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Dali meets Dune! Recruit followers, secretly bid on surreal powers, battle to control the wasteland. 2-4 players, 60-120 minutes.
Dali meets Dune! Recruit followers, secretly bid on surreal powers, battle to control the wasteland. 2-4 players, 60-120 minutes.
Dali meets Dune! Recruit followers, secretly bid on surreal powers, battle to control the wasteland. 2-4 players, 60-120 minutes.
289 backers pledged $20,290 to help bring this project to life.

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True Messiah, a game of post-apocalyptic cult warfare

$20,290

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True Messiah is a multi-award-nominated strategy board game for 2-4 players with tactical combat, deck-building, and board control.

Inspired in part by the works of Zdzisław Beksiński, True Messiah's art style represents a grim blend of religious symbolism and post-apocalyptic surrealism. Opening up the box, you’ll find not just a game, but a unique and beautiful visual experience:

  • an 18” x 18” quad-fold board with a lovely painted depiction of the wasteland
  • 4 awesome messiah miniatures, each towering ~58mm tall over the board
Shown: 3D printed prototypes.
Shown: 3D printed prototypes.
  • 1 large, full-color rulebook
  • 78 gorgeously illustrated miracle cards
  •  4 character cards, 1 for each messiah
  • 4 holy city tiles, 1 for each messiah
  • 16 tiles representing the game’s 4 types of buildable temples
  • 4 rules reference cards
  • 96 follower tokens
  • 48 nonbeliever tokens
  • 4 avatar tokens
  •  24 health tokens
  • 50 coin tokens
  • 8 providence tokens

On your turn, position yourself and your followers to generate resources; if your units remain alive and in the correct spots when your turn comes around again, you'll build temples, recruit new followers, and obtain bonus moves based on your positioning. (This isn't mere worker placement: resources exist in actual two-dimensional space on the board, and must be defended!)

Your followers may pray to power uncanny miracles, or may engage in tactical combat to destroy enemy units and capture temples. (You can send your messiah into combat as well, with devastating effects!)

At the end of each round, bid in secret on new miracles for your cult. Most miracles have only a single copy, which means that you'll be constructing a deck with vastly different powers from everyone else at the table.

The first player to defeat an enemy player wins!

The Rulebook [PDF]

Yes. True Messiah has been in development for 15 long years; its design is careful and deliberate, and its balance has been honed to a fine point. You can learn the game in a single sitting, but spend years plumbing its depths.

Here is what others have to say:

Gamer’s Voice Award Nominee 2018 SXSW

Three-time Official SelectionIndie MEGABOOTH Tabletop

Official Selection 2016Indiecade

Indie Game Highlight from PAX West 2016Geekwire

"I was immediately impressed by the depth of strategy this has to offer. I really like the way they implemented the deck-building aspect. It doesn't feel like other deck builders, so it takes some figuring out, but that's not a bad thing." –Stephen Gulik, Everything Board Games

"When I got it, I was very pleasantly surprised. The rulebook reads really well...This one, I can definitely tell you that it is a genuinely good game." –Mitch Lurcook

“[T]he deck building mechanic is done really well and turns the managing your repertoire of miracles into a mini game of its own. But my favourite aspect of True Messiah was the way in which your troops are also your source of power for your miracles. There is a constant pressure to manage your followers and balance your belief against your combat power.” –Steven Tudor, Polyhedron Collider

“True Messiah is a fantastic blend of deckbuilding and strategy game, taking the best elements of a game like Ascension and merging it with the unit focused combat and control of Risk. One of the best elements in this game is how easy it is to learn because there are a simple set of actions, but they all have intense and often immediate strategic significance, whether it's deciding how much to bid to win first pick at the card market, or whether to focus on producing more followers or trashing your rival's temples. I played a 2v2 that left me wanting to play more.” –Sriraman Subbaraman, co-designer of Phoenix Covenant

“The game is amazing; I had a lot of fun with it!” –Undead Viking

 “It’s got a deep, unique interplay between spatial strategy and deck building that I dig. A beautiful brain burn.” –Don Eskridge, designer of The Resistance and Abandon Planet

Finally, for those of you who (like me) are big game design nerds, I have a write-up talking about the design principles upon which True Messiah is built available here.

If we get past our funding goal, there are some awesome bonuses in store:

[Now included with the game!]: Prosperity Monoliths

If we reach this funding level, I will include special "prosperity monolith" terrain tiles with every copy of the game! These generate coins for the player that controls them, making territory control even more important and adding texture to your decisions about where to expand your reach.

[Now included with the game!]: Distinct starting cards

If we reach this funding level, I will design one starting card for each messiah that will not appear in the starting decks for any of the others! Each card will play to its messiah's strengths while helping to communicate the distinctiveness of that messiah's play style.

$21,000 raised: Brimstone

If we reach this funding level, I will add a new card to every copy of the game: Brimstone. This will be a low-cost attack card that enables pursuit of a direct-damage miracle strategy earlier in the game.

$22,000 raised: Recruitment Drive

If we reach this funding level, I will add a new card to every copy of the game: Recruitment Drive. This will be a more powerful version of Evangelize that enables players to more directly focus on pursuing a growth-centered miracle strategy.

$28,000 raised: Create Seraph

If we reach this funding level, I will add a new card to every copy of the game: Create Seraph. The seraph will be a high unit that provides everyone on its space immunity to the attacks of nonbelievers--in concert with cards that create nonbelievers, it can be used to deal out punishing tactical defeats!

In addition to the card, I will also create a new unit token to represent the seraph itself.

$40,000 raised and 500+ backers at or above the Priest tier: Avatar miniature

If we reach this goal, I will commission a 3D miniature to represent the avatar unit for each player in lieu of a token. Four of these miniatures will be included with every copy of the game.

$60,000 raised and 600+ backers at or above the Priest tier: Seraph miniature

If we reach this funding level, I will commission a 3D miniature to represent the seraph unit for each player instead of a token. Four of these miniatures will be included with every copy of the game.

True Messiah's base funding goal is the lowest quoted price I've received to manufacture a small print run of the game with messiah miniatures, then ship them all overseas from the factory to our US fulfillment center.

If you'd like to help True Messiah exist, you know what to do--go click one of those pledge buttons on the right!

Risks and challenges

As with any physical game, there is always a risk that something could go wrong on the manufacturing or shipping end that delays the date on which the game arrives in your hands.

That said, I already have True Messiah fully designed, with finalized rules and final art formatted to the exact specifications required by the manufacturers, and I've already secured an experienced, professional shipping and fulfillment service to handle worldwide shipping of the game once it's manufactured.

In short: I don't anticipate any problems.

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    Follower

    Your belief will help this game manifest in reality; you have my thanks.

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    Priest

    A full copy of True Messiah--includes FREE SHIPPING to all US backers!

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    Oracle

    Everything in the "Priest" tier, PLUS you'll receive a free copy of the tactical role-playing game Telepath RPG: Servants of God AND special, Kickstarter-exclusive HD digital wallpaper!

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    Everything in the "Oracle" tier, but you'll get TWO copies of True Messiah instead of one!

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    Keeper of the Boxes

    [For retailers ONLY--retailer status and country of origin will be verified after the campaign ends before this reward can be sent out!] 5 full copies of True Messiah, priced with the retailer in mind. Free shipping; US retailers only.

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    Everything in the "Oracle" tier, PLUS you will get a special Kickstarter-exclusive miracle card!

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    Signs and Portents

    Everything in the "Prophet" tier, PLUS I will mail you a special unreleased prototype miracle card signed by the designer!

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    Miracle

    Everything in the "Signs and Portents" tier, PLUS free international shipping, PLUS I will send you a special, one-of-a-kind miracle card with beautiful artwork that is completely unique to you. We'll work together to decide the specifics of what appears on your special miracle card!

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    Messiah

    Everything in the "Miracle" tier, PLUS you'll get to work with the designer himself and help design a new game mode! ("Solo"? "Co-op"? "Cards only"? The sky's the limit!)

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    The Creator

    Holy cow, you're amazing! You'll get everything in the "Messiah" tier, PLUS you'll get to hang out with the game's designer in Chicago over the course of a weekend. You'll be taken out for food and drinks at his favorite hang-outs, get a behind-the-scenes look at how the game is put together, and be trained in the ways of True Messiah by the world's most experienced player. (Free lodgings for the weekend are included, if you want 'em!)

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Funding period

- (15 days)