Okay, after reading gyno’s response I am eagerly awaiting robo’s postgame. It seems she had a fingers in a lot of pies, but still didn’t play for the #1 spot, so I’m curious what her motivations were. Anyway, I was ban in this game, and it’s time for me to tell my story
A Tale From Below The Waves
So, this was my first subterfuge game, and I had decided on something of an unusual approach. Rather than try and compete with backstabbing and plotting, my aim was to win without betraying or conquering anyone. To do so, I’d have to
a) establish a state of peace, or at least a stalemate, for our undersea world
b) bring everyone to the table to negotiate who should get the top spot, and
c) actually get voted in
Sounds easy, right? Well why not follow along to see how things went.
A Slow Start
Things started out poorly, with me sleeping through the start of the game, and by the time I got to it, robo, johnny, and vehemently had already launched subs at the nearest outposts, including both neighbouring generators. Knightly had taken even longer than me to get online, but it felt rude to box them in so tightly, so I left them their two closest factories, and only claimed three nearby factories.
With so few generators, I was running up against my driller cap pretty much immediately, and decided to build a mine. An early neptunium lead would let me negotiate with funding, and it wasn’t like they were doing anything just sitting there.
Surveying The Deep
As for my plan, the first part would require an accurate assessment of everyone’s strength, to stop anyone from taking off and dominating the map. While it turned out the game has ways of finding this out, I hadn’t realised that yet, and set out to collect information about every outpost under the sea.
I approached johnny and gyno first about this, since I wasn’t negotiating with them for territory, and it turned out that with a bit of deduction, I was able to figure out what type almost every outpost was.
I had intended to release this data once I’d compiled it. After all, I’m counting on the other players to keep each other in check, but ran into problems with a) getting it into a form that was readable and useful, and b) keeping it updated, especially as our quiet start began to give way to the drums of war…
Still, here’s what I ended up with, a map showing our territory prior to the start of the wars to come.
A Complete And Accurate Census Of Our Undersea Landscape
(I say accurate, but the distances are all a bit off. I never managed to get the hang of negative spaces… Also, the colour of the names designate who held what at the start of the game.)
A Prelude To War
The first rumblings of danger came when gynoborg warned me that robo had launched an attack, and I should be wary. I hurriedly marshaled my fleet, aiming to pressure robo into forming a truce. Fortunately, my pressure wasn’t needed, but unfortunately, in sending my helmsman north to gather troops, I had convinced knightly that I was planning an attack, leading to a cold war that lasted almost until knightly was auto-resigned.
But phantom wars would be the least of my problems, as one by one johnny’s outposts began changing colour…
The Age of War
Despite what robo might have told gyno, the formal extent of my alliance with johnny was
johnny-mac: Hey ban! Wanna be buds?
banthesun: I’m down for that!
But when I saw johnny’s territory being torn apart from three different angles, I couldn’t sit idly by. After all, if my aim was a stalemate, I had to do what I could to protect the weaker members. So with that, it was time for war on three fronts.
Gyno, being furthest away, I couldn’t do much to help with directly, but I designated my factory of Tamir sending reinforcements. Robo’s border was closest, so I marshaled and launched an early attack attack against her. According to what she’d told johnny though, her hand had been forced by a mysterious alliance, so I reached out to her to negotiate too.
I was skeptical of this mysterious alliance, and grew even more so when robo avoided naming names. The only possible culprits could be vehemently, gyno, and knightly (and knightly was about to time out at this point). I tried pressing for more information, mentioning that vehe was the only one with forces to rival her, and bingo, yes, apparently she was one of the members.
I didn’t believe this, of course, but I had no information to press her with, and needed to stop the war with johnny, so I played along. I would cease my attacks, and offer my fleet in disabling vehe, for the protection of both her and johnny.
Now the war turned north, and with a unified force of three nations (and gyno nipping off a spare factory), we make quick gains. Johnny reclaims his mine, robo captures a factory and a specialist, and I capture two outposts and am in position to take more.
The Push For Peace
By now, vehemently was no longer a threat to either johnny or robo, so we’d achieved what we’d come for. I didn’t want to see her destroyed any more than I wanted that to happen to johnny, so now was the time to sue for peace. I offered to return the territory I had captured in return for deescalating johnny’s borders, and requested robo find terms for peace too. While initially skeptical, I managed to convince her to stop, though I didn’t like my chances at convincing her to return the territory she’d captured…
Meanwhile, knightly had dropped out, leaving an occupied but inactive spot above my territory. Robo contacted me about splitting it up, but most of my border was heavily built up. I ended up ducking past the heavily defended factories to claim knightly’s mine for safe keeping, but shortly after gyno arrived to take it off me.
As she mentioned in her post, capturing a mine and building a second one shot her down to 2.5 days till victory, far too little time to negotiate a peaceful settlement, so I had to reclaim the mine. Besides, the other players are organising a coalition against her. Of particular note was robo’s plan to backstab gyno and assassinate her queen. By this point, robo and gyno were the two biggest players in our little playground, and robo taking her out would have left us in an even worse situation that gyno having all three mines. Thankfully, I was able to retake the mine quickly, and message the group saying gyno was abandoning her eastern territories. Hopefully this will be enough to dissuade the attack…
As I go to bed, I prepare for the next stage of my plan. By now, I have moved to check every nation’s power (okay, except johnny, but he never seemed to have much power anyway), and our rotating cast of resistances has proved that we are in a stalemate situation. Tomorrow, I shall announce the solution, an organisation to see an end to the wars that have struck our seas. I’ve even come up with a logo
Okay so it's just the UN logo with the colours reversed, but it counts
('cos we’re in the ocean instead of the land, get it?)
Now, as long as robo doesn’t attack gyno, all will be fine…
The Final War
When I wake, I find an unexpected sight. Robo has sent submarines into not just my territory, but vehemently’s, and most likely johnny’s as well. The only explanation I can come up with was robo presumed I was planning a backstab, and is making a preemptive strike against us, while we’re engaged with gyno.
A truce between the two largest powers on the map is a dangerous thing, but as long as this is a tactical choice by robo, we have a chance. If we can run out the timer on gyno’s victory long enough, robo will have to break the truce and strike if she wants to win. That would be my last opportunity to push for peace, though time would have grown thin…
Immediately I go to battle stations. With knightly out of the picture, robo now borders me on both the north and the south, and she proves to be quite the brilliant strategist, outplaying me at several key points. But thanks to the valiant sacrifices of my allies, I am gaining ground, and might have a shot at stopping this war once and for all. Then, I see it…
This isn’t some tentative ceasefire. The two most powerful nations are working together to prevent the weaker nations from rising up. Our dream of peace and equality is lost.
Still I don’t intend to surrender lightly. Vehemently suggests passing her and johnny pass their mines to me to try and outpace our foes, but I can’t see a way to get there in time, or hold them if I could. But even with no hope for victory, we won’t bear this without a fight. I deploy my fleets in some truly remarkable sub-aquatic spiderwebs to strike back.
Around this point, the game starts invading my dreams. I wake up convinced someone has sniped both johnny and vehemently, and that when I open the app I’ll be surrounded by the empty outlines of their dead cities. Of course, that proves not to be the case. But my war effort has crumbled.
It turns out that when I had cued up my orders, robo’s engineer had been just out of sonar range, and as a result, the game stopped including her in its calculations. That second spiderweb of subs, which should have left me with 50 drillers in Rokovoko with no possible way to counter it, has instead left robo with 30 drillers there, and most of my specialists captured.
From that, there was no coming back, and the game is wearing heavily on me. As is Waypoint’s motto, everything is political, and the political message this game has sent is wearing heavily on me. Perhaps I could fight to the very last, but by now the game is having a negative affect on my mental health, so I bow out. Congratulations to gynoborg, but I can’t help but mourn for the utopia that came so close…
Even if I had a bit of a bad time in those final days, thank you all for playing with me. It definitely made for an interesting story, and I learned a lot about the game. For the most part, I agree with vehemently’s interpretation of the game, about everything taking so long, and being able to analyze the puzzles, but feel like global specialists break that in a way the game doesn’t address in any consistent manner. It’s definitely an interesting puzzle, but I don’t think I want to subject myself to the pressure of the deep seas again, even if I have come up with some interesting new approaches.