A mysterious patron has ordered several copies of an ancient text. You are a copyists attempting to complete the composition of the manuscripts in an almost impossible time. You strive to be the most talented to create the most sublime page of illumination.
The copyist with the highest number of Illumination points wins the game.
The game consists of four phases:
- First Hour (Inks) - beginning with the player who has the quill marker, players take turns selecting between inks and the grimoire
- Second Hour (Lectern) - beginning with the player with the grimoire, players select lecterns for themselves or others
- Last Hour (Illuminations) - starting with the player who has the quill marker, players purchase tiles with ink and place them on their board.
- End of the Day - All unplayed tiles from lecterns are placed on player reserve slots. Players must discard down to 7 tiles and 7 inks.
First Hour (Inks)
Players collect inks for laying tiles. The player with the Quill (the Archivist) always begins this phase. Play continues until all inks are gone.
Players may take 1 or 2 of the available inks or may take the grimoire.
- Inks - players may select any two inks, with one exception: Gold and Black inks cannot be taken together.
- Black ink is important because it is required for every tile.
- Gold ink is required by some tiles but can also be used as any other color (except black).
- Grimoire - the player who takes the grimoire does not take any more ink this phase, but goes first during the Second Hour.
Second Hour (Lectern)
Players select lecterns for each other
The lecterns are the sets of four tiles in the middle of the screen. Each lectern also has a bonus, shown at the bottom of the lectern: in most cases, the bonus is an “inkwell,” which means that while you have that lectern, that color of ink is free for you.
This phase will play out in one of two ways depending on if a player took the grimoire during the First Hour.
- If no player selected the grimoire: the Quill player will select a lectern and choose which of the other players to give it. The receiving player will then do the same for another player until each player has a lectern. All other lecterns are discarded and their tiles are placed on the Scriptorium (the board in the upper left). In some cases, one player may end up choosing lecterns for two other players.
- If a player selected the grimoire during the First Hour: that player will select a lectern for themselves. Then, starting with the Quill player, each player will select a lectern for another following the rules above. (In a two-player game, if one player selected the grimoire and selected a lectern for themselves, then the other player also gets to choose their own lectern.)
Third Hour (Illumination)
Players play tiles onto their manuscript to gain points, and/or purchase tiles from each other or the Scriptorium board.
The player with the Quill (the Archivist) always begins this phase. Play continues until all players have taken their turn.
- Play a tile with ink - Players may select a tile from their lectern or from their reserve spots, pay the ink cost, and place it on their manuscript. This scores illumination points.
- Play a tile without ink - This can only be done with border tiles. Players may select and lay a border tile on their manuscript using no ink. This does not score illumination points.
- Purchase a tile - Players may use one of their available help tokens to purchase a tile from the Scriptorium or another player. See Help Tokens below for more information.
- From the Scriptorium- Players must first select one of their available help tokens, then click on the pile of tiles they wish to purchase from, then click the tile they want. This tile will be placed in their reserve spot and is immediately available to place by spending ink (or without if it is a border tile).
- From another player - Players must first select one of their available help tokens, then click on the tile they wish to purchase from another player's reserve slot. This tile will be placed in their reserve spot and is immediately available to place by spending ink (or without if it is a border tile). The player from whom you've taken a tile will immediately receive the help token you've used and may use it on their turn.
End of the Day
- All tiles not played from a player's lectern will go into their reserve slots on their player board.
- Players are limited to 7 tiles in reserve and 7 inks between days. During this phase, players must discard down to 7 tiles in their reserve slots, and 7 total inks in their ink wells.
- Each player begins with 3 Help Tokens (the small circles on the upper left part of your player board).
- They can be used to purchase tiles during the Third Hour (Illumination) from either the Scriptorium or from another player.
- Each unused Help Token gives a player 2 points at the end of the game.
- If used to purchase a tile from another player, that player will receive the Help Token unused and can then either use it themselves later, or keep it for the 2 point bonus. If used to purchase a tile from the Scriptorium board that Help Token is lost.
Using Help Token to Purchase from Scriptorium
- Click on the Help Token you want to use.
- Click on the Scriptorium pile from which you want to purchase.
- Click on the tile, it will be added to your reserve.
Using Help Token to Purchase from Another Player
- Click on the Help Token you want to use.
- Click on the tile you want to purchase from another player's reserve. (Note: You select from their reserve, not from their lectern.)
There are five different achievement tiles to be gained over the course of the game. They are located along the bottom of the Scriptorium board.
- Left Border (2 corners, 6 borders)
- Left Page (4 tiles; A, B, C, D)
- Full Page (entire page filled in: 4 corners, 12 borders, 4 left-page tiles, 4 right-page tiles)
- Right Page (4 tiles; 1 initial, 3 text)
- Right Border (2 corners, 6 borders)
The first player to complete the section receives a bonus tile worth 5 points; the second player, 3 points; the third player, 2 points. These tiles are placed in and use a reserve slot on your player board. They cannot be discarded or purchased.
The games ends at the end of the day when either of these conditions has been met:
- A player completes their entire manuscript (places all tiles)
- The tile bag runs out and lecterns cannot be filled (all tiles are on player boards and the Scriptorium board). There is no count of remaining tiles as such; instead, the number of remaining days indirectly indicates how many tiles are left.
Players add their illumination points (scored from laying tiles) to their achievement tile points (which are not calculated until the end of the game).
The player with the highest score wins. If there is a tie, all tied players share in victory.