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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A game of perilous longing


I don't always play card games, but if I did I'd reach for a Dos Equis* and settle down to an evening of something like Cultist Simulator, the dazzlingly gorgeous new story-weaving game currently being run on Kickstarter by Alexis Kennedy.

Mr Kennedy, as you may already know, is one of the originators of Fallen London, and it looks like his new project will match that for eerie beauty, stylish design, and prose that is both numinous and luminous.

In the designer's own words:
"Cultist Simulator is a narrative game that lets you play a seeker after unholy mysteries, in a 1920s-themed setting of hidden gods and secret histories. Perhaps you're looking for knowledge, or power, or beauty, or revenge. Perhaps you just want the colours beneath the skin of the world.

"There's some Cthulhu Mythos in here. But there's less cosmic nihilism than Lovecraft, and more perilous longing. The setting also looks to the novels of Roger Zelazny, Mary Renault and Umberto Eco; to Anglo-Saxon poetry like 'The Wanderer' and 'The Dream of the Rood', and mediaeval Welsh texts like 'The Battle of the Trees'." 
You can back Cultist Simulator here. And come back on Friday if you fancy a debate about role-playing styles. Looking ahead, next week we'll be going back to Victorian times with a tale of witchcraft and curios, and with more goodies coming thick and fast through the autumn, including Powered By The Apocalypse, an Arthurian sci-fi romance, the high-risk profession of the demonologist, more Questworld, and even a free gamebook before the year is out. All your gaming longings gratified here, folks.

(* Actually a Singha, but it doesn't fit the meme. )

16 comments:

  1. As great as this project sounds, I always get put off pledging for Kickstarters with early-bird discounts I've missed. It's not that £10 is outside my budget for what looks to be an interesting project, but that something deep within my psyche objects to being made to pay more than someone else for an identical thing. It's that same feeling I get when I buy something in one shop only to find it cheaper in another.

    So now I have to wonder whether to spite my face and lose a nose.

    #FirstWorldProblems

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    1. I see your point. Early bird discounts work when everybody is aware of a product and you're aiming to get momentum. So the idea is that people don't put off pledging till next week. The trouble with using that in most Kickstarters is that often the reason somebody didn't pledge early is not procrastination but simply not getting to hear about the campaign until it's already been running for a while. Of course, the fact that you got to hear about it at all is because those early-bird backers increased its profile... You can see why marketing does people's heads in.

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    2. Honestly my friend even if you got a current lowest tier it still worth it for the fact whatever future DLC your name will be you get those for free.

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  2. I'm positively in love with this game so I went home I went for the stolen name tier.

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    1. I can't remember what that is but I love the sound of it.

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    2. It's a pretty fun one what it is that's your name will be in game. Be an author of a book investigator one of the Dead the haunted xcetera. I am personally very passionate about this game. So I'm excited that I could be in there in some fashion.

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    3. I'm not keen on that kind of thing myself. I'd love to play the game but it would ruin suspension of disbelief for me to come across my own name in it.

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  3. My biggest problem is I don't play card games (except the occasionally very rare pickup game of Texas Hold 'em). I also don't know anyone who plays card games. So, if I backed this thing, I'd trade money for something that would sit in (very crowded) closet for the next forever). That's not necessarily a deal-breaker. I know that my new TORG game will almost certainly do exactly that, but in this case I have to say no. For one thing I'm already spending money on Amazon replacing my Fabled Lands books with those released in 2017 because my old books are reaching the "used so much they're falling apart" stage.

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    1. Cultist Simulator is a digital card game that'd take up only virtual closet space, if that helps. But if you don't have a use for it then that's the clincher. I don't think I'd play either of these Kickstarters myself -- I just don't play digital card games or gamebooks -- but I think that there might be some overlap with some folks who come to the blog, and both projects (this and Steam Highwayman) deserve to get funded.

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    2. You don't play gamebooks, Dave? Say it isn't so! Shouldn't you occasionally immerse yourself in one, given that you're still producing gamebook related products?

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    3. I've never played gamebooks, though, so whether I'm doing it right or wrong it isn't going to change now. I did actually play one of Paul Mason's FF books all the way through, and I played the first Sorcery gamebook until I got killed - but much prefer Inkle's app version.

      My favourite gamebooks were the Duelmaster series, which I did play and replay with great enthusiasm - but that's because they're 2-player so there was a social aspect. I totally would have played the Blood Sword books for the same reason, except I wrote 'em :-)

      The appeal of gamebooks to me is that they're like solo roleplaying scenarios, and I do roleplay (a lot) so my gamebook writing inspiration, for better or worse, comes from that.

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    4. Oh - and I also played Paul Gresty's apps, and a couple of the other Choice of Games titles. Those are great. And The Frankenstein Wars, obviously. And Ashton Saylor's The Good, the Bad & the Undead. All very immersive stories where the interactivity creates strong emotional involvement with the characters. So I guess it's really just the D&D-adventureness of most gamebooks that puts me off.

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    5. It's a narrative building game the card your engines for a story because they represent things to be combined into actions and depending on what actions you put them in bed dreaming work exploring xcetera and there never a hundred percent guarantee succeed or have the same result twice it build story. But also to it's generally a simulator of playing an individual that would be normally antagonist in lovecraftian novel. But the thing is your characters are consoling driven by desire. But you got to balance your human life the mundane with the intensely dark life of the occultist and it's very mystical and terrifying dreaming in Realms be under the skin of the world.

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    6. In the same vein, see The Shrouded Isle, where you have to manage a village of half-human degenerates to keep things together for the grand summoning of Cthulhu. Must be how Theresa May feels.

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    7. It's more intimate than that think of eloquently written Life sim were you need the balance all your needs on top of being on a cultist. But in the beginning of the game you start out knowing nothing.

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    8. You start out knowing nothing? Then scratch what I said about Theresa May. That sounds more like Jacob Rees-Mogg.

      Seriously, I really need to play The Shrouded Isle. I'll probably need to upgrade my PC first, though -- or play it on Jamie's machine.

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