by Aaron Curtis
It has been suggested that the best way to reveal a loophole in the game is to build a deck that exploits it, then win with it at a big tournament. It is an honor for a deck to force a rewrite of the rules to prevent it. This is what happened to the now-infamous Essen Oil Spill deck. It also happened to Deck of the Week "Bang! F**k, I'm Dead!". I hope for Six Dead Conservatives to join this exclusive club. Feel free to play this deck at GenCon or Origins and get a special prize for playing a degenerate deck! All I ask in return is that you email me about it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also my essay on The Production Spiral, for guidance on ways to construct your own degenerate decks.
Lead with Fiendish Fluoridators, and take Gun Lobby as your first puppet. On your turn, you will attempt to perform the following sequence five times:
When you kill a Conservative Personality, you get one plot for attacking them from the Gun Lobby, one plot for destroying them from the Fiendish Fluoridators, and one plot for destroying them from Cthulhu. Together with the three plots from the S&L Scam, you draw six plots, a net gain of two!
After repeating this five times, you will have drawn 34 of your 35 plots. Spend the Fluoridators' action to destroy the Gun Lobby and draw the last one. Be sure to put the second Power to the People goal back in your deck when you draw it. You have now destroyed six Conservative groups. Put a now-useless Alien Abduction or Blitzkrieg on the top of your plot deck and use it as fodder for your March on Washington to give the Fiendish Fluoridators a Liberal Agenda.
At the end of the first player's second turn, claim victory.
Of course, the scenario described above assumes ideal conditions. It would require that your first four plots contain an Alien Abduction, a Blitzkrieg, and a S&L Scam, to get the production spiral started. Fortunately, this deck comes with back-ups for non-ideal situations, namely the action tokens of your first three groups. When deciding what to do, consult the following list, starting at the top. Every time you draw plots, consult it again. Once you destroy five Personalities, skip to the next section.
At this point, you should have five Personalities killed, all or nearly all of your plot deck in hand, and, ideally, tokens on Fiendish Fluoridators and Servants of Cthulhu. Take a look at your "other" plots. You should have Power to the People (and a second one on the bottom of the plot deck), both Secrets, A Thousand Points of Light, Liberal Agenda and March on Washington. If you're missing any, you need to draw more plots until you find them. If Cthulhu has its token, spend it to draw the last card from your group deck to give you a sixth Personality. You should then be able to perform steps 1-4 easily for six more plots. If the Fluoridators still have their token, attack to destroy the Gun Lobby on a 10 or less for two plots. If you don't need the plots, spend tokens to destroy the Gun Lobby but don't bother with drawing the group.
Now you have six, possibly seven, Conservative groups destroyed. Liberalize the Fluoridators as mentioned above. Keep the remaining four "other" plots in your hand, and an S&L Scam. Place leftover cards back in your deck so that the second Power to the People card is fifth from the top, leaving the first four to power Secrets. Knock.
Your plan is to keep your Fluoridators intact until the end of the first player's second turn, at which point you show Power to the People and claim victory. Of course your opponents will be expecting this and will team up to stop you. They can try several ways. They can remove the Fluoridators from your power structure by attacking to destroy or control, or by playing Upheaval. They can try to remove the Liberal Agenda through Backlash or Fundie Money. They can try to steal/destroy your Goal card through a variety of means. Finally, they can try to make your Goal card useless by playing Interesting Times or Rewriting History, or bringing a Personality back from the dead (which would require their own copy of that Personality). For your defense, you have two Secrets to cancel plots and a blue NWO to replace Interesting Times. You may also have action tokens to spend in defense if you were lucky with the plot distribution. It is more important to use your Secrets to stop attempts to undermine your Goal or plot hand than to defend the Fluoridators, although it is worth it to cancel an Upheaval, because it will force your rivals to use Illuminati actions to attack, as the Fluoridators are Secret.
OK, so they stopped you. Or, you ran out of tokens and were only able to destroy five groups. Let them think you've failed. You've got an ace up your sleeve, or rather, a Triliberal Commission to ATO on your second turn. They count as two Liberal groups for your Goal, and no alignment change can prevent this. So, if the Fluoridators have been removed or de-Liberalized, you can still claim victory. If your killed pile has less than six Conservatives in it, for whatever reason, Fluoridators plus Trilibs means you only need five to use Power to the People. If both occur, then you should be drawing your last Personality at the start of your second turn. Play your S&L Scam with the Trilib's token, then Abduct and kill the Personality with an assassination. If your rivals managed to dispose of your Goal, the S&L Scam should pick up the second one, assuming you played at least one Secrets. Note that the only method of stopping you that you can't overcome is Interesting Times, which is why you have a blue NWO in reserve.
These could come up, but are unlikely.
Any six Conservative Personalities will do. I picked these six because they are less likely to be played by a rival (as opposed to Newt Gingrich and Ross Perot).
Similarly, any seven assassinations will do, but for variety I like to include one of each: Car Bomb, Hit and Run, Poison, Sniper, Spontaneous Combustion, Withering Curse, and another Hit and Run.
The mix of plots is very important: 8 S&L Scams, 7 Abductions, 7 assassinations, 6 Blitzkriegs, and 7 "other" plots. You have an extra Abduction because it is vitally important that you get a Personality in your power structure to start the production spiral. When I tested this deck with only 6 Abductions, I had a critical game-losing shortage of them 20% of the time. Similarly, less than 8 S&L Scams produce too many desperate shortages. The extra assassination is not only to prevent shortages, but in case one misses on an 11 or 12 (approximately 1/3 chance).
(side note: I tested this deck by playing it solitaire! Just place the Fluoridators in your power structure, shuffle both decks, and draw seven groups and four plots. Then just play your first turn. You "win" if you can get all your "other" plots in hand and destroy six Conservatives. You "tie" if you can set yourself up for a win on your second turn. You "win big" if you destroy seven Conservatives!)
The other seven plots are what I considered most useful in making and preserving a win. If you feel the need to defend the Fluoridators from attack, put in a Jihad. Unfortunately, you'd have to lose a Secrets or your blue NWO to do this.
There's not much room for roleplaying in most cheesy degenerate decks, but this one has at least one angle: act out your assassination. Make "Boom!" sound effects after you roll for a Car Bomb or Spontaneous Combustion. Describe the gory details of the Withering Curse. Make sure everyone at the table is having fun watching you kill Personality after Personality, and maybe they won't gang up on you in the next game!
First posted: June 2, 1997
Last modified: June 2, 1997Ralph Melton email@example.com