Players: Arthur, Markadelic, Myself
As it becomes apparent to us that we are likely to be playing late into the evening without the arrival of a fourth player, we agree on Mystery of the Abbey for a nice game to bide our time. If you’re new to Mystery of the Abbey, this game really glistens above four players, turning into card-flinging madness as players attempt to track knowledge. With three players, it’s a bit more like Clue… only more grown up. Being a huge fan of Clue, and all deduction games for that matter, I'm always willing to play Mystery.
We get set up and rock-paper-scissors for first. Being the rock-paper-scissors champion of our group, I naturally win… then realize that I meant to lose. Doh! I HATE going first in Mystery of the Abbey. Ah well. We get set up and I check my opening hand:
Not a bad start. No Fathers. Even distribution of Orders. I’m not paying much attention to bearded vs. clean-shaven, fat vs. thin, or hooded vs. unhooded at this point.
I head to the first space of the Cloister. Arthur jumps to the Confessional and takes a card from Markadelic. Markadelic follows me to the Cloister and asks me a question. What this question was ended up being insignificant, as you will soon see, but it was something along the lines of, “how many Novices do you have in your hand.” I answer him (as I am oft to do in the early game) and come back with a seemingly normal question, “How many fat Franciscans do you have in your hand.” I’m looking at my sheet… the one fat Franciscan I have checked off from my opening hand… waiting for his mandatory response… and it comes, “three.” Three. I juggle this answer in my head as I mark them off and immediately realize that I have checked off ALL the fat Fraciscans. Woo-hoo! Money question! I'm sitting pretty with three extra suspects off my list and I haven't even taken my second turn!
Ring bell, move. Markadelic is already down to five cards, so no use heading to the Library this Mass… so I go for the Parlor. Draw a card and check off Brother Fortune. ANOTHER fat guy off the list. Sweet. I’m going for Chapter Hall as quickly as possible to start rattling off my list of revelations. Arthur comes down to the Cloister, he and Markadelic exchange some unimportant questions and answers and Markadelic goes to the Scriptorium. I don’t believe I ever learned what he drew there, as I think he held it for the rest of the game. Turn two down, I've seen seven suspects and checked an additional three off my list, what a start!
Ring bell, move. I’m going for the Chapter Hall, so I head to the bottom space of the Cloister. Markadelic goes Library and draws… Gospel of Judas!?!?
Now, for those of you new to the game who have not yet memorized all the Bibliotheca cards (because all us Elite players OBVIOUSLY do that) I list here the card text for you:
Gospel of Judas
What a mess in this heretical text!
Exchange all your suspect cards with those of another player of your choice.
Keep in mind, Markadelic is down to five cards… I already know three of them from the question I blurted in turn one… so guess who he trades with? I get to see two new cards, Markadelic gets a new hand of seven completely fresh cards. Turn three and Markadelic has seen thirteen suspects! To make it worse, Markadelic is sitting to my right! For the next 3-4 mass cards I'm guaranteed to be passed suspects that were in my opening hand!
I am sure at this point that the game is over… there is no possible way that Markadelic cannot accuse correctly within the next two Mass cards. He has complete control of this game.
…and all subsequent rounds I head to the Chapter Hall as much as possible to make Revelations. I go Thin on turn four. Benedictine next mass, Unhooded the Mass after. The other players jumped on the revelation band-wagon and spit out some inaccurate guesses and when it comes down to the last few turns, it becomes apparent to all that I have at least 5 points from my accusations and they are both either at zero or in the negatives… if they end the game, I win regardless.
Ah, sweet success after such a miserable opening set of turns. Arthur starts last mass and we all make a run for Chapter Hall. I’ve got it down to three: Father Bruno, Father Sergio, and Brother Cyrille. Arthur goes Bruno. Markadelic shows. Markadelic, realizing that he can’t win the game, but he can discount me the ability to gloat goes for it, “Father Sergio” he announces. Bingo. He got it right… but, remember from earlier, he was at zero. His measly 4 points is no match for my domination of revelations!
So, lessons learned from this session:
Never Give Up! From turn three this one looked grim… but I forced myself to focus.
Better Lucky Than Good! Sometimes, it pays to crank out some early guesses. I knew I didn’t have a shot at seeing as many cards as Markadelic, so the only way I could win was to rack up the Revelation points. This is the real shining point of this game that separates it from previous deduction games (Clue.) Even if you never guess, you CAN win!
New South Wales
Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
We never use the Gospel of Judas card, nor one other, because they give a massive advantage as you noted. I've played this game with mostly 3 or 6 players, and it's great with either number. Well played!