hastily prepared by David Streeter
Where I Pretend To Cut to the ChaseI don't know about you, dear reader, but whenever my mates invite me to a game of INWO, I always find myself running 20 minutes late and without a deck made. Worse still, I discover that I haven't packed up my cards properly the last ten games, so I can't find anything. As you can imagine, I've developed a knack for making decks on the run, and in particular, making only one "pass" through my cards, the essence of making a quick deck. Anyhow, here's ten decks that can be made in under ten minutes. The first three you can make in under ten seconds.
Deck 1: The Deck You Used Last TimeThere's no deck quicker to make than a deck that's already been made. If you've still got last game's deck hanging around, use it. If you've already played the same deck two or three times, change the Illuminati and choose a different starting puppet. Believe me, your friends are idiots and won't know the difference.
Deck 2: The Random DeckJust grab an Illuminati (Bavaria, UFOs or Adepts are best), 20 groups (no resources) and 24 plots at random. You'll need more groups than a tuned deck since you'll need to deal with opposing alignments and so forth. Try and avoid choosing secret groups if you can. Whenever you draw a card during play, ask yourself the question, "can I trade this card with another player for something useful?".
Deck 3: Someone Else's DeckThis is really a variant on the random deck. Make a random deck as described above and turn up to the game. Before you start play, point out the window and yell, "Oh My god! It's Ellen Degeneres!" and quickly swap your random deck with one of your opponents' decks while they're not looking (I used to use Elvis, but my friends started to catch on). When they discover the switch, say "A real man would play with any deck, no matter how bad." Of course, don't tell them that it would be "a real stupid man." Another option is to turn up and say "I don't have a deck made, does anyone have an extra they can lend me?" Of course, that just shows weakness and is nowhere near as intimidating as the Ellen Degeneres trick.
Deck 4: The Bavaria DeckIf you have got a bit more time, you can make a quickie Bavaria deck without much effort. Grab Bavaria and pick 15 groups with a power of 5 or more. Then make a single pass through your plots and pull out every +10 card you find -- it doesn't matter if you miss a few, time is of the essence. Fill out the rest of your deck to 45 with random cards. Plot cards aren't that essential to Bavaria -- just stick to the strategy of "one automatic takeover, one privileged attack" for each turn.
Deck 5: The Subgenius DeckIf you're like me, you practice Subgenius apartheid in organizing your cards -- after all, you recognize those heretical pieces of glossy cardboard for the corrupting filth they are. However, right at the moment they are as valuable as your dearest friend's left earlobe. Just grab a Subgenius Illuminati card, 19 Subgenius group cards and 25 Subgenius plots. If you have the time, swap a few plots for "Let's Get Organized" -- the Subgenius groups are a bit short of control arrows. The theory of this deck is that since the Subgenius set was designed to be able to be played standalone, every card you draw will be useful. If it isn't, cut it in half and burn it. You shouldn't stand for that kind of insolence.
Deck 6: Last Week's Quickie Deck, Only BetterWhen you've been making quickie decks for a while, you'll get the hang of this one. When you play with a quickie deck, remember two or three cards that would make it a better deck. Then before the next game, swap out a few duds for those cards. Groups are particularly useful, but swapping plots with odd requirements for "Secrets Man was Not Meant To Know" and "Savings and Loan Scam" are also quite good. Keep swapping that Illuminati between games! After a while, you'll have a strong, versatile deck.
Deck 7: Here's a Souffle I Made EarlierThis one involves following a recipe, and requires a bit more organization. If your cards are in some sort of order, you can make a deck from a written list. Downloading one of the "decks of the week" from the Internet is a good start. Writing out the cards of any deck you win with is another handy trick.
Deck 8: The Upheaval DeckIf you have a full ten minutes to make a deck, start with the UFOs, add Big Media, Madison Avenue, Clone Arrangers, Nuclear Power companies and all your Media Sensations. Also add any useful Media groups you notice until you have 20 (or more) groups. Put in all your Upheavals and the goal cards Arise! and Fratricide. If you still have space, add in Savings and Loans Scams, Hat Tricks, plot cancelers, one of each color NWO, and the Crystal Skull. Don't start playing Upheavals until you've got at least eight groups in your power structure (or you have Arise! in your hand). Then go crazy. Hopefully, you can either a) eliminate two players and win with Fratricide, b) goad someone into removing your last puppet and win with Arise! or c) eliminate so many groups that the other players cannot win, and free grab your way to victory with your group-heavy deck. Hey, it's an obnoxious deck, but it's fun.
Deck 9: The Computer DeckSimplicity. Start with the Network (obviously), then pull out all the computer groups. Trim that down to 15 groups based on "any attempt" control bonuses and add the resource Eliza. Add 29 plots. If you can be bothered, get +10 cards, power boosters, plot cancelers and the computer plots. This deck doesn't really need a very good set of plot cards, though.
Deck 10: One of the Alignment DecksPick an alignment, and pull out all the groups of that alignment. Liberal or government are your best bets, although corporate and violent are also good. For an Illuminati, Bavaria and Bermuda are good for all alignments, Gnomes are good for corporate and Cthulhu good for violent. A peaceful deck with Shangri-La is a bit more courageous, but not unwinnable. Trim the groups down to 15 cards. If you separate your NWOs from other cards, choose lots of the good ones first. For plots, you really want to look for the following in one pass: Plot cancelers, power boosters, appropriate +10s, any card with a pyramid or naked woman on it, or Voodoo Economics. The biggest risk with this quickie deck is that someone else will have a tuned version of your deck. If that happens, pay them $10 to throw the game. It's a cruel and unjust world.
The Bit Where I Make a Few More Cents by Repeating What I've Already Said in a Different WayThe common theme in making a quickie deck is concentrating on your group deck, staying away from resources, and making your groups deck bigger than normal to tolerate mistakes. As a consequence, you will draw plot cards that are useless, or nearly so. Trade these if you can, or use them to power other cards by placing them back on top of your deck. It might even be worth your while trading two or three useless cards to an opponent in exchange for one slightly less useless card. Your opponent can always use the duds to power other plots as well. If you're lucky, you'll "rediscover" a lot of useful groups and plots like I have. Necessity is the mother of invention, and she is a tough but instructive lady. Anyway, you need the discipline.
Article publication date: October 8, 1999
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