THE MONASTIC LIFE
We’ve had grand sweeping battles, and rampaging monsters, so how about we calm the mood? This new add-on contains Ars Nova, a contemplative and very replayable solo/co-operative scenario, set in an abbey where murder has been committed, and an investigation needs to be done. At least, that’s one side of it. The set also offers a group of new units, hex tiles, and interior overlays that you can use in your own scenarios or battle mode games.
For $20 you get 18 monk miniatures in 6 different poses together with 4 multi-figure bases, and 6 stat cards. All of these monkish types are playable in the battle mode, as well as the Ars Nova scenario.
You also get 7 unique, double-sided hex tiles, and 7 building interior overlays. The hex tiles can be mixed in with any others you may have to expand your options and size of playing area. The building interiors offer you some choices for existing buildings, changing the way some familiar types work. This means that you won’t always know what a building is until you enter it, adding a sense of exploration and mystery to even a simple battle.
Finally, for the Ars Nova scenario itself, you get 1 Suspect sleeve, 8 Suspect cards, 20 Event cards, 80 Trial cards, 1 sand timer, and 30 tokens.
Playing the scenario is straightforward. It uses the normal rules with some additional mini-games to represent the trials you have to go through to gather your evidence. But first some background.
It is the year 1343. Pope Clement VI has convened a synod to debate the matter of the Ars Nova, and whether or not it is heretical. The Ars Nova is a new style of music proposed and championed by the musician Philippe de Vitry, and the mathematician, philosopher and Bishop of Reims, Jean de Muris. Under the previous prelate, Pope Benoit XII, the music had caused a great deal of consternation for supposedly mixing profane melodies and liturgical music. Now, under Clement VI, the pair has been given a chance to clear their names and avoid the dangerous charge of heresy.
To prepare themselves to give evidence at the synod, Philippe and Jean have been granted time, space, and the aid of some monks at a nearby abbey. Here they are ensconced, working on the presentations that will either vindicate their theories, or see them excommunicated or worse. They must prepare well, for they will face many staunch defenders of the traditional Ars Antiquae. For several weeks, they prepared their defence in peace. And then, ten days ago, the monks who had assisted them began to die in gruesome ways. Rumours have spread to the nearby town of Avignon, so Pope Clement VI has sent an inquisitor to find out what’s going on.
This is where you come in.
The scenario is players vs the system, and can be played either solo or with 2-3 players co-operatively.
Set up the board as shown on the scenario map, and choose one Suspect card at random. Without looking at it, slide it into the Suspect sleeve. This is the vile murderer you must discover.
Play the game as normal. In addition, each turn you will draw an event card. This sets the scene for events in that turn. It may make some areas of the abbey inaccessible, poison one of the players, or simply lose them some time. This represents the actions of the guilty party as he operates in the shadows, impeding the player’s investigation.
Certain areas of the abbey offer players trials in the form of mini-games. This is where the timer comes in, as they are all constrained by a strict time limit. The order in which you attempt these trials, and the number of times you return to each, dictates your success or failure. Success in a trial may give you additional resources, offer bonuses to other trials, or simple give you clues as to which monk is the guilty party. Collecting enough of these clues is the way to win.
Each time you find a clue, take your Suspect sleeve and slide the Suspect card out a little further. Stop at the next red line. Each time you do this, one or two names will be revealed. The more times a name appears, the more likely that they are your culprit. When 8 turns have been played, the game is over. If you have found enough clues to reveal the whole card then you will be certain of the murderer’s identity. If you have only partly revealed the card you will have to guess, based on what you know.
And there you have it!
I have avoided going into details of the individual trials themselves as that would spoil the surprise and the challenge. Suffice to say that with 8 suspect cards, and 7 different trials, all of which can be attempted repeatedly and in any order, there is a great deal of replayability in this one scenario.
Also worth noting is that this scenario include no combat at all. As you can see, the core Joan of Arc rules are nothing if not adaptable.
Finally, the scenario I described in the Unleash Hell expansion happens almost immediately after this. It’s not a campaign because there is no link between the protagonists in each game, but there is definitely a linked story to follow.
So what do you think? Are you up to the challenge? Can you find the murderer?
The Voice in Her Head
Pour la découvrir la version française de cette mise à jour, cliquez ici.
La traduction sera disponible d'ici peu.