The CULTISTORM a cooprative cosmic horror board game in universe of H. P. Lovecraft.

The background story of the Cultistorm game is a novel of Sándor Szűcs, the title is A Window into Infinity, you can read it here.

Since the investigating authorities found the journal of Robert S. Kleiman, who had disappeared without trace, and the journal caused a small academic outcry in the Miskatonic University, more and more strange figures have appeared in Essex county. They hide themselves behind long capes and radiate some unexplainable darkness. One would think that they belong to a secret order for whom the most important thing is to keep their identity secret. Nobody has ever seen their face and the authorities have searched in vain, but they couldn’t find anybody who as much talked to one of them. Their arrival is just as unexpected and unexplainable as their disappearance a few street corners later.

Nobody knows where they came from or what their purpose is, but a few weeks after Arkham town’s Bureau of Investigation had closed the unsolved case about the disappearance of Mr. Kleiman, the strange visitors have appeared more often and more numerously in some distinct cities in the county. As one of the university teaching assistants compared news about the visitors with the notes in Kleiman’s journal, he discovered that these eerie creatures appeared at the exact places that the terrifying night visitor, mentioned in the missing researcher’s description, marked on the map scratched into the windowpane.

The backstory of the game

The players assume the roles of investigators who work for the special department set up by the Massachusetts Bureau of Investigation and the Miskatonic University. The investigators have to work together to stop the schemes of the cultists. Their aim is to invite their masters, who reside in cosmic space and time, to our world through the open dimension portal. Since the mere appearance of these Great Old Ones would be devastating, it’s imperative to stop their followers, ideally even before they open the portals.

Summary of the gameplay

Every player chooses an investigator with a unique, upgradable ability. Then they draw two equipment cards, and keep one of them. Every player receives their unique starter action deck.

In every turn, one or more cultists appear on one of the five location cards.  The number of cultists is determined by the circulating cultist marker. Its position can be modified by multiple factors. The cultists who appeared before but haven’t been vanquished stay on their location. The cultist die is rolled for every location; its combat symbol gets added to the strength of the cultist who appears there.

The investigators roll their own dice and they place them into the middle of the board, as a kind of shared reserve, then they discard their used cards and draw new action cards from their own deck until they reach their hand limit.

In the third phase the Terror marker moves forward; it influences the activation of horrible events lying in wait for the players. The Terror marker can advance as a side effect of played actions or as a punishment. It brings the special event cards of the Terror Circle into play depending on their strength. The players have the opportunity to reveal, postpone or modify these events.

In the longest and most important part of the game is the Preparation phase. Players decide where to move, what local actions they carry out and who and where fights the cultists. They can also decide to search for new equipment or use other special actions. In the fight against cultists the players can use their action deck, their special ability, the support of the others and an investigation die – these help the players to create the combination of symbols they need to defeat the cultist. The cultist’s value is modified by their own die roll, their special rules or effects and their location.

The cards in the investigators’ action deck consist of two parts: There are magical symbols for combat – these can be used by the players themselves and there is the supporting effect enabling the combat of other investigators. Whenever a player uses a card, they have to decide if they want to use the symbol or the supporting action. The uniqueness of Cultistorm’s co-operative game play is that we can only activate the actions of our own cards, by giving them to other players. There are no action cards in the game whose actions the players themselves could carry out. During the game players can also evolve the skills of their own investigators and they can unlock special actions connected to locations.

After each investigator has occupied their chosen place, they play their actions in an order defined by their location: they research, fight, heal or support the other investigators by using the options offered by their cards. When an investigator defeats a cultist, they receive a trophy they can later use in combats or to level-up. Also, the dimension gates necessary to win the game can be also sealed by these trophies.

We’ll be honest: the game is hard, but those who have read Lovecraft’s stories know that only this atmosphere is worthy of the Master. The investigators have to work in a well-coordinated manner, carefully contemplating in the case of every card if they want to use it for their own goals or to help the others. Luck plays only a tiny role in the fight against the cultists, however, because of the game’s fragile equilibrium this small part can turn out to be fateful. The players can also unearth some important and unexpected things during our research. If there are too many cultists in play at the same time, we lose as investigators. If even one Old One gets through the locations, we lose. If we fail to seal every location in time, we lose. If even one investigator dies, we lose. We can only win if we seal all five locations successfully before the cultist deck runs out, if the Endgame card is not activated on the Terror Circle, if we manage to kill the summoned Old Ones or if every cultist in every location is vanquished.

However, winning is only the beginning! New expansions will be revealed during the campaign, three major expansions, campaign mode. There will be cultist creatures, cultist casts with unique abilities, otherworldly dimensions opened by the arrival of Great Old Ones… The huge amount of extra content revealed during the campaign won’t only make the list of game elements longer, it will also add on new game mechanics to make our confrontation with the Great Old Ones even more varied and exciting. And of course there is the Narrative game play which doesn’t only add a literary background to encounters, events, locations but it also influences the game play.

Elements of the base game:

Modular game board
6 investigator character board

126 Action cards (21 per investigator)
10 City location cards
52 Cultist cards
9 Great Old One cards
32 Object cards
5 Gate Seal cards
18 Terror cards
6 Endgame cards
45 Narrative cards

6 Investigator figurines
1 Cultist Marker
1 Terror Marker

6 Special D6 cultist dice
8 Special D6 investigator dice
5 Investigator tokens
45 Investigator activation marker
12 Target markers
40 Trophy tokens
5 Gate level markers
10 Timing markers
5 Gate seal tokens
5 Location activation marker
25 Insanity Tokens
5 Ongoing insanity tokens
25 Terror Tokens

Contents of the Overlord expansion which will be a free addition to the base game during the Kickstarter campaign

Lovecraft overlord 3D model
Overlord board
13 Overlord action cards
30 Special investigator action cards
9 Special overlord cultist cast cards
10 City location cards
16 Terror cards
5 Endgame cards
15 Dark crystal for the overlord
4 Special cultist dice
1 Ability blocker marker
3 Support blocker marker
5 Object discard marker
25 Dark trophies

In total: 430 cards
200+ markers, 20 dice

If we reach all our goals during the campaign, the game will have more than 1000 cards and more than 300 markers!

Cultistorm is not really a miniature game in the sense that you have to move a lot of figurines on the board. On the other hand, the game needs certain markers and although in the beginning we thought that cardboard markers and wood coins would be enough, as the Cultistorm project took shape, we found it essential that every game element contributed to the atmosphere and the quality. There won’t be a lot of miniatures, but the ones which made it to the game will have a special importance. We hope you will also like it!


Samples from card illustrations

Game Designer: Sándor Szűcs
Illustrations: Blanka Sőre, Gyula Pozsgay, Lili Szirmai
Graphic designer: Viktor Csete

Publisher: Purple Meeple Games USA
BGG Link

Players: 2-5
Age: 12+
Playing Time: 75-120 minutes

Features of Game:
– Co-operative Play
– Strategy Style
– Medium Language Dependence*
– Variable Playing Difficulty
– One Player mode

Game Mechanics:
– Co-operative play
– Dice rolling
– Hand management
– Role playing*
– Semi co-operative play*
– Set collection
– Variable player powers

* The release of these features depends on the succeed of the Stretch Goals during the Kickstarter Campaign.