Kickstart This! #177: Deep State: New World Order
Designer: Konstantin Seleznev (Cult: Choose Your God Wisely, Master of the Galaxy, Nightmarium)
Artists: Alexander Khromov
Publisher: CrowD Games (Space Explorers)
Genre/Mechanisms: hand management, market, political, set collection, worker placement
Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Deep State: New World Order is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than 2x the initial funding goal, with just under 6 days left to go on the campaign.
Player Count: 2-4
Solo Mode: no
What It’s About: Players are leaders of a secret organization called “The Committee,” in this dystopian game of world domination and global conspiracies, where they vie to become the leader of a single world government.
How It Works: “A game consists of several rounds. Each round consists of several Action and Takeover Phases that come one after another. The Treaty Phase occurs in the end of each round. After the end of the Treaty Phase, a new round begins.”
“At the beginning of each Action Phase, the Supervisor token passes to the next player clockwise (except at the beginning of the game). The arrival of the Supervisor brings both benefits and disadvantages. The Supervisor is a specially entrusted Committee member, and controls the division heads. The player under the control of the Supervisor is limited in their activities, and always begins the Action Phase. First, that player must Recruit 2 Agents, taking them from their Recruitment Pool and putting them into their Active Reserve. Then the Supervisor performs one of 2 possible actions: Infiltrating an Objective Card or Carrying out a Covert Operation.
When Inflitrating, the active player places the required number of their Agents on one of the first 3 Objective Cards. If there are already another player’s Agents there, placing the same number of Agents + 1 will Over-Infiltrate the card and drive the other player’s Agents away (they’ll get to draw a card from the Treaty Deck if this happens). That also means that placing more than the required number of Agents on a card can be used as a defensive measure to prevent other players from Over-Infiltrating in the future.
When Carrying out a Covert Operation, the active player takes the upper card from the Covert Operation Stack, places the required number of Agents on it, and the player will score the indicated number of Influence points depicted on it at the end of the game. The card may not be taken if the player does not have sufficient Agents, and because the card immediately becomes that player’s card, there is no need to Over-Infiltrate.
Then, in clockwise order, the other players take one Action each. In addition to Infiltrating and Objective Card or Carrying out a Covert Opertaion, they may also choose from Advancing in a Project or Recruiting an Agent.
When Advancing in a Project, a player may join the First Stage of an unoccupied World Domination Project, placing an Agent on it from their Recruitment Pool, who becomes a Shady Conspirator. If they already have a Shady Conspirator on a project, they may advance it to the next Stage of the project by paying the associated costs. A player may also Join a Project that already has a Shady Conspirator by paying all of the associated costs for the each of the Stages already completed, but theplayers only gains the benefit of the Current Stage.
When a player Recruits an Agent, they simply move one of their Agents from the Recruiting Pool to their Active Reserve.
During the Takeover Phase, any players with Agents on an Objective Card claim that card and move it in front of them. Then players Recall their Agents, retrieving 1 Agent from each Objective Card in front of them back to their Active Reserve. If there are no more Objective Cards in the Infiltration Zone, the Treaty Phase begins.
The Treaty Phase consists of three steps: Make Treaties, Discard Extra Treaties, and Create a New Infiltration Zone. Starting with the Supervisor, each player make Make up to 1 Treaty from the cards in their hand. They’ll place that card in front of them, face down, and then discard down to 6 from the remaining Treaty Cards in their hand. Then the Supervisor will create a new Infiltration Zone (8-9 cards depending on player count). If there are not enough cards remaining in the Deck to create a new Infiltration Zone, the game ends.
Players score points from Objective cards; Governments, Universities, and Stock Exchanges cards; Crime Syndicate cards; Corporation cards; Inner Circle cards not attached to other Objective Cards; Covert Operations cards; and Projects where the Shady Coordinator has reached Stages IV-V. The player with the most Influence Points wins the game, with ties broken by the player who has reached Stage V of any project, and then by the player who has reached the highest level of a Deep State Project.
Comparisons: The theme of secret government organizations fighting for global domination reminds me of Pandasaurus’ recent Kickstarter for Godspeed, although that game is focused specifically on the space race. There are also going to be some design similarities with CrowD Games’ other original published project, Space Explorers. Sentient has a similar worker placement/majority mechanic for acquiring cards. Pax Pamir, while very different in gameplay, finds players choosing and alternating between the different sides of warring armies. Black Orchestra is a cooperative game using action points and variable player powers as players try to stop Hitler during World War II. And finally, Specter Ops is a spy- and stealth-themed deduction game with hidden movement and miniatures from the designer of the Century series.
What Should I Pledge?:
$35 Deep State – Regular Edition: a copy of the game with all unlocked stretch goals.
$49 Ruler of the World: a copy of the game with all unlocked stretch goals, plus the Fourth Estate Module, Strong-Arm Tactics Module, and Superiority Doctrine Module.
The High Society mini-expansion included with all KS copies.
All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $49 for the Ruler of the World pledge plus $9 in shipping for a total of $58.
Deep State: New World Order completes its Kickstarter on Thursday, February 27th and tentatively ships in September 2020.