Book Of Hours: narrative crafting RPG set in the 1930s

I am not really interested in hashing out what people should personally believe or whether they should buy this or his other game. I just think that is information people deserve to have when making those decisions. If you research it and you don’t think it’s an issue or are comfortable buying anyway, that’s up to you. It is at that point an informed decision.

I played three FPS in a row, so I needed something different. I bought the game and, 100 minutes in, ended up refunding it.

It’s more Cultist Simulator 2 than I believed. Honestly, my fault for not following the game beyond the inicial announcement, but given the new premise and new title (it isn’t called Cultist Simulator 2 or Cultist Simulator: ‘subtitle’) naively I thought it would be something a bit more different. I supposed it would be somewhat similar-ish in the sense I knew the dev didn’t seem that he going to do something radically different, they clearly don’t have the budget for that and he has an affinity for card systems. So I expected some card system… but this isn’t any card system, but the card system [used previously in Cultist Simulator].

You have npcs, items, skill and memories with florid names, which doesn’t mean anything really, you can have a, dunno, something with an alluring, mysterious name like “Dream-shard embedded in Onyx” and in the end the important thing is the attributes assigned “Forge 3, Knock 4, Rose, Gem”. After a while you only look at the collection of stats. It produces some funny moments when you see mysterious terms and purple prose associated to… a fucking loaf of bread.

Like in CS, you gain skills with different attributes of these, and they can be levelled up if you get enough of a book/material/npc with attribute. Like in CS, there are challenges that you can beat by combining different cards in different slots to sum up the required stat number. Like CS, you have some random events like different weather and visitors that can be used for that day.

Like in CS, I can see a panel that shows the names of some magical arts you can learn eventually, and clearly there will be grind to do with those, because the have levels 1 to 5 or 6.
It’s all imo a very narrowly mechanical system that robs the game of some of the magic of the cool lore it had behind.

Somehow, I found it slower than CS, and even a bit more obscure at the start (despite me already having experience with their previous game that is super similar!). There are random elements in your initial stats and what first skills you learn (comparing my run with someone in youtube) and I have the feeling I did something bad in my run or I had bad luck because I’m barely advancing and I don’t see a good way to solve it, beyond waiting some random event or card that helps me.
Finally, I think the concept behind Cultist Simulator was immediately more appealing, with was why people discovered it.

Funnily, I see it’s scoring better (95%) than CS (82%). I think it’s a case of the people who buy it knowing what they are getting into (ie. previous CS buyers).

In fairness to bread, there has been a lot of flowery writing associated with it over the years. E.g. the Lord of the Rings has at least a dozen bread moments, the Bible mentions bread occasionally, Ayn Rand uses it as a metaphor a few times, etc. Also I like the UI for it; the game kindly has a “loaf of bread” icon on its loaf of bread, so that new players won’t be confused by it.

My sister-in-law has effectively zero interest in gaming, but somehow she heard about Pentiment, she tried it out on Gamepass when she stayed with us for a weekend, and she was obsessed. We ended up gifting her a month or two of Gamepass and she played it via the Xbox cloud on an iPad—convoluted, but it worked for her. She played through it twice in that time.

Anyway, I don’t know where she hears about these games, but somehow she heard about Book of Hours. She was at dinner with my wife last night and my wife’s texting me “she wants to play that game she talked about”. I was a little confused, she would only have an hour or two to try it after their dinner last night because everyone was getting up and heading out this morning.

“You actually want me to buy it? It’s not a Gamepass game”
“How much?”
“She’ll Venmo you”

I should clarify we will absolutely not take her money, I just kinda wanted to make sure my wife sincerely wanted her sister to have the opportunity to play it and not “oh I was just telling you because I thought it was funny she kept talking about it.”

So I got to watch my sister-in-law play it for about an hour last night before I went to bed, apparently she played it for another hour before she went to bed, and then she played it again for almost an hour this morning.

I dabbled with Cultist Simulator for a couple hours a few years ago, and appreciated it in the abstract but decided it probably wasn’t for me, so knowing nothing at all about Book of Hours, I pretty quickly recognized it was a similar style of game but didn’t realize it was actually the same developer until I looked it up and found this thread today.

All of that to say, it was fun to dig up this thread, read through it, and have it end on a funny defense of bread. Thanks for the laugh!

I played it today, as I was gifted it most generously by a gentleman here, and although I have had covid fever for days and unable to play pretty much anything, I got pulled into those librarian hours. Three hours, which is huge in my current state of mind. Three fascinating hours where I lost myself like if I were discovering Civilization or Captain Blood in the old days. I was totally enthralled despite the fever.

Or was it because of it?

It seems infinitely less grindy than Cultist Simulator, for a lot of reasons tied to how the game works. It is as inscrutable as the previous game, although learning to even use the interface feels like solving a friendly puzzle that makes everything more palatable.

I am in bed and being knocked off. Can’t wait for my next session lost amongst books I can barely understand.

The Ceaseless Tantra

The avant-garde choreographer Nicholas Keirle supposedly incorporated this Tantra into his menacing ballets.

Definitely because of it! Gaming while sick can be something special. :) If not a 3DS, a Switch. If not a Switch, a Steamdeck. If not a Steamdeck, prop yourself up in front of an old laptop.

Also, good writing doesn’t have to be spoilered, @Left_Empty! The Book of Hours should be quoted liberally and without hindrance! Feel better and cite freely!

In between two sessions inside the Book of Hours, I booted Street Fighter 6 - an impulse purchase on heavy discount that I’ll put on the fever as well -, and tried playing the intermediate tutorial. I was bombarded with inscrutable text boxes detailing me how to Armor Break through attacks with Drive Impact that can fall prey to the counter Punisher Drive Impact which can’t hold against the Technical Special… STOP!

I jumped back into my library of books, pulling one from a certain Hieronymus Pseudohypnerotomachus fellow, that I pictured raging like a nerd during the console wars era, except with a long Ganfalfian beard, while he scribed all the fiel he had stocked up against some Sisterhood and their horrid ways. And I was happy to be back amongst friends who made sense.

All this to diluate my sucking up by saying how wonderful that piece was Tom, and how much it made me laugh.

And also I got Resident Evil: Revelations on the top games screen of my Switch next to my bed. Excellent fever game, even without the eyebulging 3D effect.

My sister-in-law is up to 6 hours into this game with two more visits. She usually comes up on a Friday for dinner and a show with my wife, then plays Book of Hours after we go to sleep and again in the morning before we’re up. She seems to still love it, although she’s spending a big chunk of each session trying to remember what she’d figured out on her previous visit.

She is absolutely not a “gamer”, but the real shame is as a teacher she doesn’t even own a personal computer of any kind—just her school laptop that she can’t/wouldn’t install Steam and games on.

The saga of your SIL is a heartwarming reminder of my early PC gaming days before I actually owned a PC. I first got into gaming in junior high school but didn’t own my own computer until I graduated from college. I really cherished those opportunities to play on my friends’ computers back then – Wizardry, the Gold Box games, Loderunner, Sierra adventure games, all that great stuff.

Same here. I had to go play at my friend Mark’s house for Apple II games (Zaxxon! Bruce Lee!) while Mike had the Commodore 64 (Rambo! Track and Field! Racing Destruction Set!) Good times.

One day after playing C64 for hours, Mike gave me two paper grocery bags filled with his collection of Choose Your Own Adventure books. I faked illness for the next three days of school and I read those Books for Hours.

I was that terrible friend who came over to your house and then ignored you while I played SimCity and Pirates! on your IBM PC for hours on end.

I know I’m four years younger than you, because I was that terrible friend who came over to their house and then ignored them while I played Civilization on their IBM PC for hours on end.