INWO Deck: Criminal Interest

By Ashley Perryman

OK, what links the following banks: IRS, Offshore Banks, Bank of England, Federal Reserve and Savings and Loans? Yes, Criminal Government groups. Violent groups which are also Criminal or Government are just as good since they have loads of power. The Gnomes of Zurich and big powerful groups go together well.

This deck revolves around the above idea, it contains no Corporate cards at all, and apart from its obvious power is designed as an isolationist plot burner and parasite, yet also a deck that can be seriously nasty to both Bavaria and the Servants of Cthulhu. Bavaria is vulnerable to Government power equal to their own, and the Servants of Cthulhu are ideal victims for a couple of spectacular sandbags, so despite the isolationist concept this deck is capable of being immensely destructive (with the right plot cards) and striking fear into all opponents.

The real strength of this deck is it's versatility. It can go with the wind, make use of various opportunities, and of course, being Zurich is never going to be short on power. The weakness is in linking Criminal and Government groups. The IRS and New York are essential, if lost it is very hard to maintain a supportive structure, Manuel Noriega will help but is very vulnerable. You might want to carry the Plots Nationalization and/or Assertiveness Training as added security or carry a duplicate of one or both of these groups.. The only other significant threats are a more effective plot parasite, AKA The Network and another Zurich - both are discussed in more detail later.

The Deck






The Beginning

Lead with the IRS, (that should set the scene rather well). Take a good look at what other Illuminati are around. If both Bavaria and the Servants of Cthulhu are present make a deal with one of them to wipe out the other. If only one of the two above Illuminati are present laugh, but not too loudly, not yet....

Consider what other Illuminati are around, what Plot and Groups Cards are in your hand, and decide on a strategy. If possible then stick to it, but remember, if all else fails a change of plan is possible.

First get a powerful group down fast, New York is the perfect move if possible, or if not, the Federal Reserve, or any Criminal group with a reasonable amount of power. But be careful about putting the Mafia down if the Servants of Cthulhu are present. Let them play it first, it can be taken later.

Use the IRS to tax anyone who looks like they are playing with a lot of violent or government groups, you can always make use of their plots.

Offer to help any of the weaker Illuminati, the UFO's, Discordia and Bermuda for example. They make good allies at this stage and are unlikely to ever be in a position to do you damage. If they are on your side it will stop any real nastiness from more dangerous Illuminati.

Try and get a small compact structure of groups that can support and protect each other easily, and build up the number of plot cards in your hand as quickly as possible.

The Midgame

If possible sit tight, take groups from your own hand when it is safe to do so. Use the special power of the offshore banks to keep your structure secure. Most players will by now have started to recognise the deck is a plot parasite. That and the power on the table should be enough to dissuade (by threat or force) most potential attacks. If attacked burn plot cards, you can get plenty more easily enough, yours or from anyone else.

As to your other intentions, keep them all guessing. Attack other Illuminati only if forced to do so, pick on the big guys if you can - You have enough clout to do serious damage. Hit Bavaria if possible, don't destroy groups, instead take the odd government group off them, or if you don't want the group then help someone else to do it. Saddam Hussein and Savings and Loans really come in useful for hurting Bavaria and there's nothing funnier that seeing them reduced to grovelling for aid.

At this stage, if possible, leave The Servants of Cthulhu well alone. They can be got later. It is better to deal with The Enemy and other more immediate dangers.

The Enemy

The Network

The Network is even better at being a plot burner and parasite. Destroy the Network if at all possible, this should probably take priority over anything else since a Network plot parasite is a real danger. With this in mind it might (especially if you know a someone is going to play the Network) be a good idea to put a couple of Criminal or Government Computer groups in your deck. The Phone Freaks or NSA spring to mind as good possibilities for sandbags. Tax them at every opportunity, play An offer You Can't Refuse. Get the Network's plot cards and if you've no use for all those Infobahns, Computer Security's, Internet Worms, or Cold fusions just throw them in your discard pile and laugh. And you might get lucky, another Auditor From Hell would really spoil their day. Once they are short on plots, destroy, destroy, destroy.

Another Zurich

This deck has one significant advantage over rival Gnomes, Criminal groups. The Gnomes of Zurich rival will find it hard to attack these with any great power. However, all their Corporate groups are ideal victims for lots of government power. Add to this the special ability of Saddam Hussein and Savings and Loans to remove a couple of action tokens from their government groups and the rival is open to plunder or destruction. If short on Government power try making Manuel Noriega a puppet of the Mafia or any other powerful non Government group. Don't forget to use the special ability of the Offshore Banks to move Manuel where you need him. Watch any rival Gnomes of Zurich closely, if powerful they are a big danger. Stunts like the Wall Street Travel Agency should be opposed strongly and the Nuclear Power Companies can really hurt. A good move, if possible, is to keep the rival short on plot cards, or steal the ones that will hurt the most.

Other Threats

The Lawyers. No, no, don't do it. It's too obvious. Look, be sensible, you have all that Criminal power, take them instead either from hand or as a sandbag, they are a powerful Criminal group.

The FBI. This group very is bad news, destroy it at the first possible opportunity. Even if you have previously annoyed the Servants of Cthulhu their help is pretty much guaranteed. (Finally petition the Secret Masters for a new plot card - The Second Thing We Do....)

Weird And Fanatic Stuff

Forget Discordia, they are unlikely to have enough clout to do you damage. However, Cthulhu with a lot of Weird and or Fanatic Violent cards can be a serious threat. These cards are dangerous, destroy them if possible. B.A.T.F. is a great help in getting rid of Fanatic Groups.

The Endgame

Go for it. Take what you want and laugh. Ideally placed it should be possible to have at least ten plot cards in your hand once your final turn starts, more with luck. Do it with style, sandbag The Mafia from Cthulhu and whatever the sucker has hanging off it. Grin, slowly count your groups and announce, "Oh look, I've won." Be subtle, (by Zurich's standards), leave yourself one group short when you do this and then play Criminal Overlords. Or alternatively just take that last Bank you need. If all else fails take a government group with a card or two hanging off it. Japan would be highly amusing (especially if controlled by Shangri La), but potentially difficult. Texas, Israel, The Post Office or The Pentagon are easier. Suitably placed the options are almost endless and with all those plot cards it's a good bet you can laugh at any attempted interference.

Or be really subtle and start from three groups short of a win, which may appear to everyone else to be even further away. One Automatic takeover, one Privileged Attack, play Blitzkrieg. Lo and behold, you are one group short and have action tokens on all your groups bar one and a fist full of plot cards. Easy isn't it!

And if all else fails, do not forget this is a Gnomes of Zurich power deck so simply bludgeon your enemies to death!

So Why Not These Cards?

Tax Reform - Look get real, play that and every player will gang up to destroy the IRS. It is a risk not worth taking.

Disasters and Assassinations - If you need 'em, or use the IRS, (or plot cards) to plunder them from your rivals.

Wall Street - Well it is a Bank. But it is Corporate. Try to defend it with Criminal groups, see what I mean, forget it. Oh and forget all those other Corporate groups as well.

Switzerland - Why bother!

Other Potentially Useful Cards

Power For Its Own Sake - not really ideal, but works well if the Necronomicon and/or Cyborg Soldiers are added into the deck. Substitute Soulburner for one of these, it's only really there as a deterrent against being attacked and the chance to mess with opponents plot cards.

Emergency Powers - Goes very well with the above idea.

Up against the Wall - This is sneaky, if the opportunity is right, why should it only be the Servants of Cthulhu who start destroying their own power structure?

The Holy Grail - an excellent addition to the protection of New York.

Agent in Place - another way of messing with an opponents plots.

Logic Bomb - not as effective as The Auditor From Hell but still useful.

George the Janitor - keep messing with plot decks.

Nationalization - an excellent way of making a Criminal group Government as well. Try it on the Mafia!

Assertiveness Training - Another way of supporting Government groups with the Criminal groups (well Violent Criminal groups).

The Pentagon - Bavaria sandbag.

Texas - Bavaria Sandbag.

CIA - Sandbag against anyone playing Violent Government or a useful addition if you want to make the deck more aggressive.

Secret Service - As above.

Phone Phreaks - Network Sandbag.

Post Office - Network Sandbag.

NSA - Network Sandbag. Oh, and it's a Secret group.

Thanks to Brian Strassman for offering useful advice and spotting a couple of omissions on the first draft.

Back to the Deck of the Week.