by Steve BrinichConcept: They're warping reality in those reactors far more than you'd ever suspected....
Lead with Nuclear Power Companies (your key group) or Tobacco Companies (with its bonus for taking over Government groups).
Start bringing out your "Wall Street Travel Agency" Places (Brazil, China, Hawaii) as soon as possible. Use the Tobacco Companies to control the Government ones, then put them where you want them with Bermuda's special ability. Ultimately, you want them as puppets of the Nuclear Power Companies (giving you lots of opportunities to cancel actions) and the Phone Company (giving you extra opportunities to expose people's Plots).
Once you have a secure base, bring out the Bank of England and NASA -- with these two groups, you can draw four Plots at will (spend a Bank of England action to draw two, then shuttle NASA's action over and spend it for two more).
The Templars are in the deck for their special ability, which augments the Plot-exposing abilities of This Was Only a Test and the Phone Company.
Bring out Magic Resources in preparation for your Unmasking, of course, but make it look like you're purely concerned about their abilities. The Crystal Skull is probably the best one to start with; it helps you find the cards you'll need for the endgame (which you should bury in your deck until you're ready to use them).
Once you have given Sufficiently Advanced Technology to one of your powerful Science Groups, that group will be able to power The Stars Are Right with an action.
Apply Sufficiently Advanced Technology to the Nuclear Power Companies once they have two or three action tokens per turn for self-defense -- then link the Book of Kells to them to add yet another token. This gives you a whole pile of actions that can be used for many things: cancelling a rival's action, bringing out a Resource with The Stars Are Right, or powering Crop Circles. The Phone Company can also use SAT.
Counterspell and Cover of Darkness make a good combo, letting you grab a Magic Artifact Resource when it's used against you.
Forgery will save one of your unique Resources if somebody else gets it first.
A New Federal Budget can reload the Bank of England and NASA, setting you up to draw four more Plots.
Crop Circles and SMWNMTK should be saved for the endgame if possible. If you need to use Crop Circles when you have endgame cards buried in your deck, the shuffle might leave them exposed to Plot killers. You can defend yourself against this risk by immediately spending actions for another Plot draw and using the Crystal Skull to look at your top three Plots, pick the best one, and replace the other two on top of your deck.
When you have enough of the right Groups and Magic Resources in play, use your ability to control Plot draws (Crystal Skull, Crop Circles) and draw several Plots at need (Bank of England, NASA) to bring three cards into your hand: Unmasked!, Adepts of Hermes, and Goal: The Corporate Masters. Also get SMWNMTK into your hand if possible.
Unmask as Hermes, show your Goal, and watch your opponents gnash their teeth (well, they might try something more effective, like cancelling Unmasked!, which is why you want SMWNMTK ready).
A Nuclear Accident can ruin your day. Be ready to reassure people that This Was Only a Test of your infallible containment system and, if possible, have the Templars sweep the whole mess under your rival's discard pile. If you don't have the Templars in play, you can at least delay it and move your action-token-boosting Groups elsewhere so that the meltdown won't cost you as much when it does hit.
Any of the usual anti-Corporate special abilities and Plots will target your most powerful Groups. You should try to keep at least one action token on the Nuclear Power Companies at all times to cancel enemy actions. Also, many of the Groups that have anti-Corporate or anti-Nuclear Power Companies abilities are Green; NWO: World Hunger will hurt them much more than it will hurt you.
NWO: Antitrust Legislation isn't all that dangerous to this deck's Group mix, but it will prevent Hawaii from giving its master an extra action.
Another Hermes player will be a major competitor for your Resources; it may be more effective to play a Hermes agent and go for a straight Corporate Masters victory.
Bermuda was chosen as the initial Illuminati group because its special ability to reorganize each turn helps get maximum use out of the Wall Street Travel Agency action contributors. Another good choice is the Gnomes of Zurich (which makes the pre-Unmasking play look more natural; people expect Zurich to bring out powerful Corporate Groups and are thus less likely to look beyond the surface).
You want to have the Crystal Skull if at all possible. The Shroud of Turin and Soulburner are a bit less critical.
The Stars are Right is a key element of the deck concept, though it might be possible to replace one of them with a Hat Trick.
Cover of Darkness is very useful for grabbing targets of opportunity; if you want to be more aggressive in going after rival Resources, include the Society for Creative Anarchism to force rivals to discard from their Group decks and snag a useful Resource when it comes up. (Note the FAQ entry for Cover of Darkness -- if you grab a Resource that was destroyed in play, you get it in play; if you grab a Resource that was discarded without coming into play, you get it in your hand.)
To make the deck less dependent on the final Unmasking trick, replace one of the Magic Resources with another useful Corporate Group such as Multinational Oil Companies or Fast Food Chains. This is probably a good idea if you cut Unmasked! and Adepts of Hermes down to one copy apiece.
If you're worried about hostile Plots in general, rather than Disasters specifically, replace Air Magic or Earth Magic with another SMWNMTK.
Another variation is the "Two-China Policy": Include duplicates of China and/or Brazil and Partition(s) to get even more action tokens on your Corporate groups. The main problem with this is that Partitioning makes the duplicates weak enough to be reduced to zero Power if you need to use World Hunger against the Greens; you may want to include a few Power-boosters (Clipper Chip, Dictatorship, Emergency Powers).
First posted: July 28, 1997
Last modified: July 28, 1997Ralph Melton firstname.lastname@example.org