Plato’s Allegory of the Cave describes prisoners’ chained towards a wall, with a light casting behind them. The prisoners’ only see shadows of the figures that pass by, giving them names as their shadows are casted on the wall. This is reality for these prisoners. One day, a prisoner gets released from the chains and sees the outside world, he sees the sun that was casting the shadows, he meets the people that were the shadows. He has ascended beyond his simulation, beyond his existence. Simulation Theory takes this premise and takes it to a whole new level.
Story and Setting
The story of Simulation Theory starts off with a question, what if we’re all living in a simulation? What if nothing is real and everything is just created by a giant machine? How would you know and how would you escape? Basically, its Matrix meets Inception, as you are at all times, can be in either of 3 different realities.
There’s the Stone Reality, a fantasy-based world; the Prison Reality, a modern-day setting; and the Ark Reality, a sci-fi based simulation. Basically in layman terms, past, present and future settings. To win Simulation Theory, you must Ascend through all the different realities and escape the Simulation.
As you go through the different realities, you’ll be playing as different classes from different settings, all with different stats that dictate on how well you do and how quickly you get to release yourself from the Simulation.
How To Play
Simulation Theory can be played between 2 to 5 players, and each game can take about 30 minutes to an hour. While the official instructions don’t specifically say it, from our experience, we would say that a games master or a mediator that guides and helps in the progression of the game is recommended. The game can be pretty daunting for newcomers, and a person to ease them in for the game can be great.
Each player will start off with a class from the Stone Reality and two dice, on the board itself there are 20 challenge cards. The object is to ascend to the Prison and Ark realities, and the way to do that is to get an Exit card, which allows you to ascend to the next reality; or beat the boss of that reality to ascend. To get the Exit card, you must tackle the Challenge card every turn, each Challenge cards has a stat, if you have a higher stat than the Challenge then you win. If not you’ll lose your chance of getting that card.
Once you beat the Challenge card, you’ll get a Treasure card. A Treasure card will either raise your stats or net you the Exit card to ascend to the next reality. Once you’re at the next reality, you are reclassified into a new class and do a whole new set of challenge cards. Do it all again to ascend once more until you finally escape all 3 realities.
It sounds pretty easy on paper, but the random nature of the Challenge and Treasure cards, coupled with the number of players, can make for an unpredictable and exciting game. There are a few more rules when it comes to the game and you can check it out on their website, or watch an official playthrough by Megacorp Games.
Overall it’s an enjoyable game, it’s not exactly a party game you can pull out when you have a ton of friends over. But if you’re having a more intimate night with 5 friends and have 2 hours to kill, this is the perfect game. The setting and the story might seem generic at first, but the lore and settings come to life as you play with your friends and the roleplaying takes over.
As stated, it is definitely better with a games master or dungeon master to mediate the game, treat it as a variation of Dungeons and Dragons, and you’ll have a blast. If you’re familiar with Megacorp’s previous game, the Megacorp Trading Card Game, you’ll definitely enjoy Simulation Theory.
Of course, we only got to try the Casual mode of the game, as the game gets released, additional ways of playing the game will be released as well. This includes a much harder Challenge Mode and a more story-based Adventure Mode. Both of these are part of the Kickstarter stretch goals.
The State Of The Game
The version of the game we got here in Gamehubs was a prototype version we received from the developers, which were just cards and didn’t have any boards or other elements. The Kickstarter for the game will commence on the 1st of August and if you’re interested you can check out and support the Kickstarter right here. If you can’t wait, you can try out the download & play version on the Simulation Theory website. Keep up with Gamehubs on Facebook and Twitter to be up to date on all things gaming.