Cloak, Dagger, Submarine — Subterfuge Megathread & Recruitment Centre


I think this is something you can do in your phone’s notification settings, but I think it’d require turning your phone on silent overall on iOS.

I tend not to play with notifications, although I’ve gone back and forth (this probably explains a thing or two about my play to folks I’m in the game with – I have them on now, though).


So one thing I’d like to mention about my experience with Subterfuge so far (this is my first game of it): I found the way I’ve had to think about strategy really engaging as a player, specifically due to the element of time. The game is incredibly slow, which has several really interesting effects on gameplay. There’s this unspoken rule in the board game Go that you’re not supposed to play as if the other player doesn’t see what you’re doing. This reminds me of that. Since everything happens so slowly, you really can’t rely on other players not seeing you. They almost always have the time to react. Instead, you have to rely on a numerical advantage: getting there faster, having more drillers. And since you can always rewind and fast forward, you can always break down what’s going on. The ‘element of surprise’ is only as much as you are able to beat their troops there. It’s made me think of situations far more like tactical puzzles, looking for concrete ways to succeed as a player. You can’t rely on luck or sneaking.

I actually kind of wish that the game would take this structure of time further. There are still ways to kind of trick people out. If I know someone is probably asleep because they’re on EST or whatever, I can use that to my advantage in a way that feels kind of mean. I also have had frustrating moments where I’ve opened my game and had no way to respond to an assault because… I was asleep. A girls gotta sleep. I think the game could go further to force players to think of situations as deterministic puzzles and engage in diplomacy. Still, it’s a really interesting experience and there are a lot of neat things going on. Definitely interested in playing more games later on.


Things are way too heated right now for me to write about now, but I’m certainly gonna be picking this apart once the game actually concludes (currently reading at ~50 hours)…


Realised quite early on that I don’t like lying and I don’t like strategy games making this a double whammy of not being very good at it, but the folks I played with were nice! I’ve got an idea in my head for like a long form Discord bot based werewolf like game since I like the length and impact of the thing but dislike the strategy elements. Anything that gives weight and personality to player choices and player actions gets two big thumbs up from me.

I could imagine with different theming and different mechanical base you could push the long form aspect of it into very interesting places. Working cooperatively on Micro ARGs or working together to manage competing cities or something


I can’t believe I actually made an account just to talk about this game. I’ll do a full write-up once we actually end the game in a few hours, but I want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s played with me in both games so far. Playing with waypoint people is really different from playing with the general crowd. Yall are way nicer, I am not joking.


I think the above four messages indicate that Tolinky’s Submarines are Wet Mechs just wrapped up, since the four above posters were participants in. Gynoborg ended up winning (congratulations!)

I am also getting my thoughts about it together, but I would like to share my moodboard of this game.

(I wasn’t a fan of my play but it was a good thing to experience having to be!)



woof. okay, here goes. I have no screenshots. if you read all this, you are strong.

The core thing for me, in subterfuge, is that I don’t really care about winning. I just want to be part of something, to have an interesting experience, to feel like my actions had an effect on the game.

I’ve played a couple other games, so I feel ready to go. In my games so far, I’ve screwed myself by 1. having an excess of generators but no factories 2. having an excess of factories but no generators, and 3. not thinking to build mines until the last minute. This time, I resolve to do none of that.


day 1. 300 hours ago.
Subterfuge may begin to resemble the arc of your life, but my mannerisms in Subterfuge are very distinct and deliberate. In general, I’ve been playing this game as a very passive and agreeable person. I wait for people to reach out to me, I keep my tone light and add in a ‘lol’ every once in a while, and I agree to pretty much every plan presented to me. I figure if I’m doing what someone wants anyway, they have no reason to backstab me, right? Also, I get bored kind of easily, and I like always having a plot to participate in without having to do the scheming work myself.
Robowitch is the first to reach out to me, asking if i want to come to an agreement about our border. I do! We sort out a border and chat a little.
Vehemently is next, letting me know that our subs are going to come to blows over an outpost. I cheerily cede the outpost to them–it might pay off later!
Then there’s banthesun, who has the most interesting proposal for me: sharing our sonar information so awe can both have a better picture of the map. I agree immediately. honestly the main reason i end up getting expansion-y in this game is because I want to be able to see what’s happening, so this is perfect.

act 1
My southern reach has been pretty instantly rebuffed. that’s fine. I dig my heels in and prepare to build up. But after about a day i get nervous. The longer i wait, the more time others have to let their shields build up. wouldn’t it be better to strike now, while we are all like weak newborn animals? I throw my weight into an attack against one of vehemently’s factories.
This is when i get my first surprise of the game. Vehemently messages me, asking if i really must go and do that. It sounds silly, but this throws me wildly off guard. My previous, non-waypoint game was pretty aggressive. If something was undefended, someone would take it, unless there was a better deal. Now i’m questioning my actions…but it’s too late to take back those subs, and i can’t afford to give them away. I double down, thinking they’ll cave.
They don’t. Over the next day we duel over this factory. i move most of my troops to our border. Vehemently reaches out again, and is prepared to drop the factory in return for their sentry back. I agree, but i feel as if i’m the one who has been totally unreasonable here. hm.
Robowitch and banthesun build mines. It feels a little early for this, but more power to them. I’m nervous about how strong robowitch is along our border, but we have an agreement. Surely they have no reason to violate it, right?
I’ve just built my first mine, eager to catch up, when they launch at me. One to the south, near the factory i’ve just one, and one near my mine. I’m panicked at first–i know their force is way bigger than mine–but then i start to weather the storm. I withdraw a little into the core of my territory. I try to negotiate with robowitch, but after saying they’ll think about it, they continue to attack. Vehemently is backing robo up now, but i can handle it. Then johnny-mac starts hitting me from the other side of my territory and i really feel like i’ve been bamboozled. Absolutely conspired against. I’m too proud to ask for help, but i do warn banthesun about this villainy.
I’m starting to reinforce against johnny when robowitch reaches out to me and accepts my offer. A day late, but whatever. At this point i just want it to stop.

act 2
As we agree to terms, they bring up the idea of taking out the johnny-ban alliance, and i’m already in position to retaliate. I believe vehemently is helping us too, but i can’t really see it. I have the distinct sense this is a trap, but whatever, i might as well get backstabbed instead of front stabbed. In conversation with johnny i deny any collaboration, but johnny reveals the details of how robo talked them into attacking me. Hmm, i’ll keep that in mind.
Johnny has ban as an ally so it’s a bit more even, but our war is still harsh. Each of us takes an outpost–but vehemently takes a mine. Suddenly, they’re set to win in 7 days and priorities shift. I’m still suspicious, but it’s in everyone’s favor to deal with this. Robo and i are in agreement, i tell johnny i’ll back off if they help. The full fury of the seas comes down on vehemently.
The second surprise of the game: vehemently asks me why i’m sending subs against one of their outposts. Again, i’m caught off guard. I’m attacking it because…uh, because i want to, and i can, basically. Wait, am i a dick? Did this game teach me to be a dick? But i still don’t want them to win, so war it is.

Then something shakes things up: thedarknightly has timed out after not logging on for some time. All that territory is now up for grabs.

act 3
Robo and i have overlapping access to this territory, so i give them a heads up about what i’m aiming for. My forces are looking a lot more confident now, but still the last thing i want is to fight them again. The question on my mind is who’s going to get thedarknightly’s abandoned mine.
Banthesun makes it there first, pushing them into the lead, and they have another mine potentially on the way. I try to rally johnny and prepare for a fight, but i’m getting impatient. Ban has only a few subs at the mine and i happen to be in position, so…fuck it. I shoot my shot, set up another mine in case it doesn’t work out, then go to bed.
In the morning, i am set to win in 2.5 days. hewwo? hewwo???
The retaliation is swift. Ban hits back, and vehemently starts coming at me again. Robowitch and i confer and decide: this is the endgame. Apparently the others are trying to turn them against me, but for some reason it didn’t work. We make a deal declaring that a victory for one of us is a victory for both, no matter the cost. And then we get to work.
I withdraw, but even that only sets me back a day or so. I lash back against vehe and hold my line steady. I start to play more aggressive and reckless, because at this point i can’t really lose. If things get too hard for me, i’ll just pass my mines over to robo and take second instead, which is perfectly fine with me. I still don’t totally understand why robo is letting me win when they could.
Ban is hitting robo hard, but together we’re taking key territory from vehemently and snowballing. We move boldly to steal 2 mines, i build another, and this whole 2 week long affair rolls slowly to a close.

The last couple hours of the game are strange. I’m not very good at winning, i don’t know what to feel or do. It really didn’t feel like the game would ever end. I spent a good few days thinking robo was certainly going to backstab me and take the win, because why would they just let me win! I was watching their border, wondering if i should strike preemptively. They were giving me so much help, and for what? Ban pointed this out a couple days before the end, asking what exactly the terms of our agreement was. I didn’t have an answer then.
I start to look over the game as a whole and realize that there is more to life than brutality and survival. Finally i see…that maybe love can bloom, even on the battlefield.


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.

Once again, congratulations gynoborg, and thank you all for playing :purple_heart:



I didn’t notice the engineer issues until the end, but it was definitely affecting me too. I can’t really tell if it’s deliberately hidden information or not. Also, both you and vehemently make a good point about sleep. I think part of the draw of this game, at least for me, was that everything happened over such a long time time that it didn’t matter if you couldn’t check it for a while. But nope, it’s definitely a factor.


I think everyone has said that they were waiting for my post-game, so, I guess, here goes.

How To Consistently Be The Strongest Military Power, Get Third, & Still Win: A Robowitch Story

I spent the entire game on top of the food chain and, reader, that is a terrible place to be. To be the most sizeable military power in Subterfuge is a frightening prospect, as you forever find yourself haunted by the spectre of the other players looking at each other and realising that fact. Until you start knocking other players out, there’s a long period in this game where the #1 spot is really only 1.2* times as big as #2, so if #3 and #4 gang up on #1, you’re toast.

So, let me start out with my principles for the game before talking about my conduct:

  • Talk To Everyone – In my first game, I had been able to secure good deals through early conversations, but my range had been small. I only talked to 2-3 players initially and this meant that, when they started getting knocked out or turned against me, I was up against the wall. This time, I talked to everyone – “how’re you?” “Whatcha planning?” “Who’s on your back?” I think I had a productive working relationship with just about everyone except @Tolinky at some point or another.
  • Grease the Economy – I always kept my sub production sky-high in this game. I slowed down later in the game (which was probably a mistake), but I wanted to run my submarine fiefdom as a war economy that would allow me to fight aggressively. I took a few screenshots of my production, which y’all can see above.
  • Big Plans for Small Gains – I schemed. A lot. I put way more effort into my schemes because I was terrified of my own shadow. Engineering a 3-on-1 against @Gynoborg, a 4-v-2 against Tolinky and @Peng, being party to a conspiracy against @vehemently (I promise that was not my plan – see below), and my final stand with Gyno. With the exception of the last, I was looking to spend my resources and gain more territory. Often, it was only 1-2 factories in exchange for a few dozen messages of scheming, but the entire point was to give myself another 200 drillers of capacity to build and to weaken my foes’ driller generation. Even if they should be my allies tomorrow, the world revolves around my play.
  • Try to be Honest – This is probably the principle I failed the most on. Even where I was switching sides and embracing my former enemies, I tried to be honest in my dealings, particularly when it came to agreements. I did botch this when it came to fighting vehemently initially, where I did not explain myself.
  • Embrace Conflict Over Peace – Subterfuge is a game which requires you to think a step ahead. If you are hitting your production cap, you are wasting drillers. Conflict, in a sense, is productive, especially if you will produce more drillers today than your opponent can. Finding healthy outlets for your drillers is important – so I chose conflict over peace (see Big Plans for Small Gains).
  • Power of Friendship – When the cards are down, you honour your words and play it out. Gynoborg and I had an agreement in the last 2-3 days that we would fight ‘to the death’ for one another’s victory – so we did. I schemed for my victory (and we talked at some length about who should take the crown), but my schemes were external – how can I defeat our opponents such that I might overtake gynoborg? In the end, I couldn’t – and my efforts to do so landed me in Bronze for my trouble. I could have played that better, but I think it’s important to uphold your alliances.

So, how is my chronicle of play? Well, I’ve left it too late to actually use the in-game functionality to see my record of play (oops), so here is the gist of it:

  • Day 1
    • Cut the deals. I open communications with almost every player and start working out demilitarised borders and agreements. TheDarKnightly is identified as a key ally earlier and we form a concrete agreement over the distribution of our borders; meanwhile, I strike at territory near banthesun/Peng, who is offline and does not respond until I am most of the way to taking them.
    • I am already the single strongest player on the board and my insecurity rattles me. I accelerate my discussions around the board and find Tolinky and banthesun as the most recaltricant players.
  • Day 2
    • Uneventful, although I start to formulate my conditions for security. I aim to keep my capital generator out of sight of all other players – why? I start to hire Tinkerers (which drain your shields in exchange for power); in my last game, I had used another player hiring a Tinkerer to knock them out.
    • A higher energy cap gives you a militarily stronger position & buys you peace, as you have more time to produce drillers before you hit your cap. Tinkerers let you do raise the energy cap without grabbing territory or compromising on your driller production rate (as the Minister of Energy does).
  • Day 3
    • Taking a cue from Peng, I build a mine as an outlet for my driller cap. Like Peng, this is partially to allow me to use funding to negotiate with, but also because Subterfuge is not a game of swift victory. Accruing Neptunium over the long run positions you for victories at the end.
    • The thing about mines is that, if you have the fastest Np generation (as I did), your name is emblazoned at the top of the screen as a reminder to everyone else that you are the obstacle to beat. This is where I start scheming.

I lose track of days here, but we can instead start talking about wars, as I find myself in a roulette wheel of conflict from this point on.

  • Versus Gynoborg

    • TheDarKnightly, vehemently, and I crack a plan to move on Gynoborg, as they threaten vehemently’s position (I recall this being the reason). TheDarKnightly and I are both restless in pursuit of conflict, so we decide to move. I only take a factory or two in this conflict & peace talks start soon.
    • I rebuff here, as I consistently did, return of territory taken. Instead, I propose a new offensive; to compensate my former enemies by taking out a new enemy.
  • Versus Tolinky & Peng

    • I’d talked to Tolinky earlier & gotten the sense that they and Peng were in an alliance. If I had been told this so casually, I figured that other people must know – so I used that as my casus belli. They, as a united two, could push the rest of us around individually – we must strike pre-emptively and brush them out. I pull everyone into this, although this is the point where TheDarKnightly goes offline and does not return.
    • Tolinky is pushed back and into a worse position, as vehemently seizes one of their mines (which I say is a fine idea) and I seize a factory. Peng masses on my border and threatens to run me over in the north (near my mine). While I could potentially repel them, I am doubtful I can win.
    • I scheme a few different ways. A proposed staged assault on one of vehemently’s factories (with her permission)? An outright conflict?
  • Versus Vehemently

    • With two mines on her side, vehemently is now the fastest Np generator. It is not hard to talk banthesun into peace to threaten her – I drop the ball on working with vehemently because, simply put, I feel really bad about agreeing to her taking the mine and then using it as a casus belli against her. Rather than negotiating some kind of managed assault in exchange for a betrayal of banthesun later, I simply play to win and attack. I use my Pirate to snipe specialists.
    • I am not particularly energetic in pursuing this, but the damage is done to our working relationship. Banthesun, Gynoborg, and Tolinky each make advances against vehemently, but start brokering peaces shortly afterwards. I never manage to bury the hatchet. I still feel guilty.
  • Peace?

    • My Np generation is back on top. There is peace, but, with that, I start to see my enemy in every shadow. I, in some ways, buy into my own propaganda – if Tolinky and Peng work together, I might be ousted. I see territory being returned to vehemently by banthesun, which is something I am unwilling to do – my negotiations with her stutter and shutter (that guilt again).
    • So, I look to the other players on the board. TheDarKnightly is about to time out… so I approach Gynoborg, who has the second largest economy on the board.
    • I became aware of a little buzz as Peng, Tolinky, and vehemently begin plotting to take out Gynoborg; I am invited to a group chat and look at their plans. I mull this over and see the fork of destiny before me – do I side with the three or the one? This is a huge turning point – I decide that I do not have the scheming in me and so mention this cabal of plotters to Gynoborg. In hindsight, an earlier proposal to hit gyno likely would have swayed me better – I’d already started talking with Gyno to prepare the groundwork for, well, the Alliance of Gold & Silver.
    • I lay a case out to Gynoborg and they agree – we two united could fight the world if we play our cards right. If we could convince vehemently to our side, Peng and Tolinky would have no chance, but we don’t need her – we are stronger than the three of them combined.
    • Gynoborg spends some time wooing vehemently, but it doesn’t come to much; my negotiations with her are too wrapped up in my assumption that she would never want to cut a deal with me to be productive. Gynoborg and I, as the moment progesses further, choose the harder path.
  • The Alliance of Gold & Silver Versus The World

    • We hatch the deal. Each of us pledges ourselves to unconditional victory for either of us; a victory for either is a victory for both. I launch heavy attacks against everyone else – TheDarKnightly had timed out, so I look to grab their last few territories (this was a mistake in hindsight); I send a hundred subs towards Tolinky; 150 to vehemently; 200 to Peng. Even though gynoborg’s Np generation is the best at this time, I still perceive our best chance at victory to be in securing territory.
    • This is probably a mistake. I had switched my Tinkerers for Ministers of Energy (which give a bigger Energy cap boost in exchange for dropping your driller production rate), which had damaged my economy’s ability to bounce back. I make gains against all three, but Peng starts repelling me on my north and south borders and then making gains on territory I had held all game. This is the point where I make an Engineer to counter a particular pair of returned assaults from vehemently and Peng.
    • The Engineer glitch (feature?) that Peng mentions above starts hurting their play. I do feel really bad about this and, as the game went on, considered messaging them to outline what was happening – their spider-web assaults came to little benefit as the 25% repair rate makes their moves unproductive at best. However, it doesn’t stop their general advance – and my belief that they, now with enough Np to fund their allies, will exploit gaps in my armour.
    • I get a little desperate. Gynoborg and I start hatching schemes to burn the time on the game – maybe I take their mines? Maybe I make a mine and give it to them? We talk through the options and try a few zany schemes, but they come to little – but Gyno builds their second mine and I start playing with fire. Even where it threatens my position, I keep advancing – if Peng sees me as the greater foe (despite what the top of the screen says), gyno will have time to seize victory over my corpse.
    • In the last day, I make a play that would swap my silver for a bronze – I queue a foolish move on vehemently’s mine. She counters and takes it back, which cuts my Np by 25% and puts Peng in second. Oops. Guess it’s an Alliance of Gold & Bronze now.

I enjoy Subterfuge. It takes up a fair amount of my brainpower and time, but I find it a game with a good itch. I don’t really let it ‘get to me’, which probably shows in my, at times, callous play.

I had a lot of fun in this and would definitely be down to play with y’all again soon if you were willing. Maybe next time, I won’t be the militarily strongest power and can play a little more normally.

I do just want to say sorry to @vehemently for my play in this – we’ve played scheming games together before, so perhaps my play did not come across as too unusual, but I didn’t feel great about how it went down. I think I was dishonest in my dealings with you and I hope it wasn’t distressing for you.


@robowitch @gynoborg @Peng

y’all the funniest part of this is how confused everyone was by me not being Machiavellian and just trying to be on good terms with everybody

If I’m completely frank my biggest mistake was taking Johnny-Mac’s mine. I took it for literally no other reason than I had the resources available. This made me a threat on the board and put me in the position of an assault that I just could not defend against. In reality, I should have made it a joint operation, or immediately bartered for it from assailing forces.

@robowitch : for real, do not stress it!! It’s a game, and I do believe that the Magic Circle has a meaningful place in games. There’s no hard feelings! Just a little bit of sass may be headed your way in the future :wink:

The reality is I just like being cheeky in these games and don’t have that much an interest in domination, just not failure. I actually think my relationship was the game was pretty stable because of it because I was able to enjoy the game without feeling stressed by my investment in it. I put a few minutes of planning in every couple hours, maybe a few more when I was listening to podcasts in bed.

All in all, enjoyed the game! Would like to play again in the future


So a general thing I hear a lot about discourse on Subterfugre is people feeling like the game has a negative impact on their mental state and relationships when they play. Austin touched on it on an article on Paste, and Austin and Rob briefly talked about that on the podcast, too. I really think that’s a shame, because I think there’s a lot of interesting things going on with the game that don’t need to result in that.

What I’d like to share is actually a GDC talk that was the first time I heard of these grandly strategic and conspiratorial slow games. In this talk, Luke Muscat talks about a prototype called Tank Tactics they tested and played at their game studio, Halfbrick. He draws comparisons to Neptune’s Pride, which has a lot of similarities to Subterfuge. It’s a really interesting talk:

In summary: Tank Tactics, a lot like Subterfuge, was a very simple strategic slow game that slowly took over the office. It was engaging in a way that caused people to obsess over it. Check it out if you want to hear more.

So I wonder if their are safeguards or in fact design solutions to keep this kind of thing happening in Subterfuge. Like I said, I was able to have fun with it because I was able to keep my distance from it. But it sounds like a lot of people aren’t able to do that. And I’m willing to bet under different circumstances, I might have that issue to. When I was playing Werewolf here on the forms, I definitely experienced some real life agita from the game, though I was still having a lot of fun. So while I think their are issues within design, I also think there are things we can do as players to avoid these unpleasant experiences.

Luke Muscat gets into this at the end of the talk, and I think it’s important to remember: if you are playing a game because you want it to enrich your life and to enjoy time with your friends, you need to remember that when you’re playing games like that. It is incredibly easy to slip into behaviors that you would never expect yourself to behave like. I know there is endless debate about the Magic Circle, but I think even if we want to get into the particulars of it’s reality, it’s hard to ignore the way we change when we play games. Games have the incredible power to contextualize and reward your actions, and that can be really powerful. But you are always playing the game, not it you. And you always have the option available to take a step back, change your priorities, or just leave the circle.

That’s all :slight_smile: :heart:


What does it say about me that i read this and immediately thought “oh man, i really want to try Neptune’s Pride!!”


I haven’t yet listened to this GDC talk, but, to be honest, I come to this game from the same position as you – I am someone who is a believer in the Magic Circle and think there should be a healthy delineation betweem my gaming persona and my non-gaming one.

Part of the reason why I’m happy to ‘lose’ and call it a ‘win’ is that it’s about the journey and not the destination. Already, I’m rethinking and refining the strategy I mentioned above – how would I have backstabbed gynoborg successfully? Part of playing the hulking underling role, potentially, would have been to have leaned in earlier – used someone else’s funding to amass enough territory to rival my suzerain and overthrow them. My incrementalist strategy pinned me into a close enough position that I could never hide my intent to win.

Definitely count me in on the ‘play again’ crew.


Hey folks I have time off for the holidays and would love to jump into a game.