Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas
AKA: The Muddle Maze
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Every holder of secret and sacred knowledge must first pass tests to prove their worthiness. After all, it's not like you can just run down to the corner and put 50¢ in the tome machine. How secret would that be?!
Not nearly as secret as this game, which officially has no name. Really! "Think of it like an old book," says co-designer Enrico Pesce. I know the type he has in mind, the ones that rich people buy by the foot to fill empty varnished shelves in pseudo-library rooms that are meant to exude worldliness.
Anyway, in this game you must earn the right to become the Keeper, the person entrusted to stop the souls of the damned from escaping the sinners' pit. To do this, you must reclaim four books that rest on shifting pathways above an abyss. Each player has her own set of books to reclaim, but the paths are shared -- as much as anyone wants to share them, that is.
To set up, each player draws a positioning card from their deck that determines where the books are located on the 16x16 grid; each book will rest in a separate quadrant.
Players then take turns adding 24 Footbridge tiles to the board, giving ground to both the books and your Acolyte. On a turn, you can spend up to 6 action points to swap and play cards -- and the more cards you play, the farther your Acolyte can subsequently move. In addition to the move and rotate cards, each player has a deck of eight special action cards, and when you refill your hand at the end of the turn, you can add a few of these to your hand. Their one-shot abilities let you exceed your normal abilities or bring in a Gargoyle to block the paths of others.
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com