Touché!: Travel

There’s one thing about Touché! that I found misleading, in a way that influenced my decision to shelve it all those years ago: the treatment of travel.

Travel is represented by little figures of Geoffroi and Henri walking about on a sepia-toned map of France with locations of importance marked on it. But there’s a certain amount of rigmarole before you can access that. In the early part of the game, just after the assassin you’re after flees to St. Quentin, or possibly Amiens, and you have to pursue him, you have a long conversation with a stablemaster about your travel options. He has horses available for hire, but they’re prohibitively expensive. There’s a coach, but it takes longer to reach your destination, and even though it’s a lot cheaper, it still costs money, and this is just after all your cash has been stolen by the assassin’s friends. So it all sounds like this is going to be a logistics puzzle, weighing costs of money and time when both are in short supply. And above all, it gives the impression that it’s vitally important to do everything you need to do in Rouen before heading onward. The last thing you want to have to do is mess up your optimizations by backtracking to pick up an inventory item you missed.

But in fact none of that is the case. Yes, money is a limited resource, but nearly all of your expenses can simply be charged to the regiment, so your shortage of spending money is hardly a factor at all. And once you’ve gotten through the first night, time basically doesn’t pass. You can wander all across France and back without anything changing.

I do think, based on what I’ve seen, that it is probably possible to do everything you need to do in each place you pass through, so that you never have to backtrack. Not that any real player would actually pull this off. You’d pretty much have to know exactly what you were doing. But the whole thing seems to have been designed around that ideal, of solving all the puzzles in an area and moving on, never to return.


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