AU$ 2
pledged of AU$ 33,000pledged of AU$ 33,000 goal
2
backers
23days to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Dec 7 2018
Sareen McLintonBy Sareen McLinton
First created
Sareen McLintonBy Sareen McLinton
First created
AU$ 2
pledged of AU$ 33,000pledged of AU$ 33,000 goal
2
backers
23days to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Dec 7 2018

About

In our world, there will always be people who are looking for something to believe in, and leaders to follow. A Religion is a powerful way to unite people in a shared faith, work towards a greater good, and improve the wellbeing of a community. But history tells us that there will always be those individuals who see a Religion as an opportunity, to take advantage of vulnerable followers, and steer the direction of the organization towards achieving their own personal gain. You take on the role of a leader in the organization. Will you unite your following in salvation? Or will you abuse your power for your own selfish desires? Welcome to “Religion or Cult? The Board Game.”

If you would believe, the idea for “Religion or Cult? The Board Game” actually came to me in a dream (something a Cult leader would say, right?). After turning off the lights at night I always listen to a podcast: “My Favorite Murder,” “CaseFile”, “Serial Killers” by Parcast to name a few. But it was one Parcast podcast in particularly, “Cults” which got me thinking.

I have always been fascinated by Theology, and Cult Leaders and the process by which something so wonderful like a Religion, can become so corrupted by the actions of one person. What were the motivations that drove these charismatic figure heads, why were people so susceptible to their charm, and how were they able to get away with emotionally damaging so many people? In almost all cases, Followers don’t know they are in a Cult, and likewise does any Cult Leader actually set forth to intentionally create a Cult? There is so much media available and a real public appetite for understanding Cult leaders, and so many board games published around the world, but why has no one ever thought to create a board game around surviving the influences of a Cult Leader or becoming a Cult Leader themselves?

I have been a table top Board Gamer and RPG player for as far back as I can remember, enjoying the social interaction that comes with cooperative, competitive, and semi-cooperative board gaming. In particular I am a big fan of the subterfuge and traitor mechanics that have been used so effectively in board games like “Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game” and “Dead of Winter”. It’s because I love board gaming so much that I think I had this dream where the theme of Cults was merged into a board game. Drawing inspiration from the subterfuge mechanics of some excellent board games, I woke up and immediately began planning the game that would become “Religion or Cult? The Board Game.”

With extensive play testing, I refined the mechanics of the game to become what it is now, the bare bones - the printable Beta Version. The game is for 3 to 5 players. Players select a Character to play with, each with their own set of attributes and unique abilities. Players are dealt Belief cards at the start and mid-point of the game which tell them their secret identity and allegiance; a true believer, or a cultist. Players draw attributes cards from the within their attribute set (Charm, Ingenuity, Discern, Esteem, or Resilience) and while keeping their secret allegiance intact contribute attribute cards to overcome crises, defend cult influences, and recruit more followers to expand their organization. The game ends when true believers either reach their population growth total, or when the cultists have broken the resolve of the true believers, irrevocably tarnished the public image of the religion, or if a cultist has taken their place as the figure head of the organization.

The components of “Religion or Cult? The Board Game” all available as printable paper copy in this Beta Version are:

1x A3 game board which has the Resource trackers, Religion and Cultist locations.

2x A6 game board which has the Public locations where you recruit Followers.

5x A5 player tiles, which your character card sits on and contains a reminder of what you can do in a turn.

1x A5 Following overlay tile which is used for games with 3 or 4 players.

50x Follower tokens

25x Character cards

25x Character tokens

5x Devotee tokens

50x Religion Crisis cards

14x Cult Crisis cards

14x Belief cards

1x Committee President Title card

15x Committee Orders cards

5x Resource markers

105x Attribute cards

This Kickstarter campaign is for the Beta Version, a simple digital copy of “Religion or Cult? The Board Game” which you can print and cut out the pieces for, just like what I use for play testing. My goal for this Kickstarter campaign is to build hype and fund the cost of graphic design and artwork. If I meet my pledge total I will be able to commission Artists to bring my board game life. Any pledges that exceed this goal will be put towards making the Full Version as cost effective to manufacture as possible, saving my backers money. If this Kickstarter campaign succeeds, I will look to have graphic design and artwork created by March 2019, after which I’ll use this artwork to advertise the next Kickstarter campaign to print the Full Version of “Religion of Cult? The Board Game.” 

The other benefit of releasing this Beta Version is that you Gamers out there can help play test and give me feedback about what you want improved in the Full Version. Just to be clear, with your pledge in this campaign you will receive the printable Beta Version of the game. Fully playable in paper straight away, but without art work or graphic design.

If you can’t afford the pledge for the playable Beta Version, I’ve also added a cheaper pledge amount which will still at least get you a Digital Copy of the Rules of Play, to learn how to play and build your anticipation for the full manufactured version of “Religion or Cult? The Board Game.”

I need your help. Your pledges will truly help my Dream become a reality. 

Keep reading on for the Rules Summary, to get an overview of the game play and mechanics:

"Religion or Cult? is a semi-cooperative strategy game for 3-5 players. 

Players are assigned to one of two teams, True Believers or Cultists. They keep their team allegiance secret. Everybody is considered a True Believer unless otherwise revealed to be a Cultist. Halfway through the game, team allegiance may change, with True Believers becoming Cultists.

Players pick 1 of 25 characters to play with. Characters are made up from everyday people with everyday professions (e.g. there is a Car Salesman, a Librarian, a Police Officer to name a few) with a unique mix of attributes. 

There are 5 Attribute types with their own deck of cards: Charm, Ingenuity, Discern, Esteem, and Resilience. The type of cards each player draws each turn is based on the Character they are playing with and their skill set (e.g. the Police Officer draws 2 Discern, 2 Esteem, and 1 Resilience card on their turn). Attribute cards have point values (1 to 4) and also contain specific actions that players can play and perform during their turn.

Players add Attribute cards face down into Attribute checks, and Attribute cards from the Voice of the Following deck are also added to attribute checks. The Voice of the Following deck is made from 2 cards of each Attribute card type. In each Attribute check, two cards from the Voice of the Following deck are added – this is to represent the input that the recruited Followers of the Religion contribute to the Attribute checks. Cards are added face down and shuffled before resolving to protect the identity of Cultist saboteurs. 

Attribute checks are performed to pass Religion crises (everyday problems that a Religion faces to exist, from the mundane like assigning committee members to job roles, to the fun like organizing a charity fun run). Attribute checks are also performed to pass Cult Crises (the nefarious things that cults get up to like forcing their Followers to disconnect from their family members), and also Attribute checks are used to recruit more Followers. The types of Attribute cards that are ‘for’ or ‘against’ passing a crises, are based on the nature of that specific crises event (e.g. a Charity Fun Run would require Charm and Resilience to pass). Any Attribute type that is not ‘for’ that crises, counts as points against passing that crises, which is how Cultists may sabotage Attribute checks and cause the players to fail crises – (with the Voice of the Following cards added, it means that Cultist sabotage can go unnoticed). Failing a crises has a negative consequence, usually loss of Followers or Resources. Some crises require the Current Player, Committee President, or Following to choose the result of the crises, usually from the lesser of two negative results. 

Along with a specific set of attributes, each Character has an Influence score (meaning how present or persuasive they are compared to the other characters, e.g. the police officer has a higher influence score than the car salesman) and a unique power or ability (some are every turn, some are once per game, depending on how influential that character is – lower the Influence score the better the power that character has, and vice versa). The Player who’s Character has the highest Influence starts the game as the Committee President. The Committee President also takes control of the Committee Orders deck. This deck consists of powerful cards to help Recruit Followers, save resources, or even Excommunicate other players. During the game, other players can challenge and take over the Committee President title by successfully passing an Attribute check and the Board Room location.

The game board consists of the home base building for the Religion, with Locations that players can move between (eg. the mess hall, the board room, the foyer). Each location has a specific action that can be performed there. Next to the game board is an additional board that holds the Public locations which players can move to to perform actions to recruit followers (e.g. door knocking, preaching at a strip mall, going on a radio interview). 

A player’s game turn consists of: 1) drawing Attribute cards, 2) moving to a new location, 3) performing an action, 4) resolving a Religion crises, and 5) sometimes facing a cult crisis. Cult crises occur based on the insurgence tracker, which is activated and moves along when particular Religion crises arise.

True Believer’s success is based on mitigating the loss of 3 important resources – Resolve (which represents the Morale of the committee), Public Image (which represents how the public perceives the Religion to be – the lower this score gets the more outsiders think the Religion is actually a cult) and the Faith Meter (which represents the faith or trust that the Following have in their leadership Committee). For Cultists to win, they need to prevent the True Believer’s from reaching their Following size target (e.g. 50 Followers in a 5 player game), or reduce Resolve or Public Image to zero, or end the game with a Cultist holding the Committee President Title card. This means there are several ways that a Cultist can win.

Cultists may reveal themselves during the game, with actions that have devastating consequences for the True Believers. When a Cultist successfully reveals themselves, they then play on as a revealed Cultist and are only able to move between Cultist locations on the game board. During their turn they can perform actions from Cult locations that further harm the True Believers from completing their win condition. They can also launch cult crises for the True Believers to face, with many actions that can be performed to help the Cultists win.

During the game, actions and affects can lead to players being Excommunicated or kicked out of the organization. Players would usually voluntarily activate this location Attribute check when the actions of other players lead them to suspect that that player may be a Cultist not a True Believer. There are harmful consequences if a player is Excommunicated who was actually a True Believer. True Believers who are Excommunicated can select a new character to continue the game with, so the player is not out of the game. Cultists who are Excommunicated play on as revealed Cultists, but do not get to perform their reveal power.

The play time is approximately 3-4 hours for a 5 player game (slightly shorter for 3 and 4 player games).

There are other cool mechanics through the game, where Players can poach other players Followers, and also gain Devotees, who follow the player without question and provide extra actions each turn to Cultists or True Believer players. The variety in the actions that can be performed at locations and from Attribute cards means there is always something for the players to do to work towards their win condition (whether Cultist or True Believer).

Ultimately it is a fun game to play as a group. Especially if you are group who like playing games where you need to bluff, sabotage and deceive, and is especially fun in a good group of friends who like yelling and shouting, whilst knowing that it’s all in the game – surviving with their friendships intact."

If you like the sound of this game, please Pledge to help me fund creating the artwork and producing the game in its full beautiful version. For US $15 you’ll be able to get the print/cut/play copy of the game with no artwork that we use for play testing.

If you can’t afford $15 US but would like to read the detailed Rules of Play, then $5 US would get you that. Anything you can Pledge really will help. 

Thank you for your time, and hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Risks and challenges

I would love to get feedback from those who back my campaign and play test the Beta Version. I am hoping that my game is as popular as I hope it will be (please share this page with your friends), so in the event that I get a lot of backers, I apologize in advance for delayed responses to everyone's feedback.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 7 or more About US$ 5

    Rules of Play for "Religion or Cult?"

    Learn to play "Religion or Cult? The Board Game" - Beta Version with the Rules of Play hand book. A Digital Copy will be emailed to you at the end of this Kickstarter campaign. This will teach you the rules of the game and help build anticipation for the forthcoming Full Version. The more backers I get for this Beta Version, the cheaper I will be able to offer the Full Version for in a Kickstarter campaign next year.

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    Print/Play copy of "Religion or Cult?"

    Play "Religion or Cult? The Board Game" in its raw Beta Version with no graphic art. You will be sent a Digital Copy of the Rules of Play, and the complete board game, which you can print and cut out the components for. Although the print design is basic, without graphic artwork, you will be able to play the board game in its entirety, in anticipation for the full print run and manufacture of "Religion or Cult? The Board Game." More backers for this raw Beta Version will help to make the manufacture of the Full Version with graphic art completed more cost effective.

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    Be a Character in "Religion or Cult?"

    Choose from 1 of 25 base game Characters, each with their own unique profession and ability (first in first serve). That Character will be renamed after you and your likeness will be used for the graphic art when the "Religion or Cult? The Board Game" - Full Version is produced.
    You will also receive a digital copy of the Rules of Play and a printable copy of "Religion or Cult: The Board Game" - Beta Version which you can cut out and start playing with right away.

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Funding period

- (30 days)