The Newborn World
At the start of the game, each player chooses a name and color. Players also decide on their turn order, usually based on how they are seated around a table. Once this initial setup is complete, each player will draw a secret agenda card at random, keeping it hidden from other players at all times. The agenda card has three gods, and specifies how this player can win the game. Then, each player draws a hand of 6 word cards before the introductory event card is played. Players have an opportunity to see their secret agenda and their starting hand when they go through the word selection phase for the first time.
A Game Round
After an event card has been revealed, the word selection phase begins. Each player chooses a number of word cards equal to the number of gaps on the event card; these word cards are secret to other players at this phase, and will be combined with other players' word cards to form a word pool. Players take turns to secretly add word cards; once all players have finished, the storytelling phase begins.
During this phase, players can discard any number of cards from their hand: if they do so, they take a Corruption card into their hand and then draw up to their hand limit. Since Corruption cards can not be played, players draw one less word card than the number of word cards they discarded. Corruption cards are removed at the end of an era (typically after 3 phases) and the player can re-draw up to the normal number of cards.
At the beginning of the storytelling phase, all word cards from every player are shuffled together and revealed to all players. During the storytelling phase, the tablet is placed in the middle of the table where everyone can see the word pool. The first player then takes her personal numbered tokens (labeled 1, 2, etc.) and chooses which word cards to assign to each numbered gap on the event card. Once that is completed, the same player suggests how the story progresses, using or paraphrasing the event card and the word cards, expanding on it as she sees fit. As a story-telling game, the players should be creative in both their interpretations of the events and in their stories, rather than reading aloud the constructed sentence.
Once the first player concludes her story, the next player (as noted on the app) chooses a number of word cards and tells her story. Players after the first can not use the same combination of cards that has been used by another player, regardless of the words' order. The turn passes to the next player, until the last player selects words and tells her story. This concludes the storytelling phase and the voting phase begins.
During the voting phase, players decide which story they want to see become real, affecting the next event (and its ascendant god). Taking turns passing the tablet around, each player votes in secret for the player whose story they prefer. Players can not vote on their own stories. After all players have taken turns voting, the story with the most votes is revealed by the application, and it becomes reality for this event. In the case of a tie, the first player acts as a tie-breaker. The winning story triggers the resolution phase.
During the resolution phase, the word cards of the winning story are placed on the event card; the remaining word cards are discarded. Depending on the elements of the word cards that won, a specific god becomes ascendant during the next phase. For instance, if the words were "forest" (which belongs to Nature) and "prison" (which belongs to Order), then the god of time becomes ascendant. Ascendant gods may influence play in the next phase in a number of ways, prompting players to discard word cards of a specific element or forbidding word cards of a certain element to feature in stories.
In the case that both word cards belong to the same element, a special type of entity becomes ascendant: the Apex. Unlike gods, an ascending Apex requires players to collaboratively take a decision on how the story or the world changes, based on the guidelines of each Apex card. Once players have agreed on which event or events among those on the Apex card takes place (embellishing as they desire), the next phase can take place as normal. The player to the left of the first player becomes the first player for the next phase, and reveals the 2nd event card. Apart from the introductory event, each era constitutes of 3 event cards.
The game ends after three eras, at the conclusion of the last era's 3rd event. Players can also finish the game at the end of an earlier era. For the end game, the victorious player can narrate (without cards) how the story ends, shaping the future of the world and the First City based on the priorities of her secret agenda. Choosing the victorious player is done based on which gods have become ascendant throughout the entire story, from the first era onwards.
All players first reveal their agendas. If all gods in a player's secret agenda have become ascendant, then she is the victor. If not all gods in any player's secret agenda have been ascendant (and the players want to finish the game) then the player with the most ascendant gods in her secret agenda is the victor. The number of different gods that have been ascendant is the key here, and it is irrelevant if the same god has been ascendant more than once. In case of a tie, the victor is determined based on which god in any (tying) secret agenda has been most recently ascendant.