Turf – Another Hot Social Game Not On a Social Network

One of the unique features behind any strategy based game is the level of depth that one can attain through playing it. A well designed strategy game, whether it be real time or turn based, can present the player with dozens of different strategies and tactics that can be used to overcome their opponents. Games are never the same: Strategies change constantly and the player must be able to react to such changes with new tactics of their own.

Of course, strategy games are hardly new. In fact, the entire genre of strategy games originally came from turn based board games like Risk. As such, it is interesting to see an online social game take such a direct route to becoming just like a virtual version of this classic board game. The game is called Turf, by Kirkland North, and it works in a very similar fashion.

The game takes you to an overhead view of your local community (sort of like the maps on Google Earth) and breaks it up into various territories. Or, if you so choose, you can get more detailed and actually use school campuses, work offices, or anything, really, that you want. Once this is done, players choose their team and vie for control of various flag points within these territories. Upon joining a game, the player creates their little, stick figure avatar and begin moving about the map, taking flags.

Players move at approximately four feet per second and must stand near a flag for six player hours (don’t worry you don’t have to be logged in) in order to capture it and whatever territory is linked to it. This means that working alone is far from effective, since the more players are at a flag, the faster it changes (six players at one flag means it will change in one hour). Players will continue to convert said flags until one of three teams (red, yellow, and blue) controls the entire map.

However, it’s not as simple as just capturing flags. On the contrary, enemy players can move to intercept your avatars and through a game of chance, can “tag” your character and send them back to territory under your team’s control (this means the person doing the “tagging” can loose too). The chances are 1:1 in neutral territory and 2:1 in enemy territory (in favor of the team that controls it).

Graphically, the game is nothing very pretty, but the fact that you have to work strategically in the game invokes not only a lot of socializing and coordination – but has also led to many “real-life” strategy meetings on how best to win the current game between co-workers, students, friends, and so on.

Moreover, the large amount of social traffic with Turf has actually attracted some hefty funding. According to VentureBeat, the company was able to bring in $225,000 in a seed funding round led by Harrison Metal Capital not too long ago.

Turf is already is a great social game, and is a great deal of fun when playing with a large group of people. Will people see improved presentation? Will there be more features added for strategy? Will players get more tactical choices when defending or attacking beyond chance? There are a number of ways to further improve the game – and it will be fun to see what Kirkland North has on the way.