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Play as a secret society in this competitive board game for 2-4 players of warring empires and shifting loyalties.
Play as a secret society in this competitive board game for 2-4 players of warring empires and shifting loyalties.
639 backers pledged $44,105 to help bring this project to life.

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Five mighty empires are at war for the world, but you are no mighty ruler. Instead, you'll be playing a secret society who is betting on the hopeful victors of this war while pulling strings to rig the results and ensure your bets pay off. A War of Whispers is a game of area control, hidden agendas, and shifting loyalties, that offers deep strategy within a tight playing time.

Read a design diary by Jeremy Stoltzfus!  

Example Setup — Standard Edition
Example Setup — Standard Edition

You start the game with 5 Loyalty Tokens, each corresponding to one of the 5 different empires, bet randomly on a loyalty value. 

Your goal is to ensure that when the game ends, the empires you are most loyal to control the most cities across the map. You will influence the actions of these empires by placing spies in their ruling councils, which will give you control over certain functions of that empire: attacking, unit placement, etc.

Gameplay consists of turns broken down into the following phases:  

  • Deploy Agents — Each player deploys their agents to empire council positions. Sheriffs solidify an empire, Stewards draw cards or boost a single region, the Marshall prepares for battle, and the Chancellor exercises their authority by copying other agent positions.
  • Empire Turns — Each council position on each empire council will take an action such as attacking, drawing or playing a card, or marching your banners. Cards are empire-specific but can be combined with cards from other empires for devastating combos. The combat resolution is diceless and brutal — forces exchange at a 1:1 ratio.

In the above example, the player takes the Sheriff action by placing 2 banners, then the Marshall action by attacking 2 banners into enemy territory.

  • Mark the Turn — Pass the first player marker clockwise and advance the marker on the turn track. The game will end immediately when the marker hits the final spot on the fourth round.  
  • Swap (optional) — Each player may swap 2 of their unrevealed loyalty tokens. If they choose to do so, they must reveal both of the swapped loyalty tokens and leave them revealed for the rest of the game.
  • Cleanup — Each player discards down to 5 cards.

How do I play cards?

You play cards during your Empire Turn. To play the card, you must discard cards of the empire and quantities shown in the cost listed beside the chosen ability.

The card being played counts as one of the cards being discarded to pay the cost. For this reason, the first ability on each card can be played without discarding any additional cards.

In the above example, 2 cards are discarded to take advantage of the Bear Empire's Mercenaries ability: destroy 3 banners in any region. 

How do I win?

To determine the winner, players reveal all of their loyalty tokens that were placed secretly at the start of the game. Multiply the loyalty bonus by the number of cities each empire controls. The graphic above represents a sample final scoring for the Pale Raven player:

  • Lion — 2 Cities x 4 Loyalty (Devout) = 8 
  • Elephant — 3 Cities x 3 Loyalty (Dutiful) = 9 
  • Bear — 1 City x 2 Loyalty (Affiliated) = 2 
  • Eagle — 4 Cities x 0 Loyalty (Unallied) = 0 
  • Horse — 2 Cities x (-1) Loyalty (Opposed) = -2

The final score for the Pale Raven player is 17 (8 + 9 + 2 + 0 - 2). 

The player who scores the most points is the winner. If two players are tied for equal points then the player that swapped loyalty the least during the game wins. If both players are still tied, the player with the most empire cards in hand wins.

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Watch a full playthrough:

Share your support for A War of Whispers by using one of these avatars! Which secret society will you align with?

Are you planning to be at the Origins Game Fair? Hey, us too! We'll have a prototype of A War of Whispers available for demos, so come see us at the Starling Games Booth, #1132/1134, if you want to give it a try!

Game Design: Jeremy Stoltzfus
Art: Tomasz Jedruszek
Art Direction, Graphic Design, Map Illustration: Dann May 
Game and Creative Development: Dann May, Brenna Noonan, Jeremy Stoltzfus 
Additional Graphics and Development: Cody Jones 
Kickstarter and Social Media: Brenna Noonan 
Executive Producer: Dan Yarrington 
Published by: Starling Games

Thank You For Helping Us Run An Awesome Campaign

We're so happy to be here on Kickstarter building and growing our community. We love the direct engagement with you, the backers, and the opportunity to build projects together and bring them to reality. To that end, we strictly adhere to the Kickstarter Community Guidelines. If you violate the Community Guidelines by being a jerk or spamming the campaign, we will refund in full and cancel your pledge and you will not be eligible to receive any rewards from the campaign. We encourage open discussion but we draw the line at abusive language and behavior. Thank you to the vast majority of our backer community who are respectful and thank you in advance for helping us follow Kickstarter's Community Guidelines and maintain and grow a respectful community on this campaign and across Kickstarter.

Risks and challenges

Starling Games was launched as an imprint of Game Salute LLC in 2018. At Starling Games, we strive to create games for the hobbyist gamer, crafting elegant mechanics with beautiful artwork and top-notch components. Some of our most popular titles include Everdell, Alien Frontiers, Black Orchestra, King's Forge, and more.

Our team has delivered hundreds of successful Kickstarter products since 2012, including our own published titles and those we've helped independent publishers run and fulfill. While printing, shipping, and processing delays are always a possibility, we have set a reasonable delivery date based on our experience.

Replacements
We are always happy to replace defective or damaged dice, cards, or other components. Just send us photos of the damage, and we will ship a replacement at no additional cost to you. If your item needs to be returned, we will cover the cost of the return shipping. We provide replacement pieces while titles are active in our catalog, which is typically at least a year after their initial printing. Replacement requests must be made within 30 days of the date the item was delivered to you. For replacement requests, please go to www.starling.games/replacements.

Kickstarter Refunds
If you'd like a refund before your item ships, you have until one week before the scheduled ship date to request one. We can offer you a 90% refund since Kickstarter retains about 10% of your pledge for various fees. If there is something wrong with your item, we appreciate the opportunity to replace or exchange it. If a refund is preferred and there is no defect with the product, you'll be responsible for shipping it back to us. Upon receipt of the returned item, we'll issue you a 90% refund. Refund requests must be made within 30 days of the date the item was delivered to you. For more questions about refunds, please go to www.starling.games/questions.

Community
When this campaign concludes, we'll invite you to join our Life & Times of a Board Game newsletter. If you do not wish to join, no worries – just ignore the invite. If you're already on the list with the email you use in Kickstarter, you will not receive another invite. We hope you'll join our community through the Life & Times newsletter to stay up to date on all the cool stuff we're doing as a company. Thanks!

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    Standard Edition

    1 copy of the Standard Edition of A War of Whispers.

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    • A War of Whispers — Standard Edition
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Funding period

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