This article originally appeared in Pyramid #30
INWO SubGenius Dirty Tricks
by Aaron CurtisThere are many illuminated and subtle ways to use the various cards available in INWO. Combinations that turn seemingly innocent cards into terribly effective weapons against your rivals. Clever uses of cards that can turn defeat into victory -- or at least survival until your next turn. Evil Schemes previously known only to the Secret Masters, now available to you!
The idea of collecting these Dirty Tricks in one place came from Dan Myers. His work can be found on the Web via the INWO Strategy Page, along with lots of other interesting ideas on how to build decks and win at INWO. Of course, these previous offerings only include cards from Assassins and the Basic Set, which brings us to . . .
INWO SubGenius Dirty Tricks! Hail "Bob"! All taken from the minds of those deviant, er, devious playtesters. Some are for use in INWO SubGenius stand-alone games, while others excel at putting Slack into your built-deck games.
1. S.L.A.K. Never Rests! They have the special ability to get a new action token on every player's turn, not just your own. There are numerous ways to turn this into a powerful weapon:
If you lead S.L.A.K. and don't go first, they get a token before your first turn! You can't use it to interfere with your rivals, but you can use it play Plots that require an action token. Best uses: S&L Scam to bring your plot hand up to five, or New Blood, Charismatic Leader or 13013 to bring their permanent power up to 6, just in time to make that first-turn attack to control that your rivals can't interfere with.
Now, S.L.A.K. with a power of 6 is a great defense, because you can use their token to defend against a rival's attack secure in the knowledge that you'll get it back at the start of the next player's turn. They can become a great offense, too, if you can give them Global Power via the Society of Assassins, Hidden Influence or Head Launching. Not only can they use that Global Power to defend any of your group, but they can interfere in any attack to control your rivals make! When they realize their first attack each turn will be at -6, they tend not to make these attacks anymore.
Warning: This tactic will make you as beloved as the I.R.S., and the first step in destroying a Power 6 S.L.A.K. is getting rid of that action token . . .
Of course, increasing S.L.A.K.'s power into the stratosphere with Cyborg Soldiers, the Necronomicon, NWO End of the World or controlling the Church of Middle America only increases the agony for your rivals.
A possible backup to S.L.A.K. is the Rogue SubGenii. You can give them an action token each turn, too, but it costs you a plot discard. The situation where this is actually better than S.L.A.K. is when you start someone's turn with a token on the Rogue SubGenii; if you spend their token (say, in defense) you can give them a second one immediately, while S.L.A.K. would have to wait until the next player's turn.
Rogue SubGenii and S.L.A.K. work well together, especially in an INWO SubGenius game with a common plot deck. Sam Kingston discovered this Dirty Trick: at the end of someone's turn, spend the tokens of both groups to draw a plot, then discard a useless plot to give the Rogue SubGenii their token back. On the next turn, S.L.A.K. gets their token back and you've exchanged a useless plot for a possibly useful one. You can keep doing this on every player's turn, recycling your plots and digging for gold until you've got a handful of plots that you wouldn't want to discard for an action token. Of course, cards like the Crystal Skull that give you plot control only make this more effective.
There are lots of other ways to make use of all those action tokens S.L.A.K. gets. For example, Ralph Melton suggests linking the Nutrition Nazis to S.L.A.K. to make them Science and giving them the X-Ray Specs to allow you to look at the top three cards of any deck at the end of every player's turn! Other Dirty Tricks you'll have to discover for yourself . . .
2. Dr. K'taden Legume -- the ultimate protector! While you control him, all your other SubGenius Personalities are immune to attack! Naturally this makes him a target second only to Bjorne, but the right cards can keep him well protected . . . and by default, all your other SubGenius Personalities, too. For starters, you can bring his Power and Resistance up with Messiah, 13013, Commitment, and others. You can give him extra Action tokens (for defense) with the Martyr Meter or Local Clenches. You can protect him from harm with Immortality Serum, an Official, Divine, All-Inclusive Excuse, a Bodyguard or just put his Head in a Jar after the inevitable assassination attempts.
Of course, what would be really nice would be to prevent attacks altogether. This is not possible, but you can do a pretty good job with Connie Dobbs. Her puppets are immune to attacks to destroy, unless she loses her Straight alignment or SubGenius attribute. Even better, as long as she and Dr. Legume both remain SubGenius, his ability protects her! With this combo, discovered by Doug "Sirilyan" Sheppard, all you need to worry about are attacks to control Dr. Legume, and Mediocretinism.
A final note on Dr. K'Taden Legume: Under the control of the Secret FisTemple, every Personality is SubGenius, even Bjorne . . .
3. Rig the dice! Several cards give you powerful advantages, or not, depending on a die roll, such as Las Vegas, Suicide Squad and MWOWM. Combine these cards with the effect of The Janor Device, which lets you modify your own die rolls by 1 in your favor. The important advantage of the Device over other methods of die roll modification is that it can be used over and over at no cost! You will lose it eventually, however, because it goes to a rival (at random) whenever you roll a natural 11 or 12, "natural" meaning that if the dice show an 11 or 12, die roll modifications won't prevent the loss. There are two ways to deal with this. One is to hope that the new owner rolls a natural 11 or 12, losing it, and keep a Murphy's Law handy to modify your own die roll to a 12 when you and the other rivals dice off to see who gets it, bringing The Janor Device back to you. The other is to pack two copies of the Device in your group deck, and use Forgery to take it back if you ever lose it to a natural 11 or 12.
4. Get your rivals to help you! Bulldada and Tape Runs Out . . . can both be very effective at thwarting a rival at a critical moment. But, the cost of discarding three plots is often much too expensive, depending on what is in your hand. Instead, ask the other players to give you one "useless" plot each to pay for it. If it's important enough, they'll do it.
5. The Attacker That Will Not Die! There are several groups in INWO that cannot be destroyed, and therefore you cannot use Sucked Dry and Cast Aside on them. INWO SubGenius contains one group, the Xists, that can be destroyed, but instead of being discarded they go back into your hand. This is a perfect opportunity to boost their power to 20 for a single, deadly attack, after which you lose them from your power structure (hopefully you didn't give them any puppets), but not from your control, because you can bring them back with an automatic takeover on your next turn. This can be particularly effective when under a strong attack by your rivals, because it makes you appear further away from victory once they return to your hand, and therefore less likely that your rivals will continue the attack.
6. Get Slack! This one isn't a Dirty Trick, but is sure is a cool one. Jesus B.'s special ability costs one dollar (U.S., other countries use appropriate exchange rates). Pol Jackson was the first playtester to send in a dollar, and much to his surprise they sent him back a SubGenius catalog! If you save up several dollars' worth over the course of several games, you can send it in all at once and get some pretty interesting stuff from the Divine Mail Order. After all, as long as you're paying for Slack, you might as well some Slack from it . . .
Article publication date: May 22, 1998
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