Holy wars

Totems + Taboos is a 1-4 players card and resource management game about establishing your own religion by building a totem representing the core principles of your dogma. The Kickstarter campaign will launch on November 1.

Image source: BGG

In the solo mode, you are facing six passive established religions that will gradually attract infidels. To win the game, you must build your own totem before there is no one left to convert or subdue. The infidels in the game are little black cubes showing three kinds of faces: the believer, the slave, and the grave (as they offer a lasting testimony of the dead’s religious obedience). They all act as different resources throughout the game. In particular, each totem level requires you to have a given number of graves and to use slaves to erect it.

The six passive religions all correspond to a different religious core principle, represented by a color. When you build your own totem, you will pick similar color blocks, but can mix them to offer a more refined and complex creed. During the game, you can draw and play cards corresponding to the colors represented in your totem (you start with a free block of your choice). These cards usually have a cost that you must spend with your slaves or believers, and an effect; furthermore, an additional effect may be triggered if you have a totem block of the matching color specified on the card (e.g. if you play an orange card, there might be an additional effect if you own a purple block).

In each round, you can play as many cards from your hand as you wish, provided you can afford it. If you play three cards of a given color, you may also enlist a spiritual guide that will grant you an additional benefit. Cards can, for instance, enlist infidels as slaves, convert infidels into believers, sacrifice either to grave, etc. During your turn, you can also build new totem levels. At the end of your turn, you can draw one card with a color matching one of your totem blocks, discard your hand and draw three new cards, or draw back to 3 cards if your hand is empty. Then, you roll a die which will determine one of the six passive religions. This religion then recruits a number of infidels as slaves, believers, or graves, according to its particular creed.

Image source: BGG

If at any point in the game, the infidels’ pool is depleted and the selected passive religion cannot go through the recruitment process, you lose the game! To win, you must build a six-level totem before such a depletion happens. If you feel that the game is too easy or too hard, you may adjust the difficulty by changing the starting number of graves associated with each of the passive religions.

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