Aug 242005

You have played all of the versions of Civilization and have learned to balance your power to dominate the world through diplomatic finesse, cultural domination, and military prowess. Yet now you are looking for a real challenge in a simulation that will test all your skills to the highest order. We proudly introduce the next generation in simulation gaming – Episcopacy!

If you have ever been an armchair bishop or acted as a pundit critiquing every move of a bishop this is the game for you! From the outside being a bishop seems to be deceptively easy and now you can see the real reason why some saints have avoided the red hat or others accepted it with fear and trembling.

Your goal is to be a true shepherd and to help to prepare your flock to accept God’s grace and to grow in holiness. Your simulated parish includes doctrinal progressives, materialist conservatives, radical traditionalist schismatic and otherwise, lukewarm Catholics, Christmas and Easter Catholics, on-fire Catholics, self-appointed experts, dissident theologians and Scott Hahn wannabes, hostile media, liturgical dancers and subscribers to Adoramus, cafeteria Catholics and salvation rigorists, and diocesan bureaucracy. Or in other words an average diocese. You will soon learn that juggling rabid cats would be preferable to being a bishop.

In the simulation you assign priests, appoint people to diocesan positions, give homilies, visit parishes, track and monitor parish and diocesan budgets, manage diocesan schools, read letters from angry parishioners, supervise diocesan personnel, and fill any leftover time with mind-numbing paperwork. The successful virtual bishop will be sure to allot and spend time in meditative prayer and play off the age-old game of Martha vs. Mary. Game Hint: Some new to the game will be tempted to reduce prayer time in able to do more work – this is actually counterproductive in the simulation. We used a Blessed Teresa of Calcutta algorithm where when she was especially busy she spent twice as long in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Just when you think you have everything balanced and your diocese is running smoothly one of our randomly timed diocesan emergencies will occur. One of the emergencies designed in the game is the dreaded shifting demographics. You might thing that doesn’t sound too bad but wait till you close down one of the parishes due to a shift. No matter what prudent decision you make you will be criticized just like in a real diocese. From sit-ins to groups calling you a racist for closing down a historically ethnic church or complaints from people who are more attached to their local parish then the universal Church. While it is true that you can really mismanage your reaction to a demographic shift you can not judge by public reaction if you made the right decisions since feedback regardless will be negative.

Your virtual diocese will run the gamut of dissenting to faithful priests and you will have to balance the needs of your flock for the sacraments with a decreasing supply of priests. To make up for this you will need to act as a shepherd and in the cases of parishes virtually in schism you will need to prudently and charitably act without forcing them over the edge. Again no matter what you do some pundit with a keyboard and an internet connection will second-guess you. You will also need to work to increase the number of diocesan seminarians and develop a vocations strategy with a bedrock of prayer and action to encourage vocations.

Will your Ad Limina visits with the pope go well or will you be called onto the carpet for your mismanagement? Though one advantage is that no much how badly you run your diocese into the ground or to cause scandal you will not be criticized by your fellow bishops. The simulation incorporates a collegiality algorhthm very closely modeled to real life.

You might at times feel swamped under all the competing simulated pressures and remembering that "to who much is given much is expected" will not exactly lift the pressures. At the end of the simulation you will either see an animation of Jesus saying "Well Done Good And Faithful Servant" or you are sent to a room to have your head fitted for a millstone. Many of our beta testers after extensive playing fell down on their knees in thanks that they weren’t bishops.

So don’t wait and put on your virtual mitre now! You can also buy expansion packs to increase the level of the simulation. For example becoming a bishop in a diocese where the previous bishop resigned because of the priestly abuse scandal. Other challenging expansion packs are the Los Angeles diocese where the simulation starts with heterodox hit points set at maximum and a close to empty seminary mainly populated by seminarians from other countries. This expansion pack is not for the faint of heart and not recommended for beginners. The election year expansion pack increases the level of difficulty with Catholic politicians on the side of the culture of death. Meeting with them and trying to influence them to repent is especially difficult (politicians seem to be especially resilient to facts and truth) and if you have to resort to denying them Communion don’t look for any friends in the press. Other expansion packs allow you to become a Cardinal or even the Pope. So find out if you have what it takes to be successful bishop or not and play Episcopacy now.

  27 Responses to “Episcopacy”

  1. ROTFL. Another Curt Jester’s classic!

    There should be a special prayer package for real bishops included in the game as well, in my opinion. They sure need our prayers!

  2. ROTFL, and very wise too!

  3. Just one question: Milton Bradley or Parker Brothers?

  4. This should definitely be published.

    It would make a great companion article to one that was published an issue or two back in Catholic World Report wherein a writer mused on what he would like to see a bishop do in a diocese filled with dissent.

    This is all a great reminder of what our bishops are faced with. If we spent half as much time praying for them as we do criticizing them (mea culpa), I think God would truly bless us with holy men to lead us.

  5. I LOVE IT!!! I love the Civilization games. I would definitely buy this game if it were real!!!

  6. This is great! You’ve finally made fun of those of us who like to be critical of our bishops…now we’re all equally humbled. Good job!

    Btw, spelling mistake…you want “gamut”, not “gamete”

  7. L,

    Thanks, error corrected.

    Yeah and is was about time that I satired myself and others like me who love to play armchair bishop. Only question is will I learn anything or get pissed of at myself for daring to satirizing myself.

  8. Too funny. Never wanted to be one, can’t imagine wanting to play one, but thanks for the laugh. I have a few people on my Christmas list that this would do nicely for.

  9. Though I have NO desire whatsoever to be a priest or bishop or anything like that I’d love to play that game. This one could go from parody to real!

  10. Great idea. Having worked in a diocese, I’m still very critical of bishops, especially ours in North America, but at least now I pray for them – *especially* when I have a criticism!

  11. Will the bishop ever get around to actually celebrating the sacraments in your game?

  12. Jeff if you have the game made make sure they put it in a gift tin. This is just a lot classier and it can’t rip after time and you lose some of the pieces. Hey, the tin could be in the shape of a Bishops miter :c)

  13. Help!

    I’m halfway through the game and I’ve just been attacked by the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious – see )

    I tried the “Call upon the help of JC, your only saviour” cheat, but they had captured it and it led to the wrong JC – Joan Chittister.

    What do I do?

  14. Ha!! What a riot, and good one Ven. Aussie!
    I’m not a bishop… but I like to play one on the blogs.

  15. I want several boxes, Jeff. STAT!!!

    One thing though, isn’t this itself an expansion pack from the earlier releases of LAITY, SEMINARIAN and PRIESTHOOD ??? I’d additonaly market CARDINALATE AND PAPACY separately, with perhaps expansion sets for NUNCIATURE and APOSTOLIC DELEGATE (Can you properly represent the Holy Father, in a country that hates the Church, when you were appointed by his predecessor and he’s hated you for years before his election?)…

    Make ’em get here quickly, I want the full set, and I wanna start playing NOW…

  16. Pope fiddles while Rome burns!

    I wasted two years of my life playing the CIV games.

    I seriously want to play this game!

  17. Stop the presses!

    Word is that the Vatican has just released its own version of a Microsoft classic. It’s called:

    AOE(Alsatian of Europe): The Re-Rise of Rome

    (Alsatian in a nice and pastoral German Shepherd sense of course)

    So, does this spell DOOM for heterodoxy?
    Will the dissenters be QUAKE-ing in their boots?
    Is it time to find “pope” Joan C and CAESAR?
    Will there be enough DUNGEONS for these DRAGONS?

    (I’d add a few more corny PC-Games jokes but I’d need to check out some titles with my teenage boys first, and darn it, they don’t get back from Germany for another 4 hours and 20 minutes.)

  18. The Lord has blessed you with an abundance of talent! Episcopacy is a marvel. You showed me more in the way of compassion towards our bishops with your wise satire than all the endless “touchy-feely” liberal Christianity (sic) could possibly ever do.
    Thank you for using your gifts so wisely and so freely.

  19. I want this game! Seriously!

    Hey, maybe there’s a nerd around here somewhere who could program this….

  20. Wow; I never thought Axis and Allies could be outdone, but it has now. Sign me up for one. 😉

  21. Sign me up for a copy of that game!! I love Civilization and this is the dream game I’ve been waiting for.

    Oh, won’t someone program it for us?!!

  22. I got to the part in the game where I’m building a new church but I accidentally hired Richard Vosko to consult. Help — before the people lose all their faith in the Real Presence!

  23. This would be a hit among some internet bloggers since most think that they could do the job of a Bishop so well.

  24. Well Matt, have you had a look at some of the Bishops we have in this country? Far too many of them are lacking, and follow the Pope about as far as the headline news. When the lay are more concerned over staying true to Rome than the Bishop then we have a problem. And we do.

  25. I second Lucy.

  26. Tiring of World Conquest Games? Try Episcopacy!

    So you’re Archbishop Finn. You have a parish in your diocese that has so much dissent, you feel that it will soon reach critical mass and erupt in an unholy mushroom cloud. So what do you do? Do you take your first reaction, and close down St. Joan’s…

  27. Game? What game???

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