Subdefuge (2017) is a strategy game played with human opponents. The game is designed to be played over a week or so, to give players time to talk between goes. This encourages players to team up, trick or double-cross other players to get them to make the move to their advantage. It's like the board game Diplomacy, but with the complex mechanics handled in a beautifully simple interface.
The game takes place in an underwater world where players use diplomacy and tactics to defeat their opponents. It features minimalist art, except for the specialist portraits, which were drawn by Shane Nakamura.
Players check in a few times each day to assess their situation, issue or modify orders, and engage their fellow players in that diplomacy. You will need to master both strategy and diplomacy to earn your victory, so plan ahead, coordinate with others, and carefully consider the consequences of your actions.
Players don't have to play at the same time to progress the game. Instead, there is a time machine mechanic that lets you issue orders and see them play out. Unlike the board game, this offers a simple visual way to see plans play out and encourages more complex strategies.
The game offers good introduction tutorials and tactical puzzles to help players learn how the game works and the likely results of different strategies.
It's a game you need to play with people who are old enough, and robust enough, to be happy to lie to each other and be lied to. This exposes the enjoyment at the heart of many games: the interactions between the players in the real world rather than the action on the screen.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked Subdefuge 3 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 7 months ago.