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How Illuminati Works

Illuminati Cards
Illuminati cards have clever names and even more clever tricks up their sleeves.
Illuminati cards have clever names and even more clever tricks up their sleeves.
Photo by Elizabeth Johnston/

Learning how to take a turn of Illuminati is probably harder than attempting to take over the world in real life. But now that you have a vague idea of how to play -- by controlling your own groups, destroying your enemies' and amassing money -- we can get into the nitty gritty of how to go about doing that.

As we mentioned earlier, when you first start, you'll draw one Illuminati card from the eight available. That'll be your Illuminati Group, and each has cool characteristics:

  • Bavarian Illuminati: Make one privileged attack per turn at a cost of 5 MB.
  • Bermuda Triangle: Reorganize groups at end of turn.
  • Discordian Society: Add four points to any attempt to control Weird groups. Immune to attacks from Government or Straight groups.
  • Gnomes of Zurich: Move money freely at the end of a turn.
  • Network: Turns over two cards at beginning of turn.
  • Servants of Cthulhu: Add two points on any attempt to destroy any group.
  • Society of Assassins: Add four points on any attempt to neutralize any group.
  • UFOs: Participate in two attacks per turn.

All Illuminati cards have a power number (used when you're rolling numbers for attacks) and an income number (that you'll collect on every turn). Next are the Groupcards. These are the ones you'll try to control and will draw on every turn. Some things to know about Groups:

  • Alignments: These are political alignments (Communist, Liberal, Violent, Weird, etc.) It's easier to control similar groups or destroy opposite ones, as you'll get points added to or subtracted from your roll. (Again, there's a chart in the directions to help you keep track.)
  • Power: The power number on the card lets you know how easy it will be to control (the higher the number, the more power it has). It might also have two numbers separated by a slash; the second is the transferable power used to assist another Group in an attack.
  • Resistance: This number lets you know how easy it will be to take over. If the number is lower, you can more easily grab it.
  • Income: Each Group gets income, just as your Illuminati card does. Place the income on each Group card every turn.
  • Special abilities: Some Group cards have these, which might mean certain perks for certain actions. Follow the instructions on the card.

Special cards (like the Time Warp card on the previous page) are also in the general pool. These give pretty straightforward advantages to the player who draws them, but follow the instructions for how to use them correctly. Note that you can only employ them once, and they can be traded, sold or straight up given away out of the goodness (or pure cunning) of your heart.