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Subterfuge – How to Make Friends & Influence People

July 11th, 2017 by

subterfuge 001Several members of Midlife Gamer have set up bases deep underwater. Together we will collaboratively attempt to expand, explore and mine Neptunium for the greater good. He who mines 200 Neptunium first wins, but it’s all about the taking part really. There are no winners or losers.



My compatriots are:

Truly defective - Andrew Shaw
Eggdaddy – Matt Spink
Games247 – Stevie Allan
Adamski – Adam Edwards
Mik3y – Mike Spence

And then me, Mr_Grinch – Kieran John.

Subterfuge 002

Day #1

All is quiet to begin with. Radio chatter is cordial, greetings are exchanged, jokes are made about our potential ineptitude.

Private channels appear to be busy, it looks as though our group are greeting each other individually, how polite!

The first few bases are established, plenty of unclaimed factories and generators to go around. Power and drillers (workers) for everyone!

Whilst the first few submarines are making their moves a message appears in public radio chat. It’s Games247 accidentally replying to someone’s private message! Oh my! But it’s talking of ganging up on someone, surely there can’t be treachery afoot?

Someone questions if this message was an accident. I personally suspect it was a joke, there can’t be any deceit between such good pals.

Adamski starts drilling, bully for him!! Bravo, the first of us to start mining. There is excitement.

All returns to normal, until by chance I send two subs in the direction of Eggdaddy’s factory! An accident I assure him, a slip of my fat stubby fingers.

He declares this an act of war. Most un-neighbourly.

I imagine this will all blow over by Day Two.

Day #2

All started quiet. My previous faux pas of sending two subs over to Eggdaddy was rectified as soon as I explained they were simply performing health and safety checks.

I swiftly left the facility, which had nothing to do with the large submarine full of angry looking drillers making their way over from EggDaddy’s other factories.

Despite the stresses of underwater living it seemed as though everyone was getting on.

Until Tometz.

Tometz – a peaceful underwater dwelling in what is clearly a very fashionable and desirable area of the sea. Idealic views of whales, sharks and a beautiful Saturday night jellyfish show mean just one thing: Everyone wants a piece of it.

Mik3y makes first land on it and claims it as his own. Not much later Adamski sends a sub over to congratulate Mik3y on his wise property acquisition. A bizarre and tragic accident leads to Mik3ys crew mysteriously being killed off, leaving the land in control of Adamski.

The normally peaceful community erupts in to conflict over this complete accident. Mik3y sends subs to Tometz, Games247 sends subs to Tometz, Adamski sends subs to Tometz. EggDaddy sends a peace gift to try and calm the situation.

Group radio chatter reveals fears that this small piece of underwater real estate may lead to World War 3. We are at DEFCON 1.

Then further disaster! Games247 previously sent his queen to Tometz, presumably for a vacation. There’s no way back, there’s no way out, when she arrives she will be mobbed by the unruly Tometz residents, over-powered and Games247′s faction will fall. Mass genocide.

Public radio chatter is of concern, thoughts of war fall aside, what can be done for the poor Queen? Private radio channels buzz with potential solutions. At last, moments before it is all too late, an agreement is made between Adamski and Games247. No one knows the full details of the treaty, conducted in privacy and away from prying eyes. Some say it involves factories, others ‘favours’.

The community returns to its status quo. One of happiness, contentment and absolutely no deceit.


Day #3

Following the excitement of Tometz yesterday, all has remained quiet today. The water barely moves, save for the slight rumble of heavily fortified submarines moving large numbers of diggers to borders.

There is mostly peace.

Perhaps everyone is getting along? Perhaps this is a sign of cooperation? Perhaps there is little to no chatter on the private radio?

But then, just before submitting today’s diary entry, a lone voice cries out “Help Mik3y”

EggDaddy answers his plea: “I have a nuke”

Day 4 could be interesting…

Subterfuge 005

Day #4

What horror hath we wrought?

Feld – a peaceful community, quiet, simple people. They are visited early on by Mik3y, he integrates nicely with the locals and sets up camp in the underground tribe.

Early day 3 games247 starts to move a sub full of drillers towards Feld. One assumes he brings ale and fine meat for a feast. Mik3y misinterprets this kind gesture and calls out to the rest of the community to help.

Without consultation nor compassion, the Eggdaddy administration retaliates. A nuke is launched. There is panic. Mik3y evacuates Feld. It is too late for games247 to turn back. The landing team arrive under the shadow of the looming nuke, blocking out what little rays of sun penetrate the depths. They quickly abandon the site, unsure if they’ll be clear in time.

But what of the natives? What of the local wildlife? The beautiful reef that surrounds the area?

At 15:30 on Friday the 30th of June, it is no more.

In a valiant rescue attempt, Mik3y meets the evacuating sub belonging to games247 with aid. A tragic food poisoning accident leads to the death of all 50 of games247′s crew.

And what of the rest of the community? What started as a peaceful attempt to colonise and mine has turned in to a den of deceit and mistrust.

Alliances rise and fall as often as the powerful waves above. They are equally dangerous.

Adamski and myself have a disagreement over the ownership of a factory.

Eggdaddy pushes forward his campaign of death; announced with the nuke and followed by assaults on my factories.

I myself come to understand that Mik3y is not employing the national minimum wage at his mine and decide to offer the workers better conditions.

Truly Defective is worryingly silent, speaking instead via the amassing of armies and their transportation by sub.

Games247 remains shaken from his nuclear encounter and reinforces his borders.

There is no community now, there is only war.

God help us all.

Day #5

This day has passed me in a haze. Driven to drink by the horrors I have witnessed, turning to the bottle to help me get through the explosion laden evening has resulted in a day of very little movement, simply defending my outposts from my former friends.

Adamski has a tough few hours, attacked from multiple fronts. His queen must flee to avoid capture and the nightmares that would involve. Who knows what happens to a rival queen in the dank, sweat soaked subs that we use as our agents of war.

Alliances are tested and broken. When a nuke appears from Adamski aimed at Truly Defective it should be a moment of terror, instead it is dealt with routinely. How can such destruction be normalised so quickly?

I fear our days are close to being at an end, but at least death will bring an end to this hell we have created for ourselves.

For now I shall sit here cradling my bottle, it helps me sleep.

As does my nuke.

The Final Day

It is over. The dust settles and those that are able breathe a sigh of relief. Whilst the battles, the plotting and the deceit are over, I fear the mental scars will never heal.

Friendships have been torn apart in the name of mining Neptunium.

And worse still, two have perished.

What happened?

On the evening of the 4th of July, whilst Americans jointly celebrated their independence, I helped to plot the demise of one of our own.

Our former colleague, whom we all shared a drink with prior to setting off at the start of this terrible business, had marked himself as a despot. That first terrible nuke, whilst others followed, signalled the start of the war.

Eggdaddy was the herald of the beginning of the end, he had to be stopped before it was too late.

Initial attempts to stop him failed. I foolishly trusted Adamski, who betrayed me the first chance he had. A sub carrying drillers I was assured were a gift attacked and took my factory. I was prepared for, but disappointed in, such an eventuality. He had partnered with the enemy.

I gathered the four I least distrusted for parley. A stock was taken of our armory and our target’s vulnerability.

Mik3y had what we needed. A vessel able to change course on a whim, and target other submarines. Perfect. But if we launched directly at him the assault would be too slow and easily prevented.

I provided a dummy ship, one lone suicide pilot would head straight at Eggdaddy’s base, where his queen and majority of senior staff resided. It was hoped this would pose no serious threat to him and be ignored or dealt with at the last minute.

Mik3y targeted this suicide sub, allowing him to head towards Eggdaddy relatively undetected and at high speed.

Aboard his ship was a nuke. At the last minute he would change course for Eggdaddy’s queen.

The plan took nearly 24 hours to execute; those final hours were nail biting.

Last minute Games247 took control of a base belonging to Mik3y. This blinded him, preventing any further course corrections to the nuke he set in motion 20 hours ago. It was coming in blind. If Eggdaddy saw it he could potentially escape.

We jointly counted down the hours and prayed.

Three hours to impact: The Queen was not moving.

Two hours to impact: The Queen was not moving.

One hour to impact: The Queen was not moving.

It was now too late.

We watched on as the nuke approached the queen, 65 drillers and 4 senior officials.

It struck.
There were no survivors.

We celebrated. Then there was realisation: In seeking to eliminate this threat, we had truly become the monsters. We patted ourselves on the back for eliminating an entire race.

I did not care. I was happy. Eggdaddy was my biggest rival from the start and despite my proclamations of his villainy it was in fact I who struck him first. Adamski fell next.

I won. This was all Subterfuge.


The survivors were:

Games247 - Stevie Allan
Truly defective - Andrew Shaw
Mik3y - Mike Spence
And me, Mr_Grinch – Kieran John.

The deceased are:

Eggdaddy - Matt Spink
Adamski - Adam Edwards

subterfuge 003

Subterfuge – My Honest Report (Kieran John)

This was my first ever game of subterfuge, and short of a few of the training missions I had absolutely no idea what to expect. After posting up on the Midlife Gamer group that I was hosting a game I didn’t even know if I’d fill the five other spaces.

I invited a ‘real life’ friend in who took the first spot, then the community quickly filled the rest. When we had a full house a countdown started to the start of the game. Before this though we could message each other, most of it was just jokes and people laughing about how they had no idea what was going on. I quickly messaged Andy (Truly Defective) to say he could trust me – he knew different though having been friends for a long time!

I received a message from Stevie (Games247) pointing out that we were collocated and an early partnership would be beneficial for us both. I had no particular allegiances here, but similarly I had no desire to make enemies this early on, so I agreed. That said, I didn’t really trust him. I made sure that border was reasonably well guarded.

At first I lost myself a little in sending ships here, there and everywhere and didn’t really appreciate just how long they’d take to arrive, nor how long the game would run for! It’s not until Adams (Adamski) started drilling that I realized that was the aim of the game!

I managed to cover quite a lot of ground though and by chance more than design I had a good split of factories and generators, again a mechanic I didn’t really appreciate.

Skimming over the map from early on it was obvious that Matt (Eggdaddy) was covering a fair bit of ground and was becoming a threat. I ‘jokingly’ took over a factory of his and he instantly made me out to be the bad guy on the public chat. I pulled back when he sent a larger ship over, but from that point onwards, and giving his increasing fleet size, I decided to try and pit the others against him.

I largely stayed out of the Mike/Stevie/Adam saga with Tometz but thought I’d play the mediator in seeing if I could sort out saving his queen. Stevie put himself in a bit of trouble early on by moving her and not really appreciating how the game worked, it seemed a little early to lose someone and fortunately he came to a deal with Adam.

I asked what the deal was, given our ‘friendship’ and he told me just a factory and a ‘favour’. I straight away spotted a factory near the two of them where Stevie was shipping out and Adam was moving in with a small number of drillers. I decided to coordinate a ship to take it just after Adam moved in before he could get any more people in there.

By this point the game had genuinely started to be pretty consuming. Because of the speed you can only plan and then wait for those plans to come to fruition but you find yourself logging on regularly to see what other people are doing, or message people in private chat. Day 3 was quiet for a diary entry but I planned SO many moves. I’d also decided I wanted rid of Matt, he was the biggest threat to me and my factories and looked most likely to win.

My chance came when he launched the nuke against Stevie, it was put there as a way to get revenge for a bit of a spat between him and another player but no one had used a nuke before (actually called a ‘Martyr’ in the game) and the effect was pretty devastating so I tried to play it to my advantage. I called him out on not consulting anyone and in the chat tried to send messages to people saying he was clearly dangerous, and amassing an army and needed taking down.

At the same time I noticed Andy was coming in to power. Again, I ‘trusted’ him but he was becoming a threat. I spotted Adam had a relatively unprotected queen, due to a ‘specialist’ he was using on his main base it was draining the shields faster than they generated. He was pretty exposed. I suggested to Andy we could take him out and he agreed, but I made sure my contribution to the war was pretty minor, I let Andy throw a low of soldiers that way thinking it would thin out his numbers a bit and maybe even get rid of Adam.

I also decided to take Mike’s mine around this time, I was close by and he’d been pretty quiet on chat so I decided to jump in and invade. I managed to play it off jokingly but it gave me a good leg up on mining. Despite painting Matt as the big bad guy, I was making strides towards winning.

Day 5 I was genuinely hungover, after a heavy night in with a friend I honestly couldn’t strategize and just let my plans play out whilst keeping an eye on anyone planning invasions.

The next day was productive, though Adam decided around this time to betray everyone! It looked like he’d made a deal with Andy as that battle had stopped and Andy was moving in on Matt (and I was goading on anyone even thinking of doing that). Adam also ‘gifted’ me some soldiers, he assured me they’d be marked as a ‘gift’ last minute and were to be used against Matt. I was pretty sure he was going to screw me over so I tried to plan for that.
At the same time I sent a message to Andy, Mike and Stevie suggesting we really needed to take Matt out (he was very close to catching me up and had more drillers than me). That’s when we took stock of what everyone had and realized we could make a mobile bomb to take out Matt, I suggested using one of my boats as a dummy to make Mikey’s sub travel faster and keep Matt off the trail.

Around the same time, as predicted, Adam screwed me over, but he also screwed Matt over which left him open to an assault from Andy, which kept him distracted from the bomb. Fortunately Adam’s betrayal of pretty much everyone had weakened him a bit, so I planned to move in on him when Matt was gone, I also set up to steal Matt’s mines providing the nuke did it’s job.

The rest played out as planned! Matt was eliminated, I snagged his mine and one of Adams. Following that there was very little the other guys could do even if they wanted to. Truth be told I think we were all exhausted by that point, the game required so much constant thought that I think when Matt blew up that was the end for everyone I doubt there would have been chance for any betrayal.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Midlife Gamer, the Midlife Gamer staff, and/or any other contributors to this site.

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