54 AD - Rome stands at the height of its power with majestic buildings, robust infrastructure, and the world's mightiest army. Rome's Legions have vanquished her foes, and the Empire stands secure...or does it? Agrippina the Younger's deadly intrigues ensured Nero's rise to power, but can Nero hold the Empire together? Oppressed people all over the Empire yearn for their freedom. In particular, the Jews hunger for their independence and the chance to cleanse their homeland. Outside the Empire, a Coalition of Germanic Tribes, Goths, and Parthians will suffer no more Roman expansion. Sensing an opportunity, they begin to push back against Rome. Meanwhile, small groups of Christians are challenging all kinds of religious and cultural norms. Each faction has unique objectives and their own asymmetric advantages to exploit. They simply need your skill and cunning to turn the tide of history in their battle for the Soul of the Empire!
Soul of the Empire offers:
- Medium-Heavy Complexity
- Asymmetric Starting Positions, Objectives, and Faction Powers
- Dice Management, Faction Development, and Card-Driven Combat
- Immersion into the Cultural Clash Fracturing the Roman Empire
Current Art Status - All major game components and cards are complete. The graphic layout of the rulebook is the largest remaining art project. The rules are finalized, and here is the current draft layout for the rulebook:
Soul of the Empire employs four key elements to create a strategically-rewarding, highly-replayable, historically-rich gameplay experience:
1) Dice-Driven Action Selection System
This powers your Faction's ability to take actions. You have five dice you can roll 3 times to create either a run or set (called the dice sequence). Each die in the dice sequence empowers the faction to take an action. Players choose their actions in order to achieve an Objective point, or to work toward their faction's Special Victory Condition. Actions include moving units, recruiting units, initiating combat, claiming objectives, and more. Some of these actions depend on the die value, and some do not.
2) Deterministic Combat Values
The game models strategic-level combat using combat values based on the number of your units in the combat, a faction-specific combat card of your choice, and possible use of Faction Power Cards. The combat system forces players to wisely pick their battles. Sometimes, you must accept a loss in order to enable a key victory. Additionally, the Faction-specific effects on the combat cards can help move your Faction toward their objectives even in the midst of a tactical defeat.
3) Unique Power Decks
Explore the Roman, Jewish, and Christian cultures as they saw themselves at the time. These Faction Power Decks provide enormous potential benefits to their players, but they must be purchased and activated at the right time. Instead of a Power Deck, the Coalition possesses unique Rage and Plunder mechanisms which heighten their faction's focus on combat.
4) Objective System
The race to achieve Faction Objectives in conflict with each other keeps the tension high throughout the game. Each Faction's Special Victory Condition gives them a driving imperative, while the objective cards give them intermediate steps they can work toward. While the Coalition is not on the Objective Cards, the Objective Point Markers and Regional scoring options create a similar effect. Also, with 23 Objective Cards in the randomized deck, the Objective Cards create a unique sequence of challenges each time you play.
Soul of the Empire is played in turns with 3 phases: Start, Main, and End.
- The Start phase leverages Power Cards with one-time or durable abilities to improve the faction's circumstances.
- In the Main phase, the player picks an Objective from the Objective Cards, identifies an Objective Point Marker to fight for, or chooses to work toward their faction's Special Victory Condition. Then, the player uses their dice sequence to select and accomplish the desired actions to achieve their goal.
- The End phase allows the player to purchase Power Cards, roll and ready their dice sequence for the next turn, and score Claimed Objectives they have accomplished.
Play starts with the Roman faction, and passes left until a faction has achieved either 7 Objective Points or their Special Victory Condition. The instructional video below explains in detail each of the actions open to the players. The prototype rulebook is available for download. The rules are finalized, but the graphic design for the rulebook is not yet complete.
NOTE: All unlocked stretch goals will be included in every box of Soul of the Empire. Thank you for helping us make the game as good as it can possibly be for all players!
"Chara Games has a winner on their hands with Soul of the Empire. Where do we start? The asymmetrical factions are different enough to feel thematic and exciting each time you try a new one, but not so different you feel like you have to learn a new game for each. We appreciate having multiple ways to win. There’s the general path to victory in the completion of the objective cards and the individual goals of each faction. The "Building a Sequence with Dice" mechanism and then using those dice for actions is unique: a method we haven’t seen anywhere before. It’s clever! And the overall theming of the game is very well executed. It’s history-driven and you can tell much research was done. The way the factions are designed to interact with each other is very reflective of the conflicting word views and cultures at the time and it’s interesting to be able to explore those conflicts.
If you’re looking for a historical asymmetric strategy game with area control and a refreshing use of dice, we recommend Soul of the Empire!"
- Spencer and Lara Williams
"Loved the dynamic asymmetrical factions. At first thought one faction was overpowered but slowly realized each was extremely powerful in its own way. So far feels balanced, but it’s kinda hard to believe it. We both found ourselves metagaming with it by strategizing in our idle time outside of the game!" - Nathan Scallon
"The various mechanics were familiar, but the game was very fresh. With multiple paths to victory, the tight race to the end was always present but did not feel unattainable. It was well balanced throughout gameplay with some really great interactive moments of both triumph and defeat. Because of the variety I think people will really have some exciting events that they haven't seen before in subsequent plays." - Nick Longo
"Soul of the Empire provides a satisfying blend of strategy and tactics, rewarding long-term planning while requiring skillful adaptation in response to the ever-changing board state. The asymmetry of the faction abilities and victory conditions gives each faction a distinct flavor and feel, effectively simulating the historical reality that each group had differing behaviors and goals. Mechanically, Soul of the Empire impresses, with an innovative, yet intuitive, dice-based system for assigning actions and a card-based combat system that encourages strategic thinking and knowing your faction's strengths." - Matt Kiser
"What a great game! A medium-to-heavy weight game with asynchronous starting, playing, and winning conditions?! Count me in! Great mechanics that work well with the theme." - Kevin Berent
We are excited to include 6 promotional cards for our 3 other games in every box of Soul of the Empire! These cards will only be available through Soul of the Empire, and will not be available for independent sale. Thank you for supporting Chara Games!
Additionally, the Reward Levels include a Conversation Guide to explore more about the theme, and the opportunity to get a high-resolution digital file of 1 or more of the faction art pieces. We think our artist did a phenomenal job, and you should have the opportunity to enjoy it!
Since Soul of the Empire explores the clash of cultures that occurred in the first century, it references the political and religious beliefs of the time. We have tried to portray each faction in the game as they viewed themselves. This perspective enabled us to really explore the tensions between the predominant worldviews of the time, and to present as accurate a reflection of history as possible. For backers interested in exploring more about the political, cultural, and religious conflicts of the time, we created the Soul of the Empire Conversation Guide. This guide is a digital product which presents historical facts and thoughtful questions players can discuss after playing the game to gain a deeper understanding of the historical setting involved. If you have specific questions about the cultures involved, we would love to discuss them with you. As with all our games, we hope you have fun, and maybe learn a little along the way!
For Soul of the Empire, we plan on using Shuffled Ink as our manufacturing partner. We printed Commissioned, 3 Seeds, UNAUTHORIZED, and the Commissioned reprint with them, and their production value is undisputed. The preproduction process is already underway to ensure the very best quality for Soul of the Empire. In the rare case (our tracking shows <1%) something is wrong in your copy of the game, we will replace it immediately!
We will fulfill games to backers based on their location. Backers in the US will receive their game via fulfillment by Amazon. Backers in Canada will either receive their game via fulfillment by Amazon or by direct mail from us. We are still finalizing our Canadian Fulfillment plan, and will keep you posted. All other backers will receive their games from Happyshops in Germany. Since we will ship direct from the factory to Happyshops, this process guarantees that no EU backers will need to pay VAT. Backers outside the EU, however, may be responsible for import fees on the shipment from Germany to your nation. We are very excited to be working with Happyshops to ensure you get your game quickly and in great position!
The chart below explains the projected shipping costs. All US shipping is included. Backers outside the US will incur an additional shipping fee. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
We plan to retail Soul of the Empire in multiple markets through our distribution and retail partners with a US retail price of $55. Our promise to backers is that games will be shipped to all US and Canadian backers before any are shipped to distributors. This guarantees your early access to the game. For potential customers from other nations, games will only be available through Happyshops, and they will not sell any games on their website until all backers have received their games.
US & Canadian Backers - If you are interested in getting all three of our other games in addition to Soul of the Empire, then check out the $115 Reward Level. If you would like to get just 1 or 2 of these games, select your desired Soul of the Empire Reward Level and then increase your pledge by the amount in the chart below.
Non-US Backers - The only ADD-ON available outside the US is Commissioned. We are currently reprinting the game, and will be able to ship in bulk to Happyshops. This represents one of our limited opportunities to get Commissioned into Europe in an economical rate. If you are interested, please select your desired Soul of the Empire Reward Level and then increase your pledge by the amount in the chart below.
We definitely need to thank two special groups of people. First, thank you to our art team of Kenneth Spond and Le Ratislav for your tremendous work bringing our game to life! We think that backers will find the art both beautiful and functional as you play. Second, thank you our devoted team of play-testers for putting Soul of the Empire through its paces over the last 6 months! Your efforts were instrumental in refining both the gameplay and the clarity of the rules. The game would not be where it is without your efforts!
Risks and challenges
Every Kickstarter project carries risks and challenges like manufacturing, shipping, and customs delays. This campaign is no exception! Chara Games, however, has funded and fulfilled 3 previous kickstarters (Commissioned, 3 Seeds, and UNAUTHORIZED). These campaigns were not perfect, but they all fulfilled to their backers 1-3 months before the designated delivery date. We hope to do the same with Soul of the Empire! Our pledge remains to be completely transparent throughout the process of the campaign and its fulfillment. We will share the good news and the bad news with you. We will send out monthly updates to let you know how the timeline is progressing. If you have questions about how we handle Kickstarter campaigns, we encourage you to talk with the backers of our previous efforts. Thank you in advance for your support, participation, and patience as we work through the many details involved in fulfilling a Kickstarter campaign!
Additionally, shipping outside the US has been a significant challenge in the past. This is why we are proud to work with Happyshops in Germany in order to fulfill this campaign. They are a respected, tested partner in the board game industry, and we look forward to working with them.
Finally, Soul of the Empire is a $38k project. Production and shipping will cost approximately $26k. Fulfillment to backers will cost nearly $8k. Art cost $2.5k. Initial marketing expenses cost $1k. Prototyping cost $500. We have already paid the art, marketing, and prototyping expenses, and our current company and personal reserves can cover approximately $22k. As a result, we set the funding goal for this campaign at $12k. This maximizes our potential to bring Soul of the Empire to the market with an acceptable level of financial risk. Thank you for partnering with us to make this game a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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