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Build a city, enhance allegiances, and expand control using worker dice in this dystopian-themed board game for 2-6 players.
Build a city, enhance allegiances, and expand control using worker dice in this dystopian-themed board game for 2-6 players.
4,765 backers pledged $309,495 to help bring this project to life.

The Apocalypse Cometh

Posted by Jamey Stegmaier (Creator)

Thank you all for another amazing, euphoric day. A number of you told me today that you really appreciate the way I'm running this Kickstarter campaign, and that meant a lot to me. If you're one of those people who like the way we do things at Stonemaier Games, I would recommend that you Like us on Facebook--it's a great way to stay in touch with us after the campaign (don't worry, I'll still send out project updates too).

I have a story to tell you that is inspired by the results of the Tournament of the Apocalypse that took place earlier in this project, as well as your comments that followed. This story takes place in the not-so distant future.

The future is often depicted as a dismal, overpopulated scrapyard, but that isn't the case in this story. Thanks to advances in biotechnology, humans are embedded with an organic microchip at birth that grows as they develop, resulting in a full-functional computer enhancement to every brain.

The Org, as it is called, brings people, businesses, and entertainment to a new level of connection and efficiency. 99% of the technological interfaces we interact with today with our hands are now embedded into people's minds. All communication is instantaneous. Business transactions great and small are authorized with thought passwords. Every network--electric, internet, roads, etc--are connected in real time to every user.

When Org was being developed by a top-secret research team at Washington University in St. Louis, a political debate raged on about where the massive Org server hub should be located. Not only would it generate thousands of jobs, it would need to be the most secure server in the world. The future of human thought was dependent on the Org server.

So it was decided in the end that the server would be located on the moon. In addition to the benefits of isolation from the rest of the world, the moon's cold surface would act as a natural coolant to the immense heat generated by the Org server. The server would be powered by a fusion reactor buried deep in the core of the moon.

Cut to several decades later, with Org fully operational in 95% of all humans. Most have forgotten the time before Org, just like it's hard for us to truly remember what it was like before e-mail.

Several new pockets of society emerged as a result of Org. The first is a new upper upper class occupied by those who designed Org. The biotechnology made those researchers rich beyond comprehension, and their inexhaustible resources, they built a golden city just south of St. Louis. They invited the wealthiest people around the world to join them in Euphoria, as they called the city, enticing them with lavish private skyscrapers and an Org 2.0 network exclusive to the city.

Meanwhile, another group emerges. At the time, they identify as Luddites--those who eschew technology in favor of a simpler life. With no place in the ever-connected society (try having a conversation out loud with someone who communicates entirely through thought), the Luddites find commune with one another in the foothills of the Ozarks.

On the run for a crime she didn't commit, a woman known simply as "The Outlaw" discovers that the only way she can hide from the law (given that her Org serves as a tracking device) is to escape underground. After hearing of stories of the caverns under St. Louis, she finds herself in a subterranean world. Soon others join her, and together they begin to build a new life while the Org-connected world continues above them on the surface.

This brings us to the select group of individuals chosen to run the Org server. The Icarites, as they call themselves, operate a space station halfway to the moon. They make sure that Org has 100% uptime, a goal they accomplish without fail for many years.

That is, until the Incident.

Without warning, the fusion reactor in the middle of the moon imploded. Within seconds the Org server and the moon itself are reduced to space dust.

People will tell you that they remember that day, but they are lying. When the moon imploded, every single person with Org embedded in their brains blacked out. 95% of the world instantly went to sleep. The vast majority of them never woke up.

For those who are able to recover from the Incident, they get to experience the end of the world firsthand. Every network in the world is down: stock markets, electric grids, automated food transportation, name it, it's gone. People freeze. People starve. People die.

Meanwhile, the earth itself changes. Tidal patterns are forever altered, and the world is stricken by natural disasters and extreme weather conditions. Most coastlines are underwater, and the disruption of migratory patterns in birds and bees causes widespread crop failures.

The lucky few are those who weren't dependent on the Org server. The Euphorians with their private server. The Luddites--now called the Wastelanders--and their lack of technology. The Subterrans, oblivious underneath the earth. And the Icarites, who suspiciously saw the moon implosion coming and had been weening themselves off the Org for months.

It is those four groups that form the new world. Each takes harsh measures to sustain their way of life and ensure the future of humanity. Will you join them--especially the apocalyptic recruits, the Philanthropist, the Luddite, the Outlaw, and the Astronomer--in building a better dystopia?

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    1. Thierry Soucie

      Wow, I love that story, it's really great! :D (On a side note, I just went to pick up my very beautiful copy of Viticulture today :)).

    2. Simon Tam on

      Great story! Glad to see you working in the connection to the alma mater WashU in the backstory! I can't wait to play this game with my fellow WashU alumni!

    3. Steven Shaw on

      Really cool backstory, but wouldn't a server on the moon introduce considerable lag into the system? The moon is 1.25 light-seconds away, so all communication to and from the server would take at least 2.5 seconds.

      I'll just have to suspend my disbelief for that part of the story. :)

    4. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Teal That's a pretty brilliant explanation for the bliss. Originally they were going to be some sort of toxin in the air, but I like your explanation better.

    5. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Ams "Org" is both a play on "organization" and "organic technology." :)

    6. Miguel on

      Thatas a huge improvement in the history. I love the way you have added the moon implosion to the internet shutdown to create a"beliveable" armaggedon for humanity and for the game. Great work!

    7. ☜☆RSF☆☞ on

      That's a great backstory Jamey. I enjoyed reading it and I think it adds a little something to the game - yep, it sets the scene nicely. ;-)

    8. Ams on

      in case anyone dislikes the word "fanfic" as it connotes Harry Potter popping up where he has no right to be, (although Doctor who visiting wouldn't be as out of place), basically I'm hinting/asking the more literary prone to write their interpretation of things that happen in the universe- we all are going to make up stories, right? Why not write a few of them down?

    9. Ams on

      @Teal- that is a reasonable explanation. Man, I really want backers of this game to write fanfic. After reading these (and other apocolyptic explanations) I know a few of us have great ideas, and I like different people's interpretations.

      @Jamey- does Org stand for something (or rather, did it use to, as the people by now have forgotten it used to be an acronym) ? Organization? Online Relay Gadget?

      btw, if I didn't say it- I love the chip doing most of what we do today. I could see that- typing, pouring coffee, writing reports, etc. And I can see how crippling a world without it would be. I thought no internet would be lame- you made it sweet. And The moon implosion- so great, so awesome, gah! I was originally rooting for the robot invasion. I am so happy that lost. So very, very happy.

    10. Teal Rogers on

      Very nice story. It has just occurred to me that this could be tied in to the reason why bliss can be mined from the clouds:

      A global network of nano satellites was employed to store and relay signals from the central server on the moon. After all, the moon can only see half of the earth at any one time. This satellite layer floats in the upper atmosphere waiting for the moon to come back into orbit, but they were never programmed for the possibility that it never would.

      The people call them bliss, because close proximity to a large number of these nano-satellites will re-enable many of the functions that were so abruptly lost. Unfortunately, the effect is only temporary. Once the nano-satellite's memory buffer is full it stops communicating forever, waiting for a core up-link that will never again come.

    11. Demonantis on

      @Virgilio Quantum entangled communication wouldn't have any significant latency and is completely plausible considering the advanced cybernetics.

      The back story is great anyways and you need to remember it is fiction so there is always some suspension of disbelief.

    12. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Mikhael That's a clever idea for an expansion, exploring the world where workers go when they escape. Originally that was the Wastelands, and then the story developed more so that each of the different factions was a different type of dystopia.

      @Noah That's awesome!

      @Virgilio That makes perfect sense with the position of the Icarite satellite fleet in the sky (they later convert to zeppelins since they prefer their view from on high).

      Thanks Bob!

    13. Bob Wieman on

      Just echoing the other accolades for this story. I was happy with Euphoria just being set after some nonspecific apocalypse, but this story makes me excited to rebuild the post-Org world.

    14. Virgilio Ruberti on

      Jamey, when i saw the outcome of the final poll, I thought the poll had been a bad idea. with so many voters, and the vote so close, there was no way you could make half of the voters happy without disappointing the other half...

      Clearly I was wrong. This backgound story is awesome, it fits so well with both scenarios, and with Euphoria overall! Thank you, and bravo :)

      As for the latency, yes, the ping would be terrible. according to my sources ( ) the earth-moon distance is 1.354 light-seconds. so there would be 3 seconds between a query and a response from the servers. As a solution I might speculate a fleet of orbital caching servers and some level of allowed local communication (a bit like the tech behind dropbox or skype). All made worthless, of course, with the implosion of the central lunar server. :P

    15. Brius on

      This is awesome! I read it to my girlfriend last night as a bedtime story :P

      Thanks for mixing in the moon implosion :)

    16. Joshua Taube

      @Jamey Actually my last 3-4 games of Viticulture I haven't trained more than 4 workers, granted that was with the expansion and Grande. Oh I love that Grande.

    17. Mikhael Weitzel on

      Great job with the story. Wonderfully crafted. So does the RPG come next? Or the follow on game where all the smart workers escape to?

    18. HAL-13 on

      @Tony, perhaps, this is the future after all, but a server in an extremely cold environment or a backup temperature regulation system would cost an insane amount of energy to operate (where other sites would not require it)... Unless somehow it is built 100% on superconductor technology. I think it's safer to assume that the Icarite planned it all up from the start and just relied on the rest of humanity's gullibility to let it all happen with their consent... sounds about right to me, it works alright already so I can only see things improving for those with dreams of grandeur ;-)

    19. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @A Mandible Thanks! I actually could have given them a gender in this case, since it's on the cards (the Outlaw and Philanthropist are women, and the Luddite and Astronomer are men).

    20. A Mandible on

      This is awesome.

      I don't think "new generations born with Org" can be the reason for the Wastelanders' survival-- it sounds like The Outlaw is one of the recruits, so... well, I guess she could have been very young when she escaped and very old now, leaving one or two generations of younger Wastelanders alive.

      Or perhaps the Wastelanders were just more ready to welcome the 5% of formerly unaffiliated people who woke up from the Org blackout.

      By the way, Jamey, I love that in your original post (on the blog) about the two scenarios, you gave one of the "you"s a boyfriend and one a girlfriend, and didn't specify gender for either protagonist. It (sadly!) always stands out when a designer doesn't assume their players are all male and straight.

    21. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Joshua You're all about training workers! Is that your strategy in worker-placement games?

      @Matthew That's awesome! The homage to St. Louis in Viticulture is a little more subtle, but it's there.

    22. Matthew Pilgreen

      Being from St. Louis (go Cards!), this story just pushed the game farther into the epic realm for me. Thanks, Jamey!

    23. Joshua Taube

      @Jamey My Viticulture card Professor is almost interchangeable as it is about training workers. I had hoped to maybe get the Professor or the equivalent in Euphoria but I am pleased/scared to be a Icarite!

    24. Tony Pecorelli on

      @ Rogue - Perhaps the servers are stored in the craters in the north and south poles of the moon which are always cold. Or instead of completely on the surface perhaps the server is somewhat underground and the installation bears the brunt of the temperature changes.

    25. Joshua Taube

      I love the story! I haven't read all the comments so I don't know if it has been said but I hope this goes in the rulebook and/or is elaborated on. Thanks Jamey!

    26. Missing avatar

      Katie James on

      This is fantastic! You know I'm a sucker for anything you write, and this is no exception. :)

    27. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Gidget I think there are 4 or 5 people who now have custom art in both of our games. Too bad the cards aren't interchangeable. :)

    28. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @HotMayoSandwich Does St. Louis need to be the setting for everything? Probably not. :) But we're making up for lost ground to pretty much every disaster movie that takes place in New York or LA. :)

      @Robin The Subterrans actually lost connection to Org when the first went underground. Many of them got sick as they went deeper into the earth, but it was a slower immersion process than being cut off all at once.

      @Stephen For 99.99% of the people on earth, the moon imploding came as a complete surprise. But I'm eluding to the fact that the Icarites (the 0.00001% caused the implosion.

      @Davi In today's world there would be quite a bit of latency, but this is the future where we've figured out such things. :)

      The everyone else, I'm glad the story has brought you closer to the world of Euphoria! I love that it was you all that provided the context--you'll forever be connected to this game whenever anyone plays it.

    29. Gidget London on

      'Your' 3rd game.....not 'you' 3rd game :P

    30. Gidget London on

      Thanks Jamey, your games are bringing people together....playing table games...good fun!
      I'm already looking forward to you 3rd game! :D I'll have a photo ready too LoL
      Seriously, you rock!

    31. Tony Pecorelli on

      I like the story! Thanks for combining the two top choices. You merged them very well!

    32. andvaranaut on

      Great backstory! I hope you had as much fun writing it as I have had reading it :)

    33. Ams on

      I agree- this story leaves me wanting more myth- I'm not one for fan fiction, but I'd love someone to put something up based on this core, and post a link...

    34. Missing avatar

      Melissa Larrison on

      Such a great job!

    35. Jack Francisco on

      Yup, wonderful story.

    36. Missing avatar

      Tom Gurganus on

      That is a great story. Super cool how you merged the top two from the tournament. I look forward to hearing more.

    37. Davi Tassinari de Figueiredo

      Nice story! Does it make me too much of a nerd that the first thing I thought when I read about the servers being placed on the moon was "hmm, the latency will be annoying"?

    38. Kelmantor on

      @Stephen & Hawk. I assume there were several generations living underground. Those born there would not have the chip :-)

    39. Stephan Reitz

      Great work !!!

    40. Hawk Fangor on

      @Stephen - The people underground are hiding from the Org, apparently they are deep enough that they cut off their connection to the Org, so even though they have the chip, they're "offline" and doing fine without it, thus, their caverns acted as a sort of bomb shelter for them and their brains weren't subject to the mind-blast caused by the servers exploding.
      And the Icarites were monitoring the whole system. They knew months ahead of time that it was headed for that end, but they apparently could do nothing about it and rather than tell anyone, they just kept it a secret from the rest of the world and helped themselves to survive it (Like when a large company knows that its stock market shares are going to crash, so they sell everything just before the critical event and make out like bandits while the shareholders who weren't in-the-know are left to crash and burn).

    41. HAL-13 on

      First, great writing, for sure. I don't care much for back stories but if there is going to be one it might as well be entertaining to read. That said I think whoever was in charge of the Org project report prior to it going ahead must have been a lobbyist with a vested interest setting the server on the moon, or a close relative of The Gambler, as the moon is anything but a suitable place for a server:
      They should definitely have hired me, Rogue The Consultant: "don't assume anything, just google it... there gain 4xKnowledge, now can I have some more of that stuff you call bliss?" ;-)

    42. Bernhard Tischler

      Jamey, you really nailed it. You really listed to all of us and thought on a scenary, mixing and matching everything without loosing the spere of realism. It's a well draft out story which really brings a player into the game. We are not players anymore - we are now really part of Euphoria. An incredible thanks to you, Jamey!

    43. Leo Borg on

      Very well thought out mix of the two finalists in the apocalypse poll! :)

    44. Tyler van Mulligen on

      Jamey your responsiveness to your backers is second to none! Amazing job incorporating the two scenarios. I'm even more excited for the game now!

    45. Missing avatar

      Matthew Watkins on

      Wow, great, I'm impressed, most games don't give a decent back-story, you're just meant to suspend your disbelief and carry on, but this - this is excellent.I take it there's some sort of interference (probably due to the sheer amount of ground in the way) with the org system when underground, going by the fact that the outlaw couldn't be tracked there, and so that's why they are unaffected by the incident directly. I had my doubts about the winning apocalypse, but it seems to work. Great job!

    46. Stephen Teixeira on

      Good back story, I do have two have points thou.
      As another backer mentioned the if the people underground are connected to the Org then how were they apparently unaffected by the disaster?
      In the story you say the reactor on the moon unexpectedly imploded, but just after wards mention that the group in space had suspicions about the misshap - you cannot have it both ways.

    47. Missing avatar

      Robin Zigmond on

      All I can say is wow - I backed this game because the game sounded cool and fun, and while the theme was definitely a part of that, I never really expected you to come up with such a coherent story to explain the creation of the game's world. (Nor would I have cared if you hadn't.) So well done, and thanks.

      Although, I'm wondering why the Subterrans were able to survive. It sounds like they all still had this chip in their brains, even if they were cut off from the rest of society, so I'm not sure why they weren't affected by "the incident". I'm also don't see why the Icarites ended up with zeppelins rather than some kind of spaceships - but hey, everyone loves a bit of steampunk.

      (Note to self - must learn more about this "suspension of disbelief" lark...)

      Seriously, thanks for the story, and I'm really looking forward to this game!

    48. Frank Wisnes

      Well done, love what you did with the result of the poll.

    49. Low Visibility

      @Jamey Kudos on a great story. Even though I was one of those who suggested combining scenarios, I didn't think it would happen nor did I think it would meld together so well. Great job tying the factions into the story and making an internet outage really make sense. This is a back story to the game that I think my multiple gaming groups - even the engineers - will really dig. You really are able to walk the fine line between incorporating feedback and keeping the core of your vision.