Ambrosia DEFCON

Ambrosia DEFCON

You die, he dies, everyone dies!

 

How can you tell if you’re a true geek or not? Go check your movie library. If you have a copy of WarGames, you can wear your geek badge proudly. Fans of WarGames will love DEFCON, a multiplayer strategy game where you are a military leader in charge of one of six world territories, and your goal is to lose fewer units and population numbers than your opponents while you engage in thermonuclear war.

 

A game begins at DEFCON 5, when you place your units (DEFCON is the military term for defense readiness condition). You have naval units, including battleships, aircraft carriers, and submarines, and land-based units such as radar, nuclear missile silos, an airbase, and more. There are five levels of DEFCON, each with specific rules: DEFCON 5 means that the military is at peacetime readiness, while DEFCON 1 means that it’s prepared for an imminent attack. At DEFCON 5, you can place your units. At DEFCON 3, you can’t place units but your naval and airborne units can start attacking. Each DEFCON level takes time to get to, but you can change that speed using the game speed control. Once DEFCON 1 has ended, the game switches to a victory timer, giving players 45 minutes to finish attacking each other and racking up population kills (no one ever said war was pretty).

 

We often found DEFCON to be surreal. The audio is stark silence broken up with unusual operatic-style singing, the sounds of people coughing, or a woman crying softly. The visuals give a sense of austere, disconnected reality. Simple green lines on a black background and players represented as primary red, blue, and greens are reminiscent of the kind of visuals one expects from a NORAD-like environment.

 

We did notice a few glitches. The registration window was finicky, sometimes showing up when it shouldn’t, sometimes not appearing when it should. And each chapter of the tutorial ends only when you’ve performed the tasks of the chapter. If you don’t perform the tasks correctly, you’ll have to escape from the tutorial and start up that chapter again to do it right. It’s enough to make you go ballistic.

 

One of our favorite features, however, is the ability to set up different game lengths. In Office mode, the game runs in a window with no sound for six hours or less. You can play Speed DEFCON, which runs at full speed with no ability to pause. To configure your own game, you can add AI players and leave slots open for human players to join. You can play up to six opponents online in a real-time (not turn-based) all-out nuclear brawl.

 

The bottom line. DEFCON is a deceptively simple game for the strategy buff who doesn’t conceal the complex and surreal nature of strategic thermonuclear war. It’s an entertaining alternative to a good game of chess.

 

COMPANY: Ambrosia
CONTACT: www.ambrosiasw.com

PRICE: $25

REQUIREMENTS: G4 or faster or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.3.9 or later

Captures the surrealism of WarGames perfectly. Lots of game variations. Can take 15 minutes to play, or 6 hours. Universal binary.

Some setup options should be available before joining the lobby. Registration window and tutorial bugs are a bit irritating.

 

 

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Play games

This reminds me of a Cold War era card game and subsequent computer game called Nuclear War (a supplement to the card game, called Nuclear Escalation, with updated weapons and other additions, was released several years later). In it, you played cards to launch delivery systems and subsequent cards to detonate warheads and obliterare population via a die roll. You also had special cards to spy on your opponents and foil an opponent's attack, as well as propaganda cards to cause people to defect to your country. Population was represented by a separate deck of cards in "denominations" of no less than 1 million people. The object of the game was to be the last person with remaining population. It was a very light-hearted game and one I spent countless hours in college playing.

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OPs

The bottom line. DEFCON is a deceptively simple game for the strategy buff who doesn’t conceal the complex and surreal nature of strategic thermonuclear war. It’s an entertaining alternative to a good game of chess.

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Anonymous

The visuals give a sense of austere, disconnected reality. Wow its really very interest. Thank you.

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The bottom line. DEFCON is a deceptively simple game for the
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