Cult Following, from Bravely Told Games, is a fast-talking storytelling game of harmless (and not so harmless) cults each trying to recruit the most followers. Up on Kickstarter now with a little less than a week to go, it can easily close the gap and make its goal. But is Cult Following the kind of game that will inspire millions of slavish fanatics?
Designed for 3-8 players (though definitely working best with more), Cult Following is essentially a party game where 2 or 3 players will take on the roles of cult leaders, each one with randomly-drawn beliefs and core tenants. These cultist will answer questions posed to them by prospective recruits (questions provided by cards from the game as well), and the cult that makes the most appealing answer will gain the recruit and come one step closer to becoming the One True Cult, or whatever they call themselves these days.
**Kickstarter Prototype Mumbojumo – We got to play a prototype of Cult Following, one which had about half the cards planned for the final version of the game**
Cult Following is one of those sorts of games. You know the type; a pile of cards with Lego-block humor pieces, pieces which either fit together really well or not depending on how much humor you and your fellow players are willing to use to lubricate the connections. Cult Following’s focus, on improbable religions and the heavy doses of BS necessary to make them sound plausible, is certainly fertile ground for humor, just so long as no one in your group is going to be made uncomfortable by the subject matter.
The structure of the game is built around coming up with ad-libbed answers to questions, using your cult’s tenants as the focus. For example, let’s say an applicant asks me…
Jess: “What is the leading cause of mortality in your cult?”
I might respond that…
Andrew: Our “Very specific food restrictions” can be a little difficult to manage – the “Very Special Rock” has mandated that we eat nothing softer than itself, so, as you can imagine, we get plenty of minerals!…but not many, you know, vitamins.
And if that’s funny enough (or convincing enough, or wrong enough, etc.) that the applicant likes my answer more than the other cults’, then I get a point.
Reviewing Cult Following has been a little bit of a challenge because, like so many other games of this type, it really is only a toolkit for you to use to make a good time happen. The prompts are sometimes clever and none of the ones we saw shove you toward the sort of racism or sexism or whatnot that most of these games lean on for cheap laughs, and we appreciate that.
As piles of themed ideas go, it’s well executed and humorous, but it really does rely 85% on you to make it funny. And that’s fine, so long as that’s the game you are interested in.
The bottom line is that if you have a group that will have fun getting silly and improving your way through these absurd combinations of traits and questions, then Cult Following certainly gives you plenty of building blocks toward that end. If not, well, can I offer you a sip of this fruit drink on your way out?
(This prototype was provided for our preview. Gameosity was not otherwise compensated.)