Books (green), Manuscripts (orange). During the game, you will collect cards in the various suits; some of which you will keep and others which you will use to buy other cards. The victory point values of each suit begins at 3 points per suit, but the values change during the game (as described below) by use of “church cards.” There are also gold cards that allow you to purchase the cards of your choice, if you bid higher than your opponents in the auctions. Thus, at the end of the game, you hope to hold the cards of the most valuable suits.
The game itself is divided into two main stages: the “gift phase” and the “auction phase.” During the gift phase, players take turns choosing cards. On your turn, you take 1 card at a time and must decide to either keep it for yourself, give it to the “common area” (for the other players to choose from), or put it in the auction pile for later. The difficulty (and suspense) of taking a turn is that you must decide what to do with each card before looking at the next card. Since you will be able to keep just 1 of the cards for yourself, you are often led to “press your luck” in search of a better card. The “gift phase” continues until all players have taken multiple turns and the deck of cards is exhausted.
At the start of the second phase, i.e., the “auction phase,” each player will have a hand of 12+ cards (depending on the number of players) and there will be a stack of cards to be auctioned. The cards are auctioned one at a time. If a card is being auctioned that is not a gold card, players bid for it using their gold cards, a few of which they hopefully collected in the gift phase. If a gold card comes up for auction, players bid a certain number of cards to try to win gold. Here, players give up some of their less valuable resources in an effort to get gold with the hope of using the gold to buy more valuable resources. Of course, the values of the resources will change during the game by use of “church cards,” which players may get in either the gift or auction phase. Players are not allowed to keep church cards, but must use them immediately to change the values of the suits. This ensures that players must make predictions of which suits they think they will win or lose.
After all cards in the auction stack have been auctioned, players reveal their cards. In each of the 5 suits, players add up the numbers on their cards. The winner in each suit takes the “value die”, which is used in the game to keep track of the values of the suit.
• Rated 7.16 with 2600+ votes on BoardGameGeek (in Top 200 for Strategy Games)
• “Fast paced and engaging, simple and subtle” – Bruno Faidutti
• Splendid artworks by David Palumbo
• Deluxe box with magnetic seal
– 1 category level board
– 5 special six-sided dice
– 87 cards
– 1 rulebook