Amazing Things I Saw While Playing the Best God Game Ever Made

God games haven't been too popular in recent years. For a while I thought that was because there hadn't been any good ones made recently, but that really isn't the case. I've just been looking in all the wrong places.

Dawn of Worlds is a tabletop game that makes you and a group of friends the gods of a new planet. Each of you picks your general code of morality as well as a purpose. Each turn you'll roll two standard dice to determine how much power you can muster for that round. You then spend those points to terraform the land, create the climate, create races, or cause catastrophes.

It's remarkably simple, and that's why it's so brilliant. It allows for pretty much anything to happen, and encourages the kind of infighting between deities that can create a rich, vibrant history for your world. On Sunday, I played a game with seven friends and these are just some of the wacky things we created:

  • A race of succubae that have tamed dragons to pull a casino built from petrified clouds around the world peddling vice
  • Aztec-like religion that sacrificed hundreds of thousands of their own to detonate the moon, creating an eternal shower of evil, life-consuming dust
  • A fountain of magical ambrosia guarded by a race of unicorns
  • A religion that collects and secures knowledge for all eternity on an eye-land
  • An assassination syndicate and information-brokerage agency that has spies all over the world to maintain neutrality and balance
  • An island of gnomes that specialize in extreme capitalism, aligning themselves with the succubae to create consistent trade routes for vice and technology, while expanding and colonizing EVERYTHING
  • A race of elemental adventurers that quest for glory acting as an eternal decentralized force for good
  • Massive armies of treants, dragons and beastmen that blindly attack and destroy industry and torture those that go above and beyond in their consumption of natural resources

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There's plenty of choice bits, but I narrowed it down to one really cool event from each player. This list epitomizes what made god games so fascinating in the first place – the freedom to do just about anything.

For reference, here's the world we pretty much started with:

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And here's what it looked like at the end:

Dawn of Worlds is available completely free here, and I highly recommend it.

You're reading Numbers, a blog on Kotaku that examines games and culture through the lens of math and statistics. To contact the author of this post, write to dancstarkey@gmail.com or find him on Twitter @dcstarkey.