A story game about burning for your belief.
Do you renounce your heretic beliefs and do you wish to receive the forgiveness of the merciful Father?
In March 1244 this question was posed to several hundred Cathars. They had surrendered to the army that had besieged the castle of Montsegur for more than nine months. More than two hundred answered no, and thereby chose death by fire. Who were these people that chose to die for their belief?
In Montsegur 1244 the players collaborate to create a story about who these people were. Each player takes on the role of one of the besieged Cathars who will face the choice between life and faith.
A game for 3-6 players. Duration 3-6 hours.
English edition out of print. Revised online edition expected 2021.
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"The idea of the "Perfects" really goes against every life-affirming ethic in my body, but I couldn't stop playing Cecille to her austere and principled doom."
--- Willem Larsen
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"What got me about this game was the sheer emotional content. [...] After the game ended, I had to leave and take a long walk to think about what had just happened at the table. It was that kind of intense for me."
--- Chris Bennett
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"Montsegur 1244 draws from several gaming traditions and serves up a seamless blend of delicious history and tasty hard choices. Playing a doomed Cathar puts an epic and tragic story absolutely front and center, and the game's simple but innovative mechanics relentlessly reinforce the theme. Someone will burn. You will be changed and surprised. This is a great game."
--- Jason Morningstar
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"Montsegur 1244 uses actual history to frame a tightly focused game that explores faith, loyalty, and the bonds of kinship. Using the final, brutal siege in the Catholic crusade against the Cathar heresy as a backdrop, players take the roles of true believers trapped in the fortress of Montsegur. As the inevitable endgame draws closer, each player must decide—will their character abandon their faith and recant, or will they burn for what they believe? This single, simple choice drives the entire game.
Montsegur 1244 succeeds brilliantly in evoking the horror and pathos of the doomed Cathars, and combines the best of Nordic and North American roleplaying traditions. The game is carefully structured where it needs to be and completely freeform where it doesn’t. Elegant, simple mechanics support play that is often surprisingly emotional. The choices players are presented with are impossible to reconcile. The tangled web of family, love, duty and belief only amplify the difficulty of the decision each must eventually make."
--- 2010 Diana Jones Award nomination