By Steve Jackson
Revised July 16, 1999
Illuminati tournaments have become a standard offering at game (and some SF) conventions. There have also been a number of requests for us to sponsor a national Illuminati competition, and perhaps one day we shall. Without commenting on the sort of crazed mind that would abet this sort of Major Weirdness, we would like to present a system that works well. Any competitions that we (heh, heh) sponsor will, in all probability, use this method.
First round: Divide all players into groups of four, five, or six. It is all right if (for instance) some groups have five players while other groups have six. Each group plays one game of Illuminati. When all games are over, the winner(s) of each game gets points equal to the number of players in the game, divided by the number of winners; i.e., if there were 5 players in the game and one person wins, he gets 5 points. If two players split the victory, each one gets 2½ points . . . and so on.
Second round: All first-round winners get to play a second time. Divide them into groups of four, five, or six, as before. If possible, players that shared a victory in the first round should not play together in the second round. Winners in the second round get more points, as described above, which are added to their first-round points.)
Third round: If there were more than three winners in the second round, they play a third round, using the same procedures. Unless there were well over 100 contestants, there will probably not be more than three winners in the third round.
At this point, the three players with the highest cumulative point total are the first, second, and third-place winners. Note that it is possible (though unlikely) that a player could win a first-round game, lose in the second round, and still rank in the top three in cumulative points at the end of the tourney! The winners should immediately be invested with high rank in the local cabal of the Illuminati, showered with gifts, and viewed with deep suspicion by everyone who knows them.
If It's a Small Event
If you have only a few people in the tournament (say, 15 or less), you may want to let all players, rather than just the first-round winners, enter the second round. In this case, make sure that the players are reshuffled between rounds. The third round will be played between those who won in either their first- or second-round games.