Idolatry -- A Game?

This is one of the sloppiest thoughts I've had in a while -- maybe not the thought so much as the hastiness of the post itself.  First, I'd like to take a moment to apologize for not contributing more over the last month or two.  Our current semester really pulled me under for some reason, and all I've been able to muster myself to do most weekends and weekdays is get to and from working and pack in some light reading.  I did, while grading a paper tonight, have an idea for a board game as I was thinking more about my age old idea to write a short piece about deicide.  It's been an idea that has stuck with me for a while, but this was a slightly more tangential direction under what I might otherwise call a similar umbrella.  Basically, I have a pitch here for something that could be organized as a rather simplistic table top game, likely with some form of board(s) and then a series of cards and/or tokens to symbolize the various forms of currency in the game.


The game where you fight to become...a god! You start out as a basic mortal, garnering resources each turn and trying to gather enough strength to achieve prominence among a group of soon-to-be followers.  You then become a leader and seek elevation by accumulating certain artifacts and continued worship from your former peers in order to elevate yourself to a plateau of god-hood.  In the third round of the game, you become a god and utilize your accumulated powers and growing array of miracle-like abilities to attack and counterattack those amongst your newborn pantheon while also maintaining your connection to those mortals on the ground that you have recently left behind, all while seeking to establish yourself as the head of all deities!

The really fun and adaptive part of this game would not merely be the strategy, but one of two approaches -- either each player would start with a skeletal design for a certain god, meaning they would build up towards being the god of (war, hunger, puppies, blowing winds, lava that flows slowly, etc), which would characterize their certain needs along each phase of the game, their resultant godly powers, and still allow them some wiggle room in terms of how "flesh out" (yuck yuck) their resulting god would be in addition to segues from their typical build-type.  The other method would be to allow a more free-form development, where acquiring a certain number of "items" (the aforementioned worship, artifacts, votes of confidence, etc) would lead to a certain "god type." I really like the former method more, especially if your path is randomly doled out at the game's onset; my concerns are that it is basically a derivation of mechanics found in the game 7 Wonders (check it out or come play it with me, as I have a copy that has yet to be tested out).  The latter would definitely be a bit "newer", though I think poses difficulties in structured game design and would require significantly more play testing or pre-thinking to ensure balance.

Thoughts?  I actually thought this would be a fun one for us to collaborate on in terms of background story, card titles, and concepts.  I'm in no way trying to sucker Ryan into yet another art project here -- I'm thinking with all these goofy ideas, at some point we might want to outsource things to other people if the ideas really start to hold water, but we can always get Ryan a shot at designing certain portions of the art for these games as well (I'm thinking a box cover would be excellent and singular, right?).

Image Notes:

Image 1 -- From the promotional, and likely card, art of the newest Magic the Gathering Expansion, Journey into Nyx.  The image shows several of the planeswalkers from the series (realm hopping sorcerers, here emblematized by Elspeth and Ajani Goldmane) fighting one of their former-own, Xenagos the Satyr, who has now joined the Nyx-based pantheon on the plane of Theros (or is it Theros-based on the plane of Nyx...).

Image 2 -- "Are you a God?" Gozer from Ghostbusters

Image 3 -- Dagoth Ur of Morrowind, the final boss and self-styled deity of the sixth house of Morrowind.  I hear Ryan's friend Thomas broke a game by knocking him into a pit of lava.  Never throw a god into lava.


  1. Oh man, I should've known what to expect when I asked you to add pictures. It's like a 5th grader testing the boundaries of vulgarities. But way to cite your sources.

    Anyway, I like that you brought up the free-forming aspect of how you could build a god. And I think both (the skeletal and the free-forming) could work in the same game. I see it like an RPG skills tree. You can put all your points into one category, and your character is highly proficient in that category. The skills cause an accruement, which leads to more damage or less time it takes to cast a spell or what have you. However, your god is also one-dimensional, possibly leaving him/her vulnerable. But you could also create a god using multiple trees. The god may not be as powerful, but may have higher defense or more speed or, taking from a game like Smash-Up, may develop some new capability when meshing two/three trees.

  2. Those contributions are definitely helpful, especially when considering the hybridity of "builds." I'm thinking it would function, for now, if we were to game test it as a card game with dice mechanics to add the always fun element of chance. I could look into crafting tokens later, but for now, I'm starting to do some research on card templates so that, at the very least, I could find placeholder art and design the cards alongside the game mechanics. I actually think I could get an alpha up and running maybe by the end of June, mid July. I also found this, which you guys might find interesting and which I'll be combing through a bit more thoroughly to determine if any of these would work for what I have in mind.

  3. That's a pretty awesome resource. In theory, you could import images and whatnot, correct? Ryan images.

    So you'd want to go with a classic Greek-inspired aesthetic? Or more of a new age depiction of deities? Combination?

    1. First, I would like to say I ruined Morrowind for my friend...apparently he tried to kill the Aztec-guy-in-the-underwear before acquiring some sort of wand. Anyway, I told him to kill the stupid god anyway. Well, the god won.

      Second, I'm gonna do some cards for the deicide game. I'm thinking you start off as mortal, move into hero realm, then into a lesser pantheon (dryad, etc.), and finally you're going full Jupiter on Saturn mode. I'd like to do a strange aesthetic for the game...Greek stuff, yes, but in the style of Gustave Klimt: