The official version of the rulebook can be found here.
HOW TO WIN Edit
The winner is the first player to accumulate 200 kilos of Neptunium, a rare, silvery metal required to complete construction of The Apparatus. Alternatively, in a domination game, the first player to control 30-50 outposts (depending on player numbers) will win. Mines will produce Neptunium for you over time, and the number of outposts you hold increase the output of each mine. 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 Edit
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. It is incredibly important to strengthen your alliances. Have conversations. Don't simply say "Alliance? Sure," make them really like you as a friend. Despite the name of the games betrayal is a very costly operation. Be patient and observe all before deciding to assault an ally who just migh have 90 drillers in store outside your sonar range.
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.
GAME SYSTEMS Edit
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.
Electrical Output Edit
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 and begin the game discharged. 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 (unless you have a Navigator) 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.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER Edit
Here's a schematic explaining some of the relationships between the different systems described above
HOW TO LOSE Edit
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 resign
- 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.
CODE OF CONDUCT EditThis is a game where emotions can run high. Despite this, and because of it, we expect everyone to behave respectfully toward their fellow players. We are strict in enforcing the code of conduct and violators will have their accounts canceled without warning or notification. Below is a list of the most common reasons players have their accounts canceled. We are listing them in the hope that making clear what constitutes unacceptable behavior we will make the game more enjoyable for everyone.
- Using derogatory language in chat. Particularly language aimed at race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and nationality.
- Making real life threats, even if it's supposedly done as a joke.
- Playing with more than one account in the same game (aka multiboxing). This includes directly or indirectly controlling another player.
- Gifting too much of your stuff to another player, especially early on. We expect everyone to play the game to the end. It's fine to help your allies, not fine to gift them all your stuff.
- Going into a game with a pre-made alliance, even if it's just an implicit one. This usually occurs when players join a public game with their real life friends.
ADDITIONAL LEARNING Edit
This rulebook has everything you need to know to get started, but there's a lot more to learn and master beyond these basics. The best way to learn is from other players, both friends and foes, so go play some Subterfuge!