1996: 2nd German National INWO Championships

by Rudi Gross

A quick report from the Spiel96 games fair in Essen, Germany, which hosted the second INWO national championships of Germany: The new German INWO master is Reiner Lohse, who prevailed in a dramatic final match against newcomer Nils Kraemer, last year's runner-up Lars Aretz and former champion Christian Stenner.
Christian played an extremely abusive and degenerate recursion deck in the semifinals, which rocketed him to victory on turn two:

Christian Stenner: Servants of Cthulhu
Hat Trick
Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know (2x)
March on Washington
Flesh-Eating Bacteria (3x)
Back To The Salt Mines (3x)
Savings&Loan Scam (11x)
Oil Spill (7x)
Global Warming
Fear & Loathing
Interesting Times
Peace in Our Times
Population Reduction (2x)

This deck might be very expensive to build, but its effect is most devastating: Lead with Canada, followup with Canada, use Oil Spills to reload your green groups anytime you're close to running out, use the new tokens to continuously draw new plot cards with Savings and Loan Scams and the inherent Cthulhu ability to draw a plot for every destroyed group. Take over new nations with the help of the reusable Back to the Salt Mines, waste them with the also reusable Flesh-Eating Bacterias (if the Oil Spill didn't fully destroy, but only devastate the victim), draw plots .. etc etc.
This bizarre scheme works like a charm, as long as no initial roll of 11 or 12 ruins the day. The catch is that during the first turn no other player may interfere. Although two other players on Christian's table knew the deck already, they were forced to sit and watch helplessly how Christian destroyed 8 groups, including his last one. Sure: You can't win on your first turn. But there is very little you can do to someone who doesn't have anything but his own Illuminati on turn two, when Christian declared victory.
It should be noted that the Assassins expansion had a big impact on the German tournament scene. Every semifinal match had a Nevermore! on the table pretty soon, with Alien Abductions, Back to the Salt Mines and Go Fish as keepers in most decks. While most decks used in the semifinals were quite balanced and designed to take care of various threats, the final saw some very focused decks:

Reiner Lohse: Bavarian Illuminati
New York
Secret Service
Saddam Hussein
Manuel Noriega
Clipper Chip (2x)
Good Polls (5x)
18 1/2 Minute Gap
Hoax (2x)
Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know (4x)
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Savings & Loan Scam (4x)
Back To The Salt Mines
Chicken In Every Pot (2x)
World Hunger
Gun Control (6x)
Law & Order (4x)

Nils Kraemer: Servants of Cthulhu
Robot Sea Monsters
Local Police Departments
Cycle Gang
Semiconscious Liberation Army
Arms Dealer
Cyborg Soldiers (2x)
Go Fish (2x)
Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Senate Investigating Comittee
An Offer You Can't Refuse (2x)
Savings&Loan Scam
Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know (2x)
Terrorist Nuke (2x)
Sorry, Wrong Number
Are We Having Fun Yet? (2x)
Back To The Salt Mines
Truck Bomb (2x)
Seize The Time
Volcano Eruption
Ketchup Is A Vegetable
Atomic Monster
Good Polls
Pizza For The Secret Meeting
Australian Rules (2x)
Global Warming
Fear & Loathing
Up Against The Wall

Lars Aretz: The Discordian Society
Comic Books
Reformed Church of Satan
Punk Rockers
Al Amarja
Society For Creative Anarchism
Principia Discordia
Center For Weird Studies
Orbital Mind Control Lasers
Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know (3x)
Savings & Loan Scam (4x)
Unlucky 13 (2x)
Albino Alligators (3x)
Cover of Darkness
Jihad (2x)
Scandal (2x)
Terrorist Nuke (2x)
Good Polls (2x)
Angst (2x)
Fear & Loathing
Interesting Times (2x)
End Of The World (2x)
Military-Industrial Complex

Christian Stenner: Bavarian Illuminati
Antinuclear Activists
Triliberal Commission
Fred Birch Society
Black Activists
Benefit Concert
Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know (2x)
Savings & Loan Scam (3x)
Alien Abduction (2x)
The Weak Link
Voodoo Economics
Market Manipulation
Murphy's Law
Seize The Time
Crackdown On Crime
Are We Having Fun Yet? (3x)
Privileged Attack (4x)
Deasil Engine
Go Fish
Good Polls
Don't Forget To Smash The State
Interesting Times
Political Correctness (2x)
Power To The People (3x)

Here's the transcript of the final match. Reiner won the rollout and went first. Reiner lead with New York, bouncing with Nils' Frankfurt. Christian started with the CFL-AIO, Lars chose WITCH. Reiner fell back on the CIA, Nils chose the Robot Sea Monsters.
Reiner quickly turned everyone's attention towards himself when he took over the Pentagon automatically and the Secret Service from the CIA. Both groups in one power structure, this made the environment quite unpleasant for personalities.
The response to it came quickly. Nils took over the Mafia and collected some applause from Christian and Lars when he used a Volcano eruption to toast Reiner's Pentagon. Right after that, the first grim battle about the red NWOs ensued - something that would ultimately decide the game. Gun Control (Reiner), Anarchy (Lars), Law And Order (Reiner), Political Correctness (Christian) and Gun Control from Reiner again marked the first serious exchange of blows.
Christian took over the Feminists directly and used the CFL-AIO to gain control of the Autonome, a German-only card which gives +10 to destroy any government groups, threatening Reiner's government-heavy deck massively. A quick Savings & Loan Scam filled up his hand, and Don't Forget To Smash The State hit the table.
Lars took over the Reformed Church of Satan, used it instantly to take over the Comic Books and knocked.
Reiner drew all attention to himself again when he took over New York, S & L scammed 3 plots and used his Bavarian privileged attack to take over Russia from New York. He was obviously relieved when his Good Polls on government groups came through.
Nils started the next wave of hostilities: His Australian Rules were instantly replaced by yet another Gun Control from Reiner. Then he took over some Cyborg Soldiers and linked them to the Mafia.
Christian took the initiative by playing "Go Fish" at Lars, fetching his "Apathy" NWO, and played it. Reiner tried to 'Secret' it, but fell to a backup Hoax from Christian. Then he took over the Sozialdemokraten and used them to blow up Reiner's Secret Service, trimming him back to a more manageable size.
Lars continued to hold back, only taking over the Society for Creative Anarchism, and using their ability to thin out Reiner's group deck a little. Then he knocked, and before Reiner could do anything, Nils whacked Russia with an Atomic Monster just as soon as his previous Good Polls had expired.
His breakthrough plans foiled, Reiner reestablished Gun Control, took over the BATF and cashed in two Savings & Loan Scams, causing warning klaxons all around the table to go off. Finally, the others convinced Reiner that he had no chances to break through, so he chose to destroy Christian's CFL-AIO instead, with the help of Nils' Servants of Cthulhu. The attack succeeded, relieving Reiner of the massive bonuses to destroy threat Christian posed.
Nils showed proper gratitude for the successful cooperation against Christian by wasting Reiner's CIA with a successful "Ketchup is a Vegetable" attack. Even though Reiner was able to "Secret" Nils' first plot, he had one backup plot to carry out his fiendish plan. Worried that Nils just got a tad too powerful, Lars tried to deprive Nils of violent tokens, but found out that he lacked the necessary media power to do so.
Christian licked his wounds, took over the Black Activists and rapped on the table instantly.
Lars knew that victory was within reach when he took over the German-only group CONspiracy, which boosts the power of all weird groups by 1, making lots of groups eligible for counting double. He followed up with the "End of the world" and another Savings & Loan Scam. The Church of Satan, Discordia, CONspiracy and WITCH sacked the Tabloids against the heavy counterfire of Christian's Bavarians and Sozialdemokraten. A lot of negotiation was concluded here. Lars tried to get Fear & Loathing on the table, but was stopped by a Global Warming, which survived a Secrets / Hoax exchange. Unfazed, Lars took over the Psychiatrists, unnecessarily wasting a valuable Terrorist Nuke, as he pointed out after the game. When Nils threw "Interesting Times" on the table, Lars realized that he had no chance of winning (his Fear & Loathing defense had been committed a bit too early) and boosted his defenses by playing Good Polls on his weird groups. With so few tokens left on the table, this was quite a bitter end of turn for Lars.
Reiner reestablished his Law & Order lock, secured Saddam Hussein for his side, and used his Illuminati action to take over a Clipper Chip, bringing him back into play.
Nils took over the Local Police Departments and crippled Lars by blowing up the Reformed Church of Satan with a Terrorist Nuke / Truck Bomb combo sent from the Mafia. However, seeing no chance of immediate breakthrough, he knocked.
Christian enlisted the help of the Antiwar Activists and rapped on the table, hoping for better times to come.
At the beginning of Lars' turn, Nils Go Fished for a Benefit Concert in Christians hand, without success though, so Nils' plots were exposed. Lars took over the Tabloids and used them for an attack to destroy Nils' Robot Sea Monsters. Unfortunately, Nils countered with "Are We Having Fun Yet". Desperately, Lars tried to control the Comic Books with his CONspiracy, but the intervention of New York spoiled the day.
When Reiner took over the Mossad, it was obvious that the end was near. And when New York followed up with a privileged attack on Israel, utilizing "Back To The Salt Mines", it became obvious that he had to be stopped. Lars proclaimed another "End of the World", but all players knew that this wouldn't be enough if Reiner could reestablish NWO superiority. And there it was - Law and Order hit the table, forcing the other players to subsequently cash in their tokens in search of salvation. Almost down to zero Christian drew "Political Correctness" - the rescue just in time ? No. Yet another Gun Control - that was game. Congrats to the new German champion !
On Friday the 15th of November a big revanche tournament will be held in Duisburg. It should be noted that a very lively INWO scene has been established there. Every Sunday night from 5 pm to Monday morning INWO is played in the apartment of Birger Kraemer, Nils' older brother and finalist last year, who lost his semifinal match against Reiner. His victory on Saturday's sealed deck event was some consolation to him, though. The regular INWO meetings draw lots of players from the Ruhr valley and close areas like Wuppertal, Muenster and others. Usually 2-3 matches run simultaneously, and the overall skill level is extremely high (but newcomers are most welcome - practice makes the master). It's certainly no coincidence that all finalist are regular attendants of the Sunday meetings. Interested INWO players can contact Birger.
One big "Thank you" for Lynette Cowper and her efforts to reorganize and revise the rules. I can't remember a tournament with less ruling troubles. All players agreed that the new rulings have been a tremendous improvement. Kudos for the Goddess !
So much from the German battlefield for world supremacy. Bavaria made the day again. Fear the juggernaut !

This report can also be found at the official INWO site of Steve Jackson Games and is shown here with the author's permission.