Going One Better

by Sam Kington

Concept: If you only have one way to win, it's fairly easy for things to go wrong. Now, if you have four...


Group Cards

Plot Cards


Your lead should be Al Gore. Not only does he have a huge bonus to take Green groups (so start slurping them up early), but he's also Liberal, Green and Computer. He's not Science - but hey, we'll add that later.

If Al Gore bounces, try the Green Party.


Your usual tactic will be to lead Al Gore, then ATO the Green Party. You now have huge bonuses to take Green groups, and people will think that's the sort of deck you're playing. Let them - actually, winning with Earth First is the most difficult of your four ways of winning. If you can get the Library of Alexandria out fairly soon, do so - it gives you a +5 to take all but three of your remaining groups.

If someone is playing a Corporate deck, bring out the Eco-Guerrillas early if there's a chance you'll be able to take out one of his groups. You also have an Oil Spill, so if any Corporate or Conservative Places are looking vulnerable go for them; you might even get some action tokens out of it. Oil Spill isn't essential to the deck, though, so be prepared to use it in negotiations (to remove the action token from someone's Place before a rival attempts to control it). And if people start making threatening noises about you being close to winning, and you can discard a Goal card without it hampering you too much, be prepared to do so. Grumble about doing so, though, so they think they've succeeded.

Whatever you do, don't play the Nutrition Nazis, Triliberal Commission or Fred Birch Society as a group. Keep them till later, and don't let on that you have them.

Otherwise, this is a fairly isolationist deck, so you should slowly build up your groups. Exactly which course you'll take depends on the draw - you've got acouple of Savings and Loans Scams, and once you get the Druids or a second Sufficiently Advanced Technology you'll be able to use Crop Circles; also, as the UFOs you'll have two action tokens per turn which you should use to draw extra Groups.

If people start taking an unhealthy interest in your power structure, remember the three Secrets, the +10s, the Good Polls and Apathy. You also have Watermelons and Fear and Loathing to stop Interesting Times and World Hunger, both which can cripple you; Antitrust Legislation will annoy the Corporates and stave off Military-Industrial Complex or Don't Forget to Smash the State (although most of your rivals will stomp on that one as well). Be sparing with Political Correctness, and make sure you have one ready for the end game if at all possible.

Oh, as an additional smoke screen, if you draw a Sufficiently Advanced Technology when you already have one in your hand, waiting to play it on the Druids (see later), place it on one of your Science groups. This has no use (apart from allowing you to use Crop Circles with that group if you want - if the Druids aren't already out, make a point of being happy that you can do this now, at last) - but it will make your rivals wonder what you're up to.


By this stage there's probably one Goal which is hopeless, another that will need some work, and another that looks promising. Choose one, and go all out for it.

Blinded by Science

If there are some juicy Science groups that you can take without too many problems (you should have +11 to take Science with the Library of Alexandria and the Phone Phreaks), go ahead. This may antagonise people, though. Anyway, you don't need too many Science groups, as long as you can make them.

You should have Sufficiently Advanced Technology on one of your Science groups, the Nutrition Nazis in your group hand, and the Druids. As long as you have 4 other Science groups (which should be fairly easy), you can play Sufficiently Advanced Technology on the Druids, play the Nutrition Nazis on, say, Al Gore, and hey presto, 6 Science groups.

Power to the People

This one requires you to have brought out four Liberal groups already (Al Gore, the Green Party and two others - not that difficult) and have plenty of action tokens. A few +10s will be useful as well; Fear and Loathing won't go amiss either. ATO the Triliberal Commission. Take over the Fred Birch Society, then immediately attack to destroy it. And voila: 6 Liberal groups, 2 Conservative groups destroyed.

Earth First

This one is trickier, but is viable if there are a few Corporate groups on the table, you've already destroyed one and you have Rewriting History. Again, Fear and Loathing and a bunch of +10s, coupled with the Eco-Guerrillas, should make it fairly easy; alternatively, you could just destroy the Fred Birch Society and Rewrite History so it was Corporate. (This ties in nicely with Power to the People). If there aren't any Corporate groups around, though, you'll probably have discarded this Goal card during the midgame, as a gesture of goodwill, complaining that now you can't win.

Unmasking as the Network

You have exactly three Computer groups in your deck (Al Gore, the International Weather Organisation and the Phone Phreaks). If you get them all out, Unmasked! and the Network come out, and you can keep a Political Correctness on the table (all your Computer groups are weak), go for this win. It has the disadvantage of requiring a slightly larger power structure, and more plots already in your hand (at least four, if you count an extra Secrets to prevent Political Correctness from going).


Anyone playing a Green or Computer deck can do you a lot of harm. Liberal decks aren't too bat - your Liberal groups aren't standard Liberal deck fodder, apart from possibly the Triliberal Commission, and your Science groups aren't the most typical Science groups either. If someone is playing a Computer deck, you might as well give up on the Network goal - either discard the Network, or use it as an agent (or trade it to someone).

If someone is playing a Green deck, though, you're in trouble. If you can, sucker him into leading Canada, telling him you're doing him a favour; lead Al Gore, ATO the Green Party, and blast Canada as soon as you can. (Oil Spilling Canada would be nicely evil.) Your main priority is to remove his huge bonuses to take your groups before he does the same to you.

Back to the Deck of the Week.

First posted: December 14, 1997

Last modified: December 14, 1997

Ralph Melton ralph@cs.cmu.edu