Updates worthy of the front page:
- A Wider Universe Awaits. If Civitas Nihilium gets funded, this game will be forming part of a wider selection of games created within the Civitas Universe for many years to come. Multiplayer city builders, RPGs, deck-builders and more.
- Named Players & Locations Will Live On Within The Universe. All supported and pledge named characters/locations - from this campaign - will go on to form part of the future universe. They will develop and evolve as the Civitas history gets written throughout future developed titles.
- Ultimate Collector Guarantee. Civitas Nihilium, aims to be the first game of the Civitas Universe: the first game where everything started. We want to build the value for our earliest backers and that's why we have no intention of selling this game after this Kickstarter - one print that's it. If you get a copy of CN through this campaign you will be one of the lucky few who got their first. That is our gold seal promise to backers who helped start this entirely new gaming universe.
The Kickstarter exclusive tabletop game designed specifically for the solo player. With an hour long unique soundtrack featuring professional actors, nostalgic chip music and immersive cyberpunk soundscapes...
An immersive game that's different every time, with hundreds of characters, sprawling out across a city packed with an eccentric population & an enigmatic cultural structure.
Civitas Nihilium was designed with these four key principles in mind:
- An immersive solo-player experience - relentlessly engaging with a deep & dramatic storyline - featuring a huge 1 hour long (double the size of a standard music album) soundtrack, that plays with you while you immerse yourself into this rich and compelling cyberpunk world.
- Replay value - A game that's different every time.
- Strong decision management - Flip cards, roll dice, manage resources, attach upgrades, sweet talk, threaten, bribe, engage & analyse.
- Play with time & realities. Combine the digital with the physical. A board game that's video game inspired created using nostalgic hardware & software.
- Huge emphasis on backer led content and feedback. Check out our updates especially the TTT (triple T) competition where twice a week we are asking for input from our wonderful backers to help us shape the world via the upgrade technology that players will come across within the game.
Kickstarter Live Q&A Session with Creator James Bradley...
Kickstarter Live (Spoiler Free) Play Through Session with Creator James Bradley...
Kickstarter Live Civitas Nihilium inner workings on structure and Rules Explained in More Detail...
Featuring 8bit chip music, cyberpunk-inspired industrial/vaporwave tunes & professional voice-over artists...
The play-alongside soundtrack is a vital element of the game. It is something that goes beyond music. It will feature lore, back story and atmosphere. It will build the world around you, taking you on a journey deep into the cyberpunk universe of Civitas Nihilium. Check out the small section of our initial rough edit in the Soundcloud previews below...
This atmospheric soundscape leads into a dialogue based introduction of the cult leader: David of the Duronic Brotherhood...
In this small example Detective Corg Taylor discusses his views on the bureaucratic legacy of 'The Civitas Idea'.
Over the years I have ran many D&D nights as a Dungeon Master where I love to play music to accompany each scene/encounter: I find that it releases people from the boundaries of the table & allows for greater immersion. I noticed while playing Lord of Rings The Card Game (solo) that the soundtrack to the Fellowship of the Ring is an amazing addition. I wanted this for cyberpunk. I imagined what it could be. So, I sat down one paternity based afternoon waiting for my daughter to be born & I built one.
The soundtrack features content - designed to build the world around you while you play. It includes dialogue that informs & welcomes you into this strange world of utopian-disguise, bureaucracy & greed. An hour-long soundscape of immersive Civitas Nihilium awesomeness. Due to the ever changing landscape of each game you play, and the way our minds collect sound information based on focus: you will hear something new each time you play the game listening to it.
We refer to listening to the soundtrack while playing CN as "Jacking In!"
Additional to the base game we have a bunch of extra goodies we hope to suit all budgets...
As this is an exclusive Kickstarter campaign we wanted to make sure that at every level there's something precious & unique for all of our backers to cherish.
Note. There are several layers to this game hiding under the surface, beyond the tabletop. But be prepared for them to surprise you beyond your imagination - these disks are just the beginning.
UPDATE: The extended lore is included with every pledge from it's starting level, including all EarlyBirds
Your character card. Celebrate your immortalised position within the Civitas Nihilium Universe, by having a completely unique 1 of 1 print created, signed, delivered to your door & displayed in your home! No one on planet earth will have this print & it is yours to keep forever.
Character Creation Day at Pinewood Studios.
This pledge will have you come to our offices & work with me as we build your character together. The day will be like no other. Pinewood Studios is a working studio lot based just outside of London. It is the permanent shooting base of Star Wars & James Bond. We will be your guide for the day, & then when all of the cinema joy-fullness concludes, we will hit our studio & build your character from scratch! The cost of the pledge includes lunch, refreshments & one night stay in local accommodation.
Stretch goals are applied to all rewards that include a base game.
UNLOCKED! See this update for details.
UNLOCKED! See this update for details.
UNLOCKED! See this update for details.
THE AIM OF THE GAME
Complete three crimes while keeping you and your rookie alive, without losing your 'Reputation'.
- You collect evidence throughout the game, which enables crimes to be completed.
- Each crime comes with its own evidence number.
- When evidence reaches five, the final encounter is revealed.
- When the final encounter conditions are met (different for every crime), the crime is complete.
Characters & rookies
Each main character and rookie comes with their respective resources, skills, health and special abilities.
- Reveal three character & rookie cards.
- Obverse the stats/abilities of both, and choose one of each.
- Discard the remaining cards.
This is what you use to help aide you in acquiring more skills to pass trials set by the witnesses, encounters and locations throughout an investigation. Resources can be gained, spent, traded or lost.
Reputation (blue dice) Along with your health, this is a critical score. Citizens and officials can be easily swayed by the influence a highly thought of detective may bring. In some circumstances you might not be able to question certain witnesses unless you have the required reputation (see qualifiers).
Ether (green dice) The lightning fast currency technology that all Civitas citizens and officials use. Your route to purchasing upgrades and sometimes the only way to get people to talk.
IonCharges (purple dice) Ion accelerated matter is the power source of Civitas Nihilium. Your Ion enables multiple usage of your upgrades along with direct transport to other sectors of CN.
Note. Rep, Ether & Ion are capped at 18.
The Fate D10 roll is what you sue to complete trials presented by witnesses, locations, and encounters. Like with D&D a trial works by applying a skill to a particular trial and this enables you to add an additional number.
Charisma - the finger click & point symbol - Sometimes sweet talking can make all the difference. Use this skill to pacify the most dangerous encounters. Extend your wits to solve, uncover and expose the bizarre less obvious criminal activity.
Engagement - the interlocking symbol - Straightforward muscle based policing. From using your weapon, to flat out hand to hand. This is the physical skill and prowess expressed in a number. Use it to engage, arrest & detain.
Analysis - the magnifying glass symbol - Inspection is sometimes the only way to collect the evidence required to get your suspects to court: a skill deeply embedded in detail.
Wounds & Health - Indicated by the green cross on the character card in the picture above. This is your starting health. When you receive wounds, this goes down. Once it reaches zero, your character or rookie dies.
The crime deck consists of double sided cards both with an A & B side. We will not show these on Kickstarter due to spoilers!
You will be working through three crimes, starting with the crime card, moving through first responders, witnesses, locations and encounters. Each crime card has a partner final encounter card.
The crime card tells you how many cards to play between it and the crime's final encounter, which will be your last card in the investigation. It is your task to make sure that you collect enough evidence between these cards to complete the crime.
The crime is revealed, along with its evidence starting number. Corresponding evidence markers are placed onto that crime's final encounter card.
Witnesses, locations & upgrades
Witnesses have come forward, key locations have been reported and the upgrade stores just got in some serious kit!
Three witnesses, three locations and three upgrades are placed into their designated positions, with the remaining respective decks placed beside them in their “pools”face down.
If you can afford it, at this stage you may purchase upgrades. You buy them for their Ether cost, and every time you want to activate their ability you spend IonCharges.
This upgrade costs 6 Ether, and you need 2 IonCharges to use it again and again. The symbols underneath allow for a quick reference.
Note. Sharing is caring. It is possible to spend Ether or IonCharges between both your rookie and your character, unless a card rule states otherwise.
This is a reputation qualifier. Some witness cards can’t be played unless you have a combined reputation score of the qualifier or higher.
To get to places you need fuel. If you don’t have the combined IonCharges, you can’t visit that location.
Note. The resources on qualifiers aren't spent, you just need to have them in order to visit each card.
If you don’t meet the qualifiers on any of the revealed cards you investigate, you must always play an Encounter Card. Normally bad news, but if you manage to defeat the odds, you will be rewarded with some lovely bonuses.
Your starting crime card will give you a starting trial to overcome. It will then tell you to draw cards...
Draw: 1 First Responder, 3 Witnesses, 2 Locations, 1 Encounter into your Crime Investigation Area.
There are several ways to interact with the cards of CN. Witnesses, locations and encounters are unique, most of them will require you to complete a trial of some kind. Using the scores between your character and rookie you choose a trial, roll your Fate D10 and determine the pass or fail outcome.
Note. The only cards that should be placed face down into the Investigation Area are the Encounter Cards. This is because they usually present a challenge to the player.
Roll your Fate D10, add your respective skill and resolve the outcome.
If trials are numbered (top left). This is a card that offers a choice. The symbols of the characters tell you who is required to do the trial (details below).
The large number next to the characters is the score you need to hit, or get above with your Fate D10. (10, 11 or 12)
The skill symbol tells you what skill bonus you add to your roll.
If trials are not numbered, do exactly what the card states.
Example of a card trial
The above picture is a trial presented on a particularly lucrative witness card.
From left it is asked that we roll twice for our main character and rookie, that we must hit at least an 8 combined with our engagement bonuses, and if we get an 8 we collect 7 Evidence tokens from our crimes final encounter card. If we get below an 8, we loose all of our Ether.
Typical trial setup:
- Who rolls
- The target number
- Skill bonus to be added
- Take the positive or negative bonuses
Conditions & character requirements
To the centre left of some cards is a conditions table. It will normally state who rolls, and for what.
Some circumstances might give you the option to choose who takes the trial. Say for example your rookie has a greater score than you for Charisma, you could choose to roll the trial with just your rookie.
Many times throughout the card reveals you will see symbols that state who should be taking the trial...
Just your Character. Only add your Character’s skill.
Your Rookie on their own. Only add your Rookies skill.
Either you or your Rookie (you decide). Choose who.
Both. You roll twice, adding your combined skills.
Adding cards to the investigation area
When taking witnesses and locations into the investigation you may only take them from the three revealed in their respective pools. Some of the cards will have a Reputation or IonCharge Qualifier. If you are unable to draw a location or witness card due to a failed qualifier, you must play an encounter card immediately.
If there are no more locations or witness cards in the revealed sections, take the first card immediately from the top of the respective deck and place it into your investigation timeline, but only if you are able to match the qualifier. If you match the qualifier don't, draw an encounter card immediately.
Note. Every time you are asked to draw a card but you can’t, an encounter card must be played.
Hitting or missing the target number...
- Green is earned
- Red is deducted
Note. Whoever took the trial takes the penalty from their respective resources. Positive bonuses can always be shared regardless of who took the trial.
The cards you play reduce the evidence markers from your final encounter. However, if you run out of cards before getting to the target of 5 evidence, you must enact the rules for unsolved.
Every time you complete a trial with a witness you add that witness to the wing of the Final Encounter Card.
When only the FEC is left, you must discard all but one witness from the unsolved crime and use that card as your sole means to collect the remaining evidence.
Note: Normally, you would want to keep the best evidence rewarder you have and shuffle the rest back into their pool.
You play that card again and hope that you get the evidence marker to 5, so it can be flipped, but if you don't the crime remains unsolved.
Note: The key witness card could still evoke new cards into your empty investigation area. When that happens simply play those cards as normal.
You may start the next upgrade phase followed by a new investigation in the hope that you can better your chances of taking on the card. An additional blue d6 is added to the unsolved crime which limits you to five chances with the key witness card. If the 5 chances are spent without getting to 5 Evd you take the automatic penalty of losing 10 reputation. If you are not removed from the game in shame then you start another crime as normal. If it was your third and final crime, the game ends as normal - albeit with a minus of 10 reputation.
Solving the crime
If 5 Evidence or less remains, you flip the Final Encounter Card and observe the final encounter conditions.
In the top right hand corner of the FEC is a final evidence removal trial.
In this example the player gets a chance to repeatedly remove the final remaining evidence markers for every 5 reputation they have between themselves and their rookie. They must get a 13 or above on their combined analysis score. If they fail the crime becomes unsolved.
If they succeed they immediately take the three trials detailed in the three separate boxes at the bottom of the card.
The three trials above are analysis 14, engagement 9 and charisma 8. The arrow indicates what happens if the trial is passed. In this instance it simply means proceed to the next box. If the trial is lost due to a low combined skill score, then whatever is RED is the penalty.
NOTE: Whenever evidence is added in this manner during the final trials of a final encounter, qualifiers must be retaken.
When no evidence markers are left and the final trials are completed, the crime is done and bonuses are awarded. The bonus is always positioned slight centre-left above the first trial on the FEC.
Here you win 5 Ether, 3 IonCharges and 5 Reputation. To be shared how you choose.
If this is your third crime complete, congratulations you have retired and exposed a rookie to one of the best hands-on training around! Note the final score of your combined resources.
Shuffle all the decks and play again!
A new way to play solo. Featuring an immersive mechanic never been done before...
Normally the solo variant to a game can feel something of an afterthought, but not here. This is a tabletop game with the solo player experience in complete & utter focus.
There are many reasons why the itch to play a complex board game can't be scratched. Mine was because I could never get a group together as regularly as I wanted. I'm a Dad, I run my own business, & I only ever seem to be in the mood for a complex board gaming session in the mornings - when everyone is busy. I am also quite gutsy/risky when I play in groups which usually leaves me sat on the sidelines, dead, ejected, contaminated, knocked out, voted out, or murdered from the game - fairly early on...Grrr
Solo play works for me. There are many board games out there that allow for a solitaire experience to be had, but none that quite marry up my interests - complex game play, retro video/glitch/pixel aesthetics, & cyberpunk.
My love for pixel art started when I was 12 years old. I was given for Christmas a Commodore Amiga A1200 - I had convinced my parents that it was for school work, but really I wanted it for games. I was blown away by titles like Flashback, The Secret of Monkey Island & The Chaos Engine. More notably, Beneath a Steel Sky & Syndicate really took my attention due to their marriage of pixel art and cyberpunk.
I thought that video games needed tonnes of logic based intellect & a creative mind like mine would stand no chance in getting anything done that was worthwhile.
Cut to 25 years later and I am still obsessed with the aesthetic these machines bring to the world. That's why I focused on making this game with original hardware and software. The fact that it is physical media in the form of a board game with a soundtrack made using the Amiga really appeals to me.
It's different, nostalgic and carries an essence of honesty I really like. For me, at least, it turns Civitas Nihilium into art.
In the world of Civitas Nihilium, the entire globe is slave to an idea: a policy that has changed the way people live their lives, it is called "The Civitas Idea".
Like all utopias of the cyberpunk variety the term 'utopia' is loose. There is without question an extremely dark undercurrent at place inside CN, with its butterflied effect rippling in from a very big shift in citizenship definition...
In this dimension 'The Civitas Idea' is gripping the world with its strongest grasp. Cities are making ridiculous claims to lure new patriots into town, and this is having a massive impact in the public sector, especially within the police department of Civitas Nihilium.
Witness protection agencies, lobbyists and powerful factions are all trying their nervous hand in attempting to control what is reported to the outside world.
Civitas Nihilium is one of several cities of a grand future, with unique selling points designed to lure the most desirable of the planet's people. A technological epicentre, a neo-human paradise, a city built on the foundations of ambition, with great healthcare, outstanding education and absolutely no crime.
You hate 'The Civitas Idea' - it’s a bureaucratic nightmare - but you're a patriot of Nihilium, and working for the secret police has been nothing short of an honour for you.
The Factions of Civitas Nihilium
Factions play an important part of your dealings within CN.
Factions exist through every walk of life within CN. The police, the public and private sectors, celebrities, hackers and the criminal underworld all have their fair share of Transhumanists, Cultists and Neo-Humans. These three main factions are extremely loyal - going beyond secret handshakes and into the world of bias judiciary process, political lobbying, veiled rendezvous, and all out conspiring - in order to get what they want.
When dealing with a member of a faction that matches yours or your rookie's, certain bonuses/rules are to be observed. But be careful not to order a betrayal or betray your own faction: the short term bonuses might seem worth it, but there's no denying how dangerously powerful some of these factions have become under the protection of The Civitas Idea.
Tranhumanists. Remove the name for a number, become one with the machine, forced evolution of the consciousnesses with the ultimate aim of becoming a-mortal.
Cultists. The hunt for meaning creates a particular type of vulnerability among the citizens of CN. A mass adoption of popular doctrine, leading to a pathway of devotion to the teachings of a charismatic controlled obsessive.
Neo-Humans. The worry set aside for the development of AI was short lived. Like all catastrophic threats facing human extinction, mother nature delivered the antidote - a new type of human being.
Glee Heads. UNLOCKED. See update.
Risks and challenges
Attracting enough backers to get the game through seems like the obvious one, as this is the very first Kickstarter I've done, but I have been working on alternative reality games for over 5 years and I have been supporting lots of indie projects on Kickstarter for many years as well so I believe that the true uniqueness of this game will be enough to pull us through.
I genuinely see the other risks as very minimal because we have absolutely everything in place. All that is needed is to add the new backer-exclusive characters, continue to develop a few aspects of the aesthetics like increasing text size and making some of the cards clearer.
The soundtrack will be mastered and we hope to have everything done and fully tested with the new Kickstarter characters by the beginning of August, with full deliveries going out in September.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)