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Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
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Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War

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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Best Abstract Strategy, 2012

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 45 minutes 2

Designer(s): Robert Abbott

Publisher(s): Stronghold Games

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Product Description

In this two-player game, each player can see the movement value of the opponent's pieces but not the value of his own pieces. On a player's turn, he attempts to move one of his pieces a certain number of spaces in a certain direction; whether the opponent says this move is legal or illegal, he can likely eliminate some choices of what this piece might be, taking notes to this effect. (If the move is illegal, the piece is returned to its starting position and the player’s turn ends.)

The goal of Confusion is to move a token from the center of the gameboard to the opponent’s home row. Since some of your pieces can never move backward, you need to be careful about blitzing the other side of the board should the opponent take control of this piece.

Confusion first appeared from German publisher Franjos in 1992 as a thematically abstract game. The Stronghold Games edition will be subtitled "Espionage and Deception in the Cold War," with the pieces now being spies in the CIA and KGB who are trying to move a briefcase of nuclear secrets to the opponent’s capital. Says Stronghold's Kevin Nesbitt, "[The game] will return 95% faithful to the exact original rules, with only minor updates/enhancements. The Cold War spy theme ties in really well, as it abstracts some of the 'confusion' that a spy agency would have to think about, i.e., 'How much do we really know about this agent?'"

Update, July 20, 2010: Nesbitt has posted two articles about Confusion on BoardGameGeek. The first details how the pieces move and how players can deduce which piece is which based on moves allowed and denied by the opponent. The image below shows one of the player notebooks included in the game; erasable pens are included so that players can take notes as needed to eliminate choices or remember what an opponent has learned.

Nesbitt's second article explains how movement is even trickier than a player realizes thanks to the presence of a Double Agent on his team. This piece is marked with a question mark instead of specific allowed directions for movement, and your opponent can allow or disallow movement of this piece as he desires, thereby keeping you always second-guessing as to whether a piece is what you think it is. When will the Double Agent turn against you? Whenever doing so is most convenient for your opponent, of course.

Update, Sept. 12, 2010: Stronghold Games noted in its September 2010 newsletter that Confusion might be delayed due to a change of supplier. From the newsletter:

Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Abstract Strategy, 2012

Product Information

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