Attack of the Plot Bandits

by Aaron Curtis

This is a descendant of my Double Predator deck, invigorated by Assassins! It gives you incredible control over your opponents' plots, with multiple opportunities to view, discard, and (especially) steal them.


Group Cards

Plot Cards


Lead with Fraternal Orders. The group deck is almost half Resources, and you'll be playing them quickly, so you need the extra group card they give you to avoid running out. If you bounce, use your extra Eliza token to draw a group each turn until they show up. Your best backup lead is N.S.A., followed by IRS (if Zurich isn't playing) or Phone Company.

Be aware that this deck makes no attacks to control from hand. Every ATO should be used for a Group, and you have two Power Grabs which should be used at first opportunity. For Resources, play, if possible, your Flying Saucer the first turn you don't have a Power Grab, and use it to take one Resource every turn. If it's buried in your deck, bring out Eliza, and use the extra Illuminati token to play a Resource each turn

What order to ATO Groups depends on what's in your hand. There are two pairs of Groups that work best in tandem; Cattle Mutilators and Arms Dealers, and Las Vegas and Illuminati University (note: Experience shows it's better to have Cattle Mutilators control Arms Dealers, and IOU control Las Vegas). If either pair is in your initial draw, take that pair at once with a Power Grab. Failing that, play (in order of usefulness) N.S.A., IRS, Phone Company, W.I.T.C.H., and lastly Post Office. Be careful with IRS if Zurich is in the game; If he plays IRS or Federal Reserve you'd be best to keep your copy as an agent for the inevitable Attack to Destroy.

The (general) order you want to take your Resources is Flying Saucer, Eliza, Book of Kells, Center for Weird Studies, another Eliza, X-Ray Specs, and lastly your Suicide Squads.

Step 1: The Information Gatherers

The least upsetting thing you can do to your opponents is view their plots. The N.S.A. and Phone Company can do this for free each turn, which is why they are high on the list of groups to take. Once you have Illuminati University and Las Vegas out, you can link X-Ray Specs to IOU to allow them to look at the top six plots in any deck, twice if you also link the Book of Kells to them. Because of this, having IOU in your power structure makes these Resources a higher priority than otherwise. Also, The Auditor from Hell and Go Fish plots allow you to look at a rival's plot hand. Be sure to take notes! You'll need to know what's on top of their decks, what's in their hands, and what has been discarded. Notation: I make a column of the plots from their deck, put a slash / when a plot goes into their hand, and an X when it gets discarded.

Step 2: The Scheme Exposers

A slightly more upsetting thing you can do to your opponents is expose their plots. The Cattle Mutilators can do this with an action, and so can the Phone Company (but they only expose two random plots). You can also choose to expose plots rather than steal one when you play The Auditor from Hell. The reason to do this, aside from the obvious benefit of showing your rival's hand to all players, is that Arms Dealers can trade any plot(s) in your hand for any exposed plot(s) of a rival. If you end your turn with an action on the Arms Dealers, any exposed plot in the game can become yours in the blink of an eye, which is great for defense. This is why you want to bring Cattle Mutilators and Arms Dealers in as a unit, ideally with Power Grab, but CM followed by AD the next turn if necessary.

The Plot Bandits

The most upsetting thing you can do is steal their plots. Lots of them. You're going to need them, too. The easiest way to steal a plot is with the IRS, because it's free. The most effective way to steal plots is with Las Vegas. Las Vegas can "bet" up to three plots with a rival, then draw them from his deck if the roll of two dice is 7 or more. He gets your plots if the roll is 6 or less, but you cheat. You can modify this roll with W.I.T.C.H., Computer Virus, or, as a last resort, Murphy's Law. Some quick probabilities: You win 58.3% of the time normally. With W.I.T.C.H., 72.2% of the time. With Computer Virus, 83.3%. With W.I.T.C.H. and Computer Virus, 91.7%. With Murphy's Law, 100%. Best of all, if you have more than one of these at your disposal, you only need to use the minimum necessary to win. Note, however, that Las Vegas is a fairly weak Place, which is why you need Illuminati University to control it: It protects itself, its master and puppets from Disasters, as well as Straight and Government groups.

You also have four different plots that steal plots from rivals: The Auditor from Hell, An Offer You Can't Refuse, Embezzlement, and Go Fish.

What do you do with all these plots? Keep the useful ones, of course, especially any +10 cards that you can possibly use later. But when you draw from a rival's deck you're bound to get some slag. Use these to pay the cost of Flying Saucer, Illuminati University and Center for Weird Studies. CfWS is best used to reload Las Vegas after a successful raid, or to reload The Network after a Murphy's Law. If you find you still have leftovers, and you're expecting an attack, you can put two useless plots on the top of your deck to power Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know. Just don't do this all the time, because you'll just end up drawing them again if they don't get discarded by Secrets.

Important note: There are no plots in this deck so vital you can't afford to lose some to a Secrets or a failed bet, or even to power IOU or Flying Saucer before your Bandit Machine is in place.

Synergy in Action

The best part about this deck is how the three steps above work together. All that information about your opponents' plot decks and hands is used to excellent effect by your Bandit Machine. First, you're much more effective at stealing useful plots when you know what's available. For example, you'd want to play An Offer You Can't Refuse when you know a certain rival has two plot cards at the top of his deck you know you can use, or Embezzlement when a rival is drawing a particularly valuable plot. Even better, you can use those notes you've been taking to pinpoint when an important plot is in a rival's hand, then play Go Fish to steal the plot(s) AND force him to discard, with no risk! Your information gathering can also warn you when you need to expose & trade plots with a rival who's getting too close to victory. Finally, those useless stolen plots are perfect for trading to opponents with Arms Dealers! By this method, you maximize the gain you get from your efforts. To insure that you're getting the better part of the trade, make sure that the plots you give away aren't more valuable to your victim that they are to you, such as a +10 card that you can't use but he can. Of the plots from your own deck, I would only consider trading away the NWO's or March on Washington, and then only when necessary.

The last bit of synergy in this deck is the two Suicide Squads. They have a low priority, unless you need to destroy a particular Resource (or draw your Cover of Darkness early). The trick here is to use W.I.T.C.H. and Computer Virus to bring the die roll down to 1 (a 2/3 chance of success), preserving the Squad while destroying the Resource. Repeat as necessary.

Other Cards

The plots in the deck not previously mentioned are covered here. Near Miss is to save Las Vegas from destruction. March on Washington is for when you steal a useful plot that requires a characteristic you don't have, such as Media, but can also be used to save an action token for the cost of another one of those useless stolen plots. Hat Trick is so you can reuse your most effective plots, such as Secrets, Murphy's Law or Go Fish. NWO: Apathy is for protection, because this deck doesn't have many defenses. NWO: Antitrust Legislation is to replace an End of the World (which removes the action from Las Vegas) or to "defensively reorganize" in the middle of an attack. The two +10 cards, Harmonica Virgins and Infobahn, should be hoarded and used only to defend a key group or make an last-minute attack.


Winning with this deck is more difficult than most, but it's quite possible. Your three computer groups count double, which means you can lose two groups in a 12-group game and still gain victory with ATO's alone. If you've lost more than this, you'll have to make use of hoarded +10 cards to take what you need. If that isn't enough, you may have to resort to a shared victory to get the necessary support. Just remember that your first priority is to prevent someone else from winning first.

Potential problems

1. Your groups keep showing up in other people's power structures before you can ATO them.
Try not to let on that they stole YOUR group. Wait for a vulnerable moment. Be sure to expose his plots and trade for any defense cards he has. Then hit them with your agents and a precious +10 card. Use W.I.T.C.H. and/or Computer Virus if necessary.
2. Someone plays the Flying Saucer before you do, or steals yours.
Use your Eliza token each turn to take a resource. Take it back with Suicide Squad + Cover of Darkness if you can.
3. Someone plays Nevermore!
This can actually be an great opportunity, if you have Cattle Mutilators and Arms Dealers out. Be resigned to only getting to play your best plots once each. But, as more and more plots get Nevermored, you'll be able to trade completely worthless plots to your opponents with Arms Dealers for useful plots that haven't been Nevermored yet. Make the most of it.


This deck fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, with many required pieces. Of the groups, Post Office can be replaced with any computer group with a power of 3 or more; I suggest Moonbase because of its resistance to disasters. The IRS, Fraternal Orders, or Cattle Mutilators & Arms Dealers can be excluded at the cost of weakening the deck, but the remaining groups, including Illuminati University, are required.

Removing any of the resources weakens the deck, although Eliza and Flying Saucer are the most important. Clipper Chip is an OK replacement.

The eight plot stealer cards can be adjusted within its own group to fit what cards you have. I would include another An Offer You Can't Refuse if I had one. Note that this group could also include Agent in Place, Go, Lemmings, Go!, The Internet Worm, Logic Bomb or Registered Trademark, but I didn't include these because they were less effective and/or focused toward plot destruction rather than plot stealing.

Variant: The Plot Killer

This is actually the original design, which the above deck evolved into. It has one purpose: deplete one rival's plot deck entirely. This is a revenge deck, and not likely to win, but it sure can be fun!


Remove Arms Dealers, Cattle Mutilators, Fraternal Orders

Add China


Remove Center for Weird Studies, one Suicide Squad


Remove NWO: Apathy, Cover of Darkness

Add Go, Lemmings, Go!, The Internet Worm x3, NWO: Bigger Business, NWO: Tax Reform


If you start with NWO: Tax Reform in hand, lead with IRS. Otherwise, lead with N.S.A.. Your group deck is smaller, so Fraternal Orders is unnecessary. Take groups and resources as before. China is to be controlled by Las Vegas, who is in turn controlled by Illuminati University. Alternately, China can be controlled by the Phone Company.

Before the game begins, you should have your victim picked out, preferably one you have a gripe with (so you have an excuse). Every turn, or between your turns, you're going to hit that person with everything you've got (note: because of this strategy, don't try this deck in a three-player game, because you'll just throw victory to the third player). View their plots, steal what's useful, and play The Internet Worm on them as often as possible. Hat Trick it for twice the effect if you can. Once you have IOU and Las Vegas out, hit them over and over. Use Go Fish on them to steal and destroy their plots at the same time. Play Go, Lemmings, Go! when they use Secrets, if possible.

If you can get Tax Reform and the IRS in play, bargain with the other players by offering to give them their plots back. Keep your bargain, too; It's a great way to win friends. Also, note that the fact that you're focusing on one player will encourage the others to let you be, to avoid having to Suffer Your Wrath.

At some point around turn 5 (note: this is a *very* rough estimate), your victim should run out of plots. This is your opportunity to win. All of your groups, counting Computer groups double, add up to 12. With two Power Grabs, you should get all your groups into play on your fifth turn. If you can make it, go for it. Otherwise, try for a shared victory with another player. Failing that, you should start destroying the plots of the other players. The effect of running out of plots is that a player will realize he can't win, and save his action tokens to stop other players from winning. When all players sink to this level, you have a true stalemate, and you get to claim a moral victory ;-)

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First posted: February 28, 1997

Last modified: February 28, 1997

Ralph Melton