by Adam Wells
Art by Shea Ryan
"If elected, I promise to serve my Illuminated Masters with all the slavish devotion they demand of me. And I'm not just saying that because I fear being replaced with a clone."
--George "W." Bush
"I have no fear of being replaced with another clone."
"Well, I may seem a little stiff, but I'm certainly not an android programmed to seize the presidency and use it to eliminate those who refuse to bow to the dominance of Those Who Must Not Be Named. No sirree."
"There is absolutely NO REASON to rub mayonnaise in your armpits. Immanentize the eschaton! Thank you and fnord."
--Joe Lieberman, KSC
"BWAH HA HA! BWAH HA HA HA HA!"
* * *
It's that time again! Election time, when a handful of people will determine who will run the most powerful nation on earth for the next four years. It's almost too bad those people aren't the voters…
That's not to say your vote doesn't make a difference. In fact, voting is your opportunity to suck up to the Secret Masters. Some group of power-crazed madbeings will come out on top. Don't you want to be on their side when that happens?
Of course, it's not easy to decide which candidate is supported by which Illuminati, much less who will win. You can play INWO to model battles between the different factions, but, until now, it couldn't help you much with the election problem. Lucky for you, some of Them (for whatever inscrutable reason) have decided to pass along these rules and give you a vague idea of how presidential politics really work. Use the information wisely. But not too wisely. There are some things man was not meant to know.
Election Round INWO
This version of INWO uses all rules of standard INWO unless otherwise noted. The major difference is the addition of an "election round." During the election round, players nominate and elect a personality to be president, with all the perqs except the interns, until the next election round. They also learn valuable lessons about democracy and how to crush it before it becomes a nuisance.
For Election Round INWO, I recommend that you remove all Groups with the "nation" attribute from play. Sure, arguably China voted in the last election, but let's not quibble. You could also remove non-American or "inappropriate" personalities, though many people would probably get a kick out of electing Count Dracula president. Make sure you include as many of the groups mentioned in these rules as possible, and a bunch of personalities. Media Sensations named after candidates are good, but making regular cards for them is better. There is already an Al Gore card, of course. You can add a George W. Bush card by clipping his picture from a magazine and gluing it onto his daddy's card. You could include their primary opponents, if you're big on simulating the whole election. McCain, Bradley, Forbes, Keyes, Buchanan? Who knows what sinister powers they wield? You could add former presidents as cards, even (supposedly) dead ones. Some have long felt that there should be a Nixon card, and, of course, most of the Founding Fathers were Illuminated.
Use a communal Group deck; if you're unfamiliar with those rules, see http://www.sjgames.com/inwo/rules/variants/onebigdeck.html.
Finally, for the purposes of this variant, Bill Clinton has a 2 power and his only special ability is that he is Liberal 50% of the time.
The Election Round
At the end of each round of standard play, there is a round whose purpose is to elect a president. The election round consists of three parts -- nomination, naming of vice-presidential choices, and election. Plot cards that may be played at any time may be played normally during any part of the election round unless otherwise noted.
In the nomination segment, each player may nominate a personality in play (which includes those in the uncontrolled area) who will be a legal recipient of support in the election segment. A nominee need not be in the nominating player's power structure, and a single player may control any number of nominees. The players announce their nominations beginning with the controller of the current president and proceeding in standard turn order, until each Illuminati has had the opportunity to nominate once. If no player controls the president, nominate in regular turn order. Ross Perot and Lyndon LaRouche automatically nominate themselves, though they do not count as the nomination for a player controlling them.
Once the nominations are in, the Green Party, Libertarians, and International Communist Conspiracy may spend an action to throw their support behind any nomination, and thereby remove that nominee's opportunity to receive support in the election. All other nominees become "candidates." If no one makes a nomination, all personalities in play or in the uncontrolled area become legal candidates. If the three groups above eliminate all the nominees, any personalities on the table other than those "supported" become candidates. If there are no other personalities in play, the election round is skipped.
After the nominations are sorted out, the candidates must choose running mates. Every candidate must choose a vice-president, as long as there is at least one other personality in play or uncontrolled. The player controlling the candidate, not necessarily the player nominating him, chooses the VP. If the candidate is uncontrolled, the player nominating him chooses his second. (Perot and LaRouche, if they nominate themselves while uncontrolled, pick a VP randomly from among non-Government personalities.) Candidates announce their choice in order that they were nominated. There is no way to get out of a VP nomination. Any available personality may be chosen as VP, even other candidates, or personalities previously supported out of nominations. The candidate and his running mate are now a "ticket."
When all candidates have VP choices, the election begins. Whichever ticket receives the "support" of the most power wins the election and becomes the president and vice-president. Declarations of support begin with the current president and proceed in standard turn order around the table. A Group, including an Illuminati, normally supports a ticket without using its action, simply adding its power to the total which that candidate has accumulated. A group may only support one ticket, once, and once the controlling player has announced its support, it may not be withdrawn or changed to a different ticket. Each player receives one opportunity to announce the support of his groups. A particular player may choose to divide the support of his groups between different tickets.
There are a few situations where a group may wish to spend its action in support. A media group may support any ticket normally, but if it spends its action, its support is doubled. (For example: Cable TV has a 3/2 power. If it does not spend an action, it may support a ticket with 3 power. If it spends an action, it is worth 6 power of support.) If the Democrats, Triliberal Commission, or Feminists spend an action when supporting a ticket, no Conservative group may thereafter support that ticket. If the Republicans, Fred Birch Society or the Religious Reich spend an action to support candidates, no Liberal group may thereafter support them. In order to gain the benefit of any plot card that temporarily increases power (e.g. Benefit Concert), the group involved must spend its action. A group may always support a ticket normally instead of using its action and attached special consequences. In fact, a group may support normally, and at a later time, use its action to add its additional power or special effects to that support. For example, your Feminists group could support a ticket on your turn, allow the next player to support, and then spend its action to make the candidates it supported ineligible for Conservative support on the third player's turn and beyond. The Eco-Guerrillas could support a hopeful pair on your turn, and at a later time spend their action and the plot card Benefit Concert to add 10 to the value of their support.
After all players have had their opportunity to declare support, the support of any groups in the uncontrolled area must be determined. Any uncontrolled personality who is part of one or more tickets will automatically support whichever of his tickets has the most support to this point. Any player who controls the Trading Card Games automatically decides the support of all other groups in the uncontrolled area, probably by subtle brainwashing in gaming magazine articles. Otherwise, the support of each group goes to the ticket that could mount the best unsupported attack to control on that group. For example, a ticket of Al Gore and Count Dracula could, between them, mount an attack of 13 effective power on the Anti-Nuclear Activists from Al Gore (Gore's 1 Power, +8 for direct control of Green, +4 Liberal in common), or on the Vampires from the Count (his 2 Power and +10 for direct control of the Vampires, Gore's 1 Global Power). No plots or groups outside the ticket may have any impact on this calculation (even with any attempt bonuses), nor is it in any way an actual attack. If two tickets have equal potential attacks, roll off to see which receives the support. Once a ticket is guaranteed victory, you don't really need to figure the rest of the support, unless the victor wants to work on his list of enemies.
If two or more tickets receive equal amounts of supporting power, the presidential candidate with the greatest personal power carries the election. If two or more tickets are still tied, then and only then, the winner shall be determined by a vote (see, I bet you're understanding the electoral process better already) among the players and anyone else who happens to be in the room at the time. Bring your friends! Claim that your dog is a longtime Democrat! And if the vote is a tie too, competitive roll off (which could be modified by appropriate plot or special ability; high roll wins) between the tied tickets will determine the victor. Sometimes it boils down to a crapshoot.
The Executive Branch
The newly-elected president gains the alignment Government and the following special abilities as though they were inherent to the card, until he ceases being president:
- Doubled Power.
- +3 on any attempt to control any Government group that is part of the US.
- +8 for direct control of any Government group.
- An additional control arrow (if the personality loses the presidency while using this extra control arrow, the puppet on the extra arrow is returned to the uncontrolled area).
- He may choose to gain all the special abilities of his vice-president, unless the veep is a Media Sensation. (Ex. if Al Gore is VP, the president receives a +8 to directly control any Green group. If Ross Perot were VP, the president could choose to automatically make his puppets Straight and Conservative.) Note that this is not on a case per case basis. The pres either takes the VP's ability or does not, and then maintains it until he is not president or he changes VPs.
- The real power behind the chief executive, however, is that only the player who controls him may play New World Order cards. In the event that there is no president controlled by a player, anyone may play such cards.
NWO cards may be removed by the use of other plot cards (e.g. Sweeping Reforms) normally.
The vice-president also gains the alignment Government. If the pres or VP were not Government before being elected, they will lose the alignment when they lose their office. If the president is destroyed and not immediately returned to play, or he resigns, or his position is removed for any reason (see below), the VP becomes president and may choose any personality in play or uncontrolled, other than a just-removed president, as his VP. But he may not use his action token for any reason as long as he is VP. The veep is immune to destruction by any means except assassinations. (I mean, he's already the VP.) He can only wish that he could resign. If the vice-president is killed or the position is removed, the president must choose some other personality in play or uncontrolled to become vice-president.
No personality may be elected president more than twice. If there is ever no president, the first personality to be drawn immediately becomes president upon being drawn. (Some possible reasons for this are the destruction of a president with no VP or the failure to conduct an election round due to lack of eligible candidates.) If there are no personalities in play except the president, the first one to be drawn becomes the VP.
The alignment and power gained do count towards any applicable goals while a personality is president, and if he is destroyed while president, he counts as a destroyed Government group, unless he is a Media Sensation. On the other hand, the vice-president may not be counted for any goal, even special goals, so long as he is VP or was destroyed while VP.
The plot Senate Investigating Committee may be used, at the player's option, to remove the president or vice-president from office instead of its normal use; ignore the first paragraph on the card if so used, though all other details of the card remain the same. It may be played at any time except during the election round in this manner. It may only be used in one capacity or the other each time it is used, but may be used in different ways in the same game. The card itself may still be used on any player only once per game, regardless of which way it is used.
Probably because of the limited time until the election, a mysterious man in a black trench coat has handed me an unmarked envelope with some quicker options. But don't blame me if They want to know why you cut corners.
Last One in the White House Wins INWO
This is exactly like Election Round INWO, except that the game lasts only a predetermined number of turns (four is recommended), and the only way to win is by controlling the president at the end of the last election round. Whoever controls the VP at that point is definitely the loser. No goal or special goal allows victory. Otherwise, all INWO and Election Round rules apply.
The VP Is Eyeing Me Hungrily INWO
This is the same as Last One in the White House Wins INWO, except that there is one more round of play after the last election round, starting with the player controlling the president and proceeding in whatever order he desires. In this way, it may skip around the table, though each player must get one turn. Any player who controls the VP may refuse to take this last turn when called upon, forcing the pres to pick someone else, unless he is the last player available. The vice-president always strikes last . . .
Even More Cynical About Democracy INWO
Don't like the election round at all? Instead, use a plot card that can be linked to a personality to make him president and give him the presidential powers. (Make it with a blank card, or mark a different plot card to represent it.) This "Elected President" plot may be played only during your turn, and requires the action of the current pres or the personality to be "elected," an Illuminati action, and either Media action(s) of 8 or more power or the action of the Democrats or the Republicans. No more than one such plot may be in play at any time. As soon as it is played, any other "Elected" plot in play is discarded, and the powers of the president pass to the personality newly linked. The president must still have a VP as long as at least one other personality is in play or uncontrolled, and that unfortunate suffers the regular restrictions. If the pres stops being president or alive, the link is passed to the VP, not discarded.
In all seriousness, if you can vote, you should vote.
Article publication date: November 3, 2000
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