Office Mode DEFCON

I picked up DEFCON a few months ago on Steam. It’s a game inspired by the “big nuclear war boards” we saw in movies like Dr. Strangelove or, closer to the mark, WarGames. Each player controls a section of the world. The game starts with a few very short bits of placing units and quickly turns into a shooting war. Players launch fighters, deploy fleets, and eventually sound out bombers, subs, and ICBMs. The game looks gorgeous.

I was intrigued by “office mode.” In this mode, the game is time limited, runs in a window, and stays mostly out of your way. My understanding was that it would be a good fit to run while working my day job. I’d just check in on it once in a while to issue new orders, but mostly I could ignore it. After all, a lot of time was sure to be missiles flying through the air. I got in touch with some friends to organize a game, and Florian Ragwitz and I gave it a shot today.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The first few phases of the game were quite rapid-fire and required a good bit of my brain for about twenty minutes. After that, things calmed down, but not enough. It was not a great background activity. I couldn’t, for example, check in for five minutes at a time between pomodori.

On the other hand, it was fun. I guess I should spend a bit more time fighting AIs, though, because Florian utterly destroyed me. I think I had one weapon hit a target, doing a fair bit of damage to Naples. Meanwhile, he destroyed about half the population of the USSR. (Florian was playing as Europe, and I was the USSR. Strangely, Europe, not the USSR, controls Kiev, Warsaw, and Dnipropetrovsk.)

Written on November 8, 2013