SimSect: Rod Humble Announces Cults & Daggers

Rod Humble, the developer I always think of as being responsible for the majority of the interesting ideas in The Sims 2 and 3, has announced a new solo project. Going by the name Cults & Daggers [official site], it’s a turn-based strategy game ” about building an ancient religion in the time between the death of Buddha and the birth of Christ “. This involves sending disciples to the various regions of the world where they perform tasks ranging from street preaching and recruitment to investigating the occult and killing enemies. I’ve already spent some time with an early version.

There’ll be extensive thoughts to follow but as I’ve been wrapped up in Dying Light for most of the week, I haven’t had chance to learn the intricacies of the game. It has the kind of interface that takes a little time to crack, particularly since the tutorial text isn’t in place yet, but every attempt is a little more rewarding than the last.

The aim of the game is to have your cult create the most Hope over 12 rounds of play, each of which is divided into several turns. To do this, you’ll attempt to build the reputation of your faith, by spreading the Good (or Bad) Word, while keeping three other nascent faiths at bay. So far, I’ve mostly attempted to keep my disciples hidden, blaspheming and generally messing with local beliefs while attempting to pin my treacherous behaviour on my opponents.

It’s possible to weaponise the occult, discover miracles on a procedural ‘tech tree’ and interfere with the politics of the world. In short, it’s exactly the kind of complicated that appeals to me, wrapped in a novel setting.

I’m absolutely hooked by the theme and the world is an active place, with plagues and wars interrupting my plots, but I don’t always find the results of my actions clear. It took me a while to get my head around the superficially similar Dominions as well, though, and that hasn’t left my hard drive since. I’m also keen to try the multiplayer, which seems like it’ll be perfectly suited to the kind of treachery and double-dealing that is the mark of the great slow-burn strategy games. I’ll write more about Cults & Daggers closer to launch


  1. valrus says:

    Oh, wow, I had been (at some point in the future) planning to make almost this exact game. Same time period, same kind of map, many of the same choices.

    I’m not disappointed, though; it’s like someone out there is making a game just for me.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Don’t feel bad, I have an idea much like this described somewhere in one of my notebooks. The idea was to explore the origin of religions as being about power rather than spirituality or knowledge or whatever. But I’m not a huge fan of strategy games so it’s not something I developed further beyond a few pages of stuff. So I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

  2. iucounu says:

    Isn’t it about time for an RPS Solium Infernum rematch, by the way? I loved that series.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    That looks really intriguing.

  4. teije says:

    Nice concept & looks interesting – reminds me of That Which Sleeps for some reason.

  5. Banana2000 says:

    Good for Rod! Been a fan since he was Producer of Subspace in the 90’s.

    • darkhog says:

      Same here, but I got better once he canceled Patterns and Creativerse “just because”.

  6. Slouch says:


  7. Crabtipus says:

    This looks a lot like Dominions which is a good thing to me

  8. Hex says:

    Oh my, I was literally talking about wanting essentially this game the other day on the Armello article. Whee!

  9. Sidewinder says:

    Certainly sounds interesting. I was thinking just yesterday that a great setting for… well, anything, really, but especially a combination of Mount & Blade and Darklands would be in the Levant in the early seventh century AD. Lands contested between two stumbling empires, one trying to claim the glory of their predecessors, one trying to establish a legacy of greatness and prove itself the equal of any European power; both troubled by constant internal disruptions. Cool, right? But you also have the religious angle; Zoroastrianism versus Christianity! Pre-schism Catholicism versus the Assyrian church! Head further west and you get the early rumblings of Roman Catholic versus Greek Orthodox! Head east and you get the whole crazy mishmash the Sassinids had; Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus! Plus, you get the rise and spread of Islam!

    A shame it’s a topic so many people are so sensitive about; there are wonderful games to be made.

  10. darkhog says:

    I can see the future. Sometimes it’s not clear, sometimes it’s just Patterns, but I can see that this game will fail as Humble can’t finish what he has started.