Get Ready for The Establishment: Inner Workings of a Secret Cabal

by Manda Shafer

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Game Overview

The Establishment is a card-based, story-driven roleplaying game about a secret society controlling the future of a space-faring humanity.

The Establishment's story-driven, card-based play requires no game master so all players can participate, making it perfect for both RPG newbies and advanced players. Like most roleplaying games, players do not complete points-based objectives to win. The goal is to lead your faction and achieve a fitting end to your story.

The game is played over four rounds. Players choose a path they agree with using storyline cards. Players debate, make deals, and support others by playing influencers. A society card, representing the whims of society, may swing the story's direction in unexpected ways.

About the Designer

Hello! I'm Manda Shafer. I'm a storyteller, designer, play tester, dungeon master, creator, and now a first-time game designer. During the pandemic of 2020, I had a lot of free time to work on my game idea. The Establishment combines my love of  crafting engaging stories and developing new gaming mechanics in an interactive way. 

Now, I need your help to make this game a reality. I've got most of the game design and art mostly completed, but I need funds for the first print run and shipping. Plus, there's some more art and graphic design that I would love to add. If we raise enough, I can add cool features like extra storylines, new factions, or  a story reading app! 

 I'd be so grateful if you could pitch in and support The Establishment. Together, we'll dive into an epic adventure full of choices and secrets. Let's make it happen! 

Manda love Zelda games and playing card games

How to Play

Players choose their faction and receive seven influencer cards. They then draft for description cards that help them roleplay their faction.

Players choose from 5 different factions

Each round has three branching storylines. A single storyline card gives players information about the current situation and two options to vote on. Players place their influencers on the side they favor on any of the three storyline cards.

Explore multiple possibilities with branching storylines, ensuring replayability.

Resolve each storyline by adding the value of each influencer, any experience points, and any matching realm icon bonuses. A society card, representing the whims of the people, can drastically change the landscape. Specific realm icons are cancelled, and none of the influencer’s bonuses count. A bonus is added to one side.

Society cards add a randomness to the game so each round is unpredictable

The game ends after four rounds when all storylines have concluded with an epilogue. Players are encouraged to discuss how the epilogues affect their factions..

Working in cooperation with DPH Games

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