Jackson Steve Illuminati The Game Of Conspiracy .pdf
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THE GAME OF CONSPIRACY
Game Design by STEVE JACKSON
With development by J. DAVID GEORGE | Cover DAVID MARTIN
Card illustrators JOHN GRIGNI, SHEA RYAN, DAN SMITH and
Basic Rules ..............2
CLIFFORD VANMETER | With additional coloring by BYRON TAYLOR
Object of the Game....................... 2
Beginning the Game ..................... 2
Sequence of Play........................... 2
The Groups.................................... 3
Alignment .................................. 3
Resistance .................................. 4
Income ....................................... 4
Special Abilities......................... 4
Actions .......................................... 4
Attacks .......................................... 4
Attack to Control....................... 4
Attack to Neutralize .................. 6
Attack to Destroy ...................... 6
Interference ................................... 7
Calling Off an Attack.................... 7
Transferring Money ...................... 7
Moving a Group............................ 7
Free Actions .................................. 7
Gifts and Trades ............................ 7
Transferring Groups .................. 7
Throwing the Game................... 8
When is a Deal Binding? .......... 8
Threats and Negotiations .............. 8
Special Cards ................................ 8
Eliminating a Player...................... 8
Leaving the Game ..................... 8
Winning the Game ........................ 8
Art director ALAIN H. DAWSON | Design and production by JACK ELMY
Print buyer MELISSA BRUNSON | Chief operations officer GENE SEABOLT
Special thanks go to David Martin (who first suggested doing a game about the Illuminati), Elisabeth Zakes
(for playtesting above and beyond the call of duty), and Draper and Susan Kauffman (for the play-by-mail version that illuminated the Post Office). Others who playtested or commented include Mike Arms, Norman Banduch,
Lynn Bell, Brad Bentz, Kenneth R. Brown, Eric Carver, Martin de Castongrene, David and Kris Cobb,
James Crouchet, Pat Cuney, Kathleen Donelson, David Dunham, Jim Gould, Kelly Grimes, Beverly Hale,
Scott Haring, Tracy Harms, Tim Kask, Rob Kirk, David Ladyman, Creede and Sharleen Lambard, Mara Lee,
Robert Lovelace, William Christopher Seth Affleck Asch Lowe, Billy Moore, Ray Morgan, Robert Niles,
Jim Norman, Will Norris, Clay Phennicie, Jay Rudin, Dave Seagraves, Jerry and Vicki Self, Chris Smith,
Monica Stephens, Kirk Tate, Jim Tomlinson, Allen Varney and Chris Zakes.
Thanks also to Chaosium, Inc., which holds the gaming rights to H.P. Lovecraft’s “Cthulhu mythos” stories,
for permitting us to mention Cthulhu in this game.
Copyright © 1982, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1999 by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. Illuminati and the All-Seeing
Pyramid are registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. All rights reserved. Fnord.
This game includes 8 Illuminati cards; 83 cards representing other Groups; 15
Special cards; 4 blank cards; 160 money tokens, representing megabucks (MB); two dice;
and this rulebook.
Advanced Rules ........9
Adjusting Game Length.................9
Hidden Illuminati ...........................9
Larger Games .................................9
The Power Structure ....................10
Capturing Several Groups
About the Illuminati .....................11
Illuminati Rules Summary ..........16
Number of Players
Illuminati is best for four to six players. You can play with three or even two, but this
limits the possibilities for diplomacy and negotiation. With seven or eight, some rule
changes will be needed to keep the game moving quickly (see p. 9).
This book has three sections: Basic Rules, Advanced Rules, and Strategy. You may
start by reading only the Basic Rules, leaving the rest until later. The Rules Summary on
the back page contains everything necessary to play.
Object of the Game
If it is a Special card, the player keeps it. He may place it
face-down or face-up (whichever he chooses) in front of
him. However, he must display the card; he can’t hide it in a
pocket. The other players do not have the right to know what
the card says, but they do have the right to know how many
Specials each player has.
3. Take two “actions,” as explained below.
4. Take any “free actions.” Free actions (also explained
below) do not count against the two actions a player is
allowed during each turn. Free actions may be taken before,
between, or after a player’s regular two actions.
5. Transfer money. Part or all of the contents of two treasuries may be moved to the treasuries of adjacent Groups.
See p. 7.
6. Take special-power actions. If the player is the
Gnomes of Zurich, this is the time when he may redistribute
his money between treasuries. If he is the Bermuda Triangle,
this is the time when he may reorganize his Power Structure.
Play continues counter-clockwise until a player (or
coalition of players) wins by achieving their Goals – see p.
16. As play develops, a game might look something like this:
The object of Illuminati is to take control of the world.
You start with a single Illuminati card, representing your
own secret conspiracy. During the game, you take over other
Groups (represented by cards). These Groups are added to
your Power Structure and do your bidding – unless a foe
takes them from you. You may win either by controlling
enough Groups, or by fulfilling the special goal of your own
Illuminati. See p. 8.
Beginning the Game
Remove the eight Illuminati cards from the deck; they
have dark backs to make them easy to find. Place them facedown on the table. Each player draws an Illuminati card,
places it face-up before him, and draws its indicated Income
from the bank, placing it on the card. Leftover Illuminati
cards are not used for the remainder of the game.
Shuffle the remaining cards (including Specials) and
place them face-down in the center of the table.
Turn four cards face-up and place them in the center of
the table. (If any Special cards are turned over, bury them in
the deck and turn over new Group cards to replace
them.) These four Groups are the original “uncontrolled Groups.”
Each player rolls two dice; the player with the
highest roll plays first. He follows the Sequence of
Play, below: he starts by collecting more income for
his Illuminati Group, turning over one card, and then
(probably) trying to take over an uncontrolled Group
with his Illuminati. And the race for world control is
Sequence of Play
Play proceeds in turns. On his turn, a player does
1. Collect Income. For each Group that has an
Income, draw that income from the bank. Put the
money directly on that card (the Group treasury).
Hint: The game will go faster if players count up
their Income before their turn starts, and have it
ready beside each Group card. Money should not be
placed on the card until that player’s turn actually
A player may stack his money so only the top
one can be seen, or spread them out to flaunt his
2. Draw a card. If the card is a Group, it is placed
face-up in the center of the table, with the other
Figure 1. The game table. A – The deck of face-down
cards; B – Uncontrolled Groups; C –Pile of destroyed
Groups; D – Power Structures of the four players in the
game, each built around an Illuminati card; E – The bank.
There are ten possible political alignments. It is easier
for a Group to control or neutralize Groups with similar
alignments, and to destroy those of opposite alignments.
Some cards have one alignment, some have several, and a
few have none. Meanings of the alignments, for the purposes of this game, are:
Figure 2. A typical Power Structure. The center of
any Power Structure is the Illuminati card. Each player starts with one of the eight Illuminati cards; each is
different and has its own special abilities. In this
example, the Illuminati control three Groups directly:
the Democrats, the Congressional Wives, and the
South American Nazis. The South American Nazis
control two Groups: the KGB and the Cycle Gangs.
The Democrats control one Group: the Antiwar
Government – An arm of the U.S. government; its opposite
Communist – Inspired by the Soviets or Chinese or
Albanians or somebody; its opposite is Government.
Liberal – Politically “left,” whatever that means; its opposite
Conservative – Usually mad at the Liberals; its opposite is
Peaceful – Philosophically opposed to the use of force; its
opposite is Violent.
Violent – Armed and/or dangerous; not necessarily vicious;
its opposite is Peaceful.
Straight – Socially middle-of-the-road; Middle American;
its opposite is Weird.
Weird – Peculiar, offbeat, notably different from the neighbors; its opposite is Straight.
Criminal – Extorting money from citizens through force or
threat, and/or breaking the law professionally; there is
Fanatic – Adhering to a limited system of beliefs in defiance
of all others; any two Fanatic Groups are considered
“opposite” to each other.
The basic elements of Illuminati are the Group cards,
ranging from the Illuminati themselves to the Yuppies and
the Boy Sprouts. (Any resemblance to real organizations is
purely satirical in nature.) Each Group has certain characteristics. See Figure 3 below.
The Power number shown on the card is a measure of its
ability to dominate other Groups. The higher the number, the
greater the Power. If a Group has two numbers (for example:
7/4), the first number is its regular Power and the second
represents the portion of that Power which can be used to
assist another Group in an attack (Transferable Power).
Figure 3. The Mafia card. Each card, except for Illuminati, has
an arrow pointing inward (1). When a card becomes part of a
Power Structure, this arrow is placed next to the Group which controls it. There may also be one to three arrows pointing outward
(2). These arrows show the potential to control other Groups. The
Mafia, with three arrows pointing outward, is very powerful. If a
Group has no arrows pointing outward, it will have no Power at all.
The Group’s name (3) is at the top of the card. If it has any
special abilities, they will be listed just below (4). Its political
alignments will be shown at the lower right (5). Its characteristics
in terms of Power, Resistance, and Income are shown at the lower
A card with no Power cannot attack. A few Groups have
transferable power only (Power 0/1, for instance). This
means they cannot attack, but can help another Group
This is a measure of a Group’s ability to resist domination. The lower its Resistance, the easier it is to take over . . .
and the harder it is to protect when you control it.
The Illuminati Groups have no Resistance number,
because they cannot be attacked directly.
Money is measured in Megabucks (MB). At the beginning of your turn, each Group you control collects the
amount listed on its card. This income is placed directly on
that card, becoming part of the Group’s treasury. If a card
has no Income, it gets no money. Uncontrolled Groups get
Two cards have a special Income. The IRS gets its
Income by taxing each of the other players 2 MB on the
owning player’s turn. The Post Office costs 1 MB per turn to
control (paid by their master or their Illuminati).
soon as you take over the Cycle Gangs, and is lost as soon
as you lose them. A Group may give a bonus on “any attempt
to control,” even if it has no outgoing arrows.
Other abilities apply only to the card itself. For instance,
the Mafia have a +3 to control any Criminal card. This
means you get a 3-point bonus when trying to take over a
Criminal Group with the Mafia. If you try to take over a
Criminal Group with another card, the fact that you hold the
Mafia makes no difference. Note, though, that a special
bonus like this is in addition to any regular bonus a Group
gets for alignment. The Mafia would also have a +4 bonus to
control other Criminal cards because its own alignment is
Criminal (see p. 5). Thus, it would have a total of +7 for control of other Criminal cards!
For oddball special abilities like that of the IRS, follow
the instructions on the card.
There are three types of actions: an attack, a money
transfer, and moving a Group. Each action must be completed before beginning another. A player may elect to take no
actions (not even free actions, free money transfers or special actions) and collect 5 MB for his Illuminati treasury
instead. Actions cannot be saved for later turns.
The most important actions in Illuminati are attacks. In
an attack, a Group uses its Power, and probably its money,
in an attempt to either control, neutralize, or destroy another
Illuminati cards themselves can attack, but cannot be
attacked. No Group, except the UFOs, can attack more than
once per turn.
Attack to Control
All Illuminati, and some other Groups, have “special
abilities” shown on their cards. There are two kinds of special abilities.
“Any attempt” abilities give an extra power to the holder of the card. Any attempt by that player to do that thing,
regardless of which Group tries it, will receive the indicated
bonus. For instance, if you control the Cycle Gangs, any
attempt you make to destroy another Group with any of your
Groups will get a +2 bonus. This ability comes to you as
This attack may be made against any other Group in
play except another Illuminati or a Group you already control. The attacking Group must have at least one outwardpointing arrow free. If a Group has no open outward-pointing arrow (either because all are being used or some are
blocked), it cannot attempt to control another Group.
To attack, the player announces which Group is attacking, which one is being attacked, and the type of attack.
(Example: “The KKK, assisted by the CIA, will attempt to
control the Yuppies.”)
The success of the attack is determined by rolling two
dice. To find the roll required for a successful attack, subtract the defending Group’s Resistance from the attacking
Group’s Power. Example: If a Power of 6 attacks a
Resistance of 2, it can succeed only on a roll of 4 or less. If
a Power of 10 attacked that same Resistance of 2, it would
succeed on an 8 or less, giving it a much better chance.
Automatic Failure. A roll of 11 or 12 results in automatic failure of the attack, no matter how much Power was
Aiding Attacks. All Illuminati, and some other Groups,
have transferable power. If a Group has two Power numbers
separated by a slash (like 5/2), the second number is its
transferable power. If a Group does not attack during a turn,
it may use its transferable power to aid an attack made by
any other Group in its Power Structure.
Any number of Groups may aid one attack by adding
Transferable Power. However, any one Group may participate in only one attack per turn. (Exception: The Special
Ability of the UFOs lets them participate in two attacks per
turn.) Example: A Group with a power of 6, aided by another Group with a transferable power of 4, is attacking a Group
with a resistance of 3. The attacker has a total power of 10
(6 plus 4), and will have to roll a 7 or less (10 minus 3) to
When an attack is announced, all transferable power to
be used in that attack must be announced before any money
is spent (see below) to support the attack. No transferable
power may be added in the middle of the attack.
Alignment of the Group(s) transferring power does not
Power Structure Position. If a Group is already controlled by an opponent, it may be harder to control. The closer it is to the Illuminati who control it, the more of a bonus
it gets to Resistance (or to Power if someone tries to destroy
it). If it is adjacent, it gets a +10! If it is one Group away, it
gets a +5. If it is two Groups away, it gets a +2.
Figure 4. Resistance bonuses for location in power structure. Note that Groups
more than 3 away from the Illuminati get
no bonus at all.
Alignments. The alignments of the attacking and defending Groups are also important. Identical alignments make
control easier; opposed alignments make it harder. If the
Groups have any identical alignments, add 4 to the attacker’s effective Power for each identical alignment. If they
have any opposite alignments, subtract 4 for each.
Example: A Weird, Communist Group is trying to control a
Straight, Government Group. Two sets of opposite alignments subtract 8 from the attacking power on this attack.
Special Powers. Some Groups’ special powers (shown
on the card) will help them attack or defend against certain
Spending Money To Attack. The attacker may also
improve his chances by using some of his money in the
attack. Each MB spent (returned to the bank) adds one point
of Power to that attack. However, all Transferable Power to
be used must be added and announced before any money is
Attacking money may be spent from both the attacking
Group’s treasury and the Illuminati treasury. Other Groups
in the Power Structure cannot spend money to aid the attack.
Example: In the instance above, the attacker was afraid he
might not roll a 7 or less. So he spent 3 MB. Now he needs
to roll a 10 or less, which is much easier.
Once the roll needed to succeed has reached 10, additional spending will not improve the attacker’s odds; an 11
or 12 always fails. But additional money or power can still
be useful. For instance, if an attacker uses enough money
and power to exceed the target’s resistance by 20, the
defender would have to spend 20 MB to get the attacking
roll back down to zero again!
Spending Money To Defend. If the defending Group is
controlled by another player, the defender may counter an
attack by spending some of his own money. Resistance to
that attack will increase by two for each MB spent from the
defending Group’s treasury, and by one for each MB spent
from his Illuminati treasury. Other Groups cannot participate. All money spent goes immediately to the bank.
Example: In the instance above, the defender has 3 MB on
the defending Group. He spends it all. It counts double, so
instead of a 10, the attacker now needs to roll a 4. The
attacker may then commit more money to offset the defender’s spending.
their own master, that they had originally. If that is not possible because of overlaps with cards the attacker already has,
he may rearrange any new cards that overlap, as long as they
are still controlled by the same Group. New Groups which
still cannot fit are dropped and become uncontrolled.
Half of the money remaining in the captured Groups’
treasuries (round down) goes with them to the new owner;
the rest is returned to the bank.
The Group which attacked may immediately transfer
any or all of its treasury to the Group it just captured. This is
not a separate action, but is considered part of the attack.
Such a transfer is often a good idea, either to protect the new
Group from attack or to let it mount an attack of its own.
If a player’s first action is an attack, and it fails, the player may attack the same Group again as his second action.
However, no individual Group (except the UFOs) may
attack twice in a turn.
A newly-controlled Group may attack (or aid an attack,
or use its special ability) on the same turn in which it was
Attack to Neutralize
This is identical to an “Attack to Control” except:
1. The target must be a Group that is already controlled
by another player.
2. The attacker gains an additional +6 bonus.
3. If the attack succeeds, the target Group and any subordinates are placed in the uncontrolled area. All their
money is returned to the bank.
Attack to Destroy
Continued Spending. The attacker and defender can
each go back and forth, putting in more money, as long as
they are able. When no player is willing to spend more
money to affect the attack, the dice are rolled to determine
the result. Remember: a roll of 11 or 12 results in automatic failure, no matter how much power or money is used in
Results Of The Attack. If the attack fails, the defending
Group remains where it was.
If an Attack to Control is successful, the target Group is
captured and added to the attacking player’s Power
Structure. It is placed next to its captor, with its inwardpointing arrow next to an outward-pointing arrow of the capturing Group, which becomes its new “master.” The controlled Group is now called a “puppet.” Puppets may then
capture puppets of their own, and so on!
It does not matter if a card is upside-down or sideways,
as long as the arrows line up properly.
If the captured Group already had puppets of its own,
they are also captured. When placed in the attacker’s Power
Structure, they should keep the same position, relative to
This is identical to an “Attack to Control” except:
1. Instead of rolling “Power minus Resistance,” the
attacker rolls “Power minus Power.” In other words, the
defending Group defends with its Power rather than its
Resistance. (Its closeness to its Illuminati, as shown on p. 5,
still counts for defense.)
A Group with no Power cannot be destroyed except by
the Special card Whispering Campaign. The factors which
keep powerless Groups from organizing enough to control
other Groups also make them too diffuse to wipe out.
2. Groups with different philosophies destroy each other
more easily. An Attack to Destroy gets a +4 bonus for every
opposite alignment, and a -4 for every identical alignment.
3. A Group does not need an open control arrow in order
to attempt destruction.
4. If the attack succeeds, the target Group goes to the
“dead pile.” Its subordinate Groups are not destroyed, but
become uncontrolled. It can be revived only by the Special
card Media Campaign.
5. You may try to destroy a Group you already control.
In this case, the target’s closeness to its Illuminati does not
protect it. But no Group may attack itself, or aid an attempt
to destroy itself!
Moving a Group
A player may, as an action, reorganize his Power
Structure by moving a Group to a vacant outgoing control
arrow. The new control arrow may be on the Group’s master, or any other Group the player controls. If the moving
Group has any puppets, then they (and their own puppets,
and so on) are also moved.
Cards may not overlap. If moving a Group would cause
some of its puppets (or theirs) to overlap, any of them may
also be moved to different control arrows, as long as they
are still controlled by the same master. Any puppet that cannot be prevented from overlapping is lost. It, and its own
puppets, are returned to the uncontrolled area.
A player may interfere in an attack, either by helping the
attacker or by opposing him. To do so, he announces who he
will help, and then contributes money from his Illuminati
treasury only. This money goes to the bank. It affects the
needed die roll by 1 for each MB spent.
An attacker may prevent Interference by declaring an
attack “Privileged.” To do this, he must discard any one
Special card and call “Privilege!” when first declaring the
attack. No one can interfere either for or against a Privileged
The Bavarian Illuminati have the Special Ability to
declare one attack per turn Privileged, at the cost of 5 MB
payable from their Illuminati treasury. If that player wishes
to use his Special Ability, he must declare the Privilege and
pay the 5 MB when he first announces the attack.
Privilege may be abolished only by use of the Special
card Interference. If the Privilege is abolished, it cannot be
reinstated on that attack.
Calling Off An Attack
After a player announces an attack, he can change his
mind and call it off – until he puts some money down. Once
he actually takes money from his treasury and puts it in the
bank, the attack is committed. It must be played out, and it
does count as an action.
If the attacker spends no money, the attack is committed
when another player spends money (either for or against
him) or when the attacker rolls the dice.
A Group may, as an action, transfer any of its money to
an adjacent Group – either its master, or a puppet. A player
may make two money transfers as part of his turn (Sequence
of Play, p. 2). But if necessary, he can also make a transfer
as a regular action. By successive transfers, the same money
may be moved two or more Groups in one turn.
Some things may be done during the “action” part of a
turn without counting as “actions.” These include:
Dropping Groups – removing a Group from your Power
Structure and returning it to the uncontrolled area. (Its puppets must also become uncontrolled.)
Aiding an attack – using Transferable Power to assist
another Group. This counts as part of the attack being aided.
Giving away a Special card or money – this may be done
at any time, not just during your turn. Money may be transferred only between Illuminati treasuries when it goes to
Using a Special card – follow the instructions on the
card. (Exception: Using the Bribery card is a regular action.)
Gifts and Trades
Groups, special cards, and money may be transferred
between players: traded, sold (that is, traded for money) or
given away. Cash or special cards may be transferred any
time (except when a privileged attack is under way). This
does not count as an action. When cash is transferred, it must
come from an Illuminati card and go to another one. Other
Groups cannot give their money to another player, or receive
money from another player.
Groups may only be transferred if it is the turn of one of
the players involved. On your turn, you may give a Group
away (even if you get nothing in return), sell or trade it, or
trade something (cash, cards or Groups) to get a Group or
Groups in return. Each Group exchanged counts as an action
for the player whose turn it is, whichever way the Group
moves. So if you trade a Group for a Group on your turn,
that counts as two actions – one to move the first Group, one
to move the second one!
You may only give a Group away with the permission of
the player who receives it!
the game. For some suggestions, see the Advanced Rules
section on the next page.
In particular, it is perfectly legal to to try to change an
opponent’s mind, by promises or threats, about his planned
When a Group is transferred to another player, its puppets (if any) must go with it, along with all treasuries
involved. The player receiving the Group must immediately
fit it, and its puppets, into his power structure, exactly as for
moved or captured Groups – see above. If overlaps cannot
be avoided, the player must eliminate them by choosing one
or more overlapping card, new or old, to become uncontrolled.
Throwing the Game
No player may simply “throw” the game to another by
giving them enough Groups, money, etc. to let them win. A
trade that lets both players win is perfectly legal. It is also
legal to trade with another player at the beginning of your
turn and then surprise everyone, including the person you
traded with, by revealing a special card or pulling off an
This prohibition requires a certain amount of interpretation and honor among players. The intent is just to keep any
one player from, for whatever reason, giving away the game
in one fell swoop. A losing player cannot necessarily just
decide who will win. (On the other hand, by attacking someone, they may very well decide who loses.)
When Is A Deal Binding?
When two players agree to a deal, it is binding if they
make the exchange immediately. A deal is not binding if it
involves an exchange of one thing now for something in the
future. Example: If you say “I’ll give you 10 MB for the Boy
Sprouts, right now,” and the other player gives you the Boy
Sprouts, you have to pay. But if you say “If you give me the
Boy Sprouts next turn, I’ll pay you 10 MB next turn,” and
he gives you the Group, you don’t have to pay next turn,
unless you want to!
Threats and Negotiations
Any agreement between players, secret or otherwise, is
permitted as long as it does not actually violate the rules of
Each of these cards gives an advantage to the player who
draws it. They may be kept face-down or shown, as the player wishes. But he must keep them spread so other players
can see how many cards he has. Special cards may be traded, sold, or given away at any time; this is a free action.
Each Special card may be used only once; some may be
used at any time, and others may be used only as part of a
specified action. After a card is used, it discarded.
Any special card may also be used to make an attack
“privileged” – see above. But only the Deep Agent card can
If two cards are played and one contradicts the other (for
example, Assassination and Murphy’s Law), the last card
played is the one that governs.
Eliminating a Player
A player is eliminated if, at any time after his third turn,
he controls no Groups except his Illuminati. His money goes
to the bank. Exception: If the Servants of Cthulhu destroy
their own last Group, and in doing so, achieve their Special
Goal (eight Groups destroyed) they are not destroyed themselves . . . they win!
Leaving the Game
If a player drops out, his Groups go uncontrolled and
their treasuries go to the bank. His Illuminati card is taken
out of play.
Winning the Game
The game ends when, at the end of a turn (his own or
someone else’s) a player meets one of his Goals. If two or
more players both meet their Goals at the same time, they
share the victory, dividing the world between them.
The Basic Goal is the same for all players: to control a
certain number of Groups. This number depends on the
number of players at the beginning of the game. If a player
leaves or is eliminated, the number of Groups required to
win (see p. 16) does not change.
The Special Goal is another way a player can win. This
is different for each player, representing a specific goal or
aim of that particular Illuminati. A player wins if he meets
his Special Goal at the end of any turn.
All the Goals are listed on the back page, for easy reference.
These optional rules will provide you with many new
ways of playing Illuminati. Add them one at a time or in any
combination you like. The game may become as intricate
and complicated as you please. The choice is yours. Use
your power wisely . . .
Adjusting Game Length
A game usually lasts from 1!/2 to 3 hours. For a longer
game, increase the number of Groups required for the Basic
For a very long game, ignore both the Basic and the
Special Goals and play until there are no cards left uncontrolled. Then add up the total Power of each player’s Groups,
plus 1 for each Group controlled. The winner is the player
with the highest score.
own Group – but he is never required to use all of his Power
or Income, or reveal his special power. (Anyone caught
cheating is out of the game!)
During the action phase of his turn, a player may make
an accusation against another player (for example, “I think
you’re Cthulhu”). This counts as one of the player’s two
actions, but does not count against any specific Group. An
incorrect accusation has no effect; a correct identification
forces the identified Illuminati to play face-up.
The advantage to being unidentified, of course, is that
your Special Goal is unknown to the other players. However,
once the UFOs are identified, they are played face-up, but
their true Goal remains unknown!
Alternative Rule: An unidentified Illuminati may legally
“overstate” his Power and/or Income by 1, until he is identified.
Each Illuminati Group has its normal special power, but
no Group (except the UFOs) has its normal Special Goal.
Instead, each player chooses one possible Goal from the list
and writes it down, just as the UFOs normally do. Increase
the UFOs’ Power by 1 to make up for the loss of one of their
Normally, no more than six should play at once. But
there are eight Illuminati cards. If you use them all, expect
the game to last at least three or four hours. For a sevenplayer game, the income of each Illuminati card should be
increased by 3 MB per turn. In an eight-player game,
increase Illuminati incomes by 5 MB per turn.
Each player keeps his Illuminati Group upside-down!
Only the player knows which Illuminati he controls. A player can only use the Power, Income, and special power of his
Some fiendish people think Illuminati is even more fun
when nothing – not even the bank – is sacred. In this variant
of the game, most forms of cheating are permitted.
1. You may not tip over the table or disarrange opposing
2. You may not bring in counterfeit money, or money
from other sets.
3. You may not cheat on the amount of money drawn
from the bank during setup or the Income phase. (This
would slow things down too much.)
Anything else goes. Anyone caught in the act must undo
that cheat. There is no other penalty.
Suggested methods for cheating include:
1. Accidentally misread the dice.
2. Steal from the bank (other than during the Income
3. Lie about the amount of Power or Resistance your
4. Stack the deck, or peek ahead.
5. If anyone leaves the table, anything goes!
We recommend you play the Cheating Game only with
very good friends, or with people you will never see again.
Conspiring for a shared victory may seem easier
than grabbing the whole pie. But be careful who you
When someone leaves the room, conspire against
him. There is almost always a way you can make your
positions a little bit better and his a little bit worse.
Negotiate with everyone. Your foes are less likely to attack you if they think you might make a deal
that will help them win.
To avoid being attacked, you should look strong
enough to defend yourself, but not so strong that you
are a threat.
Watch the other players constantly; keep track of
how close they are to their Goals. If they have Special
cards, they are more likely to be able to win in a single turn. Don’t count on other players to warn you of
danger; they may have made a private deal!
The Power Structure
There are many ways to assemble a Power
Structure from the Groups you control. Some ways
are better than others.
Figure 5. The player in this example will need to reorganize
The example given earlier in the rules (Figure 2,
his Power Structure – possibly wasting valuable time – before
p. 3) is a good Power Structure because it leaves sevlong. The player in Figure 2 (p. 3) is free to expand. Careful
eral control arrows open. Figure 5, to the right, shows
attention is necessary when adding or moving Groups.
another legal Power Structure, using exactly the same
Groups. This one, however, is a bad one – or at least,
less desirable. The Groups get in each other’s way!
Although the Illuminati have one unused control arrow,
3. A player threatens to destroy one of your Groups. You
that arrow is blocked – the Antiwar Activists are in the way.
think he can. You might try bribing him (in this case bribery
The Congressional Wives have one open control arrow and
is treated as a gift) to get him to attack someone else instead.
can take over another Group. The Democrats have two open
4. Two players agree to cooperate throughout the game
arrows, but only the end one can be used – the one on the
so that they both achieve their Goals at the same time – of
side is blocked by the Congressional Wives!
course, one may stab the other in the back!
Also, take care that your Power Structure is balanced. If
5. A player offers money to anybody who will attack his
all of your Groups branch from a single Illuminati control
arrow after the third turn, you are in great danger of being
6. Two or more players form a coalition to bring down a
eliminated in a single attack.
rival who is getting too near victory.
The possibilities are limited only by your own duplicity.
Remember, though, that money may be exchanged only
between Illuminati treasuries.
Deals can be made either openly or secretly. Some possible deals include:
1. The player who controls the IRS agrees to forego
another’s taxes in exchange for a promise from that player
not to attack him.
Protecting those Groups which control many puppets is
2. One player sees that another will achieve her Goal at
vitally important – you stand to lose greatly if one is taken
the end of the turn if he does not interfere. He might agree
from you. Equally true: A game can be won by a well-timed
not to interfere in exchange for a gift that will also satisfy his
strike at a Group that controls several puppets and fits well
own Goals, thereby sharing the victory.
into your power structure.
Capturing Several Groups
ABOUT THE ILLUMINATI
The Bavarian Illuminati
Formally known as the “Ancient Illuminated Seers of
Bavaria,” these are the original Illuminati. Many consider
them to be the prototype of all subversive secret societies.
They were indicted three times by the Spanish Inquisition
but largely protected by their vows of secrecy each time. In
1776 the Bavarians were thought to have infiltrated the
Freemasons, planning to conquer that organization from
Power and Goals: The Bavarians’ goal is simply raw
power. They can win by controlling Groups with a total
Power of 35 (including their own Power of 10). They are
subtler than the other Illuminati; their special ability lets
them make a privileged attack each turn at the cost of 5
Playing the Bavarian Illuminati: You have the highest
Power, a good Income, and a special power that makes it
hard for players to defend against you. Remember your
special power and use it! Furthermore, your Goal is directly related to the strength of your Power Structure. When you
build up your position in the game, you are also moving
directly toward your victory!
Your best strategy is to play firmly, but conservatively.
Don’t make waves or antagonize the other players. If they
combine against you, they can bring you down. If they leave
you alone, you have a good chance of moving steadily
toward victory – or toward a sudden coup, like taking over
a whole arm of someone else’s Power Structure, that will
give you the Power you need. The most desirable puppets
for the Bavarians are the high-powered Groups: the
Mafia, the International Communist Conspiracy, and so
Opposing the Bavarian Illuminati: Good luck! The
Bavarian Illuminati have no particular weak point. Your
best bet is to watch them carefully, playing on the other
Illuminati’s fear of the Bavarian power and abilities.
Together you may be able to bring him down, or at least
keep him too weak to win.
The Bermuda Triangle
Sinking ships is just a sideline with these people. Their
philosophy is to ensure control by taking over many different types of Groups. They are so shrouded in mystery
and fear that others are always taking the blame for the
unexplained happenings around their headquarters off the
Power and Goals: The Bermuda Triangle player has the
ability to reorganize his Power Structure freely at the end of
each turn. The Triangle wins by collecting at least one example of each of the ten different alignments. If a Group has
several alignments, it counts for each of them.
Playing The Triangle: Your enemies will be continually
looking over your shoulder, counting alignments. Once you
get six or seven, they’ll make it hard for you to add more.
Often your best bet is to deal with another player – an
exchange that gives you two or three Groups at once, sealing your victory, while giving him what he needs for his own
The Triangle is the most likely of all the Illuminati to
benefit from making a deal. Keep your lines of communication open, and always have a little spare cash and a Special
card or two, to improve your bargaining position.
Alternatively, if your enemies are obsessed with counting alignments and keeping you away from your special victory, you can make a quick stab at a regular victory. This
often works, and your rivals will hate themselves for letting
you get away with it.
The most desirable target for the Triangle are those combining many different alignments: the Semiconscious
Liberation Army is the biggest prize of all! And the Orbital
Mind Control Lasers can give you the victory by changing
an alignment at the right time.
Opposing The Triangle: First, make absolutely sure that
he doesn’t get the SLA. If you can, keep him away from the
IRS and KGB, too; though they have only two alignments
each, they are comparatively rare ones (and, unlike the SLA,
the Groups themselves are useful).
Pick one relatively rare alignment, like Communist or
Weird, and make sure that none are available for the Triangle
to pick up. The Discordians will happily help you keep the
Weird Groups out of circulation, but don’t let them get too
far with it!
The Triangle will want the Orbital Mind Control Lasers.
You must keep them out of his hands.
In general, watch the Bermuda Triangle closely, but
don’t just concentrate on how many alignments he has picked
up. Look at which ones he still needs. If he is still trying for
a Communist, he can be stopped. But if all he needs, for
instance, is a Violent Group, look out! There are Violent card
everywhere, and many of them are fairly easy to capture.
The Discordian Society
Worshippers of Eris, the Roman Goddess of Strife and
Chaos, they delight in confusion. The Discordians seek to
bring all the strange and peculiar elements of society under
their banner, and especially delight in confusing the
“straights” around them.
Power and Goals: The Discordians can win by controlling five Weird Groups, and they get an extra +4 on all
attempts to control such Groups. Because of their chaotic
nature, they are immune to attacks from Straight or
Government Groups. No Straight or Government Group
may attack the Discordian power structure in any way, or aid
such an attack.
Playing Discordia: Your special powers are of no use
offensively, and your Power and Income aren’t especially
good. But hang in there! The other Illuminati aren’t likely to
see you as a threat. Enlarge your Power Structure gradually,
picking up Weird card when you can. Be sure to get a couple of Groups with two or three control arrows, because few
of your Weirds will have any control arrows at all.
To reinforce your “harmless” impression, you may even
want to pass occasionally. By the time your foes see you as
a threat, you should be able to deal with them . . . and when
they attack, they will have to do it without some of their
most powerful Groups, because Straight and Government
Groups cannot affect you in any way.
The Secret Masters of Fandom (S.M.O.F.) and the
Science Fiction Fans are useful puppets for you.
Opposing Discordia: Since very few Weird Groups have
Power, they cannot be destroyed (except with the
Whispering Campaign card). The few Weird Groups that do
have power are very valuable to Discordia. Destroy them or
take them over yourself. The International Communist
Conspiracy, the Mafia, and the CFL-AIO, which are neither
Straight or Government, are good tools to use against the
When Discordia gets three Weird Groups, be careful.
When he gets four, act!
The Gnomes of Zurich
This is the old nickname for the Swiss bankers who are
reputed to be the money-masters of the world. Not only do
they have huge amounts of money, but they can transfer it
quickly and easily, and they have a finger in every financial
Power and Goals: The Gnomes may move money freely
among all their Groups at the end of a turn. They win by
amassing 150 megabucks – not just on their Illuminati, but
in the treasuries of their whole power structure.
Playing the Gnomes: Try to take control of high Income
cards like the IRS, the Multinational Oil Companies, the
Republicans, the Democrats, and the International Cocaine
Smugglers. However, if you openly move in on the superhigh Income Groups, your foes are likely to target you for
Trying for a larger number of moderately lucrative
Groups is often more productive. Your overall income will
be the same, and your Power Structure will be dispersed and
harder to hurt.
If you get the Market Manipulation card, hold it until
you can win at one stroke by cashing it in. Meanwhile, don’t
be reluctant to spend money when you need to. Don’t attack
indiscriminately, but defend your income-producing
Groups. If you lose them, you might as well give up.
Opposing The Gnomes: Keep track of their overall
income – the amount of money they make each turn. When
the Gnomes’ income gets to the 25-MB range, Zurich is
probably close to a victory. Attack! A coalition is probably
your only chance; attack either to control or to neutralize,
even if the attacks are hopeless, to bleed the Gnomes’ treasury. Attack puppets that don’t have much money in their
own treasuries, to make it more expensive to defend them.
Whenever they try to make a deal, demand that they give
you more money “because they are so rich.”
The longer the game runs, the richer the Gnomes get. To
stop them, play aggressively.
Some say the Network is a conspiracy of the world’s
computer programmers; others believe that the programmers
are merely the pawns, and the computers themselves have
taken over. Either way, they are rich and powerful, and they
are probably watching you right now. The Network knows
everything, and it knows it first.
Power and Goals: The Network player draws two cards
every turn. The Network can win by collecting 25 points
worth of transferable power, including its own 7 points.
Playing The Network: Your special ability is a very good
one. It increases your chance of getting good cards of all
kinds. Try to keep at least one Special card in your hand;
these cards can provide excellent bargaining leverage.
However, your Special Goal is tough, since few Groups
have a high Transferable Power, and such Groups are valuable to everyone. Often your best bet is a regular victory,
unless the right Groups come up, but this is easier for you
than for some of your foes.
Opposing The Network: Don’t destroy Groups with
Transferable Power (unless you’re Cthulhu); take them over,
protect them, and use them. Maybe you can sell one to the
Network for more than it’s worth. If he gets several Special
cards in his hand, you can make the other players paranoid
about them and put together a coalition. Otherwise, try to
play him off against Bavaria, who will be after many of the
The Network has an extra advantage in a game with
inexperienced players, who are less likely to go after the
Groups with transferable power.
The Servants of Cthulhu
These are the students of those things man was not
meant to know. They seek to master arcane powers and inhuman forces, though they risk their own lives and souls.
Power and Goals: The Servants of Cthulhu seek to
destroy, and they are good at it; this player gets an extra +2
on any attempt to destroy any Group! Their objective in the
game is to destroy eight other Groups. If they knock another Illuminati out of the game by taking away its last Group,
the destroyed Illuminati counts toward their total, too.
Playing Cthulhu: Start destroying Groups early, or
you’ll never get your goal of eight – but don’t overdo it.
Whenever the other players want a Group destroyed (especially early in the game, when your Goal is far away and you
don’t look dangerous), offer to do their dirty work for them.
If they will help pay for the destruction, so much the better!
And, if you have a chance to eliminate another player entirely, the rest of the Illuminati will probably help you, even
though the destruction counts toward your own Goal. After
all, knocking someone out of the game helps everyone else.
After you destroy six or seven Groups, the other players
may get so paranoid about your Special Goal that they will
lose track of the number of Groups you control – letting you
win an easy regular victory.
Take over a couple of low-power Groups instead of
destroying them; you can use their income during the game,
and later, when you need more victims, there they are!
To make your job of destruction easier, you need Groups
with money and power. Also useful are those Groups that
give their possessor a bonus to destroy (like the Cycle Gangs
and the Semiconscious Liberation Army). But don’t go out
of your way to take one – they’re not that much better than
a Transferable Power Group, and they make you look dangerous. Remember that if you knock a foe out of the game,
by capturing, neutralizing or destroying his last Group, the
destroyed Illuminati counts as a kill!
Opposing Cthulhu: Start while he’s small; when he gets
powerful, it will be too late for anything but luck to help you.
There are two strategies you can use.
The first is to take away his prey . . . a Group cannot be
destroyed if it’s already gone! When a low-power Group
comes up, grab it and protect it if it is useful; if the Group is
not useful, destroy it yourself before Cthulhu can get to it.
Alternatively, you can conspire with the other players to
deliberately leave low-power Groups vulnerable. If Cthulhu
spends his first few turns gleefully killing small fry, he won’t
be controlling very much . . . and he can be eliminated completely by a concerted attack on the fourth or fifth turn, just
when he thinks victory is within his tentacles.
The Society of Assassins
Arising in the Middle East, the Assassins were a secret
order of the Ismailite sect of Muslims. They attained the
height of their power during the Middle Ages but continue
even today. Often they do not need to act . .
. the mere hint of their displeasure is enough
to intimidate a foe. The ancient warning of
the Assassins, the dagger left on a rival’s
pillow, has made kings tremble.
Power and Goals: They win if they control six Violent Groups. Their special ability
is an extra +4 on any attempt to neutralize
Playing The Assassins: Your special
ability is purely an offensive weapon. Use it
sparingly; it is a powerful threat. Others are
likely to support you in an attempt to neutralize, since you don’t benefit directly. (Of
course, you can neutralize a Group, and then
attempt to control it!) Your foes may even
be willing to bribe you to leave them alone.
To win, you need Violent cards. Build
up a reserve of cash to increase your
chances of getting good Violent Groups
when they come along, and of keeping them after you get
them. Your very best cards are those that, like Texas and the
Mafia, are both powerful and Violent.
Opposing The Assassins: Whatever you do, don’t let the
Assassins single you out as a foe! With their ability to neutralize, they are a very dangerous enemy. Offer to help them
in an attempt to neutralize someone else’s Groups; that way,
the Assassins don’t benefit directly, injure someone else, and
make enemies elsewhere.
A subtle and powerful Group, the Assassins are best
opposed with guile and indirection. You may be tempted to
destroy Violent cards – but be careful; this a very obvious
ploy. Watch their Power Structure. Once they get five
Violent Groups, it is time to abandon subtlety and attack.
Are they creatures from outer space, or human superscientists? No one knows. These are the most elusive of all
the Illuminati. Their aims are shrouded in secrecy and
Power and Goals: The UFOs’ advantage is speed; this
Illuminati Group may attack (or aid an attack) twice per turn.
No other Group may do this. Their Special Goal is chosen by
the UFO player himself, at the beginning of the game. He
picks any of the other seven Goals and writes it on a piece
of paper, secretly. He may reveal it at any time, but will usually not do so until he has achieved it!
Playing The UFOs: Your biggest advantage is that your
opponents don’t know what you’re trying to do. Keep them
guessing! Destroy a Group or two to make them wonder if
you’re really Cthulhu (and to keep the real Cthulhu from
getting them). Money is always useful, and a big pile of it
will make them wonder if you’re Zurich. Take over a couple
of Weird Groups, and you’ve made
Discordia’s life miserable. And so on.
If you need an extra negotiating
tool, you can offer to tell what your
Special Goal really is. You might
even tell the truth!
Your special ability to act twice
can be very powerful if used properly. Rather than acting directly, you
may want to let the UFOs aid twice a
turn, adding their power to that of
other powerful Groups in your control, for devastating attacks that don’t
cost much money.
Opposing The UFOs: First, you
have to figure out what they are
doing. Watch carefully! Then proceed as indicated for that particular
Goal. If you see that the UFOs are
very close to any Goal, start worrying. In the meantime, try to keep them away from Groups
with especially high Power or Income, just on general
onspiracy is an ancient pastime; so is the study of
conspiracy. Secrecy in itself is harmless, but it
always attracts attention. And many “known”
secret groups are powerful indeed! Try to envision
the criminal world without the Mafia, the American civil
rights movement without the Ku Klux Klan, or an American
college campus without Greek-letter societies. An estimated
15 million Americans are involved in secret (or at
least secretive) groups of one kind or another.
A number of excellent sources are available for those wishing more information
about (a) the Illuminati; (b) people who
believe in them; and (c) people who
enjoy leaving false trails to confuse people who believe in the Illuminati.
Any good encyclopedia will include
articles on the historical Society of
Assassins, Bavarian Illuminati, and
Freemasonry, and the connections, known
and speculative, between them.
The Illuminatus! trilogy, by Robert Shea and
Robert Anton Wilson, is required reading for any conspiracy buff. Wilson is this century’s foremost public authority on the Illuminati, though his books conceal their information within great masses of humor, lies, and philosophical
speculation. His Schrodinger’s Cat trilogy is entertaining but
relatively uninformative. Cosmic Trigger (Final Secret of the
Illuminati) is scientific/philosophical commentary, laced
with discussion of conspiracy and Strange Coincidence.
Masks of the Illuminati is fictionalized history (or historicized fiction).
More recently, Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum
illustrates the folly of looking too deeply into any conspiracy . . . or into your own mind.
A History of Secret Societies, by “Arkon Daraul,” is an
interesting primer, discussing many Illuminated, pseudoIlluminated, and totally unconnected Groups. It should not
be taken as gospel, but makes a good research guide.
The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon, is a classic
study of alienation (and a lot of fun!). If one accepts the
Illuminati, can the sinister minions of Tristero be far behind?
What Pynchon does not say here is far more important than
what he does.
Principia Discordia, by “Malaclypse the Younger,” is
the bible of Discordianism. More entertaining than most
holy books, it also contains a number of interesting truths,
not all of which were intended by the authors. SJ Games
publishes an edition of the Principia, and will gleefully sell
you a copy!
The Illuminoids, by Neal Wilgus, is an examination, not
of the Illuminati themselves, but of the men and women who
study and believe in the various conspiracy theories.
Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard
Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, argues that an unrevealed conspiracy has, in fact, been working among us for 2,000 years.
That’s all I’m allowed to say.
Alan Moore’s brilliant graphic novel Watchmen
mingles superheroics with conspiracy. Power can indeed
corrupt, no matter what its nature.
World Revolution, by Nesta H. Webster, is a
turgid text written by a woman who was chasing
Illuminati long before most of us were born.
She takes the Bavarian Illuminati very seriously, citing them as the guiding force
behind Communism, the French
Revolution, and so on. A bigoted and
alarmist book, which strongly warns of
“the danger now threatening civilization.” Rare, but available in some large
Also from the 1920s, Charles Fort’s
The Book of the Damned and Lo! cite numerous cases of the strange and inexplicable: showers of frogs, vanishing men, impossible coincidences.
His favorite theme: factual reports suppressed by “authority”
because they cannot be explained. A typical conjecture:
“I think we’re property.”
Another early piece of conspiracy literature is the
Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This is an anti-Semitic hoax
first propounded early in this century; it purports to be the
minutes of the meetings of a Zionist conspiracy to (what
else?) take over the world. Oddly, many “conspiracy buffs”
still take the Protocols at face value.
Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of
Science contains detailed, if unsympathetic, treatments of a
number of “fringe” cults, pseudosciences, and peculiar phenomena. It could well inspire a reader to invent groups
stranger than anything in the game.
Finally, the writings of the survivalist/financial author
Howard Ruff contain many references to (or debunkings of)
modern theories of economic conspiracy. What really happened to silver prices in 1981-82? Why did the stock market
crash in 1987, and why doesn’t it crash now? Why does
inflation keep on inflating, and who benefits most?
Those who remain interested in the mystery of the
Illuminati will no doubt go on to more serious research
involving the works of Aleister Crowley, Abd al-Azrad,
Tirion Palantir, “Bob” Dobbs, O.K. Ravenhurst, Kilgore
Trout, and so on. Please don’t write to tell me what you
learn. I don’t want to know. And don’t blame me if you vanish on some foggy night, never to be seen again. After all,
it’s just a game . . . isn’t it? Fnord.
– Steve Jackson
ILLUMINATI RULES SUMMARY
Government is the opposite of Communist.
Liberal is the opposite of Conservative.
Peaceful is the opposite of Violent.
Straight is the opposite of Weird.
Criminal has no opposite alignment.
Fanatic – Any two Fanatic Groups are considered “opposite” to each other.
SEQUENCE OF PLAY
Play goes counter-clockwise around the table.
1. Collect income on all cards that have an Income
2. Draw a card. If it is a Special card, the player keeps
it. If the card is a Group, it is placed face-up in the
3. Take two “actions.” See list, below.
4. Take any “free actions.” These do not count against
the two actions allowed during each turn. They may
be taken before, between, or after the two regular
actions. See below for list.
5. Transfer money. Part or all of any Group’s money
may be moved to an adjacent Group. Two money
transfers are allowed per turn.
6. Take special-power actions.
Regular Actions: Attack a Group (to control, neutralize, or
destroy); Transfer money; Move a Group; Give a Group
Free Actions: Drop a Group; Give away money or Specials;
Use a Special (Exception: Bribery is a regular action.)
Passing: A player may choose not to take any actions of any
sort and collect 5MB instead.
Attack to Control. Defending Group’s Resistance is subtracted from attacking Group’s Power, including any
Transferable Power from other Groups aiding in the attack.
Only members of attacker’s own Power Structure can aid the
Modify this number for attacker’s or defender’s special
powers, for money spent by both sides, and for other factors
Using two dice, attacker must roll this number or less. A
roll of 11 or 12 is an automatic failure.
Same alignment (e.g., Weird vs. Weird) . . . . . . . . . . . . +4
Opposite alignment (e.g., Straight vs. Weird). . . . . . . . . -4
Each Megabuck (MB) spent by attacker . . . . . . . . . . . . +1
Each MB spent by defending Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -2
Each MB spent by defender’s Illuminati . . . . . . . . . . . . -1
Each MB spent by other players to Interfere . . . . . . . . . -1
Each MB spent by other players to Assist. . . . . . . . . . . +1
Defending Group is controlled directly by Illuminati . . -10
Defending Group is 1 Group away from Illuminati . . . . -5
Defending Group is 2 Groups away from Illuminati . . . -2
Attack to Neutralize. As above, except that attacker
receives a +6 bonus.
Attack to Destroy. As above except:
1. Roll “Power minus Power,” instead of “Power minus
2. +4 for opposite alignment; -4 for identical.
3. Attacking Group does not need an open control arrow.
Groups to be controlled, including Illuminati
2 or 3 players (not recommended). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
4 players. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
5 players. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
6 players . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
7 or 8 players (not recommended) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Bavarian Illuminati. Control Groups with a total power of
35 or more (including their own Power of 10).
Bermuda Triangle. Control at least one Group of each alignment. A Group with more than one alignment counts for
each of its alignments.
Discordian Society. Control 5 Weird Groups.
Gnomes of Zurich. Collect 150 megabucks (in the whole
Power Structure’s treasuries).
The Network. Control Groups with a total Transferable
Power of 25 (including their own 7).
Servants of Cthulhu. Destroy eight Groups.
Society of Assassins. Control six Violent Groups.
UFOs. At the beginning of the game, after players choose
their Illuminati, the UFO player picks one of the seven
Special Goals listed above. He writes it down, keeping
it secret from the other players.
Beginning the Game................2
Turn Sequence ........................2
“Any Time” Moves .................3
Action Tokens ..........................3
Illuminati Action Tokens ........3
Power Structures ......................4
In Play vs. Just Played.............4
The Cards .................................4
Resource Cards .......................7
Attack to Control.....................8
Automatic Failure ..................8
Aiding or Opposing Attacks ..8
Global Power .........................8
Using Plots and Abilities .......9
Resistance to Control .............9
Resolving the Attack..............9
Results of Attack to Control.10
Attack to Destroy ..................10
Hidden Agents ......................10
Limits on Attacks ..................11
Instant Attacks .....................11
Devastation and Relief .........12
Moving Groups ......................12
Gifts and Trades .....................12
Throwing Away Cards .........13
New World Order Cards .......13
Illegal Links .........................14
The Cards Remember... .......15
Cancellations, Illegal Actions,
& Other Surprises ..........15
The Endgame .........................15
Eliminating a Player..............15
Winning the Game ................16
The Perfect Deck...................17
Balanced Power Structures ...17
Threats and Negotiation ........17
Glossary of Terms ..................18
Game Support ........................19
Rules Update ..........................19
World Domination Handbook Version 1.2 — January 2002
(Revised from WDH v1.1 by Steve Brinich, with assistance and feedback from the Online Illuminati.)
Card back designs by Derek Pearcy, from a painting by David Martin.
Graphic design by Derek Pearcy and Jeff Koke (cards), Monica Stephens (rules).
Card illustrations by Dan Smith, Shea Ryan, and John Kovalic.
UFOs design by Bill Barker.
Additional card art by Rick Harris, Ruth Thompson and Gary Washington.
Cards colored by Derek Pearcy, Jeff Koke and Rick Martin.
Playtesters and Rules Readers: Lots of people, but especially Mike Ford, Monica Stephens, Scott Haring, Jim McCoy,
Jim Oldland, Lillian Butler, ORC, and the Online Illuminati...
Copyright © 1982, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2002 by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. Illuminati and the allseeing pyramid are registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games Incorporated. All rights reserved. The Servants of
Cthulhu appear by courtesy of those illuminated folks at Chaosium, Inc., publishers of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying
This is a work of political and social satire. Any resemblance to real persons, places, events or organizations, living,
dead or whatever, other than with satirical intent, is coincidental.
Use of trademarks is not intended as a challenge to their ownership or validity.
The World Is Stranger Than You Think...
Everything that you read in the tabloids is true. The telephone company is
controlled by the Moonies. The Congressional Wives have taken over the Pentagon.
The Druids are casting spells to destroy the IRS. Hitler is still alive... or at least his
brain is, in a jar... and you wouldn’t believe where it’s hidden. Mad scientists are
building Orbital Mind Control Lasers... aimed at you!
You’ve always known it. Secret conspiracies are everywhere. They’re out to get
you — unless you get them first.
Now you are one of the Illuminati, the “secret masters” competing to take over the
world. World leaders, multinational corporations, and entire nations are merely your
pawns. The outcome is never certain until the final double-cross...
What’s in the Mysterious Little Box?
This is a game for 2 to 6 players. The Illuminati: New World Order (INWO)
starter set includes this rulebook and two boxes of 55 cards. You can get Booster
Packs and boxed sets of cards to add to your collection.
You’ll need two 6-sided dice. Each player also needs about 15 “Action tokens”
(glass pebbles are good) and a few pairs of distinctive markers for “links.” And, of
course, the drive and cunning to walk over your friends in your quest for world
The World Is At Your Feet...
INWO can be played two ways:
Head-to-head, with two players: It’s all in who builds the best deck, makes the best
plan, and takes best advantage of circumstances. Go for the throat! A two-player
game takes 30 minutes to an hour (see Two-Player Rules, p. 17).
In a group, with three to six players: Diplomacy, negotiation and guile are vital.
And be ready to defend against all your foes when you get close to winning. Length
of the game depends on how much time you spend negotiating before you attack;
typically, the game takes 20-30 minutes per player.
Object of the Game
The object of Illuminati is to control the world. You start with a single Illuminati
card, representing your own secret conspiracy. During the game, you will add other
Groups to your Power Structure, and perhaps take Groups away from rival Power
Structures. You can use Plot cards to advance your own position or harass your foes.
You may win by controlling enough Groups, or by fulfilling the special goal of
your own Illuminati, or by meeting the objectives on a Goal card. Or, of course, by
destroying all of your foes!
time at no cost) do not affect a rival who has not finished
his first turn.
Exception: If someone attacks you during his first turn,
you are free to respond against that player in any way
Beginning the Game
(1) Each player must have his own 45-card (including
your Illuminati) INWO deck. The relative number of
Plot cards (cards with a hand on the back) and Group
cards (cards with a puppet on the back) in your deck is
up to you; typically, a strong deck will have 12-20 Group
cards and 24-32 Plot cards. Designing a strong deck,
with cards that enhance each other’s strengths and cover
for each other’s weaknesses, will help you win.
(2) Each player divides his cards into a Plot deck and a
Group deck. The Plot deck will include Plots (cards with
blue backgrounds or blue title text) and possibly extra
Illuminati cards (cards with black backgrounds and four
outgoing control arrows). The Group deck will include
Groups (cards with red backgrounds or red title text) and
usually Resources (cards with purple backgrounds or
purple title text).
(3) Each player puts his starting Illuminati card on the
table face down. Once everyone’s Illuminati card is on
the table, flip them face up. Note: In some games, more
than one player has the same type of Illuminati... which
means they represent different factions of the same
conspiracy (see Duplicate Cards, p. 14).
(4) Each player shuffles his Plot deck and draws three
Plot cards for his starting hand. You may look at your
cards, but you cannot play any of them until the game
actually begins. These are your first “hidden Plots.”
(5) Each player selects one Group from his deck as a
“lead” — the first puppet of his Illuminati. Each player
puts his lead on the table face down. Once everyone has
a card on the table, flip them face up. If two or more
players chose the same lead Group, put the duplicates
aside. Those players select new lead Groups that do not
duplicate any that have already been chosen. Continue
until everyone has a lead Group (or runs out of Groups).
Each player puts his lead Group on one of his Illuminati
control arrows (see Control Arrows, p. 6). You may not
lead with a Resource — it must be a Group!
(6) Each player shuffles his Group deck and draws six
Group cards (or the entire deck, whichever is less) for his
starting hand. Any duplicates that were put aside in the
previous step are shuffled back into the owner’s deck
after he draws his starting hand. From now on, you may
not look at, or trade, any of your undrawn cards — just
the ones in your hand.
(7) Each player rolls two dice. The one with the
highest roll goes first.
At the beginning of the game, you may not do anything
to a rival who has not yet completed his first turn! You
may not interfere with their attacks or target them with
any card (however, you may play cards that affect all
players, such as New World Order cards. The abilities of
your Groups and Resources (even ones that work all the
Each turn has the following steps:
Beginning of Turn
During this portion of your turn, you may only use
Action tokens to buy Plot cards, to power Plots or special
abilities that directly affect one of the Beginning of Turn
phases listed below, or in response to some other Plot,
special ability, or action. Plots and special abilities that
do not require an Action token are not affected by this
(1) Draw the top card from your Plot deck, if you
wish. At the same time, you may exchange Action
tokens on your Groups for additional Plot card draws
(see “Any Time” Moves, p. 3).
(2) Draw the top card from your Group deck, if you
(3) Make one automatic takeover, if you wish. Choose
any Group or Resource from your hand. You bring it into
play automatically — no die roll is required.
If you choose a Group, place it so its incoming control
arrow aligns with an outgoing control arrow in your
Power Structure, without overlapping any other Group
(see Control Arrows, p. 6). You may not duplicate a
Group already in play unless a card specifically allows it.
If you choose a Resource, put it beside your Power
Structure. You may not duplicate a Unique Resource
already in play unless a card specifically allows it.
(4) Place an Action token on each of your Groups that
doesn’t already have one (see Action Tokens, p. 3). Some
Resources (the ones that have the word “Action” at the
bottom) also get Action tokens.
(5) Attempt attacks or other Main Phase actions.
During the Main Phase of your turn, you may perform
these actions as many times as you like (except the ones
that say “once per turn”), in any order:
• Attack to control or destroy a Group: This uses an
action from the attacking Group. (See Attacks, p. 7)
• Move a Group to a different control arrow: You
may spend an action to move a Group during the Main
Phase of your own turn. A Group can be moved to
another player’s Power Structure during the Main Phase
of either player’s turn, if both players agree and one of
them pays the Action token cost. (See Moving Groups,
• Create or move links: Some special abilities work
with specific “linked” cards. (See Links, p. 14)
• Give or trade away a Resource you have in play:
You may give a rival one of your Resources during the
Main Phase of either of your turns, as long as you have
not used the Resource earlier in the turn. The Resource
is then linked to the recipient’s Illuminati; he can re-link
it during the Main Phase of his turn. (See Gifts and
Trades, p. 12)
• Play a Resource: Once per turn, you may spend an
Illuminati action to bring a Resource from your hand
• Trade an Illuminati action for a Group card: Once
per turn, you may spend an Illuminati action to draw a
Group card from your deck.
End of Turn
(6) Use Plots or special abilities that happen “at the
end of your turn” (such as the Bermuda Triangle’s
(7) Knock. Rap on the table to alert the other players
that you’re finished. An evil laugh is appropriate here.
At this time, any player(s) (including the one who just
knocked) who has achieved one of his Goals may declare
victory. If someone declares victory, any player may use
Plots or special abilities to thwart or secure the victory.
Action tokens may be used to buy more Plot cards or to
power Plots and special abilities. However, nobody can
make an attack (it’s not the Main Phase of anybody’s
turn) unless a Plot or special ability allows it.
If one player declares victory and is not thwarted, he
wins! If two or more players declare victory and are not
thwarted, they share a victory... unless they are factions
of the same Illuminati (see Winning the Game, p. 16).
If no one wins, the current turn ends and the next
player to the left starts his turn. Play continues
counterclockwise until a player or coalition of players
Note: If any Plot or special ability says that your turn
ends “immediately,” skip the rest of the turn sequence —
the current turn ends and the next player starts his turn.
Yes, this means that no one can win during the turn that
was cut short!
• Play a Plot card: As with special abilities, read the
card text to see how the Plot works, when you may use
it, and what costs you must pay.
• Discard any card from your hand or return a Plot
card to your deck: You may voluntarily get rid of cards.
If you have too many Plot cards (see Limits on Plot
Cards, p. 5) or Goals (see Winning the Game, p. 16) in
your hand, you must immediately get rid of the excess.
(See Discards, p. 4 and Returning Plots to Your Deck,
• Give away or trade cards from your hand: You can
give gifts or make trades as part of your negotiation
strategy. (See Gifts and Trades, p. 12)
• Aid or oppose an attack: Whenever a player (you or
somebody else) makes an attack, you may aid or oppose
it unless something prevents you from getting involved,
such as Privilege. (See Aiding or Opposing Attacks,
It’s usually wise to avoid using up all your Plots and
Action tokens during your turn, so you’ll have some
available to defend yourself or meddle with your rivals’
plans. If you don’t use up your Action tokens before
your turn comes around again, you can trade them in for
Plot cards just before you get new Action tokens (but
keep in mind that you may be vulnerable to certain
attacks, such as the Giant Kudzu...)
Each of your Groups that has no Action token gets one
at the beginning of your turn. Some Plots and special
abilities allow a Group to get extra Action tokens, or to
get another Action token even though it already has one.
Some Resources (the ones that say “Action” on the
bottom) also get Action tokens. These Action tokens are
replenished just like the ones on Groups (i.e. one for
each of these Resources that doesn’t already have one).
Note that Action tokens from Resources cannot be
exchanged for Plot cards.
A Group cannot get Action tokens if its Power is
reduced to 0 (however, Groups that start with printed
Power 0 get Action tokens normally).
A Group spends an Action token when it makes an
attack or when it aids or opposes another Group’s attack.
In some cases, a Group or Resource spends an Action
token when it uses a special ability or powers a Plot card
— follow the instructions on the cards. Thus, a Group
can only do one of these things each turn, unless it
somehow gets an extra Action token.
You may remove an Action token from a Group or
Resource you control, if for some reason you want to.
“Any Time” Moves
You may do the following things during any part of
your turn, or even during somebody else’s turn, unless a
rule or card text prevents it:
• Trade Action tokens for Plot cards: At any time, you
may exchange one Action token from your Illuminati or
two Action tokens from your other Groups for one Plot
card drawn from your deck. This does not count as an
“action” by the Group(s) that provide the tokens, and
your rivals cannot use action-canceling Plots or abilities
to prevent it.
• Use a special ability of one of your Groups or
Resources: Some abilities can be used at any time;
others are limited to certain times or circumstances.
Read the card text to see how its special ability works,
when you may use it, and what costs (actions, discards,
etc) you must pay.
Illuminati Action Tokens
The Action token(s) on your Illuminati are especially
useful, even aside from their raw Power. Spend them
wisely. There are some powerful Plots and special
abilities that require an Illuminati action to use. During
the Main Phase of your turn, an Illuminati action can
allow you to take over a Resource or draw an extra
Glossary (p. 18) for a list of terms used in defining the
effects of various cards.
Discarded cards go face-up (unless a card says to
discard cards face-down or without looking at them).
Other players may have the ability to “scavenge” from
your discards (including face-down ones).
When a card is discarded, it is permanently removed
from play unless a Plot or special ability is immediately
used to recover it.
You may discard any card in your hand at any time,
except in the middle of a multiple-card draw or
immediately after someone attempts to look at or steal
As play develops, your holdings might look like this:
Plot cards represent Illuminated plots... the secret
maneuvers and dirty tricks used in world domination.
When a Plot card is played, it is kept on the table for
the duration of its effect and then discarded. For
instance, Plot cards that affect an attack are discarded
after the attack is resolved. Linked Plots (p. 14) and New
World Order cards (p. 13) remain on the table
indefinitely, unless something removes them from play.
Some Plots can be used at any time; others can only be
used at certain times or in response to certain events.
Some Plots work automatically; others require a die roll.
Some require you to spend Action tokens or discard
cards; others are free. Follow the directions on the card.
You may not play a Plot card immediately after
someone attempts to look at or steal your Plot cards just
to get it out of reach. However, you may play a Plot card
to counter the attempt.
Unless the card says otherwise, all costs to play a Plot
card must be provided by the player who used it.
How to Get Plot Cards
At the beginning of your turn, you may draw a Plot
card from the top of your deck. At any time, you may
draw additional Plot cards by exchanging one Illuminati
Action token or two Action tokens from other Groups for
each Plot draw.
Some Plots and special abilities let you draw more
cards, choose cards from out of your Plot deck, or steal
cards from rivals. You are never required to draw cards,
and there is no penalty for running out of cards in your
Types of Plots
Most Plots are one of a kind — read the card and
follow the instructions. Some Plots fall into special
+10 Plots: A Plot which gives a Group a +10 Power
or Resistance bonus may be used either to boost the
Power of the Group’s action or to defend the Group
against an attack. If used to boost an action, the +10
bonus lasts only until that action is resolved. If used for
defense, the +10 bonus lasts until the end of the turn and
Your Illuminati card (1) is in front of you. Connected
to it are the Groups that make up the rest of your Power
Structure (2). Beside it are your Resources (3) and any
exposed Plots, face up (4). Your Plot and Group decks
(5, 6) are ready for your next draws. Your discards are
off to the side, face up.
You will also be holding a hand of Group, Resource,
and Plot cards. Some of the Plot cards may be “exposed”
and face-up on the table in front of you.
Once a Group is in your Power Structure, it stays until
something removes it. You may not simply discard it
(for instance, you cannot dump Peaceful Groups to
prevent Shangri-La from winning).
In Play vs. Just Played
A Group or Resource is “in play” if it is controlled by
a player. A Plot is “in play” if it is left on the table to
mark an ongoing effect, such as a New World Order
(p. 13), or is linked to some Group or Resource in play.
While a player attempts to control a Group from his
hand, the Group he just played is not considered to be in
play until he successfully takes control of it. Plots and
special abilities that affect Groups “in play” do not affect
Groups that were just played from the owner’s hand.
However, other players may interfere in the owner’s
attack to control the just-played Group (see Aiding or
Opposing Attacks, p. 8).
Note that if the owner fails to control a Group played
from his hand and discards it, that Group was never in
play. Another copy of that Group card may be played
later by any player.
There are three basic types of cards in INWO: Plots,
Groups, and Resources. Illuminati are a special kind of
Many cards allow exceptions to the usual rules! The
instructions on a card always take precedence over this
rulebook, except for the Meta-Rules (p. 17). See the
counts only for defense. In either case, the +10 bonus
does not count for any Goal.
Attribute Freeze: An Attribute Freeze can be used to
prevent all Groups with a certain attribute from acting
(except to defend itself against an attack) for the rest of
the turn, or to cancel a single action by a Group with
Paralyze: A paralyzed Group cannot spend Action
tokens and cannot use any special ability or linked
Resource (even ones that normally work all the time at
no cost). Control of a paralyzed Group does not count
for any Goal. Puppets of a paralyzed Group are not
affected; however, the paralyzed Group cannot be given
any new puppets.
Power Increase: A Power-increasing Plot is linked to
a Group of a certain type to increase its Power to the
value stated on the card. They have no effect on a
Group that already has Power greater than or equal to
the stated value.
Zap: A Zap produces its effect on an entire Power
Structure until it is removed. Any player may spend an
Illuminati action at any time to remove all Zaps from
one player (himself or somebody else).
Hidden and Exposed Plots
When you draw a Plot card, it normally goes into your
hand, hidden from your rivals. However, some Plots and
special abilities cause Plot cards to become exposed.
This reveals them to all your rivals, and also makes them
vulnerable to certain Plots or special abilities that allow
rivals to steal or discard them!
You may voluntarily expose your Plot cards, if for
some reason you want to.
When one of your Plots is exposed, turn it face-up in
front of you. It stays exposed until it’s played, returned
to your deck, stolen, discarded, or hidden again using a
Plot or special ability.
You may show a hidden Plot to individual rivals, and
then keep it hidden. They can tell others what they saw,
of course. Or they can lie.
You must always show how many hidden Plots you
have, if someone asks.
Limits on Plot Cards
When it is not your turn, you may hold up to 5 Plot
cards in your hand. Both hidden and exposed Plots count
against your limit. Some cards increase this limit or let
you hold Plot cards without counting them against this
limit. If you have too many Plot cards in your hand, you
must immediately get rid of the excess by playing them,
giving or trading them away, discarding them, or
returning them to your deck!
Note that some Plot cards stay on the table when
played, as a marker for a continuing effect. After you’ve
played them, they are no longer in your hand and do not
count against your limit.
This limit applies only to Plot cards and only when it
is not your turn. You may hold any number of Plot cards
during your turn, and you may hold any number of
Group and Resource cards at any time.
Returning Plots to Your Deck
You may return a Plot to your deck if you have too
many in your hand (or if you just want to get it out of
your hand). You can put it on the top, the bottom, or
anywhere in the middle, depending on how soon you
plan to draw it again!
You may do this at any time, except in the middle of a
multiple-card draw or immediately after someone uses a
Plot or ability that lets them see or steal Plots from either
your hand or your deck.
This applies only to Plot cards — you may not return
Group or Resource cards to your deck.
Groups are the cards that make up your Power
Structure. Typically, a Group card represents the
leadership of the group, or the secret cabal that controls
it. For instance, the Dentists card does not represent all
dentists... just the secret leaders of the dentists’
The Group’s name (1) is
at the top. The main text
box (2) describes the Group
and its special abilities. The
large numbers near the
bottom are its Power (3a)
and Resistance (3b). At the
Alignments (4), if any. At
the bottom right are its
Attributes (5), if any. At the
edges are its control arrows (6).
How to Get Group Cards
At the beginning of your turn, you may draw a Group
card from the top of your deck. Once per turn during the
Main Phase of your turn, you may spend an Action token
from your Illuminati to draw a Group card.
Some Plots and special abilities let you draw more
cards, choose cards from out of your Group deck, or
steal cards from rivals. You are never required to draw
cards, and there is no penalty for running out of cards in
Bringing Groups Into Play
You may use your automatic takeover to take over a
Group from your hand and put it into your Power
During the Main Phase of your turn, you may attack to
control Groups from your hand (see Attack to Control,
p. 8). If you succeed, you take over the target Group.
You may do this several times each turn, as long as you
have actions available.
Some Plots and special abilities allow you to take over
a Group from your hand without having to attack or
make a die roll.
Once a Group is in play, you may not bring another
copy of the same Group into play unless some card
specifically permits it! (Illuminati Groups are an
exception; multiple copies of the same Illuminati can be
in play as rival factions.)
Types of Groups
There are four types of Groups:
Illuminati: These are the Secret Masters. Each player
has only one Illuminati Group, at the center of his
Power Structure. These are black and have a horizontal
design, rather than vertical. The backs show a hand (like
Plots) rather than a puppet like the other Groups. This
lets you hide extra Illuminati cards in your Plot deck, if
you wish. (See Duplicate Cards, p. 14 for one reason to
Places: These represent the cabal that controls that
place’s government. Places are vulnerable to Disasters
(see p. 12).
Personalities: These represent key individuals with
their loyal henchmen and tools. Personalities are
vulnerable to Assassinations (see p. 12).
Organizations: Most Groups are Organizations, not
particularly associated with any place or personality.
There are ten different alignments. They are shown at
the bottom left of Group cards. Some Groups have one
alignment, some have several, and a few have none. It is
easier for a Group to control Groups with identical
alignments, and to destroy those of opposite alignments.
Meanings of the alignments in INWO:
Government: An arm of any government; its opposite
Corporate: A business or coalition of businesses; its
opposite is Government.
Liberal: Politically “left,” whatever that means; its
opposite is Conservative.
Conservative: Usually mad at the Liberals; its
opposite is Liberal.
Peaceful: Philosophically opposed to the use of force;
its opposite is Violent.
Violent: Armed and/or dangerous; not necessarily
vicious; its opposite is Peaceful.
Straight: Socially middle-of-the-road; Joe Sixpack;
its opposite is Weird.
Weird: Peculiar, offbeat, not like the neighbors; its
opposite is Straight.
Criminal: Extorting money from citizens through
force, fraud or threat, and/or committing notorious
crimes. It has no opposite.
Fanatic: Holding to a limited system of beliefs in
defiance of all others. Any two Fanatic Groups are
considered “opposite” to each other.
Changing Alignments: Some cards can change the
alignments of Groups, either temporarily or permanently.
These changes last even after the Group is destroyed
(yes, sometimes it matters) — permanent changes are
still permanent; temporary changes still expire after their
A Group can never have two alignments that are
opposite; if it is Violent, for instance, and something
makes it Peaceful, it is no longer Violent. Likewise, a
Group cannot have “double alignments.” If it is Violent
and something happens to make it Violent again, there is
no further effect.
Certain “attributes,” in italic, may appear at the bottom
right of a Group card. These define which cards are
affected by certain Plots or special abilities. For instance,
Computer is an attribute. A card that affects “all
Computer Groups” affects only those Groups with
Computer in the lower right.
Attributes have no automatic effect on each other. For
instance, a Computer Group has no special bonus or
penalty to attack another Computer Group unless some
Plot or special ability says it does.
A Group’s Power is a measure of its ability to
dominate other Groups. Some Groups have two Power
numbers — for example, 7/4. The first number is regular
Power, which is used when the Group makes a direct
attack on any other Group, or aids or opposes an attack
on a Group with the appropriate alignment (see Attacks,
p. 7). The second number is Global Power, which can be
used to aid or oppose attacks regardless of alignments
(see Global Power, p. 8).
When something changes a Group’s Power, the new
Power is effective for all purposes unless a card specifies
otherwise. Note that temporary Power bonuses (from
+10 Plot cards, for instance) don’t count toward Goals.
A Group with a printed Power of 0 gets Action tokens
unless its card says otherwise, but if a Group’s Power is
reduced to 0, it loses its Action token(s) and cannot get
more until its Power is increased above 0. Power can
never be reduced below 0.
If a Group’s Power or Resistance has a *, read the
instructions on the card!
This is the Group’s ability to resist domination. High
Resistance makes a Group harder to take over... and
easier to defend, once you control it.
Illuminati Groups have no Resistance, because they
cannot be attacked directly.
Illuminati cards have four outgoing control arrows.
Each of these can be used to control one Group.
Other Groups have one incoming
control arrow, and 0 to 3 outgoing
control arrows. When you take
over a Group, put its incoming
arrow next to an outgoing arrow of its master.
It does not matter if a card is upside-down or
sideways, as long as the arrows line up properly and no
Group overlaps any other Group.
Every Group has a special ability. Follow the
directions on the card.
Unless the card says otherwise, all costs to use a
special ability must be provided by the owner of the
If a Group is destroyed, its special abilities
immediately stop working.
Resource is destroyed, no more copies of that Resource
may be played.
Every Resource provides a special ability. Follow the
directions on the card.
Unless the card says otherwise, all costs to use a
special ability must be provided by the owner of the
If a Resource is destroyed, its special abilities
immediately stop working.
If a Resource is linked to a Group, it provides its
special ability to that Group. In that case, the special
abilities provided by that Resource may be nullified by
Plots or special abilities that target the linked Group.
Resource cards represent Illuminated secrets... hidden
knowledge, magic artifacts, ultra-tech devices and other
tools of world domination.
All Resources are linked to your Illuminati by default
unless they are linked to another Group (see Links,
p. 14). If a Group is captured, its linked Resources go
with it. If a Group is destroyed, its linked Resources are
Some Resources have the word “Action” at the
bottom, to show that they get Action tokens. They follow
the same Action token rules that Groups do, but their
Action tokens cannot be traded for Plot cards.
How to Get Resource Cards
Resource cards have the same back design as Groups,
and are drawn from the Group deck (see How to Get
Group Cards, p. 5).
Bringing Resources Into Play
You may use your automatic takeover to play a
Resource from your hand.
Once per turn during the Main Phase of your turn, you
may spend an Illuminati action to play a Resource from
Some Plots and special abilities allow you to play a
Resource from your hand.
Resources have no control arrows, and don’t go into
your Power Structure. They are placed beside it.
Types of Resources
Some Resources fall into certain types (listed at the
bottom of the card). This determines which Resources
are affected by certain Plots and special abilities.
Artifact: A particularly unusual object, usually with a
long and secret history.
Gadget: A bizarre device beyond the ken of normal
Magic: An item of mystical power. Any attack which
uses a Group, Plot, or Resource identified as Magic is
considered to be a Magic attack (some targets are
immune to Magic attacks, and others can only be
affected by Magic attacks.)
Unique: A Unique Resource is a one-of-a-kind item.
Once a Unique Resource is brought into play, no further
copies of that Resource may be played. If a Unique
In an attack, a Group spends an Action token to
attempt to control or destroy another Group. The success
of the attack is determined by rolling two dice.
Attacks are normally made during the Main Phase of
your turn. However, some Plot cards and special abilities
allow you to make an attack at any time (see Instant
Attacks, p. 11).
Illuminati Groups can attack, but cannot be attacked!
The only way to destroy Illuminati is to take away all the
Groups they control.
There is no normal way to attack a Resource, but some
Plot cards and special abilities can affect them.
Announcing an Attack
You may either pick a Group from your own hand to
attack, or attack a Group in someone else’s Power
You must announce which Group is attacking, the type
of attack, and the target. (Example: “The KKK will
attack to control the TV Preachers.”)
Any Group may attack any other Group, regardless of
alignment. Alignment determines which Groups can aid
or oppose the attack, but not which Group can start the
attack. However, it’s easier to capture a Group if the
attacker has matching alignments.
Calling Off an Attack
After you announce an attack, you can change your
mind and call it off — until you play a Plot card, play an
“agents” card (see Hidden Agents, p. 10), or remove an
Action token from a Group. At that point, your attack is
committed. You must use whatever cards and actions
you have committed. Once the attack is committed, any
cards or tokens your rivals play are also committed,
unless you let them take something back.
If rivals use cards or actions to interfere, but you call
off your attack before it’s committed, they get their cards
or actions back.
If you call off an attack on a card from your hand,
return it to your hand.
Note that if an attack requires a Plot card (see Instant
Attacks, p. 11) then you cannot call it off, because you
played the Plot card at the moment you declared the
No Duplicates in the Same Attack!
A Group that has two or more Action tokens may not
use more than one in the same attack unless it’s
No player may use duplicates of the same Plot card in
a single attack, or to defend against a single attack, even
if the duplicate Plot cards are used to help two different
If an action or Plot is canceled (see p. 15), then it is
treated as if it never happened — you may replace it with
a duplicate if you have one available.
Aiding or Opposing Attacks
Groups other than the attacker can participate in an
attack, either to aid (add the Group’s Power to the attack)
or oppose (add the Group’s Power to the defense). The
aiding or opposing Group must spend an Action token,
but does not need to have an open control arrow.
The target of the attack may spend an Action token to
oppose the attack. The Power of an action spent by a
Group to defend itself is doubled. If the action’s Power is
already doubled, it is tripled instead; if it’s already
tripled, it is quadrupled instead; and so on. If the target
has more than one token, it can spend them all, and each
one gets the bonus!
The attacker and defender can have their other Groups
aid or oppose the attack (usually, the attacker will want
to aid and the defender will want to oppose... but you can
do the opposite if for some reason you want to). Players
other than the attacker and defender can interfere in the
attack by aiding or opposing it — unless the attack is
Privileged (see p. 11). Time for some wheeling and
Alignment is important for determining which Groups
can aid or oppose an attack. A Group can aid an Attack
to Control if it has at least one alignment identical to the
target. A Group can oppose an Attack to Control (that is,
defend the target) if it has at least one alignment
identical to the target, or if it is the target’s master or
puppet. As noted above, the target may defend itself, and
gets a bonus when doing so.
However, aiding and opposing Groups do not get
alignment bonuses and penalties. Those apply only to the
Group that is leading the attack.
Example: Russia (Power 4, Violent, Government)
makes an attack to control W.I.T.C.H. (Resistance 6,
Fanatic, Weird, Violent). This attack has a +4 bonus
because the attacker and defender are both Violent. The
attack strength is 4 – 6 + 4, or 2... not likely to succeed.
However, the Pentagon (Power 6, Straight, Violent,
Government), the Semiconscious Liberation Army
(Power 1, Weird, Liberal, Violent, Criminal), and the
American Autoduel Association (Power 1, Violent,
Weird) aid the attack. This raises the strength of the
attack to 2 + 6 + 1 + 1, or 10.
The aiding Groups do not get bonuses or penalties for
alignment. It does not matter that the Pentagon has an
alignment opposed to W.I.T.C.H. (Straight vs. Weird) or
that the American Autoduel Association and
Semiconscious Liberation Army each have two matching
alignments with W.I.T.C.H. (Violent, Weird). All that
matters is that each aiding Group has at least one
alignment in common with the target.
Some Groups have a second Power number — Global
Power. For instance, if a Group’s power is 5/3, the 3 is
its Global Power. This represents power that crosses all
ideological boundaries... real power.
Attack to Control
This is an attempt to take over a Group from your own
hand... or to steal a Group from a rival.
To make an Attack to Control, your attacking Group
must spend an Action token and have at least one control
arrow open (no puppet there, and no other Group in the
space where a puppet would go). If a Group has no open
control arrow, it cannot try to control another Group.
The strength of the attack is the attacker’s Power
minus the defender’s Resistance. You must roll that
number or less on two dice. So roll low!
If you attack a Group from your own hand, you must
still roll to control it, and other players may try to
Example: If a Group with a Power of 6 attacks a
Group with a Resistance of 2, the attack strength is 4. If
the attacking Group has a Power of 10, the attack
strength is 8 — a much easier number to roll at or below
on two dice.
A roll of 11 or 12 always means the attack failed, no
matter how high the strength of the attack was.
The alignments of the attacking and defending Groups
are very important. Identical alignments make control
easier; opposed alignments make it harder.
If the attacking and defending Groups have any
identical alignments, the attack strength gets a +4 bonus
for each one. If they have any opposite alignments, the
attack strength gets a –4 penalty for each one.
(Remember, any two Fanatic Groups are opposite to
Example: A Weird Fanatic Group is trying to control a
Straight Fanatic Group. There are two sets of opposite
alignments, so the attack has a –8 penalty! Maybe this
attack is a bad idea...
These words (in italics, in the bottom right corner) are
not the same as alignments. They don’t affect an attack
unless a card specifically says they do.
If a Group’s alignments don’t let it use its normal
Power to aid or oppose an attack, it can still use its
Global Power. Thus, Groups with Global Power are
Example: The Clone Arrangers are a Violent Criminal
Group with Power 6/2. It can aid or oppose an attack to
control another Violent or Criminal Group with its 6
Power. It can aid or oppose an attack to control any other
Group with its 2 Global Power.
Plots and special abilities that change a Group’s Power
do not affect its Global Power unless they specifically
say so. A Group can never have Global Power higher
than its regular Power — if its regular Power is
decreased below its Global Power, its Global Power is
temporarily decreased to equal its regular Power.
Using Plots and Abilities in Attacks
Many Plots and special abilities provide attack and
defense bonuses, or otherwise affect the progress of an
attack. Some of them can only be used by the attacking
or defending player; others can be used by any player
who chooses to interfere in the attack. Read the cards.
Note: An “any attempt” attack bonus applies when one
of your Groups makes an attack, not when you help
some other player in one of his attacks.
Resistance to Control
Each Group (except Illuminati, which cannot be
attacked) has a Resistance to control. Subtract this from
the attacker’s Power in any attack, as described above.
Controlling Alignment: A Group is more loyal if it
agrees with its masters’ ideals. A Group gets +4 to its
Resistance for every alignment that is the same as that of
its master (except Fanatic — remember, one Fanatic is
the opposite of another Fanatic). Opposing alignments
Power Structure Position: Groups already in play
become harder to attack if they’re near the center of the
Power Structure. A Group that is directly controlled by
the Illuminati gets a +10 defensive bonus! If it is one
Group away, it gets a +5 defensive bonus. If it’s farther
away, it gets no bonus.
alignment identical to the target, and Groups with Global
Power may oppose the attack.
Resolving the Attack
The strength or an attack can go back and forth several
times as players use actions, Plots, and special abilities
— an attack is declared, the defender opposes it, the
attacker aids it, a third player interferes to help the
defender, a fourth player interferes to help the attacker,
and so on... The final strength of the attack is not settled
until no player is able or willing to do anything else to
At that point, the attacker rolls two dice, and the attack
succeeds if the roll is less than or equal to the attack
strength. If the final attack strength is less than 2, the
attack always fails — you don’t even get to roll the dice
(and thus can’t use any Plots or special abilities to
control the die roll).
Note: In all INWO calculations, changes to a specific
value come first, then multiplication or division, then
addition or subtraction.
Multipliers are not cumulative; use only the single
largest multiplier and ignore the rest.
Japan (Power 6, Government, Peaceful) makes an
attack to control the B.A.T.F. (Resistance 2,
Government, Violent). The attacker uses two +10 Plots
(Martial Law and Martyrs) to boost Japan’s Power for
the attack and spends actions from the N.S.A. (Power 5,
Government) and Canada (Power 3, Peaceful, Liberal,
Government) to aid the attack. The total Power behind
the attack is 6 + 10 +10 + 5 + 3, or 34.
The B.A.T.F. is a puppet of the Mafia (Criminal,
Violent), which is a puppet of the Illuminati. Thus, the
B.A.T.F. has one alignment in common with its master
(+4 bonus) and is one Group away from the Illuminati
(+5 bonus). This gives it a defense of 2 + 4 + 5, or 11.
The attack strength is 34 – 11, or 23. The attacker and
target are both Government (+4 bonus), but one is
Peaceful and the other is Violent (–4 penalty). These
effects cancel out, leaving the attack strength at 23.
The defender links the Plot card Commitment (which
increases the target’s Resistance to 8) to the B.A.T.F.
and plays the New World Order card Solidarity (which
doubles the Resistance of all Groups). The target’s
defense is now 25 (change Resistance to 8, double it,
then add the +4 and +5 bonuses). The attack strength is
now 34 – 25, or 9.
The defender spends the B.A.T.F.’s action to oppose
the attack. The B.A.T.F. has a Power of 3, and it gets
doubled Power from the Necronomicon linked to it and
+2 Power from the Clipper Chip the owner has in play.
Because the action is being spent in self-defense, the
doubling is increased to a tripling. The action has a
Power of 11 (Power 3, triple it, add the +2 bonus). The
attack strength is now 9 – 11, or –2. The attacker will
Special Abilities: Some Groups have special abilities
(shown on the card) that help protect them against
Opposing Power: As explained above, the target, the
target’s master, the target’s puppet(s), Groups with an
not even roll the dice unless the attack strength is
increased to at least 2.
A third player decides to interfere in favor of the
attack, and uses the Plot card Are We Having Fun Yet?
to cancel the B.A.T.F.’s action. This action is now used
up without any effect, so the attack strength is back at 9.
A fourth player decides to interfere in favor of the
defense, and opposes the attack with an action from the
Hackers (Power 3/2, Weird, Fanatic). Since the Hackers
don’t have any alignments in common with the
B.A.T.F., they use their Global Power. The attack
strength is now 9 – 2, or 7.
The defender now spends an action from the
Wargamers (Power 1, Weird), which is a puppet of the
B.A.T.F. (and thus eligible to oppose the attack even
though it has no common alignments or Global Power).
The attack strength is now 7 – 1, or 6.
Everybody agrees that they aren’t going to do
anything else to affect the attack strength, so the
attacker rolls the dice. If he rolls 6 or less on two dice,
the attack succeeds; if not, it fails.
If you forget to declare a bonus during an attack,
whether it’s for attack or defense, you lose it. When the
dice are rolled, it’s over.
If you deliberately “forget” to declare a bonus and a
rival points it out, you must include it. However, you
can’t be required to use a bonus that requires you to pay
a cost (actions, discards, etc).
Results of an Attack to Control
If Your Attack Failed: If the target belonged to another
player, it stays where it was.
If it came from your own hand, you may try again if
you have any actions left. However, if you have not
succeeded by the end of your turn, your agents are
revealed and eliminated — you must discard that Group
card! (This is a reason to have two cards for the same
Group... it can give you a second chance.)
If Your Attack Succeeded: The target is captured!
Place it in your Power Structure with its incoming
control arrow touching any outgoing control arrow of the
Group that attacked it.
If the target controlled any puppets, they are also
captured! When placed in your Power Structure, they
should keep the same position, relative to their master,
that they had originally. If that makes some cards
overlap, you may rearrange any new cards that overlap,
as long as each one keeps the same master. New Groups
that still cannot fit must be discarded!
Note: A newly-captured Group does not get an Action
token. Any tokens it had before the attack are removed.
It cannot get an action that turn unless a card specifically
gives one to a newly-captured Group. (However, Groups
brought into play by automatic takeover do get an Action
token on the same turn — automatic takeovers happen
before Action token placement.)
Attack to Destroy
You may also attack to destroy any Group in play
except an Illuminati... even one of your own Groups.
You may not destroy a Group from your hand — the
target has to be in play. An Attack to Destroy works like
an Attack to Control, except:
(1) Instead of rolling “Power minus Resistance,” roll
“Power minus Power.” That is, the target defends with
its Power rather than its Resistance. Its closeness to the
Illuminati still counts for defense, unless you’re
destroying one of your own Groups. The target’s
common alignments with its master do not help — those
increase Resistance, which is not used in this attack!
(2) You may try to destroy a Group in your own Power
Structure. The target does not get a defense bonus for
closeness to the Illuminati in this case. However, no
Group may attack itself, or aid an attack on itself!
(3) Unlike Groups destroy each other more easily. The
strength of an Attack to Destroy gets a +4 bonus for each
opposite alignment, and a –4 penalty for each identical
(4) To aid an Attack to Destroy, a Group must have at
least one alignment opposite to the target. To oppose an
Attack to Destroy uses the same rules as opposing an
Attack to Control. (That is, a Group may oppose if it has
at least one alignment identical to the target, or if it is the
target’s master or puppet. The target may defend itself,
and gets the same bonus as it does against an Attack to
A Group with Global Power may use it to aid or
oppose regardless of alignments.
(5) A Group does not need an open control arrow to
make an Attack to Destroy.
(6) If your attack succeeds, the target is permanently
removed from play. Put the target Group card in your
own personal “destroyed pile.” Since many Goals
depend on destroying Groups, you must keep track of
which player destroyed each Group. If some Plot or
special ability says that a destroyed Group no longer
counts as destroyed, remove its card from the destroyed
(7) A destroyed Group’s puppets (and their puppets,
etc) are not destroyed — they lose their Action tokens
and go back to the hand of the player who controlled the
If a card in your hand duplicates a Group that someone
already controls, it represents hidden agents within that
Group. You may play your “agents” card any time the
Group is attacked (either to control or to destroy).
Only one “agents” card can be used in any one attack.
The owner of the real Group cannot play an “agents”
card. Once used, the duplicate card is discarded, whether
the attack succeeds or fails.
Playing an "agents" card to aid an attack gives it a +10
bonus. Playing an “agents” card to oppose an attack
gives it a –6 penalty.
If a rival plays a Group card from his hand as an
automatic takeover, your “agents” card won’t help you...
yet. The automatic takeover is not an attack.
However, if a rival tries an Attack to Control against a
Group from his own hand, you can use an “agents” card
to defend the Group, giving a –6 to his takeover attempt.
On the other hand, it might be better to let him bring the
Group into play... and use your agents to take it (and its
puppets) away from him later!
Limits on Attacks
An attacker may prevent rivals from interfering with
an attack by declaring it Privileged, using a Plot card or
special ability. The attacker must announce “Privilege!”
when first declaring the attack.
No player other than the attacker and the defender can
interfere in a Privileged Attack. If the attacker is trying
to control a Group from his own hand, nobody else can
interfere with that attack. No other player can use
actions, Plots or special abilities on behalf of either side,
even to cancel the attack. No other player can give or
trade cards to either side until the attack is over.
However, anyone may use a Plot or special ability to
negate the Privileged status of the attack, turning it into
an ordinary free-for-all. If Privilege is negated, it cannot
be regained on that attack.
After a Privileged Attack is over, other players may
use Plots or special abilities that affect the die roll — this
is not interfering with the attack itself.
Some special abilities make a Group immune to
certain other Groups. Those Groups cannot attack the
immune Group, cannot aid any attack on the immune
Group, and cannot affect the immune Group with any
If your entire Power Structure is immune to
something, all your Groups, all your Resources, your
hand, your decks, and your discard pile are immune!
Immunity doesn’t work the other way, however. If an
attacker is immune to a certain Group, that Group can
still defend against it or interfere with its attack.
Immunity does not protect against a Plot card, even if
a Group to which you are immune provided an action to
power it. (Plots are directed by the Illuminati themselves,
not lowly pawns...)
You can never be immune to something you yourself
control — for example, if you control a Group that is
immune to Magic attacks, you cannot trigger the
immunity by throwing one of your own Magic
Resources into the attack.
Example: The Discordian Society’s entire Power
Structure is immune to Straight and Government Groups.
Another player controls the IRS, a Government Group
that allows him to “tax” Plot cards from a rival’s Plot
deck. Because of Discordia’s immunity, the IRS can’t
attack Discordia’s Groups, can’t aid attacks on them, and
can’t use its special ability against the Discordian
player’s Plot deck. However, when the Discordian player
makes an attack (to control a Group from his hand, or
against another player), the IRS can interfere normally.
Groups with the Attribute Secret are unknown to the
public, or considered myths, or just not understood.
Most Groups cannot attack Secret Groups, aid or
oppose attacks on Secret Groups, aid attacks made by
Secret Groups, or use their special abilities to affect
Secret Groups. Special abilities that provide attack
bonuses, penalties, or immunities do not apply when a
Secret Group attacks or is attacked. The exceptions are:
• Illuminati Groups and other Secret Groups interact
with Secret Groups normally.
• Resources affect Secret Groups normally, unless the
Resource is linked to a non-Secret Group.
• Some Groups have special abilities that specifically
address Secret Groups. Follow the instructions on the
• A Secret Group’s master and puppets may defend
that Secret Group against attacks and use their special
abilities to affect it. They may aid that Secret Group’s
attacks if they are otherwise eligible to do so (i.e. they
have the required alignments or Global Power).
• Plots may affect Secret Groups, even if an action
from a non-Secret Group is used to power the Plot —
again, Plots are ultimately directed by the Illuminati
Some cards allow a special Attack to Destroy, called
an Instant Attack. Examples include Assassinations and
An attack launched by playing a Plot card can be made
at any time (unless the card says otherwise) — it is not
limited to the Main Phase of your turn! For instance, you
may use an Assassination or Disaster to thwart a rival’s
victory attempt by taking out one of his Groups...
The strength of an Instant Attack is the Power of the
attack minus the Power of the target Group at the
moment the attack is declared. The target gets its usual
defense bonus for closeness to its Illuminati (see
Resistance to Control, p. 9) unless the target’s owner
launched the Instant Attack. Other modifiers to attack or
defense do not apply unless they specifically mention
Instant Attacks, Assassinations, or Disasters (however, a
Plot or ability that completely forbids an attack will also
prevent an Instant Attack).
Groups cannot spend actions to make, aid, or oppose
Instant Attacks unless a card specifically permits it.
When a Group is allowed to use its action in an Instant
Attack, cards that affect the Power of that action (such as
+10 Plots) may be used with the action.
Instant Attacks may not be combined unless a card
specifically permits it.
The target of an Instant Attack may not spend any
Action tokens, even to defend itself, until the attack is
An Instant Attack may be canceled by certain Plots
and special abilities — in that case, the Instant attack
A Car Bomb (Power 8) is launched against Gordo
Remora. Gordo was linked to Self-Esteem before the
attack (which gives him a Power of 6), and is one Group
away from his Illuminati (+5 bonus), for a total defense
of 11. However, the Car Bomb allows one Violent or
Criminal Group to add its Power — the attacker spends
the Mafia’s action (Power 6) with New Blood (+10
bonus for a Violent Group) to add 16 Power to his
attack, for a total of 24. The strength of the attack is 24 –
11, or 13. It looks bad for Gordo...
Gordo’s owner has Political Correctness (all Liberal
Groups get +3 Power) and Benefit Concert (+10 bonus
for a Liberal Group) in his hand. Unfortunately, neither
of them help — they’re too late to affect Gordo’s Power
at the moment of the Car Bomb attack, and neither one
specifically mentions Instant Attacks or Assassinations.
Fortunately, he also has a Hoax, which he uses to cancel
the Car Bomb.
An Assassination allows an Instant Attack to Destroy a
A Personality destroyed by an Assassination is killed,
and may only be saved or returned to play by cards that
specifically say that they restore killed or assassinated
Personalities. A normal Attack to Destroy can strip a
Personality of power and influence, but not kill it; a
Personality destroyed by a normal attack can be returned
to play the same way as any other destroyed Group.
A Disaster allows an attack (usually, but not always,
an Instant) to destroy a Place.
Disasters can cause Devastation — see below. Some
Disasters can completely destroy their targets, if the die
roll on the attack is good enough.
The target of a Disaster always loses one Action token,
if it had any, as soon as the Disaster card is played. It
gets the Action token back if the Disaster is canceled
(because the canceled Disaster never happened).
Devastation and Relief
When a target is Devastated, put a special marker on
it. Remove its Action token(s), if it has any left, and
those of its puppets, their puppets, and so on down the
line. These Groups cannot get Action tokens and do not
count toward victory while the Place remains
You may move a Group out from under the Devastated
Place (see Moving Groups, p. 12) to free it from these
effects. You may move a Group to an arm of your Power
Structure afflicted by Devastation, if you really want to,
but the moved Group will then lose any Action tokens
and cease to count toward victory.
While a Place is Devastated, its Power is halved
(round down) against any Attack to Destroy. Being
Devastated again, while already Devastated, has no
Relief restores a Devastated Place to normal. The Place
(and its puppets, and their puppets, etc.) will once again
count toward victory and be able to get Action tokens.
To give Relief, spend actions with a total Power three
times the printed Power of the Devastated Place. These
actions can be spent at any time by one or more players,
as long as they are all spent at the same time.
During the Main Phase of your turn, you may change
your Power Structure by moving your Groups. You may
move any Group you control to any open control arrow
on any Group in play. Any puppets of the Group being
moved, and their puppets, and so on, move with it, each
keeping the same position relative to its master.
Moving a Group costs one Action token. This may be
from the Group being moved, or its former master, or its
new master, or your Illuminati! It’s your choice.
You may give a Group to another player, if both
players agree, during the Main Phase of either player’s
turn. This also costs an action (from the Group, its old
master, its new master, or either player’s Illuminati).
Groups in your Power Structure may never overlap. If
moving a Group would cause some of its puppets (or
their puppets, etc.) to overlap, any of them may be
moved to different control arrows, as long as each keeps
the same master. Any Group that cannot be prevented
from overlapping is lost. It and its puppets go back to the
hand of the player who controlled it before the move.
GIFTS AND TRADES
Cards in your hand, including exposed Plots, may be
traded or given away at any time, except immediately
after an attempt to look at or steal from your hand or in
the middle of a multiple-card draw. You may not give or
trade cards to a participant in a Privileged Attack (p. 11).
Cards from your hand must go into the hand of the
player who gets them.
You may not give away undrawn cards from your
Cards in your Power Structure may be moved to
another player’s Power Structure (see Moving Groups,
You may give away a Resource if you haven’t used it
yet during the turn. The Resource is linked to the
recipient’s Illuminati; he may relink it during the Main
Phase of his turn.
A trade is just an exchange of gifts. If two players
agree to a trade, the deal is binding if they make the
exchange immediately. A deal is not binding if it
involves a promise of something in the future.
Example: If you say, “If you give me the Boy Sprouts
now, I’ll give you a Plot card,” and the other player gives
you the Boy Sprouts, you must give him a Plot. But if
you say, “If you give me the Boy Sprouts now, I’ll give
you a Plot card next turn,” and he hands them over, you
can break your promise next turn if you want!
In general, cards take effect in the order they are
played. Later cards modify earlier ones.
For instance, it could happen that a player announces
an attack with Group A; then a rival uses Resource B to
change Group A in a way that makes the attack
impossible; then another rival plays Plot C to destroy
Resource B, so that Group A’s attack continues.
Thus, you can use a Plot or special ability to make a
rival’s just-announced action unsuccessful, or even
illegal (see Cancellations, Illegal Actions, and Other
Surprises, p. 15). But you can never announce a play that
is illegal at the moment it is made, even if the play (if
allowed) would render itself legal.
Example: The Discordian Society is immune to all
Government Groups. The Discordian player uses his
Illuminati action to power a Plot that changes the
Nuclear Power Companies’ alignment from Corporate to
Government. Can the NPCs use their special ability to
cancel that action, preserving their Corporate status? No!
The moment they became Government, they became
unable to use their special ability on Discordia — they
can’t “step back in time” and make themselves eligible
to cancel the Discordian action.
If an action is canceled, its effects are also canceled.
(Example: If a Disaster is canceled, the target gets its lost
Action token back.) You can’t cancel an action after its
effects have become irreversible. (Example: If someone
looks at your hand, it’s too late to cancel the Plot or
ability that let him do it — he’ll still know what he saw.)
Throwing Away Cards
If a rival uses a card or special ability to look at or
steal your cards, you may not protect any of your cards
by playing them, discarding them, giving or trading them
away, or returning them to your deck. But if you have a
Plot or special ability to counteract the Plot or special
ability that gave him access to your cards, you may use
it. That’s all you can do about it.
that “trumps” other types and can be speed-played. Be
The only time that speed of play matters is when cards
doing the same thing (or mutually exclusive things) are
played at the same time — for instance, if two players
both play Vultures to grab the same card. In that case, the
first one played is the one that works. If they’re really
simultaneous, roll two dice. The high roll wins... and
Plots and special abilities that affect die rolls may be
Note that saying you might play a card, or making a
threat, is not the same as playing the card. For instance,
if A plays an Instant Attack, it’s too late for B to respond
by boosting the Power of the target. But if A threatens to
play an Instant Attack, B may pre-emptively play a card
that boosts the Power of the target. When in doubt, B
should ask “Are you doing it, or just threatening?” A can
then put up or shut up.
New World Order Cards
New World Order cards are a special kind of Plot card.
They can be played at any time except during an Instant
or Privileged Attack. When a NWO card is played, it
goes to the center of the table and affects all players.
A NWO card represents a basic shift in the world
power balance. For instance, in 1985, Communism was a
fundamental force. A decade later, it was on the fringes
— a new world order arose!
If there is any potential ambiguity in the effect of a
combination of NWO cards, assess the NWO cards one
at a time in the order they were played.
Once a NWO is played, it stays in force until removed
in one of two ways:
• Using a Plot or special ability that negates it, or
• Playing another NWO card of the same color. There
are three colors: red, blue and yellow. Only one NWO
card of each color can be in play. If a NWO card is in
play, and another one of the same color is played, the
earlier one is discarded. Thus, there can never be more
than three NWO cards in effect at once!
A card can be played to replace an identical NWO.
The new card would then be the last NWO played, which
might make a difference in assessing the effect of NWO
Because this is a trading card game, duplicates of any
cards — even multiple duplicates — can appear. The
effect of a duplicate depends on the type of card:
Duplicate Plot Cards
Duplicate Plot cards may be played freely, except that
no player may use duplicate Plot cards in the same action
A player may not “speed-play” to pre-empt his rivals’
reactions. You can’t announce an attack, for instance,
If your Plot card is canceled (see Cancellations, Illegal
and instantly roll the dice. You must give other players a
and Other Surprises, p. 15), you may play
chance to react to your play. There is no one type of card
another copy — the first one never happened.
Duplicate Illuminati Cards
More than one player may choose to be the same
Illuminati — factions of the same conspiracy. They are
You have a +5 bonus on any attack against a Group
owned by another faction of same Illuminati you are. If
you destroy another faction of the same Illuminati (by
stealing or destroying their last Group) you get all their
Two factions of the same Illuminati cannot share a
victory. (Exception: If Shangri-La’s Special Goal of 30
Peaceful Power in play is met, all Shangri-La players
share the victory).
You may also put Illuminati cards in your Plots deck.
If you draw a Plot that duplicates a rival Illuminati, you
can play it at any time, at the cost of discarding your top
undrawn Plot and Group cards.
The duplicate Illuminati card goes with your
Resources, but it is not a Resource. It is an agent within
the enemy Illuminati Group. It gives you a +3 attack or
defense bonus against that Illuminati’s entire Power
Structure... and if more than one rival is playing a faction
of that Illuminati, then you get this bonus against all of
You may only have one agent for each type of
Illuminati. You can’t have an agent for the Illuminati
you’re playing, even if a rival is playing another faction
of your Illuminati.
Duplicate Group Cards
If you have a card that duplicates a Group controlled
by a rival, you can use it as an “agents” card to aid or
oppose an attack against that Group (see Hidden Agents,
p. 10). You cannot play your own copy, because the
Group it represents is already in play!
If you have a card that duplicates a Group that was
previously in play, but is now destroyed, you may not
play it unless a Plot or special ability returns that Group
Exception: If some card specifically allows multiple
copies of a particular Group to be in play, you may play
that Group normally even if it is already in play or has
been destroyed. If multiple copies of a Group are in play,
each is treated independently — changes to one copy do
not affect others.
If you have a duplicate of a Group card that was
discarded but was never actually in play, you may play it
normally. Note that this includes Group cards that were
discarded after the owner played them from his hand and
failed to control them — an extra copy of a key Group in
your deck can be good insurance against a bad roll.
Duplicate Resource Cards
If a Resource is Unique, only one can be in play.
Whoever plays it first, has it. If that Resource is
destroyed, no one else may play another copy unless a
Plot or special ability returns it to play.
If you have a hidden (inside Warehouse 23) Unique
Resource in play, you must show it as soon as someone
tries to play a duplicate. If you fail to do this, your rival
has the Resource and you don’t (discard your copy if it is
If a Resource is not Unique, any number may be in
play. Each is treated independently — changes to one
copy do not affect others.
A link is a connection between two cards. You may
link two cards in play that you control during the Main
Phase of your turn. To mark the link, put identical tokens
(ones that look different from your Action tokens) on
both. Examples of linked cards include:
• A Personality linked to a Place, to show he’s staying
there (if either the Personality or the Place card
specifies some benefit from the link).
• A Resource linked to some Group other than your
Illuminati. This means the Resource belongs to that
Group. (By default, any Resource not linked to some
other Group is linked to the owner’s Illuminati.)
• A Plot that changes the abilities of one specific
Group, linked to that Group to show that the change is
When a Plot is linked to a Group, the link is
permanent. Some Resources specify that they are
permanently linked to a Group. In either case, the link
cannot be changed unless a Plot or special ability
specifically says so!
Other links are temporary, and may be changed. You
may move temporary links during the Main Phase of
Each temporary link may be moved once per turn. If a
linked card provides a benefit (extra Action token, extra
card draw, etc.), it may not be re-linked or given away
after it gives its benefit that turn.
If you give a Resource to another player, it is linked to
his Illuminati; he may link it to another Group during the
Main Phase of his turn.
A link is illegal if it violates one of the rules in this
book or if it contradicts the text on one of the linked
If a link to a Plot or Resource becomes temporarily
illegal, the Plot or Resource is not lost, but it has no
effect until its link becomes legal again.
If a link to a Plot becomes permanently illegal, the Plot
is discarded. Example: If you capture a Group linked to a
Monopoly and you already control another Group linked
to a Monopoly, you must immediately discard one of the
two Monopoly cards (the card says that you may have
only one copy in play).
If a link to a Resource becomes permanently illegal,
the Resource remains in play. If the link was permanent,
the link becomes inactive but remains in place and will
become active again if it somehow becomes legal again.
If the link was not permanent, the owner may re-link the
Resource during the Main Phase of his turn.
• A Peaceful Group has been linked to the Nobel
Peace Prize, raising its Power to 6. The Gay Activists
reverse its alignment, making it Violent (and no longer
Peaceful) until the end of the turn. This is a temporary
alignment change; the Nobel Peace Prize remains
linked, but has no effect until the Group is Peaceful
• A Straight Group is linked to Grassroots Support,
increasing its Power to 6. A rival uses Jake Day to make
it permanently Weird (and no longer Straight). The link
to is now permanently illegal, so Grassroots Support is
• A Group is linked to Straighten Up, making it
Straight. A rival uses Jake Day to make it Weird (and
no longer Straight). These are mutually exclusive, so
according to the Meta-Rules (p. 17) the later one (Jake
Day) takes precedence. However, the link to Straighten
Up does not actually violate any rule or card text —
Straighten Up remains linked, and will reassert itself if
Jake Day is somehow removed.
The Cards Remember...
If a Group is moved to another player’s Power
Structure, its linked cards go with it. If a Group is
discarded, or returned to the owner’s hand, the link
becomes temporarily illegal — it will be activated again
if the Group returns to play.
In general, cards “remember” any changes in their
status, until something explicitly changes them back. A
Devastated Group does not get Relief just by going back
into its owner’s hand. If the Vampires successfully attack
to control a Personality, it remains a vampire forever.
Exception: If a Group is destroyed, the slate is wiped
clean. It will have only its printed values if it somehow
returns to play.
These things will rarely happen often enough to cause
arguments, but keep notes if necessary!
can lead to interesting situations... for instance, when one
player announces an action, and a rival changes an
alignment to make that action illegal or take away a
If an action is used to “power” a Plot or special ability,
and the action is canceled or made illegal, the Plot or
special ability fails — all action(s) or other costs spent to
power it are lost.
Exception: If several actions are used together to
power a Plot or special ability and one of them is
canceled or made illegal, another action may be
immediately substituted to replace the lost action.
If a Plot or special ability is canceled or made illegal,
any action(s) or other costs spent to power it are lost.
If a Plot becomes illegal before its effect is resolved,
the Plot card returns to the owner’s hand and is exposed.
If an attacking Group’s action is canceled or made
illegal, the attack does not happen. Plots used to help the
attacking Group are discarded, and the attacking Group’s
Action token is spent. Any Groups that aided or opposed
the attack get their Action tokens back. Plots used to help
the aiding or opposing Groups return to their owners’
hands and are exposed. “Agents” cards that duplicate the
target Group return to their owner’s hand.
If the action of a Group aiding or opposing an attack is
canceled, the attack goes on, even if it is now doomed to
failure. Plots used to help the Group whose action was
canceled are discarded.
• A Straight Group attacks to control another Straight
Group (+4 bonus). Before the dice are rolled, the
Orbital Mind Control Lasers reverse the alignment of
the target, making it Weird (–4 penalty). The attack
continues, even if it has no hope of success. Heh, heh,
• A Violent Group makes an attack, using the
Terrorist Nuke Plot (+10 bonus for a Violent Group).
Before the dice are rolled, a rival plays Kinder and
Gentler to make the attacker Peaceful. It is now
ineligible to use the Terrorist Nuke. The Terrorist Nuke
returns to its owner’s hand and is exposed.
• A Violent Group attacks to destroy Vatican City,
using a Terrorist Nuke. A Liberal Group aids the attack,
using a Benefit Concert (+10 bonus for a Liberal
Group). The Orbital Mind Control Lasers strike again,
making the attacker Peaceful. The attack is now illegal
— Vatican City makes its owner’s entire Power
Structure immune to Peaceful Groups. The attacker’s
Action token is spent, and the Terrorist Nuke it used is
discarded. The aiding Group gets its Action token back,
and the Benefit Concert it used is exposed but not lost.
Cancellations, Illegal Actions, & Other
Some cards can cancel a Plot, special ability, or action
while it is underway. The window of opportunity is after
the attempt is announced, but before the dice are rolled
or the effect is resolved. If a Plot, special ability, or
action is canceled, it has no effect (except to discard the
cards and actions spent on it), and is treated as if it never
happened. (This means that if a “once per turn” or “once
per game” card is canceled, you can try again if you can
pay the cost again!)
Many Plots and special abilities can work only with a
Group of a certain alignment, attribute, power level, etc.
Other cards can change a Group’s alignment, etc. This
Eliminating a Player
A player is eliminated if, at any time after his third
complete turn, his Illuminati has no puppets. His hand,
his decks, and any Resources he controlled all vanish
from play. If a player leaves the game, the effect is as
though he had been eliminated.
Exceptions: If the Servants of Cthulhu have destroyed
7 Groups, and then destroy their own last puppet as their
8th victim, they are not eliminated... instead, they win at
the end of the turn!
If you eliminate a player who was using the same
Illuminati that you are, you get his Resources.
Winning the Game
If you eliminate all your rivals, you win!
Otherwise, the game ends when, at the end of a turn
(his own or someone else’s), a player meets one of his
Goals. The other players get a chance to use Plots and
special abilities to take him down; if they all admit that
they can’t stop him, he wins.
No one can win during the first round. The first time
anyone can claim a victory is at the end of the first
player’s second turn.
If two or more players both meet their Goals at the
same time, they share the victory, dividing the world
Exception: Players who are playing the same
Illuminati (except Shangri-La using its Special Goal)
cannot share a victory. If they meet their Goals at the
same time, neither wins. The game continues unless
some other player also met his Goals at the same time (in
which case that player wins).
You can meet your Goals three ways:
• Basic Goal: This is the same for all players. Control
a certain number of Groups, including your Illuminati.
The standard Basic Goal is 12 Groups for a game with
two or three players, 11 Groups for a game with four
players, or 10 Groups for a game with five or more
players. This number may be increased or decreased by
mutual agreement before beginning the game; the
higher the Basic Goal, the longer the game is likely to
• Special Goal: This is different for each kind of
Illuminati. Some Special Goals modify the Basic Goal.
Other Special Goals are self-contained.
• Goal Cards: These are a type of Plot card — any
time a foe has even one hidden Plot, it might be a secret
Goal! As with Special Goals, some Goal cards modify
the Basic Goal, and others are self-contained.
If a Goal card in your hand lets you declare victory at
the end of a turn, show the card. Your rivals cannot steal,
cancel, or otherwise affect the Goal card during the
victory attempt — it is not “played,” just shown to prove
that you had it in your hand. If your victory attempt fails,
the Goal card is returned to your hand, exposed.
Until you declare victory, a Goal card in your hand is
just like any other Plot card — rivals may be able to look
at it, steal it, expose it, or discard it. If it’s exposed, you
can still win with it... but your rivals know about it, and
can target it with anything that affects exposed Plots.
No player may have more than one Goal card in his
hand, unless some Plot or special ability specifically
allows it. If you draw an excess Goal card, you must
immediately discard one or return one to your deck.
When you win, you must show all your Plots, to prove
that you had no excess Goal cards! If a player’s Plots are
exposed at any time and he has too many Goal cards,
he’s out of the game.
Counting Groups Double
Some Special Goals and Goal cards allow certain
Groups to count double toward the Basic Goal. No
Group can ever count more than double (even if it fits
two different Goals), and no player may count more than
three Groups double.
Changing Groups to Meet Goals
If you change a Group’s abilities, the changes may
count for Goals. It depends on whether the change is
permanent (no built-in time limit) or temporary (lasts for
a predetermined time and then expires, such as a change
“until the end of the turn”).
Permanent changes always count for Goals. For
instance, if you play a card that turns a Group
permanently Peaceful, it now counts as Peaceful for all
Temporary Power changes and Power bonuses limited
to specific purposes (e.g. only to make attacks) do not
count for Goals.
Temporary Alignment changes (such as the Orbital
Mind Control Lasers effect) do count for Goals. And if
the change in Alignment causes a change in Power
(because of a New World Order, for instance), that
change in Power also counts for Goals. But these
changes only count while they’re in effect! They are
good only for a victory declared at the end of that turn.
For instance, if the Orbital Mind Control Lasers make a
Group Liberal, it only counts as Liberal for that turn...
even if it is destroyed while Liberal, it is does not count
that way after the turn is over (it won’t be remembered
as Liberal when the winners write the history books).
Conspiring for a shared victory may seem easier than
grabbing the whole pie. But be careful who you trust.
When someone leaves the room, conspire against him.
There is always a way to make your position a little bit
better and his a little bit worse.
Negotiate with everyone. Your foes are less likely to
attack you if they think you might help them win.
To avoid being attacked, you should look strong
enough to defend yourself, but not so strong that you are
Watch your rivals constantly; keep track of how close
they are to their Goals. The more Plots they have, the
more likely they are to play some fiendish trick and win
in one turn. Don’t count on others to warn you of
danger... they may have made a private deal!
• Neither player may attack the other until each has
taken a full turn; Player 2 can’t jump instantly on
• A player who takes an automatic takeover during
Phase 3 of his turn loses one of the Illuminati action
tokens he would normally get during Phase 4 of that
The Perfect Deck
Half the victory comes before the game starts — when
you choose the cards for your deck, and decide how
you’ll use them. World domination should never be left
Pick cards that work well together... to defend each
other, aid each other’s strengths, work toward your own
goal and smash your foes.
A very aggressive deck works well in a two-player
game. Multi-player games call for more defensive cards,
and a careful buildup of power — if you grow too fast
and overextend yourself, your rivals may form an
alliance to bring you down. Either way, you want a few
key high-Power Groups, some Groups and Resources
with useful special abilities, and some Plot cards that
work with them. Bring a variety of cards, so you can
choose the ones you need to frustrate your rivals’ plans.
The best decks have a theme. A deck can be built
around an Illuminati card, or an alignment (or two), or an
attribute (or two), or a Goal card, or even a particular
But there is no such thing as the perfect deck. Any
deck can be beaten... by a good player who knows
what’s in it. So vary your deck and your strategies! If
you lead with the Mafia every time, your rivals will
bring Mafia cards of their own, and take it away from
you. Switch cards between games, or use the same cards
in a different way. Don’t be predictable!
And don’t depend on the cards to win for you. A good
player with a weak deck can beat a careless player with a
These Meta-Rules take precedence even over what’s
printed on the cards.
• Keep track of which cards are your property. When
someone takes a card you own, make a note, so you can
get it back at the end of the game! Or put one of your
own tokens on the card. Or use a sticky-note.
• Whenever someone steals a card from your hand,
deck, etc., you may look to see which card they are
• When you use a duplicate card to capture a Group
from someone else, put your own copy in your Power
Structure and let them keep theirs.
• If two Plots conflict, the last one played is the one
that rules. If card B is played to nullify card A, and then
card C is immediately played to nullify card B, then
card A is once again effective.
• When several cards modify Power or Resistance,
changes to a specific value come first, then effects that
multiply or divide, and then effects that add or subtract.
For instance, if Grassroots Support (increases Power to
6) and The Big Prawn (doubles Power) are linked to
England, and the NWO card Law and Order (gives all
Straight Groups +2 Power) is in play, first change
England’s Power to 6, then double it to 12, and then add
the +2. Its final Power is 14.
• You may never combine two multiplying cards —
apply only the single highest multiplier. For instance, if
New York (Power 7) is linked to Cyborg Soldiers
(doubles Power), and Good Polls (triples Power and
Resistance for defense) is used to defend it against an
Attack to Destroy, New York resists the attack with a
Power of 21 (Power 7, tripled by Good Polls, ignore
Note that an action spent in self-defense gets an extra
multiple. For instance, if New York in this example
spends an Action token to defend itself, the action's
Power would be 28 (Power 7, quadrupled instead of
tripled), and its total defense would be 21 + 28, or 49.
• If a card specifically says something cannot happen
to it, this takes precedence over a card that normally has
that effect. Exception: if Card A mentions Card B by
name, then A’s ability takes precedence over any
defense or immunity B may have.
• Impossible die rolls cannot happen. For instance, the
Suicide Squad calls for the player to roll one die, which
gives a result from 1 to 6. Anything that would increase
Balanced Power Structures
If a Group controls many puppets, you must protect it
— losing such a key Group really hurts. If all of your
Groups branch from one Illuminati control arrow, you
can be wiped out in one attack!
If one of your rivals makes this mistake, you can win
by taking several Groups in one attack!
Threats and Negotiation
Any agreement between players, secret or otherwise, is
permitted, if it does not actually violate the rules. In
particular, you can always try to change an opponent’s
mind, by promises, bribes or threats, about an action that
he plans or announces.
Deals can be made either openly or secretly. The
possibilities are limited only by your own duplicity.
Two-player games — especially in tournament play —
can lend themselves to quick-kill strategies or
“degenerate” decks that would be easy to counter in a
The following rules are official for two-player
tournament games, and suggested for all two-player
• Never set the Basic Goal to less than 12 Groups.
the result to more than 6 increases it to 6; anything that
would decrease the result to less than 1 decreases it to 1.
• Illuminati Groups never have alignments or
attributes. They can never be destroyed, except by
losing all their puppets.
• Groups in your Power Structure may never overlap.
an action to defend another Group, even in the same
Direct attacks are those made by the Group itself.
Example: The Hackers have a +4 for direct control of
any Computer Group. This means you get a +4 bonus
when the Hackers make an attack to control a Computer
Group. If some other Group attacks a Computer Group,
this +4 bonus does not apply even if the Hackers aid the
If a Group has two bonuses listed for the same
circumstances, one “any attempt” bonus and one “direct
attack” bonus, they are not cumulative.
Example: Finland has +6 for direct control of a
Computer Group and gives +2 to any attempt to control a
Computer Group. When Finland attacks to control a
Computer Group, its bonus is +6, not +8.
Note: Attack bonuses don’t affect Instant Attacks
unless they specifically say they do.
Discard: Discarded cards are placed in the owner’s
discard pile, face-up (unless a card specifically says to
discard face-down or without looking).
Cards may be discarded from a player’s hand to pay
the cost of a Plot or special ability. When a cost requires
a discard, discard from your hand unless the card says to
discard from your deck.
Draw and Choose: “Draw” means take the top card
from the deck. “Choose” means look through the deck
and take any card you want!
Free Action or Free Move: A “free action” or “free
move” Plot or special ability may be used at no cost —
you don’t have to spend an action, discard cards, etc.
Hand: The Plot, Group, and Resource cards that you
have drawn. You can look at them at any time. They are
not considered “in play.”
Immunity: If Group A is immune to Group B, then
Group B cannot attack Group A, aid attacks on Group A,
or affect Group A with its special abilities. If your entire
Power Structure is immune to a certain Group, then all
your Groups are immune, and that Group cannot use any
special ability to affect your Resources, hand, decks, or
In Play and Just Played: Groups and Resources are “in
play” while a player controls them. A Plot is “in play”
while it remains on the table to mark its effect.
A Group that was “just played” from someone’s hand
is not in play until he makes a successful attack to
control it. As soon as he controls it, it is in play; if he
discards it without ever controlling it, it was never in
Interference is participation in an attack by players
other than the attacker and defender. If a player is unable
to interfere in an attack (usually because it has been
made Privileged), he cannot use any Plot, action, or
special ability to affect that attack (though he may be
able to affect the die roll after the attack is over).
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
“Any attempt” abilities give your whole Power
Structure a bonus on some type of attack. Any such
attack by any of your Groups receives the bonus. Your
“any attempt” bonus doesn’t help an attack made by
another player, even if you aid the attack.
Example: The Cycle Gangs give +2 on any Attack to
Destroy. If you control the Cycle Gangs, any attempt by
one of your Groups to destroy another Group will get a
+2 bonus, whether the Cycle Gangs participate in the
attack or not. You gain this ability the moment that you
take over the Cycle Gangs, and lose it as soon as you
Note: Attack bonuses don’t affect Instant Attacks
unless they specifically say they do.
Any Time: You may do this during any phase of any
player’s turn. However, you still may not interfere with a
Privileged Attack, use Action tokens (other than the uses
specifically allowed) during the “Beginning of Turn”
segment of your turn, or use a card simply to keep
someone else from looking at it or stealing it.
Assassinated or Killed: A Personality destroyed by an
Assassination is killed. Some Plots and special abilities
can restore a killed Personality to play or make a
Personality immune to being killed. Cards that refer to
“killed” or “Assassinated”” Personalities do not work
against other forms of destruction unless they
specifically say they do.
Automatic Failure: This lets you wreck another
player’s attack after he commits actions and Plot cards
and rolls the dice. The attack fails, and all the actions and
cards are gone. Life is cruel.
Cancel: Some cards can cancel a Plot, special ability,
or action while it is underway (after it is announced, but
before the dice are rolled or the effect is resolved). A
canceled action is treated as if it never happened.
“Cancel” does not mean “remove an Action token
before it is used.” That is an entirely different ability.
See Cancellations, Illegal Actions, and Other
Surprises (p. 15) for more detail.
Decks: All your undrawn Plot and Group cards. You
may not look at them!
Defense is opposing an attack on one of your Groups.
A bonus that only counts for “defense” can only be used
to oppose an attack on your Power Structure, not to
interfere in favor of somebody else’s defense.
Note: A Group’s action spent to defend itself gets a
Power bonus. This does not apply when a Group spends
Master and Puppet: If Group A controls Group B
directly, then A is the master and B is the puppet.
Paralyzed: A paralyzed Group cannot spend Action
tokens and cannot use any special ability or linked
Resource (even ones that would normally be usable at no
cost). Control of a paralyzed Group does not count for
any Goal. Puppets of a paralyzed Group are not affected;
however, the paralyzed Group cannot get any new
Permanent Change: Any change to a Group’s Power,
Global Power, Resistance, attributes or alignments that
does not have a specific built-in time limit. Changes
made by New World Order cards, for instance, are
permanent. Note that “permanent” changes can be
reversed by another Plot or special ability!
Power Structure: Your Illuminati, plus all the Groups
that it controls, both directly and through its puppets.
Printed Power: The Power of a Group prior to any
modifications (other than those that specifically refer to
Printed Power). If there is an * printed in the Power
section of the card, then the relevant instructions apply to
Shuffle: After you look through a deck to choose a
card, you must shuffle it, and any other player may cut.
Special Ability: A useful capability of a Group or
Resource described in its card text. Special abilities may
or may not require a cost to use, and may be canceled.
Note: Sometimes, a Group or Resource will have
instruction text that limits its usefulness. These
instructions cannot be nullified or canceled!
Anything that is generally beneficial to the owner of
the card is a special ability. Anything that is generally
harmful to the owner is an instruction. If canceling
something (like the roll for OPEC’s Power) would leave
a gaping ambiguity, then it’s an instruction.
Temporary Change: Any change to a Group’s Power,
Global Power, Resistance, attributes or alignments that
has a specific built-in time limit, such as “for the next
action,” or “until the end of the turn.”
Turn: When a card says it does something “each turn,”
that means each time its owner takes a turn! Bonuses are
granted at the appropriate turn phase; for example, extra
Action tokens come when you get your usual Action
about games (not just the ones Steve Jackson Games
publishes), including INWO.
(www.sjgames.com/inwo), which includes a Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQ) file and Errata to clarify some
of the mysteries of the Secret Masters.
You can subscribe to the INWO e-mail list, by sending
e-mail to email@example.com (to get each
message as it goes out) or firstname.lastname@example.org (to get batches of messages every
day or so). Reading and posting questions to the e-mail
list is a good way to get answers not (yet) found in the
The German INWO Cabal has set up their own
steadily growing newsletter to get connected. Send email to email@example.com to be
informed about German INWO activities on a regular
Marc Sherman runs an INWO ratings page and
tournament calendar at www.projectile.ca/inwo/ratings/
Changes Since WDHv1.1
The Turn Sequence now puts victory declaration after
knocking (because that’s how everybody knows that thr
turn is ending). (p. 3)
Actions spent in self-defense now work a bit
differently. (p. 8)
Immunity has been expanded from a Glossary entry to
a section of the rulebook. (p. 11)
The standard Basic Goal has been set at 12 for 2-3
players, 11 for 4 players, and 10 for 5+ players. (p. 16)
Two-Player Rules have been changed; now, players in
a two-player game may make automatic takeovers at the
cost of foregoing one of the Illuminati Action tokens
they would normally get on that turn. This avoids the
need to re-tune decks with several Secret or highResistance Groups for games with no automatic takeover
phase. (p. 17)
Changes Since WDHv1.0
Automatic takeover is now explicitly optional. An
Illuminati action can be used for a Resource takeover.
Beginning the game is clarified as regards attacking
players who haven’t had their first turn. Also, the “lead
puppet” rule is expanded. (p. 2)
Cancellation of actions is clarified. (p. 15)
Die rolls changed by cards are modified to the closest
legal number. (p. 17)
Discards are always face up. (p. 4)
Dropping Groups from your Power Structure is no
longer allowed. (p. 4)
Elimination of players happens only after the third
turn. (p. 15)
We will answer questions about this game if they’re
sent, along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, to:
INWO Questions, Steve Jackson Games, PO Box 18957,
Austin, TX 78760. We cannot answer questions by
For a current errata sheet and card list, giving rarities,
send a SASE to the address above.
On the Net
Steve Jackson Games’ online magazine Pyramid
(www.sjgames.com/pyramid/) features a range of articles
Goals and Winning rules have been added. No player
can win during the first round. No more than three
Groups can count double for victory. Goal cards can’t be
canceled during a victory attempt; if you are caught with
excess Goal cards, you lose. (p. 16)
Immunity is defined at greater length. (p. 11)
Links have been clarified. (p. 14)
Memory of Cards is a new rules section. (p. 15)
New World Order cards take effect in the order
played. (p. 13)
Permanent and Temporary changes are defined in the
Glossary. (p. 18)
Relief requires three times a Place’s printed Power.
Secret Group rules have been reworded for clarity.
Timing has been described in greater detail. (p. 13)
Two-player rules have been added. (p. 17)
The following changes have been made to Limited
Edition cards in the Unlimited Edition. All Limited
Edition cards should be treated as if they had the
Unlimited Edition text.
China explicitly gets its +20 defense against Disasters.
Clipper Chip is limited to one per player.
Combined Disasters requires that both Disasters must
be eligible to strike the target Place.
Eliza is limited to one per Group.
The Gnomes of Zurich have a +4 bonus to control
Bank Groups only (not Bank and Corporate Groups).
Orbit One can be affected by a Nuclear Disaster, but
not an Earthquake.
The Oregon Crud has a Power of 24, and destroys on a
roll that succeeds by 10 or more.
Political Correctness affects Conservative Groups
with a Power of 0 or 1.
Reload (and similar cards that give extra tokens to
Groups of a specific alignment or attribute) now require
an Illuminati action and reload only 5 Power’s worth of
tokens, or any one Group of any Power. (Exception: Full
Moon requires an Illuminati action, but still reloads all
your Fanatic Groups.) The rules now make it explicit
that you cannot “reload” a group on the turn it is
Seize the Time requires an Illuminati action, and
cannot be used on your first turn. It does not give the
Illuminati any new Action tokens, and you cannot draw
cards or play any Plots during your extra turn.
Shangri-La explicitly gets its +5 to defend against
Upheaval! requires an Illuminati action, and cannot be
used on your first turn.
Video Games gives +1 Power to all your other (i.e. not
itself) Computer Groups.
Volcano has a Power of 18, and destroys on a roll that
succeeds by 2 or more.
Voodoo Economics requires an Illuminati action, and
can be used only once per game by each player.
Weather Satellite now gives a +10 (not a +8), to
Tornado, Hurricane, and Rain of Frogs (not Tidal
Other Card Errata
Some other clarifications and changes to cards have
been made since the release of the Unlimited Edition and
the Assassins expansion:
+10 Plot Cards (such as Albino Alligators) never
count more than once for any given action or defense
(even if a Group uses several Action tokens).
Alien Abduction requires an action from the UFOs or a
Space Group to use the “automatic takeover of a
Alternate Goals may be either held in your hand or
played in front of you. If you play it, it does not count
against your hand limit.
A.M.A. may aid or oppose any attack made by, or
against, any Science Group (and gives its +5 bonus when
Antitrust Legislation has been extensively reworked. It
When this card is played, each player may move his
Groups before it goes into effect, at the cost of discarding
one Plot card for each move or three Plot cards for a
complete reorganization. These discards may come from
hand or deck.
While this NWO is in effect, Corporate Groups that
control or are controlled by other Corporate Groups lose
their Action tokens and cannot get new ones or use their
This card replaces any Yellow NWO card in play.
Blinded by Science requires at least six Science Groups
having a total Power of 30 or more.
Comet Hail-“Bob” can be used only once per game by
Flesh-Eating Bacteria requires a Science action to
return to your hand after destroying the target.
Go Fish cannot be used on a player who has been
forced to reveal a hidden Plot or has received a Plot card
from a rival. This restriction expires at the end of that
player’s next turn.
Oil Spill allows you to put an Action token on all
Green Groups in play after a successful attack (even one
that only Devastates its target), but each player can only
do this once per game.
Upheaval! causes Groups to be discarded — they do
not count as destroyed for any purpose.
Illuminati: New World Order
Employ as a talisman to ward off giant crawdads.
Insert between bicycle spokes to make that "fwip, fwip, fwip" noise.
Wrap a deckful in tinfoil and leave it in a friend's freezer.
Use to get blank money from blank ATM machines.
Leave at crime scenes.
Use a stack to level off that wobbly old table.
Leave one with your tip at a restaurant to impress the attractive waitstaff. (Optional: Write your phone number on it first.)
Hold two up to your mouth and make whistling noises.
Leave as a bookmark in an appropriate place (Federal Registry, Gideon Bible, etc.).
Six words: Dr. Tung's 3-D House of Cards!
Tape them together into a giant pyramid and fly it like a kite. When the sky darkens, wait for further instructions.
Draw a rectangle on the card. Ask celebrities to autograph it, but impress upon them that they must not mark outside the rectangle.
Slip them into your favorite psychic's tarot deck.
Walk around with a set in your hands shouting, "Waitaminute! This was no boating accident!"
Place your cards in a circle around you. "They" cannot get to you while the circle remains unbroken.
Cut some into flowers and give them to your beloved. Pretty flowers. Dark, twisted flowers.
Fend off attackers with Deadly Ninja Throwing Cards.
Bid as ante.
Concentrate on the card. Feel it grow cold in your hand.
Six words: Not just for breakfast, any more.
Show the back of one to an opponent, then stick it blank side out to his sweaty forehead. Ask him to guess which one it is. Laugh.
Make them into blank grunge jewelry. Accessorize.
These cards lose their radioactivity only in the presence of open flames. Convince others.
Frame and mat them. Invite modern art critics over for a showing. (Put out cheese and crackers - they love art shows that do that.)
Pull out of your jacket when you can't get a seat on a crowded bus. Shout, "They're blank. Blank, I tell you!" Laugh. Shake uncontrollably. Take
any available seat.
Go to a party and hand one to whoever answers the door. Look annoyed no matter what they do.
Persuade friends these are ultra-Rare, misprinted Crystal Skulls. If they don't believe you, hold one tight to your chest and whisper softly,
"Crystal Skull, Crystal Skull. I love you."
Use in play. Claim they are special "Freak Blizzard" Disaster cards (Instant Attack, Power 30) from the new issue of Pyramid.
Turn a stack into a blank animation flip book.
Four words: They make great pets.
Use in a poker game. Everything's wild!
Use as money in prison.
Lick one. Exclaim to a friend, "They're blank, except for the flying monkeys!"
Use as your Illuminati group. Special Goal: blank cards count double toward victory conditions!
Just a hint: a thick enough stack will stop a bullet.
Clip to your 1040EZ instead of a W-2. Apply for a passport, first.
Use to purchase small household items. If cashier gives you any guff, flash one and tell him he's under arrest. Go find local constables.
Play "Pick a Card, Any Card." Amaze your friends by guessing which card they drew.
Hold one over each eye; stare blankly.
Two words: More fiber.
Squash flies, one per card. Save, collect, trade!
Tear one in half. Give one side to a stranger. Say, "The rest is yours when the parrot dies."
In a Cheating Game, switch them for someone's face-down Plots.
Hand two to a friend and ask, "Do these look the same to you? Take your time."
Seal in a bottle and toss in the ocean, the lake, a swimming pool, a sandbox . . .
Mail one to the President. (Send blank Plots, write your ideas on them.)
Play 412-card pickup.
Print your business cards on them. Impress your friends.
Forge Secret Service credentials on one, gain access to game companies everywhere.
One Word: Origami!