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Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War

Posted by admin On October - 12 - 2011

Foreword:
This game has really been quite a bit of torture for me. I pre ordered it right when I heard it was being published in North America, after reading about it, I wanted it soooo BAD!! It was first published back in ’92, but this was the first time I had ever heard of it, and it sounded diabolically wonderful!

After sitting a few months on my pre-order now watching all the major well known gamers in the industry start putting up reviews, videos, and playing this game, I was quite frankly going insane. Where was my copy??  So I went onto Stronghold games and found the dreaded answer.

“This is now shipping, but ONLY directly from Stronghold Games. This will be available at friendly local or online retailer on/about September 13, 2011.”

My problem? I didn’t order it from Stronghold Games. Ugh. Now, it’s 8 months since my pre-order and 5 months since every major game reviewer has already reviewed it, but I don’t care, I now have my game, and i’ve played it over the course of two weeks, and i’m going to review it too, darn it!

Details:
Players: 2
Length: 30-45 mins
Actual Length: 20-60 (varies quite a lot from game to game)
Age: 12+

Stronghold Description: “The Cold War.  A dangerous time for the world.  A dangerous time to be a spy… but that is exactly what being a spy is all about.  As the shadowy clouds of intrigue and subterfuge settle across the globe you have been called upon by your country to obtain the Top Secret information that will ensure your country’s safety and supremacy.  But not all is as it seems; your spies are difficult to control on a global scale, and even worse, there’s a Double Agent in your midst who threatens the entire mission! Can you achieve your goals at the expense of your opponent, or will the entire operation collapse in a sea of Confusion?

Object & Shortening of the Manual:

Each player controls 13 spies that that must capture the top secret briefcase and make it across the board to the first row of their opponents side, with briefcase in hand, to win the game. The problem? You have to move through 13 opposing spies, without being captured. And of course they are after the same briefcase too! The bigger problem? Your spies all have limited movements such as only going forward, or diagonal and such. The even bigger problem? You don’t know what these movements are! They are hidden from you and you have to use deduction to figure it out!

Oh!! What lovely, fun, beautiful, confusion it is! I love it!!

Now, when you first break out the game, it only lasts 15 minutes. Mainly because either you get clobbered quickly by someone who has already played and understands the mechanics OR you are both beginner spies and one of you just gets lucky. You’ll notice when you first start playing this game you focus on just a few spies, trying to figure out EXACTLY what they are because not knowing their exact movement is a bit maddening. So, really, more of an offensive take. But then as you become more skilled as a spy, as as does your opponent, the games take much, much longer. You realize that you need a good mix of defense and offense. Meaning, you need to narrow the movements of your spies, but not necessarily their exact movement. This allows you to control many more spies allowing for more chances of success! They have provided a dry erase Notebook for both sides used for keeping track of what is known about both sets of spies.

Final Thoughts:
This is a strategic game with HEAVY deduction. If you are one for figuring out puzzles and have a keenness for a nice amount of thinking, then Confusion will bring you much, much pleasure. The game itself is quite handsome with a great deal of attention to quality of the components and box making it well worth the price.

Final Final Thoughts:
Quality: 5/5
Fun: 5/5
Substance: 5/5
Re-playability: 4/5 (Included in the nicely made manual is optional rules/variants)