Unless you’re the sort of person who’s been around gaming for a while, maybe follows a bit of industry news and happens to read game credits all the way to the end, you may not know who Rod Humble is. Hopefully you’ve clicked that link and did some fast reading, because through his new company, multimedia studio Chaphat he’s got a new game coming soon that’s going to most likely get a lot of people talking and hopefully playing solo or against each other in once they give it a try.
Cults & Daggers is “a sprawling and complex strategy game set in the Hellenistic era between the death of Buddha and the birth of Christ.” If that wasn’t intriguing enough, the press release continues: “As the Old Gods plot to destroy a planet they can no longer rule, players are tasked with creating their own religion to fight a secret war for the soul of the world.” Reading that made me think of a little Lovecraftian undercurrent at play. But as I still need to try out a demo, I’ll hold out on any over-speculation as to exactly where the game goes.
As your head is spinning around that heady description and the screenshot gallery below is piquing your curiosity, the power of “cripes” compels you to read on for more info. On one hand, Cults & Daggers is a turn-based strategy game that’s decidedly very old school in terms of presentation and gameplay modes. but this is exactly the sort of game that will appeal to a wide range of players young and old who like the challenge found here. As you can see, this isn’t a graphics card showpiece at all, but more of a designer’s dream project. The board game-like layout, simple menus, creative use of artwork and plenty of lovely fonts all show off a game you won’t mistake for something else on the market.
Granted, bringing up religion in almost any context that may be seen as “negative” by its more core followers is a tricky thing to do. That said, Cults & Daggers appeals to the imagination in a “What if?” and looks to spin its web around your curious side as it hooks you into its world. The best historical strategy games are those where you can hop in for hours immersed in the gameplay and this one looks like it’s going to be up there with the classics of the genre.
Here’s what to expect in the final version of the game:
- Secretly manipulate the rise and fall of great cities throughout 400 years of history
- Gain influence by building temples, performing sacrifices, preaching, recruiting noble families, etc.
- Weaken opponents through blasphemy, assassination, robbery and subversion
- Destroy evil places of power to thwart the Old Gods and earn grand rewards
- Disciple skills include teaching, killing, hiding, performing spells & curses, preaching and more!
- Carefully manage your religion’s Faith and Hope levels in order to gain power and influence
- Spend Faith and Occult to cast spells, and bring curses and miracles to the world
- Extensive Single player with procedurally generated disciples and city data
- Multiplayer for up to 4 via Multiplayer Hot Seat and Play-By-E-Mail (PBEM)
- Procedurally generated technology tree and adventure system
- In-depth modeled spying system allows for deep subterfuge
- Game includes free Cults & Daggers ambient music album
With all that in store for those who hop on the Cults & Daggers bandwagon, it’s clear that Humble and Chaphat want this game to be one of those “evergreen” titles that people can pick up and play for years without ever growing tired of it. The deep complexity and lack of flashy visuals will most likely keep this off of anything but home computers or laptops. On the other hand, who knows that will happen if this one takes off and gets a cult following (pun intended). As usual, we shall see.