The Secret Society of Assassins

by Dave Hughes

based on The Heimlich Maneuver, by Mike Dalton.

Mike Dalton's Heimlich Maneuver deck was a classic - or at least a favourite of mine, its range of Secret groups making it extremely difficult for your opponents to attack you. Assassins only added one Secret group, The Thule Group, but more importantly it gave us The Society of Assassins, which not only lets you count three of your twelve Secret groups double, it also gives your Fanatic groups global power equal to their regular power - and a couple of Secret groups just happen to be Fanatic...

I therefore present, in the absence of Mike Dalton and with extremely large thanks to Aaron Curtis for his help with fine-tuning, a Society of Assassins deck that shall henceforth be known as The Secret Society of Assassins...


Group Cards

Plot Cards


Your strategy should be to reach the Basic Goal, counting up to three of your Secret groups double.

Since all but one of your groups is Secret, there should not be too many casual attacks on your power structure. In addition, Secret groups tend to have high Resistance, making them difficult for your opponents to take control of even if they can circumvent the Secret attribute. And with the formidable control you have over your Plot deck - thanks to the Rosicrucians and the Crystal Skull - getting the Plot cards you need should be no problem. The special abilities of groups such as the NSA, or the Cattle Mutilators + Templars, are useful in bothering your opponents. Finally, since there are no Personalities or Places in your power structure, you are immune to Disasters or Assassinations!


Lead with Junk Mail for its bonus to control Secret groups.

(Editor's Note: Dave didn't say what to do if you bounce on Junk Mail. my guess would be that you should immediately get nervous, because someone else is playing another Secret deck. In the case of a bounce, I'd lead with the Rosicrucians, to try to get Junk Mail out as soon as possible, or with the Clone Arrangers. RLM)


Protect Junk Mail at all costs. Use the Rosicrucians and the Crystal Skull to dig Mob Influence and Commitment out of your Plots deck as soon as possible, using them immediately to boost Junk Mail to Power 6 and Resistance 8 - you don't want to lose it or let it fall into enemy hands. Additionally, don't build anything off of Junk Mail - that will just make it more of a target.

Bring out the The Library at Alexandria as soon as possible. This gives you an additional +5 on any attempt to control Science, Magic or Computer groups (most Secret groups are one or the other). This, in addition, to Junk Mail's +6 to take Secret groups, should give you a net +11 to take control of groups from your own hand even without shared alignment bonuses (don't forget you get them for Fanatic v Fanatic as well!). Whether or not you use your automatic takeover to bring a group or Resource into play, you should try to make at least one attack to control from your hand each turn. Your Secret status should help prevent interference in these attacks.

(If you have a habit of discarding groups due to high rolls, you may want to consider adding The Bronze Head to the deck - not absolutely necessary, but useful especially if you are playing to a high number of groups, as you cannot afford to lose too many in this way.)

Clone Arrangers is a key group, with high Power and Resistance and some useful alignments and attributes. Link the Cyborg Soldiers to it as soon as you can to give them Power 12. Lenin's Body is useful for taking over the Communist Secret groups (Clone Arrangers, Fiendish Fluoridators) and, linked to the former, gives them Global Power of 6 - or 12 with the Cyborgs!

When you have either the Elders of Zion or Fiendish Fluroidators in play, use the Rosicrucians to take out Charismatic Leader, boosting the Power of one of these groups to 6 - with equivalent Global Power thanks to the Society's special ability. Link The Book of Kells to The Rosicrucians for even more control of your Plot deck.


Watch out for The Tabloids, which should be destroyed as soon as it hits the table. Are We Having Fun Yet? should provide emergency protection against their ability to uncover Secret groups. At this point, you can afford to sacrifice Junk Mail, even destroying it yourself if absolutely necessary. Just be sure to help with the Men in Black, so it really is gone for good.

If necessary, use Let's Get REALLY Organized or the Elders of Zion's special ability (effective but expensive) to open up some control arrows.

(There are no NWOs that will be particularly harmful for you, but - since you have no Nations, Liberal or Green groups - you might also consider adding NWO: World Hunger to the deck to slow your opponents - or End of the World to boost your Fanatic groups.)

Use the popular combination of Cattle Mutilators + Templars to remove your opponents' favourite plots - and Stealing the Plans to steal your favourites!


When you are only a couple of groups away from victory, Seize the Time! and make a few bonus-boosted attacks to control from your own hand or - even better - from an opponent. If you are getting behind, concentrate on a couple of hard-hitting attacks to destroy - using Sorry, Wrong Number if possible - remembering to capitalise on your bonuses to destroy - +4 from The Men in Black, +4 vs Government, Corporate or Coastal with the Robot Sea Monsters, +5 vs Straight and Conservative (Fiendish Fluoridators).

Card Choices

The following explains the thinking behind the less obvious card selections:

Are We Having Fun Yet?
useful for cancelling The Tabloids' special ability, or Dracula's, or the Druids - or even Junk Mail's if someone manages to steal it from you!
protects you and other players from Zaps (a good bargaining tool); for best results, play on the Vampires, who have no other useful abilities
Computer Virus
useful protection against a Suicide Squad, something that hurt in several playtests of the deck
Cover of Darkness
since your resources may become a prime target because of their benefits to Clone Arrangers, etc. Or use it with Deasil Engine to steal an opponent's resource
Good Polls
probably best used with Criminal, Violent or Weird
Hat Trick
doubles as a second Cover-Up (two Cover-Ups will work, too!)
Hoax, Secrets Man Was Not Meant to Know etc.
or your preferred Plot-killer, protection against cards such as Pizza for the Secret Meeting, Let the Sunshine In and Exposed!
boost it with the Clone Arrangers for a serious kill
Sorry, Wrong Number
useful if you absolutely *have* to make an attack to destroy (against Tabloids or Count Dracula, for example) or want to help someone else's

Alternative Choices

A number of other personal-preference cards were dropped from the deck to bring it down from 93 =) to 45:

Black Helicopters or Privileged Attack
disallows even Illuminati interference when attacking from your own hand
Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat
to remove any annoying NWO (though not too many will annoy you pers- onally, you may prefer not to operate under an Apathy or an Interes- ting Times
Spontaneous Combustion (in place of Poison)
a neat (Ultra-Rare) Assassination, especially against Count Dracula or if you have played Sufficiently Advanced Technology on the Clone Arrangers...
The Thule Group
another Ultra-Rare, but a bonus Secret group you might care to put in instead of Vampires or Subliminals, this deck's least useful groups
World Hunger NWO
because you have none of the groups it affects, though you could consider using with NWO: Interesting Times in a two-player game

Back to the Classic Decks.

First posted: February 3, 1997

Last modified: February 3, 1997

Ralph Melton