Cultist Simulator


I know some of you have picked up this game.

Really liking it so far! It has absorbed me like few games do nowadays, so I had to pick it up at launch.

The “roguelike” format (hint: here it just means that you can die or lose your mind, etc. There is some RNG but its mostly incosequential to the overall progression) and the realtime aspect seemed like strange decisions at first, but it soon clicked.

I find it more moment-to-moment playable than Sunless Sea. Never got to explore too much in that one because I was trying to play it “as intended” while some people recommend disabling permadeath.

Anyway, Cultist Simulator. It’s good. I like that there’s no handholding but that reveals a few tiny snags with the UI and knowing what you are allowed to do and what you aren’t. It can be a bit unclear, but at the same time, knowing all the mechanical intricacies from the start would rob it of its charm too quickly, I think.


Got blindsided by a Visions defeat in my last run (that red clock on the upper right)

Turns out getting rid of Visions in the mid game is pretty hard. Something that was never a problem in the early game can really build up if you don’t pay attention after advancing your Desire. Unlike Despair, you don’t have any last-ditch emergency options to get a cure, like buying opium tinctures. Pretty frustrating.


I’m very intrigued by this game. I like the theming, and I enjoy a good video card game now and then. I have to admit that those shots of the board covered in cards are intimidating me. Is this game going to make me use so much of my brain that I can’t relax and have a good time with it?


2/9/19 Edit: I am rescinding any support or endorsement I have expressed for this game. I’m not deleting my original post because I know how frustrating that can be, but please understand that I wish that I hadn’t made it.

Screenshots are misleading. Think of the game like this: your verbs are the square icons that usually have timer circles counting down around them. The cards are all the nouns you can conceivably use with those verbs, but typically you have only a handful of kinds of nouns to manage–so once you understand how abilities or followers or books or secrets (etc.) can best be used, it doesn’t matter so much whether you have one or three or twelve. Your introduction to these elements is pretty gradual; you won’t be buried under cards until you’ve gotten a pretty good handle on the game.

For my part, we’ve been moving into a new apartment this weekend and are still doing a lot of packing and unpacking, so I haven’t been able to play since my last updates in the Games You Played thread. Soon.


The game runs in realtime but it’s pausable at any time. It’s in fact encouraged to pause often because otherwise you wouldn’t have time to read all the text snippets!

It also fully accomodates this playstyle, since you can set up and trigger actions even with the game paused. Some cards expire after a set time, but if you pause the game you have all the time in the world to pick them up and use them elsewhere.

Once the game gets really going there can be a lot going on at once. You may have to take care of unexpected sickness while your followers are burning through your funds out in an expedition, all the while another of your cultists is kidnapping a hapless stranger for a ritual, while you frantically look for things to keep a detective trying to build evidence against you off your trail. There can be a fair bit of coginitive load.
Again , when overwhelmed, you can just pause and take your time dealing with one thing at a time.


As for the amount of cards, there’s a lot of them, but they are quite context-dependent. You can freely move cards and tiles around the board, but I found this setup comfortable for me:

The tiles at the top are your main verbs. Stuff like work, study, explore, dream etc. They are always available. In the corner, the tile with the hourglass represents the passing of time. It sucks up the funds you need to live. One funds card per cycle, or “season”. Some tiles are temporary events, like “a pleasant day” that gives you contentment, or Sickness, that turns one of your health cards into an affliction you must cure, or another that means you are currently being investigated etc… These tiles disappear after they have finished their process.

Then I organize my cards roughly like so:
People in the middle (your believers, your patrons, Hunters from the Bureau who want you gone)

Lores and cult stuff on the right side, organized by color. They represent your knowledge of the invisible arts. There are nine different aspects. Two of them work a bit different than the others

Abilities, “stats”, funds, on the top-left row. Recurring locations below that. Skills (languages, scholarships etc) on the row below, and vaults you can explore below that.

I a row at the bottom I put my collection of texts and books, as well as materials

Then on the bottom-left corner I have some rite cards parked there, because at the time I didn’t know enough about the game to be able to perform a rite.

The temporary cards, I just scatter around wherever they don’t get in the way or are most convenient for what I’m doing at the time.


I just bought this game based on SB’s enthusiasm and… it is great! It really is quite good at slowly building up complexity over the course of the game. Even though it provides almost no explicit guidance, it’s intuitive to experiment and discover how the various systems interact. For me, this is really the best way to on-board the player into a complex system.

The flavor is so great too. I love the little ominous touches in some of the card descriptions. For example, when you paint a portrait of one of your followers, the description is something like “this portrait will be great to remember them by.”


Nice, you got it just in time to get the perpetual edition (get all possible future DLC for free)

Hit this thread for tips and discussion!
Some things are not immediately clear. Some of it is apparent it’s by design, of course. Checking steam achievement stats, looks like only 8.8% of players as of this writing managed to summon something. I only summoned my first creature after 10+ hours of play. And I like that. The really out there magical stuff should feel mysterious and unknowable at the beginning.

There are other parts of the game that may be a a little confusing though. I know I misunderstood one possibility when promoting your believers, and it’s a fairly common sticking point, from what I’ve seen.


Been poking at this idly the last couple days, but maybe I’m too fried from the move to really invest in my current run. Patience is a difficult virtue to cultivate when I have so little free time in the first place. Think I’m gonna let this guy and my next couple characters experience the fail states I haven’t seen yet.


I’ve been playing it in multi-hour sessions for the past few days but I definitely needed to pause and let things rest in between sessions before I came back to it.

You are, after all, watching progress bars fill for most of the game.


@Iacus That’s a nice layout! I’ll have to try it in my future runs.

As a backer of this game’s Kickstarter, I’m pleased to see so many people enjoying it!


I accidentally got too satisfied at my job, abandoned my cultist pursuits, and became a happy office drone. Um, whoops. That’s a pretty funny ending condition, but I’m a bit sad I just abandoned my cultists in the middle of their raid of an abandoned hospital.


I was just going to comment about that ending.

Incidentally, I think they should have done a better job of telegraphing it was a game-ending condition…

I really like that when you create a new character, you can have some sort of relationship to the previous one, but what would really elevate this to alexis-kennedy-is-making-the-shit-I’d-want-to-make status is if there was more randomness to the story elements. Recurring, but randomly generated patrons, belilevers and hunters, maybe vaults? Also, either more parallel narratives like the one with Glover & Glover or narrative branches that are more complete or reactive. That would own


In some news: I achieved my first ascension yesterday.

Heart victory, as a dancer. It felt tougher than the primary ascensions somehow, even though I didn’t get those. By the endgame I was so powerful I could just jump ahead to becoming an immortal being

In other news: I got a -35% coupon for the game, if anyone is interested.

A free update with the New Game+ mode just dropped today


I gotta dive back into this. I haven’t played it since last summer when it came out. I liked it a lot at the time, though it felt extremely unfinished. It looks like they’ve added a lot of content to the game since then, so I’ve been meaning to see what’s up with it.


What do you mean by unfinished? Are you referring to the uneven/inconsistent interactions or the victory paths?

The former are kinda explained (though not excused) by this being a very experimental game. They improved a lot and added tons of much needed hint text to help with the learning curve

As for the latter, the game features nine principles you can base your cult on, but at launch only three of the aspects had ascension routes (lantern, forge and grail). The Dancer DLC adds two more (heart and moth)


Yeah, I was thinking about all the mechanics that are present but not fully implemented. Like how many of the different cults don’t have victory conditions, how the game has a mechanic for changing or upgrading your cult’s base but you can’t actually do it. Stuff like that.


Yeah, the cult headquarters is one of those placeholder things. Something related to it is coming in a later upgrade.

Other things that have been added in the meantime: rival cultists (both from outside and within your own cult), romances (you can take people out on dates) and wounds (your followers no longer outright die when they fail a check, instead they get wounded and you get a chance to heal them before they’re gone for good)

It’s still possible to win the game with any cult, it’s just a bit harder to do with a cult whose principle isn’t aligned with the ascension path you want to take.


One of the developers I admire and trust the most just explained that she hasn’t played this and doesn’t intend to, and that she cannot recommend that people promote the author of this game or involve him in events, and that she will avoid any event that might involve speaking alongside him. She wasn’t comfortable saying more due to her country’s restrictive libel laws, but this reads to me like a “missing stair” situation. Considering she shares credit with him on other games, I am going to follow her example and rescind any endorsement I have expressed, and I will not discuss this author further.


has anyone else said anything on this one? I wouldn’t mind having an idea of who it is accusing him