This article originally appeared in Pyramid #11
The One Big Game Deck
by Steve Jackson
This is a variant of INWO to be used when all the cards are owned by the same person. It's specifically designed for the as-yet-unreleased factory set (tentative title, One With Everything). That set will have one of every Plot and Group card, plus three of each Illuminati, and some blanks. But these rules will work with any big stack of Illuminati cards . . .
(1) Start by removing any blank cards from the deck, and dividing the cards into one stack of Plots and one stack of Groups.
(2) Deal a starting hand of 3 Plots and 10 Groups to each player, face down. Players may look at their cards, but cannot play any of them until the game actually begins.
(3) Each player may go through the Plots deck and choose one Illuminati card for himself. Pick one that goes well with the Groups and Plots you were dealt. Shuffle the cards after the last player has chosen.
(4) Each player puts his chosen Illuminati card on the table, all at once. It can happen that more than one players have the same type of Illuminati . . . which means they represent different factions of the same conspiracy. See p. 13 of the INWO rulebook.
(5) Each player chooses one Group card from his hand, as the first puppet of his Illuminati. All players show their choices at the same time. Any puppets which are chosen by more than one player go back into the owners' hands, and they must make alternate choices. This continues until there are no duplicate puppets.
(6) Deal the top four Groups from the deck into the middle of the table, to start the "uncontrolled" area — see below.
(7) Each player rolls two dice. The one with the highest roll goes first. At the beginning of the game, you may not attack a player who has not yet had their first turn! You may not use Plot cards or special abilities on them, either.
Once the game starts, use the regular turn sequence. Draw Plots and Groups normally, as per the regular INWO rules — but everyone draws from the same deck. When any card refers to an individual player's Groups or Plots deck, just read that as meaning "the" Groups or Plots deck. Thus, a card that normally lets you look at the top card of your own Plots deck now has the same effect as a card that lets you look at the top of a rival's deck. There's just one Plots deck. A player who returns a card to the deck may still put it on the top, the bottom, or in the middle. But, of course, there's no guarantee that he will be the one to draw it again!
The Uncontrolled Area
When any player tries to control a card from his hand and fails, that card goes into the uncontrolled, or neutral, area. (Exception: The special power of the Adepts of Hermes means they keep a group even if they fail their attempt to control it.)
And if a player drops out or is destroyed, the groups in his hand go into the neutral area.
Any player may try to take over or to destroy a card from the uncontrolled area, and anyone else may aid or oppose those attacks, following the normal rules for interfering with other players' attacks. However, you may not make an automatic takeover from the uncontrolled area.
Players may trade cards among themselves after the initial deal, before the game starts. This may result in some hands being slightly larger than others. So it goes.
You could stack the deck in this game, abusively or otherwise. For instance, you could put in nothing but Weird groups. But that would probably be a bad idea, because then either there would be very few groups, or there would be lots of duplicates for each Group card, and either way people will fight over the groups.
A subtler way to stack the deck would be to include only those Plots that are good for certain Illuminati. This is evil; don't do it. Or, if you do, don't play for money. Or, if you do, spend it on some more cards.
The One With Everything set contains only one of each Group and Plot card. Therefore, a few cards are completely worthless if you play a one-deck game with a single One With Everything set. Any player who draws one of these cards may show it, discard it immediately, and draw a new one. These cards include Media Blitz, Counter-Revolution, Payoff, Purge, Faction Fight, Clone, Impostor, Forgery, and any other card which is good only with duplicate Group or Plot cards.
Article publication date: January 1, 1995
Copyright © 1995 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.