by Scott McNair
When SJ Games released the Assassins edition of INWO, it threw a few cards in to keep down the proliferation of "degenerate" decks, which rely on multiples of the same card. Arguably the most famous of these cards is Nevermore!, which "bans" repeats from play. However, in the spirit of INWO, we started looking for loopholes. Here's mine...
First, a note on how the deck's designed -- the idea is to Nevermore! as many of their plots as possible, while trying to use them yourself. In a typical turn, you'll want to expose their plots, use Copy Shops to duplicate and use the one most threatening to you, then Nevermore! it out of existence so that they can't use it. There are also handy "plot drainers" thrown in for good measure, just to make sure your opponent doesn't sneak one in on you.
Your lead puppet should be the Cattle Mutilators, just to make sure that no one else gets them first. If it bounces, fine, put the Copy Shops out, which is just as important. It's doubtful that they'd bounce too. You'll want to get both groups in play as soon as possible; I pared down the group deck as much as I could to allow a greater chance of getting them in play faster. You have basically a 50-50 chance of having both groups available your first turn.
As soon as you can get them in play, start picking on somebody, hopefully someone that all players find equally obnoxious -- expose their plots, find one that's threatening, and copy it and use it. The OMCLs help to make sure you have the proper alignments to use the card, but if not, try to use a March on Washington to use it. Then play a Nevermore! if you've got it. If you have the Center for Weird Studies in play, burn a useless card to action up your Copy Shops. If there's another plot you think is dangerous, copy/use/ban it as well. Use the UFO actions if possible to power the Nevermore!, but don't be afraid to burn cards if you feel like you'll need your actions.
Or, if it looks like they have several cards which can threaten you, trade some useless cards for them with Arms Dealers. As the game progresses, you'll find that you have more and more cards that can't be used except as cannon fodder. But that's okay, so will they... ;)
A combination you'll want to get out by the mid-point of the game is the SCA and the Recycling Centers, to burn one of their groups and put it in your hand. You'd be pushing it to win with only what's in your hand.
Another sneaky trick in this game is the N.S.A./Go Fish combo. At the end of your turn, use the N.S.A.'s free move to look at their top three cards. When their turn comes around, right after they draw, Go Fish for a card you saw that you think you'll need/want.
What if they Nevermore! you? Not a problem. Cancel their Illuminati action with the NPC (with Brazil and China linked up, they'll be able to do that and still have enough left over to defend you later). If they power the Nevermore! with plots, use Go, Lemmings, Go! to make them discard four plots instead of the initial two.
Try to score a NWO: Apathy if you're worried about attacks against you; that way, they'll only be able to use one group. And be sure to save the NPC actions just in case they manage to break through with a powerhouse group. In a perfect game, you can have five actions on the NPCs (one for being them, two more for Brazil and China, one for the Perpetual Motion Machine if you haven't placed it elsewhere, and one that you can get on your turn from the Center for Weird Studies if you're empty).
If someone manages to get through your defenses and play a plot card that could affect you adversely, try to use an 18-1/2 minute gap on them to steal it from them. Once that's done, you can use your Recycling Centers' action to put the discarded group into your hand, which actually makes 18-1/2 Minute Gap an infinitely more desirable card.
By the end of the game, all of your plots will probably be Nevermore!-ed -- but that's okay, so will everybody else's. But at least you've been able to use their cards; they can't exactly say the same. You'll either win with your Goals or their Groups, or a combination of the two.
Here are some problems I ran into, with suggestions for how to get around them:
Never use Copy Shop to get a plot canceller, because their first instinct will be to play their plot canceller on your copy, and the matter would probably end in a dice-off. Instead, steal it with Arms Dealers and THEN use it.
If someone ATO's the Copy Shops before you can (which is doubtful, as it's rarely seen in play, at least in my gaming circle), you'll have to rely on the Arms Dealers, which is slightly less fun but almost as effective. Generally, most of the cards you'll be trading at that time will be useless anyway.
If someone ATO's the NPCs, that could put a cramp in your style -- you'll have problems cancelling their Nevermore! actions, and they'll be able to cancel your Copy Shops/Arms Dealers tokens, which can be veeeeeery bad. In that case, you'll have to use the Center for Weird Studies and try again. Or they could use them to cancel your Nevermore! action. If you worry about that, use the discard option instead. Either way, plots will disappear very quickly, but hopefully not as fast as theirs are vanishing.
If someone has a deck which isn't Plot-oriented, you could run into some major problems. Since this deck relies on Plots (preferably multiples) in their deck, a well-designed deck which isn't plot-dependent could hurt you. The Copy Shops are weak (1 Power, 4 Resistance) so defend them at all costs, especially since they're your key group. But whatever you do, don't tick everyone off! Go for the most despised power structure, whittle it down to nothing, then start on the second most despised power structure.
The group deck is pretty much immutable -- changing any of the groups is NOT recommended, as they're all pretty necessary for gameplay. However, if you wish, you could add some cards -- recommendations include Liquor Companies (to make sure you get to draw more from their groups than they do). Other groups that would be good are the I.R.S., for plot theft, and The Great Pyramid, for Go Fish. However, it's strongly urged not to increase the deck much at all, or else you won't be able to get the necessary combinations out fast enough.
The plot deck is another story. The only truly necessary card is Nevermore!, for obvious reasons. Go Fish isn't necessary, but very nice indeed. Feel free to mix and match. I'd recommend plots that would either burn/expose their plots (George the Janitor, for example) or more plots such as Are We Having Fun Yet? or Let's You and Him Fight.
The Illuminati can easily be changed -- the reason why I picked the UFOs was for the two action tokens needed to power the Nevermore! card. But any other Illuminati would do almost as well.
Back to the Deck of the Week.
First posted: September 4, 1997
Last modified: September 4, 1997Ralph Melton firstname.lastname@example.org