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Quick Look: Deep State: New World Order

Deep State: New World Order
Designer: Konstantin Seleznev
Publisher: Crowd Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2–4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 40–75 minutes
Find
more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Review
In
a fictional history there is the Committee. A ruling body behind the
governments and corporations with a basic desire to gain control, to gain
power. There are distinct individuals who are working towards that goal, for
the Committee and for themselves. Conspiring, manipulating, using every level
of strategy to place themselves at such a level of influence that they are the
one in control.
Deep
State: New World Order is a strategy game of gaining influence through
different options and multiple levels of strategy. Three of us sat down to play
and found the game was easy to learn, even with a 24 page rule book and 16 page
reference guide. The strategy, on the other hand will take longer.
We
had fun. The complexity of the strategy kept everyone engaged, second guessing,
and having the moment of enjoyment when a particular synergy was uncovered. We
only played with the basic game and did not use the Men of Action Expansion
that is included. The developers recommend not using the expansion until you
are more familiar with the game, and I agree. There is enough going on to keep
you working on your game through several times playing.
Set up for a 3-player game
Setup
The
central area of the table is for several events that players compete for,
build, or bid on.
A
row of Objectives is placed from the deck of Objective cards. The Objectives
deck determines the length of the game and is designed to have cards that don’t
come into play no matter how many players you have. Some Objectives are worth
points, some provide Emblems, which are needed when making plays later. The active
Objects are laid out in a line for everyone to see. However, only the first
three cards in the line can be sought, unless you have gained ranks in the
appropriate World Domination Project.
There
are also four World Domination Projects. Projects allow for strategic advantage
during the game by allowing more movement of Agents, Ghost Agents, larger
Bidding area, and making Treaties.
The
Treaty card are shuffled and placed on the table. Each player starts with four
treaties in a concealed hand that they can play later.
The
Covert Operations are placed face up in an ascending order with the lowest
scoring Operation on top (they get bigger and harder as previous ones are
completed).
There
are additional markers also in the central area of play for use later in the
game.
Along
with the four Treaty Cards, each player has ten agents. Three agents are active
and the remaining seven are in reserve.
Determine
who starts, and place the Supervisor marker with them.
Some Objectives
Gameplay
During the game players have different options depending
on their position during their turn in the round. Rounds have three phases of
play.
1: Action Phase
This is when the players use their agents.
The first player (the one with the Supervisor) first
recruits two agents from their reserve. Then they can either Infiltrate an
Objective Card (placing a number of agents on the card that is equal to or
greater than the required amount because following players can over bid your
action on Objectives) or carry out a Covert Operation. This limitation becomes
important later in the round as things become limited.
The next player now takes their action. They do not
automatically recruit two agents, which is reserved for the player with the
Supervisor; however, the y have more actions to choose from. Along with the Objectives
and Covert Operations they can also to choose to advance a Project of recruit
an agent.
After they have taken their action this continues
until each player has taken an action.
2: Takeover Phase
Players move the Objective and Covert Operations
they gained in front of them, all of the agents are still on the cards.
More Objectives
Now they can Recall Agents. For Objectives, one
agent from the captured objective, or from previous rounds, has one agent moved
back to the active pool. They rest remain for later recall, unless you have
advanced in the appropriate World Domination Project which allows you to bring
back additional agents.
For Covert operations, one agent is also moved back
to the active agent pool, the rest are moved back into the reserves as
casualties lost. They can be recruited later.
Now the board is checked to see how the next round
is played.
If one or more cards remain in the Objectives row of
face up cards, the Supervisor moves to the next player and another round of
action is started. This means that a single round of cards can last different
lengths of time depending on how players go after the Objectives versus the
Covert Operations and the Projects.
If there are no more cards in the Objective line,
you have a Treaty Phase.
Treaty Phase
Each player can play one treaty from the treaty
cards they have in their hand as long as the requirements of making the treaty
are met. After playing a treaty the player discards any extra cards they have
down to six cards remaining for the next round of play.
After each player has had the chance to play a
Treaty you create a new Objectives line and start a new round.
If there are not enough cards left in the deck to
create a full line, then the game moves into scoring to see who won.
After the first round the objectives may include one
or both of the World War Cards. These cards change the requirements of the
remaining Objectives and Projects. We found these times are important because
there are Projects that can only be completed during a time of war.
2 of the World Domination Projects
Theme
and Mechanics
Deep
State uses several mechanics during the game. They are combined nicely to
provide different options and create lines of strategy that keep you thinking
and watching what can be done, or what is available. At some points the
mechanics of how the round unfolds forces you to take a particular action you
may not really want to take. The game has set that if you can take an action,
you must.
The
theme of an illuminati style control taking place allows for some intrigue.
Each player has to consider what they need to implement Treaties, advance
Projects, and keep an adequate pool of active and ghost Agents. Sometimes the
best play was definitely to block a player who hadn’t taken an action yet, or
who would gain two more agents if it went into the next Action Phase.
Artwork
and Components
The
components are well made. The cards were a lighter weight card, but that
shouldn’t be much of a problem for greater play because you don’t need to
constantly handle them, or hold them in your hand. Most of the active playing
is with the meeple agents.
The
art kept the concept of the Dark government throughout. The premise is
everything is taking place in an alternate history of the 20th century
and the art reflects the period of the Cold War. The artist is Aleksander
Khromov.
The
Good
  • Multiple
    levels of strategy
  • Use
    of multiple game mechanics

The first 3 Covert Operations
Final
Thoughts
I
brought in a couple of players I know like strategy games after I read the
rules. The three of us enjoyed the complexity that Deep State presented. It
allowed us to be working our own hands, but also needing to watch what the
other two were doing.
We
played the basic game and all agreed that the optional rules concerning treaty
selection (deal six keep four) and the additional Men of Action Cards are
things we can look forward to playing.
The
Reference Guide was nice to keep on hand for quick explanations. Both it and
the Rules book were well done for easy understanding (we do play a lot of
strategy games with complex rule sets, so that helps.
Players
Who Like
  • Higher
    level of complexity in their strategy
  • Games
    requiring flexibility in strategy as the game is regularly changing

Some of the Treaties

  
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Daniel Yocom – Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.


See Daniel’s reviews HERE.