by Kevin S. Tyrrell
This deck fits the Classic INWO Deck category of "Network Computer-slurping" quite well. It's straightforward and kind of boring after you play it a couple times, but it grows phenomenally quickly with all those computer bonuses. In fact, a quick perusal of the cards reveals that there are currently more groups with bonuses to control Computer groups than any other alignment or attribute in the game. This is also a good beginner's deck since it is so straightforward, and teaches a lot about INWO math.
Lead with Phone Phreaks. Though weaker than some of your other groups, you don't want somebody else getting the Phreaks with that +6 bonus to destroy your Computer groups. To help protect the Phreaks, increase their Self-Esteem as soon as possible. And with such a low Resistance, reaffirming their Commitment to your cause is beneficial.
The Hackers is popular with Discordia as well, since it counts double for them, too. They're a good alternate lead.
Many Network players choose Japan as lead (as well as Shangri-La); it's a little obvious, but if another Network or Shangri-La is in the game, you might want to play it to bounce it for your opponent. And if someone else gets it first, you can always steal it with your huge bonuses to control Computer groups and your Japan agent.
Since this deck lacks subtlety, your strategy is to build fast and furiously. You have nine groups with Computer control bonuses, so the more you grow, the higher the cumulative bonus will be. Two of these groups (Japan and E.F.F.) only have direct control bonuses, but the other seven support each other nicely. Your seven groups with "any attempt to control Computer" bonuses yield a cumulative +27 bonus, so even a portion of this should allow you to control almost any Computer group from hand on a 10 or less without aid from other groups.
Your only non-Computer group is the Science Fiction Fans, so you may want to ATO them. With its own +2 bonus and the +6 it gives its master, the resulting +8 on any attempt by its master to control Computer groups makes it a key group.
In addition to its control bonus, Video Games gives +1 Power to all your other Computer groups, making it key as well.
To get even more Computer bonuses, this time from a Resource, get the Library of Alexandria out as soon as possible for its additional +5. Or use Forgery if someone like the Adepts of Hermes gets it first.
I've included two Elizas since they are not unique and can be linked to practically all your groups. Add more if you so desire, but, as Aaron Curtis suggested (in inwo-digest V1 #229), "to avoid the problem with Eliza crashing, just don't use their second token to make or aid an attack. You can still take over Resources, draw extra group cards, play plot cards and defend your groups with the extra token at no risk."
The deck plays fairly isolationist (unless someone else gets out a Computer group you want, that is.) With all your slurping, you're going to be a good target early on. Grow quickly, but not so fast you denude yourself of Action tokens. Most of your Plot cards are defensive in nature to counteract the bulls-eye on your back.
The +10 cards can all be reserved for defense, since you don't really need them for control with all your other bonuses. Since this is not a monochromatic deck, I didn't include the ubiquitous Good Polls, but the E.F.F. provides a similar bonus for your common attribute. The one alignment you do have most of is Liberal, which is the reason for including the Benefit Concerts, Self-Esteem, and Political Correctness. Doug Sheppard's Cyber Rights Now! Deck-of-the-Week is a good example of building on the Computer-Liberal connection.
In addition to the the more common Hoax, Secrets MWNMTK, and 18-1/2 Minute Gap, a Computer deck can also use Computer Security for Plot canceling. With this deck, it will protect all groups except for the SF Fans, and is cheaper to use than the other cards mentioned. I have included a Hoax, however, to catch those cards, like NWOs, that Computer Security can't touch. And as Ralph Melton pointed out to me, "you want to be able to cancel other people's bids for victory" which Computer Security will probably be unable to do.
With three places, Disaster protection is imperative. The International Weather Organization, one of the two groups that doesn't give a control bonus, helps do just that. Back To The Salt Mines helps against the non-instants and is reusable. One of my favorite combos to avert total destruction is Near Miss, followed up by Beach Party. Make sure you grin widely and thank your opponent for reloading your group if you pull this off. As a side note, you may be able to do better with 2- and 3-card combinations like this than other players since the Network gets that two-card draw each turn.
The Clipper Chip is non-unique, is hard to get rid of, and also helps boost Japan and Finland. Its best help for this deck, however, is to protect against a rival-controlled Phone Phreaks. Big Prawn helps your Places and can take away that Peaceful alignment from Japan if Shangri-La is in the game, denying him 6 points of Peaceful power.
Since you get to go through your deck faster than other Illuminati, you can afford to play more Plot cards as a matter of course. Though many of your plots are defensive, a sub-theme of this deck is as a deck predator. The Network was chosen for several Decks of the Week, specifically for this Computer/deck predator theme. See Aaron Curtis' Double Predator and Attack of the Plot Bandits and Dan Myers' God Knows; We Can Find Out for more details.
Plots that can be powered by a Computer group are The Auditor from Hell, Bar Codes, The Internet Worm. The Groups which support this are Wargamers and the Phone Company. A good trick is to expose rival Plots with the Auditor or Phone Company and then use Wargamers to bury the best card at the bottom of her deck (just hope she doesn't have Mossad or Shroud of Turin.) Computer Virus and The Weak Link are other useful Computer-powered Plots.
Though Floating Point Error is usually bad for you, as it freezes most of your groups, it can also be powered by any of your groups to cancel a rival Computer action or to freeze rival groups in a defensive situation. And remember, most of the groups with bonuses to destroy your groups--Hackers, Phone Phreaks, Wargamers and Science Fiction Fans--are Computer groups themselves. (The one exception is the Rifkinites, which is thankfully rare.)
The NWOs are included more to replace other harmful NWOs than for more offensive reasons. With your four Liberal groups, Political Correctness is a helpful power boost. A Thousand Points of Light does not affect you as much as others since you rely on attributes, not alignments, and can help slow down Cthulhu. I almost put in World Hunger to use against the Rifkinites, a key anti-Computer group, but it would also hurt Japan and Finland as well.
You may want to include a Yellow NWO to counteract Don't Forget to Smash the State or End of the World from harming your Finland, Japan or Phone Company, but which one to include is a toss up. Military-Industrial Complex will give Phone Company +2 power along with Clipper Chip, and Antitrust Legislation gives you a free Reorganization. I chose the last as being most handy for this deck.
A rival Network or a Blinded By Science deck will be going for the many of the same groups you are. In this situation, try to get out the Library of Alexandria early, slow down your own growth and use your agents and other bonuses to steal the groups from your rivals. With the +10 agent card and +5 rival Illuminati bonus, in some instances it may be easier to take a Computer group from a rival than from your own hand.
You're going after the special Network goal; no need to hide that fact. With no other bonuses, Hackers, Japan, Phone Company, and Silicon Valley count double for your Illuminated goal. With Video Games or Clipper Chip, E.F.F. and Finland count double as well. In addition, Political Correctness brings all four of your Liberal groups into the 3+ range. With all these power boosters, you should have no problem getting three of your groups to count double.
There are no real tricks to push this deck over the top to meet victory conditions. A combination of steady growth with a good supply of defensive Plot cards is what it takes to get you to the finish line first.
And if all else fails, hit Ctrl+Alt+Del to Reboot!
With the International Weather Organization, you may want to include some Disasters. Since that detracted from the quick growth and other strategies, I decided against it.
You could add two other Computer-Science groups like Moonbase, Orbit One or Robot Sea Monsters and go for Blinded By Science to make this deck REALLY obvious.
When soliciting Classic decks, Ralph asked that we avoid rare cards, if possible, to help the novice player out. The rare groups in this deck are E.F.F. and Finland and could be substituted with Moonbase or Post Office, both of which count double for you, though neither of these grant Computer control bonuses. Orbit One is another good substitute, especially with your four Science groups. N.S.A. is a powerful and useful Computer group, but is also rare. Post Office and N.S.A. also support the deck predator sub-theme, by the way.
The Big Prawn is a rare Resource and is not critical to this deck.
As for rare plots, either or both Computer Securities can be replaced with another plot canceler like Secrets or Hoax; Military-Industrial Complex can sub for Antitrust Legislation. The Weak Link is harder to replace, since its closest substitute is Deasil Engine, another rare card.
I originally considered adding Logic Bomb, in part because the picture on the card fit the theme and because it was suggested for the Network in the INWO book. It is rare, however, and as Ralph sagely advised, "Despite what the INWO book says, I'm not convinced that Logic Bomb is a good card for a deck like this. Even though it fits the theme, you don't have that many power-6 groups. IMHO, Auditor From Hell is a better Network card."
First posted: July 28, 1997
Last modified: July 28, 1997Ralph Melton email@example.com