Ex Novo logo graphic

A city-building game for 1-4 players

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A creative, cooperative game

Ex Novo is a playable city-generator that helps you construct, and populate fictional villages, towns, and cities. Meet with your friends, and collaboratively draw the map of your city as you explore the history of its founding, and the forces, factions, and events that shape its development. 

  • Physical city-drawing game
  • Cooperative for 1 to 4 players
  • A playtime of 1 to 3 hours

Ex Novo is both a fun game, and a tool that helps you build memorable settlements ready for further creative use; the cities generated can for example be used in any sort of narrative endeavors or as settings for pen and paper role-playing game adventures.

  • Created by Martin Nerurkar and Konstantinos Dimopoulos

Share your cities with us using the hashtag #ExNovoCity!

Example Maps

Some city maps drawn and submitted by our players.

Playing Ex Novo

During play you will make sense of the events happening as you roll dice, plan and draw on a collaborative map of your settlement, and influence its changing shape. You will flesh out a living place complete with landmarks, districts, resources, and people, and in the end create your own, unique, fictional town. A town with a true sense of history and place.

Sequence of Play

Play begins with a brief discussion phase, where each player shares their assumptions and expectations. The age and size of the city-to-be are also determined, and with them the expected duration of the game.

Next up is the founding phase. Taking turns, players define such fundamentals features of the settlement as the surrounding terrain or its original founding purpose. Every feature is described by the acting player, who will then have to draw it on the map. Following Ex Novo's initial sequence of turns, players will have an interesting starting situation in their hands.

The following phase, the development phase, is the core of the game. Each turn in this phase provides with an event brought forth by the roll of three dice. These events need to be interpreted, and sketched by the active player. During the development phase the settlement will grow, change or even shrink; factions will rise and fall, populations will move, old neighborhoods will decline, and mighty edifices will be built. This is where the exciting history of your city will be played out, where its structure will evolve, and where the game map will get both bigger and richer.

The final phase is the topping out phase. These few quick turns are all that's needed to wrap up the development of the city, and tie up any loose ends. Dominant landmarks might even get named as your settlement's finishing touches are applied.

Finally your creation will be ready for you to admire, illustrate, show off or use as a jumping off point for something entirely new: a new RPG campaign, a video game setting, a novel fantasy or a even short story.

Ex Novo Third Party License

This irrevocable license allows anyone to make new stuff for or based on Ex Novo, and either publish it for free or sell it, without us taking a cut. New tables, fun rule hacks, complete modifications, anything goes. There are, however, a few basic rules:


  1. If you adhere to these terms you are allowed to publish free or commercial material based upon and/or declaring compatibility with Ex Novo without express permission from Sharkbomb Studios.
  2. Art, tables and text from our books may not be reused or translated unless you have our explicit permission.
  3. The mechanics and game rules of Ex Novo may be reused and referenced freely.
  4. You are expressly forbidden from creating NFTs, cryptocurrency, or other blockchain-related content using this license.


  1. Your product cannot use the Ex Novo or Sharkbomb Studios logo unless you have our explicit permission.
  2. You do have to use the Built With Ex Novo logo on the cover or back cover of your product; the logo should be effortlessly visible.
  3. You’re not allowed to give the impression that this is an official Ex Novo product or that we endorse or sponsor you in any way unless we’ve made special arrangements with you.
  4. The following text should appear in the copyright page of your product:
    Built With Ex Novo. Ex Novo is copyright Martin Nerurkar and Konstantinos Dimopoulos


  1. Sharkbomb Studios, Martin Nerurkar and Konstantinos Dimopoulos take no responsibility for any legal claims against your product.
  2. Any legal disputes, controversies, or claims related to this license shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Germany and be settled by a German court.
  3. The following text must be included in the legal text, somewhere visible in the publication, and on the website or storefront where you promote the product:
    [Product name] is an independent production by [Author or Publisher] and is not affiliated with Sharkbomb Studios, Martin Nerurkar or Konstantinos Dimopoulos. It is published under the Ex Novo Third Party License.
  4. This copyright text must be legibly included somewhere in the product and on the storefront:
    Ex Novo copyright by Martin Nerurkar and Konstantinos Dimopoulos.

Closing Notes

Remember: Ex Novo is meant to allow everyone to express their creativity. Be sure to avoid any sort of exclusionary or bigoted tropes and themes in your content. That includes, but is not limited to sexist, racist, fascist, ableist, antisemitic, homophobic, transphobic, and xenophobic material.

Ex Novo was designed to be suitable for people of all ages. If you want your content to deviate from that, then that is fine. However please make it explicitly clear in your presentation that your material is not suitable for a younger audience.

Special thanks to Ockult Örtmästare Games and Stockholm Kartell from Mörk Borg fame for allowing us to use their license as a template.

Logos and Brand

Under the Ex Novo Third Party License some of our logos are freely usable in conjunction with your publication while others are not.

Forbidden Logos

The Sharkbomb Studios and Ex Novo logos are off limits.

Required Logos

Use of the Built With Ex Novo logo is mandatory.

You can download the Built with Ex Novo logo here.