This ingenious hybrid was a refreshing break from the usual fighters and shooters on the Sega Saturn.

It's a board game!  It's a card game!  It's a role-playing game!  It's Culdcept, a unique Saturn release that borrows ideas from a variety of popular genres and merges them together to create an experience that's comfortably familiar, yet refreshingly original.
So just what IS Culdcept?  Well, imagine the board game Monopoly, and a fantasy card battle game like Magic: The Gathering.  Now imagine playing both of them at the same time.  That should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Like in Monopoly, your goal is to acquire as much of the playfield as possible, but instead of marking your territory with houses and hotels, you use mighty beasts and warriors instead. 

You'll draw these characters from a hand-crafted deck of fifty cards at the beginning of each turn.  When you play one of these creatures on a square, that territory becomes yours... but smart decisions are necessary to ensure that the square remains your property.  If the opponent lands on one of your squares, he can wrest control of it from you by challenging your monster to a fight. 

The only way to survive these battles is to play your cards wisely, taking advantage of each characters' unique abilities and territorial preferences.  That beefy minotaur might seem like the best beast for the job, but if you're on a forest square, you'd probably be better off planting a dryad or a dwarf there instead.  Creatures placed in their natural habitat have a home court advantage which could determine the outcome of close battles.

There's a lot to keep in mind when playing Culdcept.  You'll need to carefully consider which cards to play, and when, and how you'll use your limited supply of money.  Should you play your most powerful monster now, or use it later as a secret weapon in a desperate situation?  Is it worth the money to level up your favorite character, making it most costly for your opponent to land on its square, or should you tighten those pursestrings just in case you land on one of HIS most heavily invested properties?  These are among the many decisions you'll have to make, and the wrong choices could cost you valuable territory and even the game.

That's the gameplay in a nutshell.  How are the graphics and sound?  Well, a board game like Culdcept doesn't really need fantastic audiovisuals to make it work... contrary to what the hosts of X-Play might tell you.  However, Culdcept's artwork is actually pretty impressive by Saturn standards.  The isometric levels offer plenty of depth, detail, and vibrant color, and there's even interaction between the cards during battles... they'll shoot fire, swing swords, and even fling boulders at one another, leaving the combatants scarred with scratch marks and burn holes.  It's a good thing this is just a video game, because all this property damage could get mighty expensive after a couple of matches!  The sound is less memorable, but the background music is appropriate for the medievel setting, even if the phony monster screams are not.

The game's only flaw is that the computer rarely fights fair, and is never a graceful winner.  Your opponents will often stack the deck against you with superior cards and incredibly suspicious dice rolls.  On numerous occasions, I've successfully predicted foul rolls that left me in a compromising situation and the computer with a whole lot of my money.  An even more obvious example of the computer's shameless cheating was when I used Flight, a spell card which doubles the number of dice you'll roll in your turn.  I played this card in the hopes of jumping over my opponent's most valuable spaces, but naturally, the computer gave me a pair of deuces and I wound up on one of them anyway.  On a subsequent turn, my opponent used his own Flight card and got the highest possible value for BOTH dice, leading him straight to the castle in the center of the screen which pays out a hefty cash bonus.  This wouldn't be quite so aggravating if your rivals didn't make it a point to rub your nose in their victories.  You'll be foaming at the mouth after Zeneth, your first adversary, gloats for what seems to be the millionth time about his latest stroke of "luck".

There's no question that Culdcept is a great game, but it's best to enjoy this fantastic fusion of Magic and Monopoly with a friend.  The computer opponents just have too many cards up their sleeves to make Culdcept an enjoyable solo experience.


Omiya Soft
Turn-Based Strategy


system requirements




handy hints

There was never a strategy guide written specifically for this game, but the FAQ for Culdcept Expansion, its Playstation counterpart, will work just as well.  I strongly recommend that you download it from GameFAQs.

language barrier

There's a lot of text in the game, and the vast majority of it is in Japanese.  However, English speakers can play Culdcept if they're willing to spend a few hours learning the ropes.  Alternately, they could buy the sequel, which was released for the Playstation 2 in English.

access time

It's a board game!  Loading time is rarely, if ever an issue.

trivial matters

Culdcept was enormously successful in Japan, inspiring a number of sequels, expansion packs, and even a few knock-offs from other companies.  One such derivitive was Capcom's Gaia Master, released for the Sega Dreamcast in Japan.