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AMBITION: A MINUET in POWER is a Question & Answer detection-style romp set in 18th Century Paris, France. 

You are Yvette, a woman who, in 1789, has left her family in their farm and journeyed to Paris to meet up with her fiancé, Armand de Marbo. When you arrive in Paris, after a long, dusty coach ride, you discover that Armand is not there at his house, he is missing, presumed not found. He is, supposedly, a man of means, wealth, title, a mansion of a house etc etc. While some of this may (eventually) be true, your first impression isn't what you expected.

Camille, the housemaid, says little, but listen to her for what she does say will guide you (mostly) safely through your Parisian adventure.

It soon becomes known around Paris that you are a newcomer who is about to become the bride of Armand, and thus you become the talk of the Town. This brings dozens of invitations to numerous parties, dinners, the Opera, Art Shows etc etc. You are, at the moment, the 'must have guest' of the in-crowd. 

This is both good and not-so-good. It is good because it allows you to meet all manner of people and not have to break into your 100 livres, the only cash/money you have - that is until Camille reminds you that the rent on the House and he wages need to be paid. 40 livres per week.

So now you have your first major problems. To stay in the house you need money and to go to the functions you need clothes. To make matters worse, I was going to say 'slightly worse' but decided that there really isn't any 'slightly'. You can get clothes for somewhat reasonable prices from Le Petit Mogul, a local shop, but each function is organised by one (or more) of the factions that run Paris. Military, Religious, Revolutionaries etc and each of them expects you to dress in clothes they approve of. Your credibility depends on many things and you can lose it as quickly as you can gain it.

You need to keep your Credibility high and your Peril low - a high Peril could mean a visit to Madame la Guillotine, and that can be a real pain in the neck.

You may need to restart your game from the beginning once you realise certain things about the gameplay. I do not mean get to the end and replay it, but after about 15 minutes or so you should have worked out the following at least.

a. When you choose the action 'explore Paris' you get a map showing the various places you can visit. Click on one and you are there for the entire day. One visit per day, although you may have more than one action at the location chosen.

b). Check your calendar before accepting invitations. Occasionally you will find two events on the same day and you cannot be at both places at once..

c) Check you wardrobe against the invites - having the correct clothes is so necessary for a successful function.

d). The parties etc are your best source of information. You can get all manner of valuable information and rumours by speaking to the right people in the right way. There are rooms occupied by one or more of the Parisian elite and you can see who is in each room before entering. To begin with you can only enter 2 rooms but the more you play the more this number of Room actions improves.

e). Try to select invitations that give you at least one free day before them. Use this free day to stay at home and rest. This generally prevents unnecessary fatigue.

You can gain information just by listening in to other people conversing and then, possibly, beginning a chat with the people you have been listening to. This is where you get a few sentences to select from, similar to many Q&A games. At the end of some of these sentences is either a Red (Peril) or Black (Credibility) icon. This means that you may gain or lose one or the other, so read what has been said carefully and plan your response.

What do you do when you have the information? Go to La Trompette Du Peuple, the 18th century French version of the News of the World (for younger reader, the NotW was a broadsheet newspaper that often offered possibly salacious gossip in photos and text). There you have the choice of selling the gossip - you can see its value before deciding - or you can peddle it to influence one of the factions, thus showing your support or opposition.

First off you have to have determined a side in the revolution to belong to. If you, for example, are for the Crown then select parties and dresses etc that give you influence with the Royalty. If you can, select a couple of the factions to support, therefore always having a Plan B.

Unfortunately for you, the readers of the Trompette are also some of the elite you have spoken with, and after a while they begin to recognise the information they have given only you within the folds of the news text. If too many people realise this your credibility will nose dive while your Peril score will hit the roof. This game is about making choices to keep everyone happy at the same time, this includes you, Camille and the Building Manager/Rent Collector.

If you can, get yourself a safe, steady stream of income that allows you to:

1. Pay wages and rent
2. Buy enough clothes to have a decent wardrobe. Yvette can build up a very entrancing set of dresses and outfits.
3. Hire a bodyguard and other help - this raises your weekly expense Bill considerably.

You are always limited in what you can do, so be very thoughtful before doing anything.

AMBITION: A MINUET in POWER is mostly an enjoyable experience, but it does have its irritations.

The Music and Background Sounds:
The musique begins as a charming minuet but quickly becomes a very good reason to turn the sound off. The Background Sounds include villagers/townsfolk mumuring, bells, clicks & clacks, clips & clops etc but mostly not in time with the onscreen visuals.

There is none, at least none you can hear - all spoken words are as text in the bars below the pictures.

The Animation:
There is none. The characters are flat 2D that appear and disappear in the appropriate places/scenes. The scenes are generally the same main background with perhaps a change in the non-animated persons visible.

The Limited Actions:
Visiting Armand, going to the clothes shop, resting at Home, etc. each of these takes the complete day.

It is a great time-killer. I got so caught up in it (and I'm a man with the fashion sense of a squirrel) and two hours slipped past without my knowledge - it was about 135 minutes before I noticed the time - and although there is no action per se and it got rather samey/through the motions, I continued to play until I was called for dinner, about 90 minutes later. When I say 'through the motions' I mean that basically one or more days in your week will be obvious actions.

An attractive game that could have done with some animation, and characters who didn't all look the same.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021