The Hursh House of Brancrug has been a Library with a vast collection of books gathered and held throughout the centuries. Unfortunately, a terrible fire ravaged the establishment and its collections of knowledge several years ago. It took many years to rebuild and renovate the Library, and now it is finally ready to re-open its doors.  The only hiccup is that there is no Librarian.  Oh, and no book collection. So, if you have any experience in running a Library, the people of the small village of Brancrug would love to welcome you with open arms to its community and try to figure out the Book of Hours.

The Book of Hours is a simulation narrative card game developed and self-published by Weather Factory on the 18th of August, 2023, on the Steam platform.

Before I start this review, it’s worth noting that I have not played Weather Factory's first game, Cultist Simulator, and therefore my review is based on a newcomer’s perspective of this unique genre of game that this developer/publisher has created.

I have now played The Book of Hours for over 20 hours, and I must say that I am currently more confused than when I started my first playthrough. The plan is to unlock rooms within the library, discover their contents, and access tables (workstations) where you can craft items (cards) and study books. And you do that by hiring people at The Sweet Bones, Bancrug’s public house! All you need is a Soul card and of course some money in order to hire people. So, you click on the house, then you have two empty slots in which to place cards. You click on the slots to highlight which cards you can use for the relevant action (such as investigate, talk, consider etc).

So, I have now hired an engineer (a new card), which is in my Sundries inventory, one of the four card inventories. The other inventories are Memories and Lessons,  Elements of the Soul and Skills and Languages. Every single card you hold has up to seven symbols on it, and here’s why . . .

The first room is opened with a key, as you would expect.  Subsequent rooms, however, seem to require a Hire card (cards of potential employees) in order to be unlocked.  But the Hire cards (eg. nurse, painter, engineer) must also have one or more symbols that match the symbols of the room that you want to unlock.  Next to each symbol, there may (or may not) be a number.  To successfully unlock the room, the numbers on the card must be equal to or greater than the numbers on the room.

That was all fine in my playthrough, but then once I got into the rooms, I had a problem figuring out how to read the books, which is a bummer because successfully reading the books is the only way to get more Soul and Skill cards.  And gaining more Soul cards is the only way to open and read further books.  So yeah, a dilemma.

It's funny because each time I restarted a game and read the book that I was carrying (you begin the game carrying a book with you), I would receive my first Skill and additional Soul cards without a hitch. But reading new books after unpacking them was just a huge effort of trial and error.  I’d get to the point where I’d think I’d finally figured it out, only to realise that in fact no, I hadn’t figured it out at all!

You see, there’s a whole process to allowing a book to be “read”.   So I would follow the process precisely by adding all the cards it asked me to add. And what did I get?  A message saying that I had failed to unravel the mystery, or some such thing, and as a consequence had not successfully read the book.

What??!! Why?  I had found everything they wanted me to find!  It was baffling and ultimately enormously frustrating. 

And then there were times when I would actually succeed, but even now I have no idea how or why.

As you eventually succeed in “reading” your books (whether on purpose or by accident), you can end up with a vast collection of books from a variety of rooms, which sounds perfect for a library, right?  Except for one thing; when a visitor asks for a recommendation, you have to remember all the mysteries and meanings in all of the books in order to guide the visitor to the best book for them.  There is nothing to help you recall the information from all of the books, so let’s hope that your memory cells are functioning at high capacity.

In my current game, I have unlocked one-third of the rooms.  All I am doing now is unpacking the books and seeing if my Skill and Souls cards more or less match the symbols of the books.  If they match, I hope against hope that it will allow me to read the books and get new Souls, new Lessons and new Skill cards, so that I have more chances of opening additional books.

The various steps involved in setting up the library, including activities such as crafting and upgrading cards, are no less flabbergasting.

And what about the Tree of Wisdom? When you read a book and earn a lesson card, you can place that card in one of the free slots within the Tree of Wisdom, but I don’t know what you get for it. Does it add something? I really can’t tell. 

On the bright side, the graphics are beautiful and stylised. It’s easy to move around the rooms, and to zoom in and out! My advice for people who haven’t played the first game and are interested in buying it, is to check out some YouTube videos before purchasing it. I was lucky to receive this game from Weather Factory in order to review it, and I thank them for their generosity. I gave it a good shot, but this game is not for me.

Review written by THE CPT FROGGY for

BOOK OF HOURS Steam Store Page


+ Nice graphics
+ Unique card game
+ Achievements


- Confusing
- No tutorial whatsoever
- No Steam cards

Review Summary

Forget about the Book of Hours; go to your local bookstore and buy your own book!

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Zeepond Rating: 4/10