Zeppelin Attack: Master Plans for Masterminds


Previously, I looked at some general strategies for Zeppelin Attack.  Now I want to take a more in-depth look at each of the four Masterminds.

I feel that there are five main considerations determining how a given Mastermind plays in Zeppelin Attack.  In descending order of importance they are:

  1. Which attack form they specialize in
  2. What capabilities their experimental zeppelin gives them
  3. What General effects their experimental weapon gives them
  4. What Attack effects their experimental weapon gives them
  5. Which attack form(s) they are initially weakest against*

*Mastermind decks have one defense card that covers two different types of attack.  I consider these types to be the ones that the Mastermind is weakest against, since they have only a single card to defend against both types of attack.  Such cards do, however, compensate by being more flexible, which is why I list them as the least important consideration

Below is a look at the various Masterminds of Zeppelin Attack with an eye towards effective, basic strategy for each.

DER BLITZMAN

Payload Capability:  Attack:  4, Defense 6, Operations 3

Strongest Attack Form:  Lightning

Weakest Defense:  Lightning/Psychic  (Note:  since it is likely that you will be buying up the powerful Lightning attack cards, this is less of a problem than for other Masterminds),

Experimental Zeppelin ability:  Extra Battle Point

Experimental Weapon Attack Effect:  target must discard two random cards, you get the lowest VP value Mercenary card put in your discard pile,

Experimental Weapon General Effect:  draw three cards.

Particularly Useful Cards:

  • Attack:  X-Bomb, Screaming Mimi
  • Defense:  Magnetic Field, Ghost Projector
  • Science Zeppelin:  The Daedalus, IAS Lord Protector of Bulls, IAS Prototype 51

Strategy:  everyone really needs to cycle through their card decks, but you’re especially good at it.  Take advantage of those extra draws to get your big attacks into your hand as often as possible.  Enlarge your zeppelin fleet quickly so that those extra cards can be used rather than discarded.  And use your ability to gain an extra BP per turn to ruthlessly eliminate cards that are potentially good for your enemies or bad for you.

Beware of those low-value mercenary cards going into your discard pile!  While you will occasionally get something useful, the fact that they are semi-random (based on what is inexpensive at the top of the various mercenary decks) means that you may get cards of limited utility that will clutter up your deck.  If this happens, purge them at the first opportunity.

JAQUELINE FROST

Payload Capability:  Attack:  4, Defense 6, Operations 3

Strongest Attack Form:  Cold

Weakest Defense:  Psychic/Explosive

Experimental Zeppelin ability:  When you play an Attack card on the zep, immediately draw two cards.

Experimental Weapon Attack Effect:  target must put all Fate cards in hand on top of Draw deck.

Experimental Weapon General Effect:  pay four Fate points less for the first card you buy this turn

Particularly Useful Cards:

  • Attack:  Cryo Suspensor, Inferno Rockets, Beta Wave Cannon, Einstein Cannon
  • Defense:  Magnetic Field, Phantom Cloak
  • Science Zeppelin:  none*

*Any of the Science Zeppelins are useful to Frost, but there isn’t one that is particularly useful to her.

Strategy:  you can purchase Mercenary cards less expensively than others once you get your x-weap out, and should concentrate on buying cards that enhance this capability.  This has two effects:  first, you will be able to get those expensive cards into your deck quickly, and second even lesser Fate Cards are useful to you.  Cards like the Midshipman and the Resourceful #2 that are of limited value to others once they can afford better operatives, remain useful in your hand.  Even a lowly 2-pt Fate card will allow you a 6-point buy when used in conjunction with your x-weap.  Used properly this ability can allow you to totally dominate the middle and end game, snatching up valuable resources  for peanuts as your opponents can only sit by enviously.  Unlike Gorilla Khan, however, your ability only works for your first purchase of the turn.  This, incidentally, makes Gorilla Khan a prime target for your x-weap,  Unlike Gorilla Khan, however, you need to worry less about clogging your deck with Fate cards, since even a few can go a long way.

GORILLA KHAN

Payload Capability:  Attack:  3, Defense 6, Operations 4

Strongest Attack Form:  Explosive

Weakest Defense:  Lightning/Cold

Experimental Zeppelin ability:  When you play an Operative card on the zep, immediately draw one Fate card.

Experimental Weapon Attack Effect:  target must discard two Action cards, you get one Battle Point.

Experimental Weapon General Effect:  draw one Fate card and add it to your hand.

Particularly Useful Cards:

  • Attack:  Topside Swivel Gun, Boarding Torpedo
  • Defense:  Ghost Projector, Swift Response, Bilithium Armor
  • Science Zeppelin:  The Prospero

Strategy:  You will be getting a lot of Fate draws, so keep a constant eye on the Mercenary decks to see what you can purchase.  Since your abilities put Fate cards into your hand, not your discard, you can and should use them immediately whenever possible.  Your exact strategy may vary from turn to turn depending on what purchase opportunities you have, but you should try extra-hard to get either your x-zep  as quickly as you can, then leverage the extra Fate cards to get the x-weap.  Once you have both, use your wealth to buy, buy, BUY!  Don’t let Fate cards stay in your Discard pile if you can help it – keep your economy rolling.  Note that because you purge after you buy, you can choose to purchase a card useful to your opponent, then immediately purge it.  Prestige zeppelins can also boost your score rapidly, and are a good buy towards the end of the game.  Finally, because you will be buying a lot of cards, you will have more control over when the game ends than Masterminds like Der Blitzman and the Walking Mind.  Beware of jamming up your deck with Fate cards, however.  All the Fate cards in the game won’t help you if your fleet is blown out of the sky.

THE WALKING MIND

Payload Capability:  Attack:  3, Defense 6, Operations 4

Strongest Attack Form:  Psychic

Weakest Defense:  Lightning/Explosive

Experimental Zeppelin ability:  Can’t be targeted

Experimental Weapon Attack Effect:  target must discard 1 highest cost Mercenary card.

Experimental Weapon General Effect:  take one Battle Point

Particularly Useful Cards:

  • Attack:  Delta-wave cannon, Insanity Ray, any atomic (particularly the Einstein Cannon)
  • Defense:  Bilithium Armor, Magnetic Field
  • Science Zeppelin:  the Daedalus, the Inflammable (if you invest in some high payload defense cards)

Strategy:  something to know from the outset – it is unlikely that you will ever match or exceed the other Masterminds economically.  You cannot cycle through your hand to get Fate cards as fast as Der Blitzman, you can’t buy things at a discount like Jacqueline Frost, and you don’t get bonus Fate cards like Gorilla Khan.  Trying to keep up with them in terms of the size and power of your fleet is a losing strategy.  Instead, you need to go the other way and concentrate on inexpensive, low-payload Mercenary cards.  Give serious consideration to turtling during the beginning of the game, concentrating on building up your defenses so others won’t consider you a worthwhile target.  Once you get your x-zep out, you can start peppering your foes with low-payload attacks.  Always keep an eye on what your opponents are buying.  If your x-weap is in your hand, attack a foe who just bought some high-value mercenary and force them to discard it, delaying their plans.  More than any other Mastermind you will benefit from buying up Atomic attacks, enabling you to hurt all your opponents at once.  Purging a card when you buy is not optional for you – always purge to keep your deck thin (ideally you should have only two more cards – your x-weap and x-zep – in your deck at the end of the game than you have at the beginning, though of course the cards themselves will be different).  This way you can overload one of your zeps for your infrequent large-payload attacks and get the both the the zep and your attack card back quickly.  Use that extra Battle Point ability of your x-weap to help control the tempo of the game and deny your foes resources.  And be particularly alert for players who seem to have jammed up their deck somehow – they are always your preferred targets.  Your victories will usually involve you coming from behind to sweep past the other players at the last minute for victory, so be prepared to hunker down and play for the long game.

All of the above are basic strategies tailored to the strengths of the individual Masterminds, but they are not automatic game winners.  Sometimes the cards will fall out in a certain way and you will need to change strategies mid-game in response to what you draw, or what your opponents are doing.  Sometimes a surprise move will catch your opponent napping.  But hopefully these strategies will help you play your Mastermind to its full potential, and make Zeppelin Attack more enjoyable.  

Now go forth and conquer the world!

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