Heretic Operative – Overview

Written by Marcello TBL

Heretic Operative

A unique digital boardgame with strategy and narrative elements, inspired by games like Pandemic, Arkham Horror, and Talisman. As a Heretic Operative, a secret mage sworn to oppose the Cult, you must harness the arcane without becoming lost in its power.

Heretic Operative

Background story

Heretic Operative is set in a fantasy world. The game takes place in a region that is part of the Northern Reach, focusing on the Kingdom of Ione.

Some thirty years ago, Emperor Anton Vocula converted to a new religion, the Hierarchist Church. The core belief of the Heirarchist faith is that everything belongs in a certain place — to not live up to your station or to attempt to exceed your position was a grave sin against the gods, Magic was particularly evil, as it was clearly man’s attempt to command the power of the gods.

With Emperor Vocula’s conversion, magic became illegal and conditions for his subjects deteriorated. Some illnesses were not cured, some blight was not averted, some ships did not return safely. Eventually, the decline led to rebellion.

Heretic Operative

During the rebellion, a secret society opposed to the Emperor formed – Cultus Arcanum was anti-Hierarchist, agreeing that magic was a human attempt to become gods but disagreeing that this was a bad thing. The Cult is dedicated to the unrestricted accumulation of magical power at any cost.

A second secret society generally referred to as The Heretics, appeared at the same time. The Heretics believed that magic could be used responsibly to better man’s lot in life. During the rebellion, many magic users were killed and The Heretics feared their knowledge would be lost forever – members of the Heretics, called Operatives, are dedicated to preserving the understanding of magic and using it (in secret) to serve man.

Heretic Operative

You are one of the Heretic Operatives, trying to preserve magic, remain unseen by the Empire, and defeat the cult.

Gameplay details

Heretic Operative is a digital board game in the vein of Arkham Horror, Pandemic, or Talisman (it reminds a lot of people of Eldrich Horror too).

The core loop involves moving Operatives controlled by the player to locations on the map. Each location offers options or townsfolk to recruit into service, depending on your strategy. Each location also has an event deck, and the player draws an event card for each location where they have an Operative. The events pose challenges or decisions for the player.

Heretic Operative

Each turn, the Cult will also attempt to advance their objectives. There are a number of different ways that they might try to use to unleash an arcane evil upon the world, so exactly what they do depends on the specific enemy you are fighting and their current plan.

When you encounter enemies, combat takes place through a unique, fast-paced, dice-based system.

Heretic Operative

Magic, via spells, are the best tools for combat, but they are also a little different than in other fantasy games. In Heretic Operative, spell use comes at a cost — the power of magic corrupts, and if an Operative relies on magic too much, they can become addicted to the power and, eventually, lost. A lost Operative will become an enemy, a member of the Cult. Hence, players end up having a lot of power available to them, but they need to think about the implications of using it.

Key features:

  • Control a secret society dedicated to using magic for the benefit of the world, at a time when all mages are considered “heretics” to be hunted by the Templars.
  • Master over 50 different spells to overcome challenges in and out of combat. But be wary of the Corruption that accompanies magic. The more powerful you become, the greater the risk of losing control.
  • Fight enemy cultists, zealous templars, and ravenous monsters through a unique dice-based combat system. Employ mercenaries, devastating spells, and powerful artifacts to prevail.
  • Explore the Northern Reach, where the frayed edges of the Empire are under constant threat. From vast museums in the city of Ione to the farms in the countryside to ruined temples of ancient gods, to camps of raiding Orcs, every location offers unique challenges.
  • Make contact with other Heretic Operatives and recruit townsfolk to spread your Heretical influence and stop the diabolical Cultus Arcanum.
  • Encounter more than 270 different adventure cards, full of challenging decisions that change the way your story unfolds. Will you risk your life and mission to save innocents from a burning building or live with the stain on your soul from abandoning them? Will you stand your ground against the Orcs for honor’s sake or be more prudent and flee? Do you bother to learn all of the verses in the Elven Song of Greeting or is now the time to take a stand against ridiculous Elven ceremony?
  • More than 7 playable Operatives (and counting), 6 different story decks, and 4 enemy cults mean your story plays out differently each time. Use different strategies and wisely deploy your resources to defeat the most challenging combinations.
Heretic Operative

About developer

C Prompt Games is an independent game developer founded by Robert Fermier and Ian Fischer. The company is based in Texas and has been in operation since March of 2018.

C-Prompt Games

Robert Fermier has been a professional game programmer for more than 20 years. Rob started his career at Looking Glass and was then a founder at Irrational. After Irrational, he joined Ensemble Studios. In 2009 he was one of founders of Robot Entertainment. Rob has served as lead programmer or tech director on games including System Shock 2, Age of Mythology, and Orcs Must Die! Unchained.

Ian M. Fischer has been a professional game designer for more than 20 years. Ian started his career at Ensemble Studios, working on the original Age of Empires. In 2009, he was one of the founders of Robot Entertainment. Ian has served as lead designer or design director on games including Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, Age of Mythology, and Orcs Must Die! Unchained.

C Prompt’s founders have a lot of experience in strategy gaming and are motivated by interests in emergence, systems-based design, and strong player-driven narrative. The company was formed with the intention of providing a small, focused team with the freedom to produce unique games that explore these elements and focus heavily on gameplay.

Release date and platforms

Heretic Operative is already available via Steam on PC. Below a video trailer and steam page. For other cool turn-based games check our overview section.


Photo of author

Marcello TBL

Italian Dad in love with Turn-Based RPGs and Indie Games. In 2018 he started Turn Based Lovers and now he can't live without it.

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