Being an even moderately well-known game developer can be a double-edged sword in crowdfunding. On the one hand, it’s always reassuring to have someone who knows what they are doing at the helm of a project. Backers love getting behind a name they trust. On the other hand, expectations are usually higher after previous success. Not always to the developer’s favor. The debate about whether our expectations of success for “proven” developers is fair is discussion for another time. Instead let’s address the modest proposal of Weather Factory’s Cultist Simulator.

This single-player digital board game is the brainchild of former Failbetter Games founder, Alexis Kennedy. Kennedy’s cleverly absurd narrative style gave birth to the nautical mysteries of the Fallen London Universe. Despite his departure from Failbetter, his influence is still a driving force at the company. This may have contributed to Cultist Simulator easily surpassing its $39,407 Kickstarter goal in just over 12 hours.

Cultist Simulator is a narrative game based on the unholy mysteries of a fictional 1920’s. Players must find their way to power in a world of secret gods and demons. They have only their passion, reason, and some funds to guide them. After receiving a mysterious package from an unnamed benefactor, players will learn to combine these base ingredients to grow their supernatural powers and unlock more of the story.

Be The Mystic Entity You Want To See In The World

While still in an early proof of concept alpha stage, backers can try out a prototype build of the game. This gives them a taste of the card-based gameplay. Graphically, Cultist Simulator features a very basic tabletop-style interface with cryptic artwork on the playable cards. There’s a certain minimalist beauty there, but the focus remains firmly locked on navigating the story elements.

The player’s choices don’t just advance the narrative, they also shape it. Win the favor of the gods or become a fierce entity in your own right. Gain influence through your disciples or mete out justice to your enemies. Whatever you choose will generate ripples of repercussions for future characters.

Cultist Simulator looks every bit as complex and idiomatic as Kennedy’s previous work, but without the cannibalism. If you’ve missed the experimental narratives of Fallen London or Sunless Seas, this Kickstarter is worth your time.

About the Author

Joanna Mueller

Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Fortnite books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games as Cliqist's EIC.

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