Official Tournament Rules

Here are the rules we used for the GenCon INWO tournaments. If you want "Official Tournament Rules," use these.

  1. The Head-To-Head Tournament. Single elimination, limited to the first 256 players who sign up. The first round will be broken up into two sessions (sessions at GenCon are 3-1/2 hours long), and two games will be played in each session. Two more games are played in both Rounds Two and Three, leaving four players for two games in the Final Round. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place. The new Two-Player Rules in the Unlimited Edition rulebook will be in effect. (see below).
  2. The Multi-Player Tournament. Five players per table, limited to the first 250 players who sign up. Winners, shared victories and ties all advance, so some tables may have six players in later rounds. In Round Three, the top three finishers at each table (there will only be two tables at this point) advance to the Final Round. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place.
  3. The "One With Everything" Event. This is a one-shot event, limited to the first 80 players who sign up, played five to a table, with prizes for winners at each table. Factory Sets to play with will be provided by Steve Jackson Games.
  4. The "Sealed Deck" Event. This is a one-shot event, limited to the first 80 players who sign up, played five to a table, with prizes for winners at each table. Each player must bring his own factory sealed INWO Starter Set. The sets will be opened at the beginning of the session, and players have 30 minutes to sort their cards and prepare a deck. No trading between players is allowed. The ultimate test of deck-building and playing skills!

Rules for the two tournaments (and by extension, all convention INWO tournaments everywhere) are as follows:

Official INWO Tournament Rules

  1. The game will be played according to the most recent edition of the INWO rulebook, as amended by any official errata published by Steve Jackson Games, except where the rules below take precedence.
  2. A Tournament Deck must contain exactly 45 cards.
  3. Cards may be from any edition -- Limited, Unlimited, or the Factory Set. Our tournaments are designed for people to display skill in deck-building, gameplay and general sneakiness -- not for the Mr. Suitcases of the world.
  4. Cards from the German edition of INWO may be used following the guidelines described in INWO Spricht Deutsch.
  5. Cards may not be marked in any permanent way. Exception: Small sticky tags (often called Post-It TM Brand Notes) may be used to note changes in the Power or Resistance of a Group as circumstances change, to note the ownership of a card that changes hands, or to give a name to a Media Sensation.
  6. The actual INWO cards must be used -- no proxies. Players may protect their cards in plastic sleeves, provided:
    1. All cards in the deck use identical sleeves
    2. The sleeves are clean and unmarked
    3. No other players at the table object
    The Tournament Referee may require a player to un- sleeve his cards (or place them in new sleeves) if the old sleeves are dirty, sticky or otherwise marked, or if other players object. Other players at the table may shuffle sleeved sets of cards before the game starts. Other, bulkier protection (lucite holders come to mind) are not permitted.
  7. Foreign language edition INWO cards may be used in a deck for the fun of it, provided:
    1. the card has an English-language equivalent (cards unique to foreign language editions may not balance with the original version)
    2. the player has a copy of the original version on hand so that players can read the English text and know exactly what the card does
    If the foreign version of a card has information that differs from its English-language counterpart, then the English-language rules apply.
  8. Players can bring as many cards as they like to the tournament, and change cards (or entire decks) freely between rounds, but once a Tournament Deck has been placed on the table at the beginning of a round and declared ready, that's it -- no changes, substitutions or trades from that point up to the moment the game begins.
  9. Cards may be given to other players during the course of a game as per the INWO rules, except that exchanges during a Tournament are never permanent -- all cards are returned to their original owners at the end of the round.
  10. The Tournament Referee reserves the right to void a card trade (if other players at the table challenge it -- the Ref will not butt in when not asked) if, in his opinion, the trade is part of an effort by several players working together to advance one of their number to a subsequent round. This is very Illuminated, and we would normally be very amused, but this simply isn't fair to the poor sap who happens to get placed at a table full of friends who are colluding to make sure one of their own moves on. It's every conspirator for himself ... Shared victories are OK; players sacrificing themselves so a friend can advance isn't.
  11. If negotiations drag on too long, any player at a table can call the Tournament Referee over to get things moving. If convinced the request is legitimate, the Ref will impose a 1-minute time limit to conclude negotiations; after that the player whose turn it is must take an Action or pass the remainder of his turn.
  12. The Order of Play is subject to the ''Oops Rule''. If a player forgets to do something in the turn sequence (like draw his Plot Cards, or make his automatic takeover, or whatever), he may not go back and correct his error, unless the other players at the table unanimously allow him to. Players are encouraged to cut each other slack during the game, but they don't have to ... at the risk of making a permanent enemy, of course.
  13. Profanity, abuse, violence and other disruptive behavior will result in a player's expulsion from the tournament. The Tournament Referee's word is final on this matter. Period.
  14. GenCon games will be played to the standard victory conditions of 11 groups, though tournaments elsewhere may be played to a different number -- higher for longer, more challenging games, or lower for quicker contests. If time still runs out without a winner, a Percentage of Goal system (see below) will be used to determine the winner. This system will also be used to determine 2nd and 3rd places in the semi-finals and finals, the game ending the moment the winner meets his victory conditions.
  15. Whatever else comes up, the Tournament Referee's word is final.

Percentage of Goal Scoring System

Simply put, if nobody has achieved a victory condition when time expires (and the referee will give ample warning that the time limit is approaching), then play freezes when time is called and a winner is determined. (If time is called after an attack is announced but before the dice are rolled, then the dice must be rolled immediately; no further negotiation, playing of Plot Cards or spending of Action Tokens may occur. You roll the dice as the attack stands, and live with the consequences.) Each player receives a percentage score (taken to as many decimals as needed to determine a winner) based on the best of the following factors:

  • Number of groups controlled (taking into account any special bonuses, including those from goal cards in play), as a percentage of the goal. Example: The Gnomes control six groups (one of which counts double because it is a Bank of Power 4 or greater) plus the Illuminati group, for a total of 8. The announced victory condition was 11 groups. The Gnomes player's percentage is 72.7%.
  • Percentage of other special goals achieved, including those from Goal Cards already exposed (Goal Cards still in the deck, or hidden in the hand, do not qualify). Example: There are 27 Power worth of Peaceful groups in play on the table when time is called. Shangri-La needs 30 to win, so the Shangri-La player's percentage is 90%.
  • When a special goal has two parts (as with the Bermuda Triangle and several Goal cards), the percentage is determined by averaging the different percentages, with 100% the maximum for either part. Example: Bermuda Triangle needs all 10 alignments and 35 Power in its structure; at the end of the game, they have 8 alignments and 33 Power. Their percentage would be 80% averaged with 94.3%, or 87.1%. If Bermuda had 8 alignments and 38 Power, it would not get a bonus for the ''extra'' Power; the percentage would be 80% averaged with 100%, or 90%.
  • If two (or more) players' Percentage of Goal are identical -- or, as in the case with Shagri-La, two or more players reach the same victory condition simultaneously -- the tiebreaker will be total number of Groups in the player's structure (including those that may count double).
  • If there is still a tie, then both players advance (in preliminary rounds). If prizes are at stake, then the players can agree to a coin flip or other random determination to see who gets the higher-place prize, or they can take joint possession of the prizes for the two places and divide them up any way they care to. If two people tie for first, they jointly get the prizes for first and second; if they tie for second, they jointly get the prizes for second and third; and so on.

2-Player Rules

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 multi-player game. The following rules are official for two-player tournament games, and suggested for all two-player play:

  1. Play to no less than 12 groups.
  2. Neither player may attack the other until each has taken a full turn; Player 2 can't jump instantly on Player 1.
  3. Eliminate the "automatic takeover" phase. Except for the puppet that you start the game with, no group may be taken over without a die roll. To take over a Resource, spend your Illuminati token -- no more than one per turn.

A Note On Trading

In a sealed-deck tournament, pre-game trading can be a lot of fun. Why did we specifically rule it out for our official tourney? Because it can also take a long time. If you're organizing a tournament, and you want to allow an extra hour or so for card-trading, more power to you!

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