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I know people who live and die with Diplomacy (and Battlestar Galactica, and Resistance and… well, you get the point). I’m not one of them but even I think that Subterfuge, a mobile game in closed alpha, is well worth watching for. If it’s even half as great as this session report makes it out to be then it’s bound to be amazing:

I wake up to find that Meganlynn has built a couple of mine, and is going to win the game in 4.3 days. Thapollo has also messaged me to ask if I’ll help him stop her.

I don’t really need to think particularly hard at this point. I tell him that I’ll help out, but then I immediately tell Megan about the impending attack. I also grab myself a couple of useful specialists, including the Tycoon, who speeds up my driller production by 50 percent.

Thapollo has clearly realized that I am in the best position to attack Megan, and is now courting me. He sends me 30 subs as a gift, and tries to give me some advice on how to play. I thank him, tell him I’ll try my best to stop Megan, and continue to plot my revenge against him.

And this is what Subterfuge is all about. He has no idea whether I am actually attacking Megan or not, since he can’t see all of my outposts, so I can tell him whatever I want and he can choose whether to believe it.

I am a downed beast booting myself back up again ever so slowly. My iPhone tells me that Subterfuge accounts for 37 percent of my battery usage in the last 7 hours, and I’m really not surprised.
Day 7
The seventh day rolls around, and Megan is building up considerable numbers as she prepares for the attacks that I’ve warned her about. She’s building them up not on her borders, but one line in, such that snak and thapollo don’t notice.

And then the attacks begin. Snak sends everything he’s got at her, and I decide to use this moment to hit him on the other side of the playing field. I want Deepness back, and I’m hoping that he’s too distracted with his attack on Megan to worry about little old me taking a single outpost.

You can read the rest at Gamasutra…

A post on Gamasutra caught my eye:

To be able to establish a mascot character and product, like Mario, Sonic or Tomb Raiders for a game is the Holy Grail of game design and should never be taken lightly by any designer, if so tasked.
-William Anderson

While the post is aimed at electronic game developers there’s wisdom in it for board game designers as well: does your design lend itself to creating an ongoing franchise? If not, can you tweak it in such a way that it does?

Take a look at what AEG does with its shared world. These types of considerations are making their way into board games, too.

Read William Anderson’s post over at Gamasutra.