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Subject: A Review After Multiple Plays rss

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Gwommy the Purple
United States
Portland
Michigan
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[color=purple]DESCRIPTION

One player acts as the guards trying to catch the other players (novices) that move in secret.

OBJECTIVE

Novices: The novices' goal is to get a key to get their secret wish and get back to their cell without getting caught.

Guards: The guards are trying to catch the novices a certain number of times (equal to the number of players) or prevent them from getting back to their cell with their secret wish within 15 turns.

My opinion: I like the concept. It seems to fit well with the theme of the game. I enjoy games where a player moves in secret, and since this game has many players moving in secret, it definitely appeals to my tastes, hence the reason I bought it.


SETUP

Setup is pretty straight forward and relatively easy. The guards are placed in the Abbess' room and each other player places his token in his own cell and takes a movement log sheet. Each player and each guard is dealt a random blessing card which can be used once during the game. Each novice player also randomly selects a Secret Wish card while the other player(s) selects a path card for each of the guards. Finally, put the turn counter on turn 1.

My opinion: Most games that are fun usually require quite a bit more setup, but this one seems pretty straight forward and can be done reasonably quickly, so it definitely gets my approval!


GAME PLAY

The game plays as follows: Novices move; reveal their cards; and then rolls for making noises (only if a guard was previously walking). Then its the guards turn: Guards move; reveal each movement card; remove noise/vanish tokens; then rolls to listen for noises if she was walking. Finally, advance the turn counter and start again.

My opinion: This process is actually quite easy, but when playing with new players it may take a while for them to get the hang of it. Once everyone gets the hang of it, it moves quite smoothly. The novice players should never get bored. While the guards are moving, the novices have to pay attention to make sure that they aren't in line of sight from the guards. During the novices' turn, the guard player should be plotting his/her next move.

Although the guards are easy to play, a player playing the guards for the first couple times is probably going to have some difficulty. When I first started I thought it was very difficult to find any of the novices, let alone trying to catch them too! But if you realize the average path that each novice must take to get their key and secret wish, a guard will have much better luck in catching the novices.


INSTRCUTIONS

The nice thing about the instructions is that it's fairly short, only 8 pages long. But then again, the first page just shows the contents of the box, the last shows some reference diagrams, so really only about 6 pages long.

My opinion: I think the instruction booklet could've been organized much better. It's not bad, but there are still bits of information that seems like it should've had its own heading, or just outlined a bit better. Also, it doesn't answer all of your questions. I think this is the biggest downfall of the game, but once you learn all the rules, the instructions are no longer relevent.


CONCLUSION

All of the players that I have played with seemed to enjoy the game and have asked to play it again. No one in my group is religious and no one minded the theme. They did laugh at some of the secret wishes. One was going for a book of dark magic, while another was going for a cake.

My opinion: When I first started playing the game, I thought it was highly unbalanced with the scale tipped in favor for the novices. But as I learned some strategy, I feel it may be more balanced than I thought and playing the guards can be fun if you're up to the challenge.
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Burkhard Nierhaus
Germany
Muelheim
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I really like your review Gwommy
This Game is now back on top of my *buy next time* list.
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Craig Blumer
United States
Oshkosh
Wisconsin
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Can you compare this game to Break the Safe? Our grandson loved that game and would like a new game that captures the tension it has.

Thanks,

Craig
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Gerry Standerline
United Kingdom
Leeds
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One check is to go through the player plotting sheets at the end of the game - but that is too dull to bother with. You can get novices to swap sheets when the guards move and check for other players being found - but that gives novices info about each other. At heart this game relies on not cheating - and people not making mistakes when counting dots.
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Mark Tyler
United States
Orem
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gwommy wrote:
When I first started playing the game, I thought it was highly unbalanced with the scale tipped in favor for the novices. But as I learned some strategy, I feel it may be more balanced than I thought and playing the guards can be fun if you're up to the challenge.

Have you played any 7 or 8 player games? I have played with 4, 5 and 8 players. The play balance seemed just fine in all games except for the 8 player game. Making 8 captures before any one novice completes her mission seems almost impossible.
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.308 Jake
Canada
Hamilton
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m_r_tyler wrote:
gwommy wrote:
When I first started playing the game, I thought it was highly unbalanced with the scale tipped in favor for the novices. But as I learned some strategy, I feel it may be more balanced than I thought and playing the guards can be fun if you're up to the challenge.

Have you played any 7 or 8 player games? I have played with 4, 5 and 8 players. The play balance seemed just fine in all games except for the 8 player game. Making 8 captures before any one novice completes her mission seems almost impossible.
You only need to capture the amount of Novices that are playing. So in an eight player game you only need to capture 6.
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Mark Tyler
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trippercook wrote:
You only need to capture the amount of Novices that are playing. So in an eight player game you only need to capture 6.

False. See this reply and this reply from Alex Yeager (of Mayfair Games).
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.308 Jake
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m_r_tyler wrote:
trippercook wrote:
You only need to capture the amount of Novices that are playing. So in an eight player game you only need to capture 6.

False. See this reply and this reply from Alex Yeager (of Mayfair Games).

You're right, I'm not sure where i got that from but that's how we've always played. And it's still tough for the Nuns to win.
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Pasi Juhola
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MikeDowd wrote:
Mechanically this game seems awesome but the theme is unattractive to me because I'm not religious. I was also worried about novices being able to cheat.

Are there any checks and balances to make sure no one's cheating or does this game come down to the honor system?


Well, I'm not at least bit religious, and this attracts me all the same. There's no religion in this game, only novices gone bad. You cannot go wrong with nuns. And it would be even more awesome, if it went over the top a little (on the naughty side), but I understand that it would make it maybe offensive for family players Now the novices vices seem a bit too vanilla...At least for our gaming group's tastes.

But for the cheating part, if you think someone's cheating on movement, you can always check the player's movement card(s) after the game. Ok, while it offers a little protection during the game, but you can always kick the cheater's butt afterwards. Or, as a guard, you could mark you're movement down, and compare the two (a bit tedious). But, what comes to the noise rolling part, it comes down to the honor system, cause, one cannot be bothered to mark down dice rolls for each player each and every round.
But frankly, if one must attempt to cheat in this kind of game, one's life must be little more than a sad story...but, I know these individuals do exist. For me, part of the fun and excitement is when you think you've outwitted the guard and then either gaught red-handed or saved by a smallest of margins. This game is great fun, and offers plenty of laughs, and close-shave situations. And definitely not to be taken TOO seriously.



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Timo
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gwommy wrote:
[color=purple]My opinion: I like the concept. It seems to fit well with the theme of the game. I enjoy games where a player moves in secret, and since this game has many players moving in secret, it definitely appeals to my tastes, hence the reason I bought it.

That is definately what makes this game a lot better than Scotland Yard or the like. Most people I know always wanted to play Mr. X and in this game almost all people can do this.

The almost all people statement is what makes it a bit problematic. While I certainly enjoy to play as a Nun, I absolutely don't enjoy the game as the guards. The guards are no more than a nuisance to the nuns, maybe slowing a few of them down and allowing the others to win.
I have won with the guards but all you can do is to choose the paths you take carefully and hope to get the right dice result to hear a nun. Even so, you have to catch one and you're only 1 space faster - and after each round you catch up you absolutely need to get another clue or you have to give up and return to your path...

So maybe I haven't played enough games with the guards yet (now 2 (+2 novices games) for me) but that's what it is at the moment.
A bit disappointing after the great games as a novice...
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Gwommy the Purple
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[color=purple]So Tyrfing, what you're saying is that someone needs to come up with a good strategy guide for when playing as the guards, right?
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Timo
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There are 2 problems:
1) It's tough for the guards to win at all - this could be adressed with a strategy guide for the guards.
2) Playing the guards is no fun. You heavily depent on the moves of the nuns and their competition (which might force them to take risky moves).
A strategy guide might help you win the game but that alone would not make you enjoy the game.

I think its unsatisfying to win, just because a nun had a bad dice roll and you happened to stay near her or while searching for her you did catch another nun.
I don't like that as a quard you have to play passively and have just a very limited choice of possible moves.
This might be adressed in a guide - perhaps it could open my eyes about interesting choices I haven't seen yet or it might help me win the game, because I take the better ways, which have a higher chance to catch a nun offguard - without opening interesting choices for me at all.
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