Cloak, Dagger, Submarine — Subterfuge Megathread & Recruitment Centre


#1

Hey, Waypoint folks!

Subterfuge has been abuzz in these parts for quite some time, including on Waypoint Radio – in contexts good and bad. This has bled over into the community, with quite a few folks picking the game up and having some fun with it.

Subterfuge is probably best (worst?) among friends, but I thought it’d be a good idea to start putting together the discussion around it into a single thread, which I hope can serve as a place of discussion, reflection, and organisation. I want folks to be able to talk about the game, share their experiences with playing it, and start to organise for games on here.


What is Subterfuge?

Subterfuge is a multiplayer game for iOS and Android. You could call it a ‘real-time strategy’ game, but that’s, unfortunately, a genre descriptor – but it is a fitting description of it. The below is a potted explanation that overlooks some key mechanics, but should give you the gist.

You take control of a fleet of submarines on the ocean floor seeking to unearth Neptunium from the planet’s depths. You are down there with a number of other players, all of whom have that same goal.

Strategic depth is granted by three elements. Firstly, the ‘real-time’ element I mentioned earlier – the games plays out in real-time and it can take hours for a submarine to go from one outposts. Secondly, the management of an economy built up of factories, power generators, and the all-important Neptunium mines. Thirdly, you can recruit ‘specialists’ that interact with the combat in a diverse set of ways.

By its nature, Subterfuge encourages a certain degree of inter-player connectivity, fostered through an in-game chat system. This allows you to scheme, plot, and bargain with other players in hope of mutual benefit on your path to the win conditions: owning 200 Neptunium or eliminating every other player from the game.


How Do I Play?

You just need to download the game on your phone. It’s free, with an in-app purchase that opens up some additional (unnecessary, but helpful) scheduling features for future moves.


Games Currently Recruiting

  • None!

No Longer Recruiting/Past Games


So, on that note, I am turning over to the posting public to see if folks are as piqued by this game as they seem to be. If folks want to start chatting games, posting their experiences, or recruiting for duplicity, this is the place to do it!

I’m looking to put together some additional notes for the thread, depending on if folks are interested. One caution I’d make about this game is that, as the podcast makes clear, trust and commonly-agreed rules are important. If folks would like, I could put together a standard agreement by what I think would make sense, but I’d also encourage people organising games to set standards for what they’d like folks to do.

Subterfuge is all in good fun, but games are defined by rules and respect.

Let me know if you think the thread needs any additions!


Community Subterfuge Game - Join Us!
#2

Hello! We currently have a few people from here in a lobby and just need a few more to kick off the game. Hopefully a pretty lax affair but I’ll sorta hit everybody up when we start:


#3

To follow up on my post from the other thread, I’ve decided to post my notes I took during the community Subterfuge game I was in!

A bit of additional info for context:

  • The game consisted of 10 players including myself. My account mostly covers my interactions and discussions with the players in my immediate vicinity: KrazyKroc (Red), Siifferz (Light Blue) and Queen Jobber (Pink).
  • The times marked are of the in-game time and not my local time. For reference, in my local timezone, the pre-game phase started at about approximately 11:10 PM EDT on October 24th after every player had joined and began at 3:10 AM EDT on October 25th.
  • The game took place over the course of 8 days starting on October 25th, after the pre-game phase, and ended on November 1st.
  • I got sick at some point over the course of those 8 days which led to a few gaps in my documenting here and there. I’ve marked any edits made for clarity in brackets [like this].

I don’t currently have access to the game right now. Otherwise, I would be able to provide a few more screenshots as well as a bit more info on the players. Other than that, that’s about it!

A personal account of the Waypoint Community Subterfuge Game

~4 hours before match:

Established an alliance with Queen Jobber as we are both newcomers. She seems friendly enough and I look forward to working with her!

We agreed to keep drillers off of the closest outposts near our borders to prevent any unease and to deter any sudden movements. I also allowed her to advance toward the factory on Maranga.

~2.5 hours before match:

Tried to establish contact with KrazyKroc to avoid a potential conflict over the ownership of Adria.

~2 hours before match:

Have yet to receive a response and after some advisory from a friend I decided to withdraw my movement towards Adria. I am unsure of having a player of unknown standing so deep into my territory but I hope we will be able to discuss things once time starts to flow.

Left an introduction in the public chat.

After considering all my possible options I’ve settled on my initial turn. I need sleep and will be idle once the game begins proper. Hopefully things advance as planned while I am away.

DAY ONE

7:50

Received a message from Kroc overnight regarding the ownership of Adria. He seems receptive to me taking control of it but if things proceed as they are he will capture it. Further action is needed if we both agree to relinquish control of the outpost over to me without exchanging any drillers.

Exchanged information with Jobber regarding our neighbors and specialists.

11:22

Received a message from Siifferz about an upcoming, and allegedly, unintentional conflict on Vaccarino. He offered to immediately return my 18 drillers in exchange for allowing him to capture the outpost. He also mentioned some aggression from Kroc, our mutual neighbor. I will accept his offer for now. Should he fail to comply I might be able to defend myself by hiring a Martyr.

11:55

Siifferz and I agreed to our previous terms and he informed me that he and his allies, Jaxaru and MyOwn, were planning to discuss what to do about KrazyKroc who seems to be moving and capturing outposts aggressively. I asked to be a part of this discussion since I am now wary of him as well.

13:22

Kroc has sent me a message letting me know the he is going to move his drillers off of Adria. I am still quite unclear where so I have sent a message asking for clarification. I’d rather avoid wasting resources before committing to any actions.

15:32

Several group messages have been formed. One consisting of Siifferz, Jaxuru [Orange], MyOwn [Blue] and myself another with the previously mentioned folks and Kroc. I’m unclear where exactly either of these will go at the moment but I have a feeling it’ll be an alliance or a declaration of war.

19:22

Our 5-person group chat doesn’t seem to have eased many minds as I have received a message from Siifferz. He plans to use the 18 drillers he promised to return to me to bolster an attack on one of Kroc’s factories. I told him that I wouldn’t feel comfortable officially backing him up unless we could take out both of Kroc’s factories near my borders. The Foreman stationed at Sagan will make it considerably tougher to capture as it can quickly produce drillers. Siifferz has come up with a plan to stage his attack as a betrayal of our agreement, even though it already kind of is, so as to provide me with some plausible deniability and to divert attention from me. I am not sure who’s side I will take in the upcoming conflict but I need to amass some defenses either way.

I have also received a message from Queen Jobber. She has requested some assistance in an attack on Jyoder [Purple] that she is conducting with Kiwi [Sea Green]. I am much more receptive to helping here but my concerns lie with my low range of vision. I can hardly see Jyoder’s outposts and I fear holding a single outpost so far away from my main cluster will be difficult.

20:13

I’ve set up my final movements for today since I am about to go to sleep. I will leave Siifferz to act on his own as I gather some defenses near the border. I will also amass as many drillers as possible on Serenity and await for any incoming info from Jobber before advancing on Jyoder. When I awake I will also have a chance to recruit another specialist. For now, I shall sleep and hope my territory remains safe for the night.

DAY TWO

05:29

I recruited a Martyr and Helmsman at some point during the night as I was unable to sleep as I appear to be catching a cold or something. Also, major battles appear to have begun overnight. Kroc has left his factories open to attack. Siifferz and I plan to take them amidst the fighting happening elsewhere.

Jyoder has also built the first mine of the game, making him the first major target for attack. Jobber and a few others appear to be making advances on him. I plan to take the factory at Deepcore now that I know he is down at least 50 drillers.

Hopefully these are all the moves I need to make today so I can focus on recovering.

09:28

KrazyKroc sent a message asking how I was doing and I answered somewhat truthfully. I told him that I was avoiding combat and that I would like to offer assistance, he currently appears to be fighting several players by himself, but I felt I was too far away to offer anything meaningful. He suggested that I capture Vaccarino, a factory owned by Siifferz, since it had used up all its drillers trying to attack Hagia. It’s a solid idea, Siifferz hadn’t returned the drillers I initially gifted him at the beginning so it could be a justified move on my part. I need to decide which of these two to ally with before I proceed further.

Jyoder appears to be sending his Queen and a lieutenant to Deepcore. The lieutenant stationed there will make it so I will no longer be able to capture the factory. I informed Jobber and she said that she’d be able to handle it by herself. Although, I have already sent a few low power subs toward the outpost so either way I will be joining this battle.

16:41

I proposed a plan to Queen Jobber, my ally who I would never betray, backstab or deceive, that involved building mines along our border, a highly defensible area equidistant between both of us, so that we may mutually fund each other. She seems interested but hasn’t agreed to anything yet.

[The movement of subs toward Cousteau, October and Adria were made to support either Kroc or Siifferz. The movement towards Mazu were made to speed up the enacting of my funding plan if Jobber had agreed to it.]

DAY THREE

08:16

Received several messages from Siifferz regarding the forces around my border as well as letting me know which outposts were up for grabs now that Kroc is slowly being overtaken by several players. I have yet to start my attack on Sagan like Siifferz expects me to because I have a chance to save Kroc if I choose to do so. Although I can see no strategic benefit to doing so, it might be fun to unexpectedly change things up.

I also lightly pestered Queen Jobber about my plan. No response just yet.

11:24

Discussed the funding plan with Queen Jobber, someone who i would never lie to, and after exchanging plenty of information on our allies and enemies around us it seems we aren’t any closer to putting the plan into effect. I assumed she would’ve agreed at this point and we would be plotting on how to secure the top two spots this game. We are still allies however, so I will do my best to provide assistance if it is needed.

Kroc continues to defend himself for the time being and Siifferz is urging me to make a move on his final factory so he will be eliminated. Aiding Kroc seems like it’ll paint a target on my back but aiding Siifferz will put me in good favor with someone with a lot of power. I shall wait just a bit longer before I commit to anything.

DAY FOUR

05:57

Talked with Siifferz a bit more about our final movements to take over Kroc. I wasn’t brave enough to try and stage an 11th hour rescue. It would’ve been quite a move to pull but instead I chose deference.

Kroc seems positioned to hold out for a lot longer than I expected but his end is in sight. I will likely move on toward Sagan if he send reinforcements to Naija.

[This is the last screenshot I took of the game as it was happening.]

DAY FIVE

10:38

I neglected to mention it yesterday but Siifferz allowed me to take Hagai as he no longer had any use for it. He also assured me that Kroc was going down very soon but as of the current time he is still alive. I think he was counting on me to take Sagan but I honestly just forgot to issue the killing blow for that outpost. Whether Kroc is an active player right now isn’t terribly important as there is another player that has captured everyone’s attention.

Queen Jobber has jumped to first place with a massive lead that I didn’t at all contribute to [I believe the countdown timer at the top of the screen said that she had less than five days until she achieved victory]. All the players that could do something at this point are looking to do something about it. I missed my chance to cause some trouble earlier by not saving Kroc so I think now will be the time to get up to no good. I’m going to try and undermine the collective effort to overthrow Jobber by (hopefully) pushing her toward victory.

The negotiations [between the players planning to take down Jobber] haven’t begun yet but I’ll write back once people start putting some plans into action.

18:49

Made a proposal to Jobber [with regard to undermining the collective effort to take her down and instead aiding her in secret] and was turned down. I suppose I’ll end up fighting her in earnest. There doesn’t seem to be any coordination among the anti-Jobbers but I’ll be moving any available drillers so that I can start attacking over the next few days.

DAY SIX

Was unable to document my movements during day six as they occurred but it mostly consisted of of me moving into position to attack Jobber. I could see that Jax was also attacking and I assumed a few other players are as well.

DAY SEVEN

11:30

I wasn’t paying close attention, but it appears that the top stop on the leaderboard is currently being contested by Kiwi and Siifferz. Kiwi had a more gradual ascent [by attacking Jobber, presumably] while Siifferz rose to the top seemingly overnight [by way of attacking Kroc and eliminating another player, I believe]. Kroc, who was previously inactive, is now making moves into my territory. I had assumed he would have been eliminated by someone else at this point but I am not entirely sure who is to blame for that. It’s probably me. Regardless, he’s my problem now and an immediate one at that.

Elsewhere, Jobber is on the run but seems to be reaching out about a truce of some kind. We’ll have to discuss this a bit before I decide whether or not to spare her.

[After a passionate and theatrical exchange of words, Jobber and I reached a truce after exchanging a few outposts in battle. We resolved to try and focus our remaining drillers to try and stall Siifferz. Neither of us were in a position to do much and the countdown timer said that Siifferz had less than 24 hours remaining until he won.]

DAY EIGHT

09:30

The first few “gg”s have rolled in. The countdown timer at the top informs us that Siifferz will win in ~4 hours. Not nearly enough time for me to try and slow his forward momentum. I’m not so sure what everyone else is going to do about it but it seems like the game will be over very soon.

[The game ended several hours later to no fanfare. Siifferz was the victor.]


#4

i played two big games of subterfuge with my friends last year and i won both. it remains one of the most gruelling and unpleasant games i’ve ever played, and i constantly get the urge to dip back into it.

the simple truth is i love lying, i love talking my way out of things, i love messaging people incessantly until they agree to work with me. my persona in every hidden information game is - as my display name suggests - Trustworthy Martin, who would never lie, who would give back a spy card if handed one. i’ve successfully built such a duplicitous persona for these games that people end up working with me because they assume they can predict when i’m going to betray them.

none of my friends will play it with me any more and i don’t think revealing how easily i can lie to my friends (admittedly only in a game context, but still) is an attractive trait. fucking fascinating game though. you wind up invested in it based on time commitment alone, constantly tweaking strategies and changing plans. it’s so good. pure, unbridled, oppressive paranoia. for a week.


#5

This is interesting because while I might not have had the same experience that I think other folks had, I do think that pot-turning in your brain that Subterfuge has is quite good. It’s very easy to spend five minutes flicking over your terrain, lock your phone, and turn it over in your head for thirty minutes before going in to fiddle with your setup because you’ve decided where to concentrate your chips.

I think it’s easy to overdo this (I probably shuffled my deckchairs too much rather than sticking to simple plans) but it’s a fun way that the game shakes out.


#6

i think part of the reason it felt so gruelling to me is it very much became a game of fiddling around to me; the more i logged in, the more attention i paid, the more success i tended to find, and that’s both on the social side and the actual game side.

you need to be able to take time out of a social function or your work day to move your subs, and if you can’t do that, you’re going to lose to an ambush you didn’t have a chance to defend to. it’s an endurance game, in my experience, for both you and those around you!


#7

Hey I’m the Kiwi from this game and I have to say it’s really fun to read this summary because we were on opposite sides of the map and so couldn’t see each other at all and barely interacted at during the game. Hearing your perspective is interesting because it’s so divorced from what I knew to be happening.

This quote in particular is hilarious because jobber and I were allies for the entire game and I was only able to hold on to second place because of her help and gifts. I might do a recap for my side of events tomorrow to show the differences but no promises.


#8

I actually just finished a game with @Kiwi as well, which featured the two of us going down together after an initially productive working partnership.

It was a mix of folks in this community and another, which made it a slightly strange experience for me, as I had familiarity with some but not others.

I’ll get my pictures uploaded and do a write-up of how I thought my first Subterfuge game went.

With that said… you still looking for players, @Tolinky?


#9

Yeah! Sure am. A few have dropped out so I think we’re back to 3 currently in the lobby


#10

You’re back up to 4 now – let’s get a good group together!


So, I wrapped my first Subterfuge game earlier today. I’d say it was pretty fun? We had a good mix of experienced and inexperienced, and inside and outside the community. I didn’t take quite the prolific amount of snapshots that @blzzzrrttt did (something for me to improve on next time), but I took a few.

I’m still quite new to the game, so I think I have a lot of room to improve. I achieved some personal goals & think I know how to improve for next time.

Game Summary & Pictures

My goals for the game were to (1) win, (2) knock other players out, or (3) deny my reason for defeat their victory.

(1) was always a long shot and is actually a little incongruous with (2) and (3). Some of the game design of Subterfuge is designed to punish aggression in the short-term, as it opens you up for reprisal and counter-attack; in addition, there are offensive options that foreclose defensive possibilities. The major piece of the puzzle here is the King, which turns off your defences in exchange for a much greater attacking capability that also minimses your losses.

The only thing I might say that I didn’t enjoy about the game was the amount of folks who left. While the game is not ruined by this, it can disturb the balance of power pretty significantly – we had one person resign and two auto-resign due to inactivity. I only bordered one of those players, particularly one who was pretty well built-up by that point. It’s quite difficult to influence players who aren’t there – and their lack of long-term defences leave their territories ripe for expansion. In my case, this came at my disadvantage.

With that said, I was the person who twisted the knife into two other players. I did not backstab either, instead choosing to front-stab them. Blue’s defeat emerged out of a productive alliance between Red and Olive (me), as we focused down their capital generator and took their queen – this opened up a wrinkle, as Blue collected a number of their forces at their capital, which they retook after losing their Queen. This meant that their Sentry came back online, creating a no-man’s-land between me and Blue’s other territory that I could not cross without seiging down a 40-shield Generator with 60 drillers there, lest I be punished by Sentry fire.

I had a long-standing scuffle with Teal, as our borders were naturally tense (their territory jutted very close to my Queen & I was left without much room to manouevre it away). This was a constant source of tension and diversion of my resources, until I noticed something. They hired, first, a Martyr (a unit which destroys anything in a small radius, outposts included, if ever involved in combat), and secondly, a Tinkerer (a unit which ups your Energy output in exchange for draining their shield). Teal kept both at their capital with their Queen, which made me wonder: hey, why can’t I just send a single sub at their empty capital? Without any shields, the Martyr would destroy their capital & take out their Queen with it.

I was right – after firing this sub off, Teal split their forces to the surrounding areas, but sent their Queen towards an outpost closer to me. Consequently…

I just had to do it to them.

After knocking two players out, I set about thinking about how to achieve victory. I quickly rushed to construct two mines after acquiring one from Teal’s territory, which, unfortunately, provoked two of my neighbours, one of whom (Orange), I had previously had a good and productive relationship with and a relatively light border.

My resolution, in all my pettiness, was this: if I am to be conquered, I will angle my spear upwards and ruin their cavalry upon it, even if it ruins me.

Was this a good move? Probably not! It meant that I was rolled back to my starting location and, despite being 48 hours from victory at one point, ended up in a distant third. But it did mean that Orange came fourth, and that is maybe like a victory.

Bonus pic of how silly my specialist situation got:

Don’t play Subterfuge like I do.

In real talk, I did have fun with the game – I had a few very fruitful alliances (shoutouts to @Robo_Rosa and, for most of the game, @Kiwi). I probably didn’t politic as much as I should have; I generally tried to be friendly to my friends and frosty to my enemies. I didn’t get the early-game specialists I needed for an initially aggressive playstyle and, therefore, squabbled rather than playing the long game. I peaked too early instead of plotting to take down someone else likely to take the throne.

I think I’ve got a lot of room to improve, but the opportunity to exercise a killing instinct is always appreciated.


#11

been thinking about subterfuge again… just when i thought i was out…

anyway, i think a cool choice in this game is that to win almost any encounter you have to massively overcommit your troops in one direction. the defender’s advantage is how they keep it a game of alliances and deception; if i want to attack west successfully, i’m going to have to pull troops from my north and south (at minimum), meaning the only real way to win a war is by talking your allies into attacking the same person.

the best strategy for success is to convince one or more allies to attack one person at the same time, leaving you all exposed. the games i’ve won, i got there by essentially co-ordinating dogpiles against other players which just happened to benefit me the most. it should not come as a surprise that the friends who i organised dogpiles on will no longer play with me.

a nasty game! i love it!


#12

I do think this is interesting, particularly given the often-long timelines on movement initiatives (at least before you can expand your specialist pool enough to start boosting your troop counts).

I think there’s a lot of room to proactively ‘solve’ this in a game context, though. Finding potential allies & working to agree demilitarised areas or ‘clean’ borders allows you to boost yourself elsewhere. It’s one of the points that I enjoyed about my first game – a conversation someone else prompted to settle who a factory would go to led to a mutually-demilitarised border that worked out mutually well for us both, as it allowed us to divert those resources to our other fronts.

I think I, potentially, might have done better to have crossed the arrangement once it became apparent that it was breaking down, but I think this kind of model agreement has some merit. If both players are willing to tie a hand behind their backs, a little trust can go a long way…


#13

Any other games of Subterfuge going on? I’d like to get in on one! I haven’t played before, but after hearing about it on the pod, I can’t wait to give it a spin!


#14

We are still recruiting for the game in the OP! I’m doing my best to keep it up-to-date to give folks a chance to get into a game themselves. We’re at 5/10 at the moment so plenty of space.


#15

Awesome! How do I get in?


#16

You just need to click on the link in Tolinky’s post on a Subterfuge-equipped device!


#17

Question, how many people are required to play and what’s an ideal number? I was thinking of introducing the game to my group of about 7


#18

I’m not too sure because I believe you need to pay to see – with that said, my reading around online indicates that 2 is the minimum and 10 is the max. Folks seem to be saying 8 is the sweet spot where there’s a lot of room for jostling without the impersonability of 10.

I’ve only played in a 10, but if you have a 7 person group, that seems like it would be a solid amount and wouldn’t involve any external players. You could always invite some adjacent folks (potentially some folks on the forum) if you wanted to pad the numbers & potentially give your group a target to plot against, but that might not make for a great introduction (or maybe a perfect introduction – who can say?).


#19

This is last call for the game I’m hosting. Realised that I can just hit the start button so I’ll start it at 8.30GMT (45 minutes from now). Have 4 free slots


#20

By the way, does anyone know how to turn notifications to silent? That sounds like something that’d be useful?