[Strategy] Player Types

Strategy, feedback, or anything SUBTERFUGE-related
Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:33 pm

  • In my experience, the most useful part of the game to know is your opponent. It determines diplomacy, tactics, and strategy in every game, and if one knows the nature of their opponents, they can have a very good idea of what any game will look like one day, two days, or even a week from now.
    This should be fairly obvious for anyone who as played a few games. But the problem I've found since launch is that I have no past experiences with the players I encounter. What do I have to judge their nature from? By the time I know enough about that particular player, it's already too late to plan against their playstyle.
    The answer is in generalization. Using categorical types, I can guess at a player's behavior throughout the game. So the following is my take on common player types, with advice for dealing with and playing as each type. Enjoy!

    A note on the organization of the guide:
    "Friend" refers to a common ally of this player type or type of player who helps their cause inadvertently. "Foe" refers to either the mortal enemy or Achilles heel of each type.

    It is also important to note that most players do not fall strictly into one category or another. Most are a blend of two or three types. Hybrid types are at the end of this guide.


    BASE PLAYER TYPES
    These are the atoms, not the molecules. Every player should be able to find a couple of these that they identify with.

    1. The Shark

    Big, bad, and aggressive. A shark tends to make one or two friends and attack everyone else. They subscribe to the idea that the person with the most territory will be the winner, and act accordingly. Early aggression, full-force attacks, and offensive specialist hires.
    How to spot: First hires tend to be from the "offensive" category. Often approaches other players by suggesting war against another. The first person to attack is normally the game's shark.
    Favorite Specialist: General
    Mining Tendency: Minimal. Drillers are best used for war. Why waste them when you can take someone else's mine?
    Diplomatic style: Inconsistent. Friends one minute, mortal enemies the next.
    Friend: The Piranha
    "Hey, I'm going to attack X. He looked at me funny. Want in?"

    Foe: The Octopus
    "HA! You think you can beat me alone? I have triple your production!"
    "Ha! You two think you can beat me alone? I have two kings!"
    "Ha. You three think you can beat me alone? I'm a tactical genius."
    "Ha... You all think you can beat me? Well... yeah, I'm screwed..."


    2. The Piranha

    Very similar to the Shark, except in aggression levels. Piranhas tend to capitalize on others' wars by attacking the weaker combatant. Small gains with small attacks are frequent.
    How to Spot: Makes contact early. Tends to go for strong specialist synergy and quick kills.
    Favorite Specialist: Navi/Pirate
    Mining Tendency: Low. Often drills at least one mine, sometimes two, never three.
    Diplomatic Style: Eager and cooperative. Pack hunter.
    Friend: The Shark
    "Oh, you're attacking X? Sure, I'll help."

    Foe: The Crab
    "The Shark attacked you too! Why did you send the martyr my way?"

    3. The Crab

    A common turtling strategy, the Crab tends toward nuclear deterrents and mutually assured destruction for their defense. Tries to be as unappealing a target as possible, with open displays of military force, while quietly mining to victory.
    How to Spot: Unfriendly and standoffish in chat. Leaves large quantities of drillers on borders.
    Favorite Specialist: Martyr
    Mining Tendency: Early and consistent
    Diplomatic Style: Nonexistent
    Friend: The Flounder
    "Oh, you're hiding? Ok, cool. Just don't hide here."

    Foe: Anyone
    "BACK! BACK! ALL OF YOU! BACK I SAY!"

    4. The Flounder

    The Flounder tries to hide from any attention in the game. Eager to make non-aggression pacts, but not interested in alliances. Nobody attacks the Flounder because nobody remembers the Flounder. Often coasts to second or third place.
    How to Spot: Often suggests demilitarized borders. Deflects any propositions of war against another player for innocuous reasons ("I'm not sure I'm in a position to attack yet. Ask again later.")
    Favorite Specialist: Saboteur
    Mining Tendency: Likes to hang just behind the leader, so their name doesn't appear on the top of the screen.
    Diplomatic Style: Friendly but quiet.
    Friend: Everybody and nobody at once.
    *James Bond theme plays*

    Foe: The Pufferfish
    "Nooooo, I wasn't going to attack you! Why would you do this?"

    5. The Octopus

    The Octopus is the guy who messages you even though you're on opposite sides of the map. Octopi are friends with everyone, and often become the leader of the coalition against the leader. Always chatting in a friendly manner, they normally gain and give information readily.
    How to Spot: Early, seemingly useless, conversations. Likes to ask questions.
    Favorite Specialist: Intel officer
    Mining Tendency: Moderate. Normally tries to take a mine or two from the leader when they create an alliance in the late game.
    Diplomatic Style: Very friendly
    Friend: The Piranha
    "Hey, you know your buddy, the Shark? Yeah, well, he's winning, and I'm raising a coalition. Want in?"

    Foe: The Shark
    "Your time has come! The people have spoken, and we will no longer tolerate your reign!"

    6. The Guppy

    The Guppy is so innocent, you feel bad murdering him. Whether they know what they're doing or not, they are often found under the fin of an experienced Shark or Octopus. They seem easily killed if attacked, but are not often attacked due to their powerful protectors. While this may sound like a noob, there may be an experienced player on the other side of the screen.
    How to Spot: They often try to make you feel bad with messages like, "Well, I enjoyed being at peace, while it lasted..." Before attacking, you can spot a Guppy by their very friendly and innocuous manner.
    Favorite Specialist: Admiral
    Mining Tendency: Follows the crowd. Often mines shortly after another player.
    Diplomatic Style: Friendly and innocent
    Friend: The Shark
    "Hey, I'm new here. Do you mind showing me the ropes?"
    -TRANSLATED-
    "Hey, I'll do anything you want me to do, o wise master."


    Foe: The Piranha
    "Oh... I thought I had finally found someone I could trust in this game..."

    7. The Angler Fish (Community Recommended)
    This guy hangs out in the darkest corners of the game doing God-knows-what. Spreadsheets, photoshopped maps, blackmail, murder even? Who knows.
    How to spot: Starts making vast predictions based on limited Intel. Thinks he's the smartest guy in the room.
    Favorite Specialist: Intel officer
    Mining Tendency: Do they even mine? Who knows?
    Diplomatic Style: Overbearing; tries to impress with knowledge.
    Friend: Excel
    Observe, the wild Angler Fish. We've ventured deep into the depths of their room. Down here, there is no light but the pale blue glow of their computer screen...

    Foe: Sane people
    "Hey, have you talked to X?"
    "Yeah, but to be honest, he creeps me out."
    "Same here. Want to gang up on him?"


    8. The Dolphin
    It can be difficult to tell if the Dolphin really thinks about their moves at all. It's all kind of impetuous attacks and random specialist hires to the observer. There may be a method to the madness, but that's a rare Dolphin. The game is just exploration to them, and winning only is a side-quest.
    How to spot: The guy who sends one driller to every single neutral outpost. Chats with Dolphins are normally superficial, with quick answers.
    Favorite Specialiat: The Helmsman
    Mining Tendency: "Oh look, I have 50 drillers at that outpost. Wonder what to do with them? Oh, I can make a mine? Wonder what that does. Whoa, it's a triangle."
    Diplomatic Style: Friends with everyone, even the people they're at war with.
    Friend: The Octopus
    "Hi!"
    "Hi!"
    "What's your favorite color?"
    "Blue, you?"
    "Green! We should be best friends!"
    "Sure, definitely!"


    Foe: The Crab
    "Hi!"
    "Back off."
    "What? I'm just saying hi."
    "Back. Off."



    HYBRID PLAYER TYPES
    Every player is a mix of a couple of the above types, but some type combinations are particularly common, notable, or nameable.

    The Cone Snail (Community Recommended)
    The Cone Snail makes a determined but not aggressive initial expansion early in the game and then turns to defense. As opposed to Crabs, Cone Snails look unassuming on their borders but keep substantial forces right outside their neighbors' sonar. A neighbor may see their unguarded outposts as easy pickings-3 hours in the future their's a ping and smuggler with 400 drillers is flying in while your enemies have been rallied to take your flank.
    How to spot: The intelligence reports claim this player has 500 drillers total but neither you nor any of your neighbors can see more than 10 to an outpost. Where did they all go?
    A Combination of: The Flounder and the Crab
    Favorite specialist: The Smuggler
    Mining Tendency: Mines early but not enough to attract attention- may leave a lightly guarded mine near a border
    Diplomatic Style: Friendly and unassuming- looks for allies but is unlikely to back you up - expects to be back-stabbed
    Friend: The Octopus but noone is to be trusted

    Foe: The Piranha

    The Squid (Community Recommended)
    The evil twin of the octopus. This player uses diplomacy to spread misinformation- turning alliances inside out to profit on the spoils of backstabbing.
    A Combination of: The Octopus and the Piranha
    How to spot: Messages early - claims your neighbors are asking them to help attack you but something doesn't seem right...
    Favorite Specialist: The Intelligence Officer
    Mining Tendency: May drill a single mine after a few days - more likely to take another players mine right after another player smashed their subs and decimated the defenses
    Diplomatic Style: Over eager- seems to know all about the other players' plots
    Friend: No friends, only pawns
    "You. Attack there. And you, attack there. And you. Yeah, you. Go take his queen." *cackles maniacally*

    Foe: The Shark/ Any players that have the wherewithal to compare notes
    "What? No, I'm not attacking him. He told me you were attacking him and that he desperately needed my help."

    The Ninja Lanternshark (Community Recommended) (Ish)
    Hey, everyone, look! It's a flounder. We can ignore this guy, I guess. Except that, they're not actually a flounder, and those drillers that they're moving towards your border are not to drill a mine. That's right, this guy is also a piranha, and you seem weak. So don't be surprised when the Ninja Lanternshark attacks.
    A Combination of: The Flounder and the Piranha
    How to Spot: Be psychic.
    Favorite Specialist: The Admiral
    Mining Tendency: They'll drop one or two mines to look like they're peaceful, but their goal is to take your mines.
    Diplomatic Style: Quiet and unassuming.
    Friend: The Piranha
    "Hey, listen, I'm going to attack X. He doesn't suspect a thing."

    Foe: The Piranha
    "Hey, whoa, you're attacking that early? I wasn't going to attack you! *cough cough*"


    The Pufferfish

    Difficult to distinguish from the Piranha, the Pufferfish prefers to make one quick expansion early in the game, then become an unappealing target for others.
    A Combination of: The Piranha and the Crab
    How to Spot: Doesn't talk much. Makes friends early, then goes quiet.
    Favorite Specialist: Tycoon
    Mining Tendency: Often mines immediately following a successful war.
    Diplomatic Style: Quiet.
    Friend: The Pufferfish
    "Hey, looks like we've almost finished X off. What next?"
    "I think I might just mine peacefully from now on."
    "Dude, same!" *Virtual high five*


    Foe: The Crab
    "Who would have thought that he'd hire a martyr as his first pick?"

    The Whale
    He's just kinda there. Not that he just sits there, no. He spends the whole game growing. But... How? He never declares war on anyone, he's friends with everyone... Where is he getting all these territories? Soon he's just huge, but nobody attacks him because he's everyone's ally. He's not even winning, though, so you just leave him alone too...
    A Combination of: The Shark and the Guppy
    How to Spot: The guy that everyone likes even though he took the most neutral outposts
    Favorite Specialist: Tycoon
    Mining Tendency: They drill one mine, and it counts for more than both of yours.
    Diplomatic Style: He's so nice. I wouldn't want to attack him either.
    Friend: The Guppy

    Foe: The Shark

    The Pilot Fish
    Like real pilot fish, the subterfuge pilot fish forms a symbiotic relationship with the game's shark. These players can often be found hiding behind the shark, sending them small gifts or specialists to help in war efforts in exchange for peace and a few easy outposts in the shark's wake.
    A Combination of: The Octopus and the Guppy
    How to Spot: The player who is being funded by the shark and has unswerving devotion to the shark.
    Favorite Specialist: Whichever specialist the shark needs
    Mining Tendency: Quiet but heavy. Normally drills 3 mines.
    Diplomatic Style: Very friendly at first, until he finds a shark to help. Then quiet to all but his closest allies.
    Friend: The Shark

    Foe: The Octopus

    The Sea Cow
    They're so darn cute... But... The three undefended mines they left on your doorstep look so darn tasty... But... They're so nice... But... If you attack them, you're guaranteed to win... But... They trust you...
    A Combination of: The Guppy and The Dolphin
    How to Spot: The guy who cheerfully tells you he just dropped his third mine... except that it's day two.
    Favorite Specialist: Infiltrator (strictly for defensive purposes)
    Mining Tendency: *Facepalm* Again?
    Diplomatic Style: So lovable. The Sea Cow will be your favorite person ever. Until you murder them, that is. But it will be with tears in your eyes that you do so.
    Friend: Casual Players
    "This is easily the most fun I've had in a game!"
    "Same here! Who cares about winning!"
    "I know, right!"


    Foe: Callous Bastards
    "This is easily the most fun I've had in a game!"
    "Same here! Who cares about winning!"
    "I know, ri- wait, what are those?!?!?"
    "Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I care about winning."


    PSEUDO-TYPES
    These guys are out there. However, they're not so much "Ways of thinking" like the rest of these types as they are quirks of players or outliers of the game.

    The Sea Cucumber (Community Recommended)
    Are they really alive? You keep hoping they will autoresign but after 20 hours of inactivity they've checked in again. Will those nearby outposts be easy pickings or will they spring to life at the last second? Keep counting the hours, hope it makes it 48 before those factories have 90 drillers each.
    Favorite Specialist: They didn't hire any but you're worried about the ones they might hire
    Mining Tendency: None
    Diplomatic Style: None
    Friend: None
    "Hi!"
    ...
    "Hey, you there?"
    ...
    "Hey, listen, I'm going to take Smithrand if you don't mind."
    ...
    -2 DAYS LATER-
    "Hey, sorry, I got distracted. Um, sure, you can have Smithrand."
    "Ok, great! I kind of already took it, but I'm glad you don't mind. Hey, want to work together against X?"
    ...


    Foe: None
    *In public chat*
    "Hey all! Sorry, I was away for the weekend. Looks like I missed a lot."
    "Sure, no problem! Glad you're back"
    ...


    The King Mackerel
    Could also be spelled "King Maker-el." This player subscribes to the ideas that the king is the best specialist in the game and that redundancy is a good thing. While easy to confuse with the Shark, there is an important distinction: the King Mackerel's strategy is simple. "Smash."
    How to Spot: First hire is a hypnotist. Second hire is a promotion. Third hire is a hypnotist... And so forth.
    Favorite Specialist: Um...
    Mining Tendency: It happens. Sometimes.
    Diplomatic Style: Friendly enough until they get a king. Then it gets real.
    Friend: Kings

    Foe: A hire without a hypnotist


    The Marine
    Wait, this one doesn't seem to belong. What is he even doing here? All he ever talks about is CoD, and he's launching subs at everyone. Oh, and the leetspeak and trashtalking in the public chat? Who even is this guy? At least you don't have to bear it long, since he autoresigns after the third day.
    How to Spot: Oh, you'll know
    Favorite Specialist: The Lieutenant. 'Cuz he probably carries a gun, unlike all these other wimpy specialists.
    Mining Tendency: You can drill mines? Why would I want to do that?
    Diplomatic Style: There's diplomacy in this game? Why would I want that?
    Friend: 360 noscope
    "Get Rekt Scrub. MLG PRO SUBMARINE TRYHARD EVERY DAY, RANDY" (Side note: does anyone actually know what those words mean?)

    Foe: Thinking
    "Come at me, m8. Get on ma lvl. 1v1 me, bro."

    This guide is a work in progress and will be updated and added onto in the future. These are hardly definitive statements on the game, but rather my observations from playing, and as such should be taken with a grain of salt. Any feedback is much appreciated!
    Last edited by roadkiehl on Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:40 pm, edited 15 times in total.
    "Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd for that?" -Hoban 'Wash' Washburn, Serenity
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    roadkiehl
     
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Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:46 pm

  • You've clearly spent a fair deal of time thinking though the archetypes you expect to find in this game.

    I've previously spent a lot of time doing the same thing for poker players, and your descriptions ring home for a lot of them. I'm not sure if you've played poker competitively before, but your general analysis aligns pretty well :)

    After 19 games since launch (yeah, I know, holy crap), the only way to know someone, is to actually talk to them. I know the names of some of my opponents' wives. I know what timezone they're in. I know whether or not they expect me to backstab them or not. I know if I can hide my relationship with them to the other players in the game. Talk. Just do it. Look at who's online. Connect with them. Go beyond the game.

    I've personally convinced three people to get the Android beta build for the battery life improvements because I know what phone they own.

    I could say even more about my poker opponents. If you know them outside of the game, you can dominate them inside.
    therealben
     
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Wed Nov 04, 2015 5:51 pm

  • what about and hopefully the community chimes in here. where would this guy fall in. hes a total statistician tactician. Excel file and photoshopped map plotting factories and gens, where units are and where their moving, etc. Player start and end times sleep patterns. if this player existed not saying hes me ::cough::
    bimmer28
     
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Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:01 pm

  • bimmer28 wrote:what about and hopefully the community chimes in here. where would this guy fall in. hes a total statistician tactician. Excel file and photoshopped map plotting factories and gens, where units are and where their moving, etc. Player start and end times sleep patterns. if this player existed not saying hes me ::cough::


    8. The Nut

    This guy knows where you live. Well, maybe not exactly, but he has a good idea. He has a better chance of knowing that you have heart disease than you do yourself. It's okay though. He's so involved about making graphs and maps than what's going on, that he totally misses that everyone in the game thinks he's super weird and and ends up backstabbing him. If you encounter this player, just ask one of his neighbors: "Hey, have you talked to [blah]? He seems really weird! I'll take Adama if you want Shasta and Vintgar. Deal?"
    therealben
     
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Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:30 pm

  • I think I'm kinda octopus kinda piranha. I try to win by being as diplomatic as possible. I try to pull a Louis XI and get my allies to fight my wars for me. When I do attack I go for the head of the snake, the queen, first then capture their territory once eliminated.
    *Insert clever saying here
    frenchytheasian
     
    Posts: 44
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Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:04 pm

  • therealben wrote:You've clearly spent a fair deal of time thinking though the archetypes you expect to find in this game.

    I've previously spent a lot of time doing the same thing for poker players, and your descriptions ring home for a lot of them. I'm not sure if you've played poker competitively before, but your general analysis aligns pretty well :)

    After 19 games since launch (yeah, I know, holy crap), the only way to know someone, is to actually talk to them. I know the names of some of my opponents' wives. I know what timezone they're in. I know whether or not they expect me to backstab them or not. I know if I can hide my relationship with them to the other players in the game. Talk. Just do it. Look at who's online. Connect with them. Go beyond the game.

    I've personally convinced three people to get the Android beta build for the battery life improvements because I know what phone they own.

    I could say even more about my poker opponents. If you know them outside of the game, you can dominate them inside.


    Yeah, I agree completely. I think what I've come up with is like those personality type tests you see (i.e. MBTI)
    I could tell someone I'm an INTP, and they can make a lot of assumptions about me. However, a lot of those assumptions won't be true (i.e. I don't have a chin beard). The typology does, however, give people a vague picture of how I think.
    Like I said, these Player Types are basically the same thing. The best way to get to know a player is by talking to them, yes. But when a fresh game starts, you only have so much time before you have to make choices that define the rest of the game. That's where these types come in handy. I.e. "OK, this guy is a flounder, so he'll probably avoid fighting me. I can probably take a few extra neutral outposts over there."
    "Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd for that?" -Hoban 'Wash' Washburn, Serenity
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    roadkiehl
     
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Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:21 pm

  • Excellent post roadkiehl, very good read. I think your player types are pretty much spot on.

    Having studied psychology I have often found myself 'characterising' different players to try and get a clearer understand of their intentions and strategy. The main limitations in this are of course, as you said, people talking back and getting a conversation going.

    The other major limitation is emotion which makes people do all sorts of weird and wonderful things you don't expect. Having said that, I sometimes use fake emotion as a tactic so it can be useful.
    stitch29
     
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Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:21 am

  • therealben wrote:
    bimmer28 wrote:what about and hopefully the community chimes in here. where would this guy fall in. hes a total statistician tactician. Excel file and photoshopped map plotting factories and gens, where units are and where their moving, etc. Player start and end times sleep patterns. if this player existed not saying hes me ::cough::


    8. The Nut

    This guy knows where you live. Well, maybe not exactly, but he has a good idea. He has a better chance of knowing that you have heart disease than you do yourself. It's okay though. He's so involved about making graphs and maps than what's going on, that he totally misses that everyone in the game thinks he's super weird and and ends up backstabbing him. If you encounter this player, just ask one of his neighbors: "Hey, have you talked to [blah]? He seems really weird! I'll take Adama if you want Shasta and Vintgar. Deal?"


    Ive tried cross checking their ingame username to social media and other sites to see If i could find something to give me their timezone etc. thing is no one thinks im super weird unless I start talking alot. so i keep the convos short and no one realizes. So for any players that fit this category just keep the convos short theyll never know

    not to mention if you betray us.......we know where you live.....
    bimmer28
     
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Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:27 am

  • This topic is so accurate :mrgreen:
    Every single player is a mix of these archetypes !
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    nneil
     
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Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:02 am

  • I guess Im kind of the puffer fish at the Moment maybe a little bit piranha...since playing the shark never worked out for me : D
    “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
    umpusten
     
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