Fusion Seppuku

"Fusion Seppuku" is the name I've given to a deck theme for Illuminati: New World Order, a trading-card game from Steve Jackson Games. The name comes from an rpg story told by a friend of mine, Scott "Stormy" Whitney, roleplayer and cast-iron tcg-phobe. Naming the deck in his honor is a bit of irony he fails to appreciate.

The deck revolves around the careful use of the World War Three card in a Servants of Cthulhu deck. If you read the card with an illuminated eye, you'll notice that if WW3 is in play, and one of your Nations attacks another of your Nations, no matter which way the dice fall, a group will be destroyed and it will count towards your victory conditions. Thus, once there are eight Nations in play, you can, in one turn, destroy them all and win.

The text of the major cards:

Servants of Cthulhu PictureServants of Cthulhu

Power 9/9
Goal: For every group you destroy, reduce by 1 the number of groups you need to control in order to win. You may also count rival Illuminati which you destroy by removing their last group. If you destroy 8 groups, you win, regardless of how many you control!
Ability: You have a +4 on any attempt to destroy, even with Disasters and Assassinations. Draw a Plot card whenever you destroy a group!

World War Three

New World Order Plot Card

Any Nation making a direct Attack to Destroy against another Nation has tripled power. If it succeeds, the attacking Nation gets a Plot card and another Action token immediately! If it fails, the attacker is destroyed, and counts toward the victory conditions of the defending player.
This card replaces any Yellow NWO card in play.

The Deck

This is what I have in my current Fusion Seppuku deck:





Hints & Questions


Your lead should probably be Japan. It's a strong card, and it's also a popular lead, so you stand a good chance of screwing one of your opponents' openings. If you do, Vatican City is your fall-back lead.

Why the Rogue Boomer? Why not NATO or the UN?

Well, one of the weaknesses of this deck is that you may need to have eight Nations out in order to destroy them and win. In a 10-group-goal game, 8 Nations + your Illuminati + NATO = you've already won. Obviously, your opponents aren't going to let you get that far. The Rogue Boomer, however, doesn't count toward the basic goal, but nevertheless gives you a +5 to control any Nation, and a +10 to destroy one, once. (You should also probably try to use the Fusion Seppuku deck mostly in games where the basic goal is 12 or 11.)


Russia has a +4 to control China. Japan and Finland each have a +6 to control the other. Germany and England are token factories, and France has "virtual" tokens. Remember that China is at -20 to be destroyed! It's best to launch a doomed attack from there, and let WW3 destroy it. It has been suggested that I add the Ark of the Covenant to my deck; it would let the destruction go twice as fast! Tricky and tempting; we'll see...

The Endgame

When you're ready to go for the win, hunker down and play World War Three. The best place to run the attack from is Vatican City; it's the only Nation that doesn't have the Government alignment (which would give you a -4 on the attack roll). Start by going after Violent or Liberal Nations. The Vatican's modified Power in such attacks is (4 x 3 (WW3)) + 4 (opposed alignments) + 4 (Servants bonus) = 20. If the Vatican has any puppets, go after them early; sooner or later you're going to roll an 11 or 12, and you don't want juicy targets being returned to your hand when the Vatican loses a fight.

When you succeed in an attack, you get to place a new token on the attacker, and draw two Plot cards (thanks to WW3 and the Servants). If you should happen to fail, the attacker is destroyed, but you still get to draw one Plot.

After the fourth or fifth group, your opponent may start to freak out a little. By this time you should have over 10 Plot cards in your hand, so you'll have defenses against whatever he may try.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Your whole deck is built around the Attribute of "Nation". In addition, all of these Nations are Places, most are Government, and a lot are Coastal. The strength is that you have a homogenous structure; the weakness is that you have a big sign on your butt saying "Disaster Target!". Be prepared with your Early Warnings and such.

The biggest strength is that it is so unexpected. In a normal game, it doesn't pay for the Servants to destroy their own groups; they might as well count towards the basic goal, ne? WW3, however, lets you optimize for self-destruction, and steal the victory out of a fallout-blackened sky.

Jim Jarrett posted to rec.games.trading-cards.misc with his experience with the deck:

From: jarrett@pixel.kodak.com (Jim Jarrett)
Newsgroups: rec.games.trading-cards.misc
Subject: INWO: Fusion Seppuku Trial
Date: Tue, 02 May 1995 16:54:42 -0400

Well, I got to try the Fusion Seppuku variation this weekend. I had to try to build the deck from memory and got the groups & WW III ok...I had thought I had saved some notes that described good cards to aid in that.
The first time I played, my opponents said, "Gee, you've got an awful lot of places...." but did nothing about it. Someone else won because I couldn't get to WW III and was also trying to privatize Germany and link Brazil, Hawaii, China, and Perpetual Motion to it, just for evil grins.
Second time, "Gee, you still have an awful lot of groups [places]..." but still no disasters. I had to destroy a couple of groups from other players, so I had 2 down. Got WW III out, and started the Orgy of Destruction. I had stacked my deck with lots of New Federal Budgets, which worked juicily. I actually only needed to destroy something like 3 of my own groups, plus the two already destroyed, left me with enough groups + destroyed to win. My opponents didn't appreciate the subtlety and schemingness of the deck.
I want to try it one more time (since my opponents never seemed to catch on to loading up with disasters!) and build it for a 2-turn win. A Sieze the time, Crystal Skull, Rosicrusions (sp), and some more Hoax/Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know will round it out.
Thanks for the idea, Jonathan Woodward!

Card text and art is copyright Steve Jackson Games, and no threat to that copyright is intended.


Jonathan Woodward, woodward@prismnet.com

All original content is copyright Jonathan Woodward. Legal minutiae here.