“...and one or the other player will raise his eyebrows out of respect for what the author has taken on himself...and what narrative threads he has interwined.”

Rise of Totalitarianism

"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength"

Germany, 1919. Jan. 1: The opening of the Paris Peace Conference is imminent, but unrest and violence are already spreading throughout Germany and Italy as well as in many other European countries. Communist forces are marching to power, following the example of the Bolsheviks in Russia. The murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht is still a possibility. Will the German Social-Democracy make an evil pact with the proto-Nazi Freikorps to eliminate the two revolutionary leaders from the political theatre? Extreme left and right parties face each other creating disorder and putting the Social-Democratic and Liberal governments under pressure to bring peace to Europe. Democratic forces have about fifteen years to save the Old Continent from the maelstrom of tyranny and totalitarianism. Will they fail as happened in history? The economic crisis of middle classes, the loss of monetary power and wealth, hyperinflation, the never-ending clash with the proletarian forces and the Great Depression ... will all such factors bring the liberal European countries to the verge of bankruptcy? Or will Mussolini and Hitler be left out of the history books?

Rise of Totalitarianism is an interactive simulation enabling you to explore all such questions. A card-driven strategy game, it reproduces the ideological conflicts and political struggles that led to the establishment of totalitarian dictatorships in Europe throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The game covers the period 1919-1933 and is designed for three players. Each takes the role of one of the three Ideologies – Social-Democracy, Fascism and Communism – that struggled for power during the timeline of the game.

Rise of Totalitarianism offers an accurate and detailed historical context, supported by 90 game cards. Players exploit historical events and political actions to achieve political supremacy and must face the major crises that upset the European countries of the era. Game cards provide political points that are used by players to plan secret actions on the map by using action chits. Action chits are revealed simultaneously and players can then perform their reactions and activities (propaganda, conflicts, laws and reforms) to influence society, public opinion, political orientation, the economy and the stability of governments.


  • two 18x18" mounted boards
  • 90 game cards (five decks)
  • 90 small cubes (30 each in red, blue and black)
  • 3 disks (one each in red, blue and black)
  • 150 game counters
  • a Rules Book
  • a Play Book(*) (downloadable or sold separately)
  • a player aid mat
  • 3 player screens
  • a 6-sided die
(*) IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The Play Book is NOT included in the base game's box. However, the Play Book is absolutely required to play the game because the Scenarios set up rules are in the Play Book. The Play Book of the game is sold separately, check out the play book here: Rise of Totalitarianism Play Book Otherwise it can be downloaded for free (PDF file format).


  • Complexity: 6 / 10
  • Game length: 3+ hours
  • Number of players: 3
  • Time scale: 1-4 years per turn
  • Solitaire suitability: low


2018/03/04 - corrected cards C1, SD1 & F17 (typo in card title)

2017/11/29 - Example of play (part 2) video is now online

2017/11/25 - Example of play (part 1) video is now online

2017/07/10 - published version 1.01 (July 2017) including a number of mostly minor improvements



BOARDGAMEGEEK entry: Rise of Totalitarianism

Game page: Rise of Totalitarianism - Calvinus Games


NOTE: This game contains laser cut components. Laser cut items will have a slight amount of soot around the edges, which can easily be wiped off; and will have a campfire smell for about a week after you open them.



Action Shots



Cool Factors

  • Card-driven strategy game on post-WW1 politics
  • A mix of Twilight Struggle, Churchill and Game of Thrones
  • High replayability value


DesignerCalvinus Games
Average Rating (3)
Publish DateMay 10, 2017
DepartmentBoard Games
SettingWorld War I
AudienceHardcore Gamer
Primary MechanicStrategy
If You LikeGame of Thrones
More InfoRise of Totalitarianism web site

Reviews and Ratings