The Illuminati Card Game


This page has been created to allow one to understand more about the Illuminati Card “game.” Here, general topics will be discussed such as rules, card details, terminology, etc. to help grasp more of the individual breakdown on the cards before even looking at a specific card. To just jump to the card list click below:


Looking At the Game In Whole

To begin with, all of these cards are produce by a company called Steve Jackson Games. If you visit the official website, you can tell straight away how the company has deemed use of the pyramid with the all seeing eye. The first deck was actually established in 1982. Below is the list of the varying card decks:

  • Illuminati NWO Deluxe 1982
  • Illuminati New World Order 1995
  • Illuminati Y2k NWO
  • Illuminati Bavarian Fire Drill NWO
  • Illuminati Mutual Assured Distraction NWO
  • Illuminati Assassins NWO 1996
  • Illuminati SubGenius NWO 1998
  • Illuminati Crime Lords NWO
  • Illuminati Brain Wash NWO
  • Illuminati Auf Deutsch NWO
  • Illuminati Miscellaneous and Extras NWO

Here is a list of the artists:

Throughout majority of the Illuminati cards a reoccurring symbol, with a few possible variations, can be found. The reoccurring symbol is a triangle either empty or with a “dot” of some form or fashion at the very least. Some instances the symbol is more hidden than others and sometimes more boldly displayed. Below are some formations which are the Eye of Providence (a.k.a. All-Seeing Eye) and another titled the Triangle of Art:

For more information about these symbols you can also visit these websites below:

Now to understand about the cards, I will first mention that below each image of the card will be a section that provides certain information in this same layout (this is an example used from the 13013 card). However before going any further please understand that everything below here is not for the benefit of knowledge on how to play this card “game,” but rather to help understand the finer details of what the cards really mean.


  • Card from INWO SubGenius Card Deck – Dated 1998
  • Uncommon Card
  • Plot Card
  • Alignment: N/A
  • Attribute: Requires Action

Suspect Triangle Location(s):

  • N/A

The first section title Aspects will provide information on what deck the card is found in, how common or rare the card is, and then what type of card it is. Below the aspects will be two words; alignment and attribute. Not all cards will have these so if one is not present, it will simply read “N/A.”

Straight from the rules for the card game here is more detail about alignments and attributes:

Alignment: 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 opposite alignments. List of the alignments:

  • Government: An arm of any government; its opposite is Corporate
  • 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 their 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 usual duration. 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.

Attributes: 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.

After the alignment and attribute section is the Suspect Triangle Location(s). This section simply points out the location where a triangle or triangles are located within the card. This section relates to those symbols which are reoccurring throughout the majority of the cards. If there is no symbol to be found it will simply read “N/A.”

This concludes the explanation of the table that will be present on each card study.

Extra Details

Power Structures

As play develops, your holdings might look like this:

 photo power_structure_zpsba98f6ce.png

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).

Plot Cards

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 and New Word Order cards 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.

Types of Plots

Most Plots are one of a kind — read the card and follow the instructions. Some Plots fall into special families:

  • +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 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 (excpet to defend itself against an attack) for the rest of the turn, or to cancel a single action by a Group with that attribute.
  • 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 send an Illuminati action at any time to remove all Zaps from one player (himself or somebody else).

Group Cards

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’ conspiracy.

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 bottom left are its Alignments (4), if any. At the bottom right are its Attributes (5), if any. At the edges are its control arrows (6).

 photo card_overview_zps6ee30fae.png

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.
  • Places: These represent the cabal that controls that place’s government. Places are vunerable to Disasters.
  • Personalities: These represent key individuals with their loyal henchman and tools. Personalities are vulnerable to Assassinations.
  • Organizations: Most Groups are Organizations, not particularly associated with any place or personality.


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. The second number is Global Power, which can be used to aid or oppose attacks regardless of alignments.

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 towards 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 aboce O. Power can never be reduced below 0.

If a Group’s Power 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.

Control Arrows

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.

Resource Cards

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. If a Group is captured, its linked Resources go with it. If a Group is destroyed, its linked Resources are also destroyed.

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.

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 technology
  • 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 Resource is destroyed, no more copies of that Resource may be played.

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 of Privileged attack. When a NWO card is played, it goes into 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 combinations…

To see the full rule book of the “game,” click HERE.

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