The winner is the first player to accumulated 200 kilos of Neptunium, a rare, silvery metal required to complete construction of The Apparatus.
Mines will produce Neptunium for you over time. You can drill mines at outposts you own, or try to take them by force using your drillers, your specialists, and your wits. Devise the right strategies, use the right tactics, and always stay one step ahead of everyone else!
The game also ends if only one player remains.
HOW TO REALLY WIN
Diplomacy. Being a good strategist will greatly increase your chances of winning, but no matter how great a strategist you are, if other players join forces against you and you don't have allies, you will likely be decimated. Subterfuge is a social game played with other human beings. Talk with your fellow players, make plans together, create trust and good will, and forge friendships and alliances. Or betray them. As in real life, success is heavily influenced by who your friends are and what help they are able and willing to offer.
Each player starts out owning 5 outposts. Players can expand easily at first by taking over outposts that are not owned by any other player. These dormant outposts can be taken without any resistance.
Once all dormant outposts are accounted for, there are only two ways to expand further:
Use of force: You might send a sub to overpower the defenses of another player's outpost, taking control of it.
Diplomacy: You might negotiate a trade in which another player lets you take one of their outposts without a fight.
Outposts are the foundation of your strength, and come in three types:
Factories manufacture drillers. Drillers are machines that can be used for both mining and waging war. The number of drillers you have is a good approximation of your military strength at any given moment.
Generators power your drillers and factories. The more generators you have, the more drillers your factories can produce.
Mines produce Neptunium. At the beginning of the game there are no mines, so to produce Neptunium you must either drill your own mines or conquer them from other players.
Of your 5 initial outposts, 4 will have drillers (40 each) and one will have your Queen. Your Queen is another source of great strength. She can periodically hire specialists, which are powerful units that influence how the game plays out.
Subterfuge is built atop 8 simple systems that interact with each other in interesting ways. Understanding these systems is essential to being an effective strategist.
Factories produce drillers with which you can defend your outposts, attack other players' outposts, or drill mines. Each factory will produce 6 drillers every 8 hours.
Your electrical output caps the number of drillers your factories will produce for you. If your electrical output is 350, your factories will keep producing drillers as long as you have fewer than 350 drillers. Your Queen gives you a base electrical output of 150 and each generator you own adds an additional 50 to your electrical output.
Outposts have shields that help protect it against attacks. There are two types of shields: weak shields have a maximum charge of 10, and strong shields have a maximum charge of 20. Shields take 48 hours to fully charge. The combat section below has more details on how shields affect combat. Shields may also be disabled and re-enabled, which can be useful if you are trading or gifting outposts.
Subs can transport drillers and specialists. You can try to conquer others players' outposts by launching subs at them, or shift your forces within your territory by sending subs between your own outposts. Subs are created on demand, so they are not a resource you need to worry about.
Subs launch 10 minutes after you issue the launch order. During those 10 minutes you may modify the contents of the sub or cancel the launch entirely. Once the sub launches you will not be able to change its course or recall it.
Subs can also be used to send gifts to other players. Any sub can be turned into a gift at any time. When a gift sub reaches an outpost, all drillers and specialists aboard are transferred to the owner of the outpost. If a gift sub encounters another sub in transit, the other sub's owner takes control of all drillers and specialists aboard and the sub is sent to their nearest friendly outpost. Like sub launches, gifts can be canceled within 10 minutes of the gift order being issued.
Subs encounter in transit if they pass each other while traveling between the same two outposts.
Combat occurs when a sub reaches an outpost owned by another player, or when two non-gift subs owned by different players encounter each other in transit. Combat is resolved in 4 phases:
Specialist Phase - All specialists apply their abilities based on their combat priority. A specialist with lower combat priority will apply their ability before a specialist with a higher combat priority. Specialists with identical combat priorities apply their abilities simultaneously.
Shield Phase (skipped in sub-to-sub combat) - Shields protect outposts by destroying attacking drillers. If an outpost's shields have a charge of 8, they will destroy 8 of the attacker's drillers and get completely drained. If there are only 5 attacking drillers, all 5 are destroyed and shield charge drops to 3 (8 - 5 = 3).
Driller Phase - The side with more drillers remaining after the shield phase wins. If one side has 27 drillers and the other has 11, the side with 27 drillers wins, and will have 16 drillers left (27 - 11 = 16). In the case of a tie, the number of specialists remaining (i.e. still alive) is used as a tiebreaker. If both sides have an equal number of specialists remaining, combat resolves as follows:
In sub-to-sub combat, any specialists remaining return to the nearest friendly outpost of their owner.
In sub-to-outpost combat, the outpost wins.
Capture Phase - If the loser has any specialists remaining, they are captured by the winner and either stay at the outpost where combat took place (in sub-to-outpost combat) or are sent to the nearest outpost of the winner (in sub-to-sub combat). Captive specialist do not apply their abilities in or out of combat. Captive specialists may be released by their captor. If released, they are sent to the nearest friendly outpost. A captive specialists can only be loaded onto a sub as part of its release.
If a sub wins in combat against an outpost, the owner of the sub becomes the new owner of the outpost.
Mines produce 1 Kilo of Neptunium per day per outpost you own. If you have 7 outposts, two of which are mines, you will gain 14 Kilos of Neptunium per day (7 * 2 = 14). If you lose control of a mine, you also lose 20% of your Neptunium, and the production timer of the mine is reset. Note that the player taking the mine from you does NOT gain any Neptunium, only an increased mining rate.
You can drill a mine at any factory or generator that you own. The cost of drilling a mine depends on how many mines you've already drilled:
First mine: 50 drillers
Second mine: 100 driller
Third mine: 200 drillers
Fourth mine: 300 drillers
Fifth mine: 400 drillers (etc)
The required number of drillers must be present at the outpost where you intend to drill
Each outpost is equipped with sonar and its owner can see everything happening within a certain radius of it.
You can see a sub (i.e. its position, number of drillers it's carrying, and any specialists aboard) if one of the following is true:
it is within the sonar range of one of your outposts
it is headed for one of your outposts or subs
it belongs to you
You can see an outpost (i.e. it's type, and the number of drillers and any specialists present) if one of the following is true:
it is within the sonar range of one of your outposts
it belongs to you
The location of all outposts is known to all players. The one exception to the outpost visibility rules involves mines. All players can see the location of all mines, in and out of their outposts' sonar range.
A player may fund another player if they have at least 20 Kilos of Neptunium more than that player. Funding costs the funder nothing. The player being funded, however, gets +50 to their electrical output, and each of their factories produce 2 additional drillers per production cycle. Funding can be withdrawn at any time and is automatically withdrawn if the Neptunium gap between the players drops below 20.
Specialists are powerful units that break and change the rules of the game. They change the way the systems described above interact with each other, giving rise to a surprisingly large number of possibilities. They are the main source of strategic depth of the game.
The Queen may hire her first specialist 4 hours after the game starts and an additional one every 18 hours thereafter. A newly hired specialist is placed at the Queen's outpost. The queen may only hire a specialist when she is at an outpost.
Some specialists may be promoted. You may choose to promote a specialist instead of hiring a new one. A specialist may only be promoted while at an outpost.
HOW TO LOSE
There are three ways you can get eliminated from the game:
You are left without a Queen (e.g. if she is captured in combat by another player)
You are auto-resigned after 48 hours of inactivity
If you are eliminated, the following things happen:
You can no longer issue orders (present nor scheduled)
All your Neptunium is lost
Your mines stop producing Neptunium
Any funding you are receiving is canceled
Any funding you are providing is canceled
Everything else is unaffected. An eliminated player's factories will still produce drillers, their shields will keep charging, they will still be able to chat and see everything within their outposts' sonar range, etc.
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