Frequently Asked Questions
about the INWO Rules

Created by Steve Jackson

Prepared by Steve Hatherley based on John Karakash's work, and updated to HTML and maintained by John Fiala.

New additions indicated by  (or *** if Steve did 'em)

Prepared by John Fiala, Master of Steam.
Updated November 2001 by Steve Brinich

Illuminati: New World Order (TM) and World Domination Handbook are copyright Steve Jackson Games. Fnord. However, and despite what you may have read in Pyramid, Hatherley is spelled Hatherley.

Copyright ©2001 by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

Questions are listed alphabetically by subject. Eventually, we may want HTML links from here to the rules, and vice versa.

For those stabbing back pains, look at the Assassins Errata and deep questions page.

There's a separate file for frequently asked card questions.

Plus, for those questions that go beyond "Frequently Asked" we have the Very Frequently Asked Questions page! New stuff will be added here as it is deemed worthy of inclusion.

Topics Covered

Adding Bonuses
If a card has a bonus to attack and a bonus to directly attack the same card, are they cumulative? Nope, unless the card specifically says so.
Does Immunity give immunity to agents? No. Immunity only applies to cards in play.
Do changes to a card on the table (such as alignment changes) affect Agents for that Group? The Agent card in hand has the same alignments and attributes as the Group in play.
Aiding Attacks
When a Group aids an attack, does it get a +4 if it has a similar alignment, and/or a -4 for an opposite alignment? No! You must look at the alignment of a Group (unless it has Global Power) to see if it is eligible to aid the attack at all, but only the Group that actually makes the attack gets bonuses or penalties for alignment.
If an aiding Group's action is made illegal (for example, if someone plays NWO: Apathy), do it get its Action token back? No. (but who cares?)
Any Time
What exactly does this mean? It means that you may do this at any time, except when a rule or card text clearly says that you can't.
Can I double-up a Group's special ability by spending its action before reloading Action tokens and then again after reloading Action tokens (e.g. using the Gay Activists to reverse the alignments of two Groups for the turn)? No. During the Beginning of Turn segment of your turn, you may not use Action tokens except to trade them for Plot cards, to power Plots or special abilities that affect one of your Beginning-of-Turn phases (e.g. you can use them to affect your card draws or automatic takeover), or to respond to another Plot, special ability, or action.
Announcing Bonuses
If I "forget" to mention a defensive bonus, can I tell them after the dice are rolled? No way! All bonuses for the offense or defense must be mentioned before the roll or you don't get them.
Is there ever a situation when I can roll the dice when the attack strength is less than 2? Nope.
When does an attack fail? An attack fails when the die roll fails, or no die roll can be made. An attack that is cancelled, made illegal, or called off isn't a failure.
If a Group attacks and its action is canceled, can that Group try the same attack again if it can get another action token? Yes, because the canceled action never happened.
Can an action be canceled after the dice are rolled? No!
Automatic Takeovers
Are you permitted to skip your automatic takeover if you choose? Yes.
What if you forget to make your takeover? Do the other players have to go back and let you make it? No, unless you have a house rule that says "Always play nicely". It's up to the other players.
Under SubGenius rules, if your Illuminati normally gets more than one Action token each turn, does taking an automatic takeover cause you to forfeit all of them or just one?  Just one -- if you take an ATO, your Illuminati gets one fewer token than usual.
Bonuses to Attack
Do I have to use them against my own Groups, for instance, if they are pointed out to me? Yes -- just as you have to use your full Power and Resistance. If you missed (intentionally or otherwise) a bonus or penalty and nobody points it out until after the dice are rolled, this falls under the Whoops! rule -- you cannot go back and change it. However, you can't just rush through to prevent the other players from speaking up (that's speed play, and illegal).
Note that Illuminati closeness bonuses don't apply when you attack your own Groups, so it doesn't matter if someone (mistakenly) points them out. If a rival attacks you and you want him to succeed, then the proximity bonuses would apply if someone points them out.
Bounced First Lead
By a careful reading of the rules, it seems that when you only have a 7 card Group deck, you are allowed to use a bounced first lead card as one of the cards you get to redraw. Is this the case? It does seem to say that, but that is a mistake. You get to draw up to six cards and don't get to draw your bounced lead Group.
See the VFAQ for more details on Canceling.
Card Memories
Do cards have "memories" (such as when a place is Devastated) if it is taken into a player's hand and brought back later? Cards do have memories of Devastation, permanent links and whatnot. This is made clear in the WDH. However, all links are temporarily illegal when the card is in someone's hand.
Card Ownership
When Groups are captured or traded during a game, or when Plot cards change hands, how do you keep track of who "really" owns the card? The two best ways are just to make notes whenever a card changes hands, or to use little bits of sticky-notes, which adhere to the card face without leaving permanent traces.
Note that a reference to a card's "owner" in the card text or the body of the rules means whoever controls the card, not its real-life owner.
Are there any cards that let someone "steal" my undrawn Plots or Groups without telling me what they got? No. When someone steals your cards, they must show you what they took.
Changing a Die Roll
There are several cards (e.g. Bribery, Fnord!, Murphy's Law) which say to play them "immediately after a die roll".  If one of these cards is played, is it possible to play another one to change the die roll again? Yes. When a Plot or special ability directly changes a die roll, it's just as if the dice had been rolled again to produce the new number, and the new roll can be "immediately" changed again.
Committing to an Attack
Does using a duplicate Group card as "agents" commit you to the attack? Yes. If you play an agents card, you must go through with the attack and spend that card.
Defense (as defined in the WDH Glossary) occurs when you spend your Action tokens to aid a Group in your Power Structure against an attack.
Do bonuses for defense (such as the tripled Power from Good Polls) apply to special abilities or Plot cards? No. Using a special ability or powering a Plot card is not defense. For instance, if your Weird Groups have triple defensive Power from Good Polls, they can use that Power to defend themselves or other Groups in your Power Structure, but not to power a special ability or Plot (such as Are We Having Fun Yet?) to cancel an attack on you.
Destroying Groups
Can Groups with 0 Power be destroyed? Yes. The question only arises because such groups could not be destroyed in the original Illuminati game. In INWO, they can.
See Undestroyable Groups in the Card FAQ for more questions about destruction.
Devastation and Relief
What is the cost to give Relief to a place with Power 0? Since the cost of Relief is three times the printed Power of the Place, regardless of its current power, the question should not arise; no Places have zero printed Power.
Can a Group be moved to an open control arrow of a devastated Place? Yes, it can. It gets no Action tokens and does not count for victory until the Place is relieved, but you can move it there if you really want to.
Can a Devastated Group still give +foo bonuses and use other special abilities that don't require actions? The use of "passive" special abilities that don't require actions is unaffected by Devastation.
Does a Place lose an Action token as soon as a Disaster is played on it? Yes. Of course, if the Disaster is canceled, then it never happened, and the Action token is returned.
How many tokens are removed from a Place that has more than one token (Germany, for instance) when struck by a Disaster? Just one.
Which attack and defense bonuses apply to Disasters? If the Disaster is an Instant Attack, the only bonuses that apply are the target's Illuminati closeness bonus and any bonuses that specifically mention Instant Attacks or Disasters. If the Disaster is not an Instant Attack, all normal attack and defense bonuses apply (including all bonuses specific to Disasters).
A slight change to the "Discard" definition: "A Plot is discarded if played..." rather than "A card is discarded if played..."
When is a card considered "discarded" and capable of being recovered by a card such as "Stealing the Plans"? The card is discarded immediately upon use, unless it stays on the table as a link or a marker for an ongoing effect. Plots affecting an attack remain on the table until the attack is resolved. Plots that have a full turn duration remain until after the turn ends. Linked Plots remain on the table unless and until the link is broken. There should be no time where someone has to reference a Plot in the discard pile to determine a current effect.
If someone discards a Group from their hand due to a failed attempt to control (or for any other reason, for that matter) does this prevent others from bringing out their own copies of that Group? No -- the Group was never in play. Others are free to play their own copies of the same card.
If you have two Goal Cards and must discard one, can you return it to your deck instead? Yes.
Eliminating A Player
If a player is eliminated, who gets credit for destroying his Illuminati? If a player removes a rival's last puppet with an attack, Plot, or special ability after the rival's third complete turn, the rival is eliminated and the player who removed the last puppet gets credit for the kill.  This counts for Cthulhu's Illuminati Goal or for taking over the Resources of a rival playing the same Illuminati.
If the victim has not yet completed his third turn, he is not eliminated. If he doesn't manage to acquire puppets by the end of his third turn, he is eliminated then, but nobody gets credit for it.
Note that the Fratricide Goal lets you count eliminated Illuminati if you merely help with somebody else's kill. The kill still has to be immediate (i.e. after the end of the victim's third turn).
If I destroy a rival Illuminati and then Unmask as Cthulhu, do I get credit for the kill? Yes. (If you're credited with destroying a rival Illuminati, always put it in your destroyed pile, just to keep them guessing...)
Extra Action Tokens
If I'm playing the UFOs, place my two Action tokens, and then Unmask! as another Illuminati, can I keep the extra token? In general, the extra token does not go away until used. Once it is gone, you dont get to replace it. (This situation can also come up when playing Resources such as Eliza or Perpetual Motion Machine... the ruling is the same).
Exposed Plot Cards
If you give the card away, is it still exposed? Yes. Giving away a Plot is not listed as a way to un-expose it...
Failed Attacks
What is the definition of a failed attack? An attack fails when the die roll fails, or no die roll can be made. An attack that is cancelled, made illegal, or called off isn't a failure.
Free Moves
When you buy a Plot card with Action tokens, is this a free move? Yes. (And because it's a Free Move, it can't be cancelled!)
Goals and Victory
For more detail overall, check out the Winning and Victory VFAQ.
What's to stop someone from hiding extra Goals in his hand, and discarding them before showing one Goal and claiming a win? Well, it's cheating. Someone who would do that would mark cards or steal your Action tokens, too... We don't have a specific punishment for it, any more than we do for any other type of cheating.
What happens if two players, playing the same Illuminati, meet their Goals at the same time? The rules say they can't share a win. Since they cannot share a win, neither of them wins. Unless some other player(s) also have reached their Goals, the game continues. Yes, this means that if you cannot stop player A any other way, perhaps you can stave off his win by a turn if you aid player B who happens to have the same Illuminati...
What is one of those two Illuminati meets two goal conditions at the same time (for example, one of them wins using either their Illuminati Special Goal or a Goal card) and my rival has only met one? It doesn't matter how many goals you can meet at once, but whether an identical Illuminati has also met victory conditions.  If so, regardless of the number of victory conditions you have met compared to him, you cannot win while he has still met his victory conditions.
What if two Cthulhu players both destroy their last group, making 8 destroyed for each, on the same turn?  Neither can win, so they both lose.
Does it matter if a Group qualifies for two different "counts double" Goals? No. No Group may ever count more than double toward the Basic Goal.
How do the Goals on Goal cards interact with the Special Goals of the Illuminati Groups? Read the cards. Most Goals cannot be combined with the Illuminati goals at all. For an exhaustive explanation on combining Goals, check out the Combining Goals VFAQ. The goals from different or multiple Goal cards cannot be combined in any way, even if it's legal for you to have more than one Goal card... which it isn't, unless you are the UFOs or have a Plot card that allows multiple Goals!
If a Plot or special ability changes a Group's Power or Alignment, does that count for Goals? The rules say that Power changes count for Goals only if they are permanent. There is no such note under Alignments -- an alignment change that only lasts until the end of the turn does count toward (or against) a win at the end of that turn. However, after it expires it doesn't count for anything.
Is that true even if the Group is destroyed? Yes. If you turn a Group permanently Peaceful and destroy it, it counts as a destroyed Peaceful Group for all purposes. If you turn it temporarily Peaceful until the end of the turn and destroy it, it would count as a destroyed Peaceful Group at the end of that turn, but not later.
Can you use the Templars' special ability on a Goal card exposed in the course of an attempt to win? A Goal card cannot be directly targeted during a victory attempt.
When are you supposed to expose your Plot cards during a victory attempt? After your rivals agree they can't stop you. This is when they scrutinize your hand to make sure you don't have illegal excess Goal cards or whatnot.
If I declare a victory, but am thwarted, is it still my turn? No -- the turn is over and the next player's turn starts.
By a strict reading of the rules, it seems that the current player wins on phase 6, but everyone else can only win on phase 7 of that turn, thereby negating any chance of a shared victory. To solve any potential disputes, the Turn Sequence has been clarified -- see the listing at the end of this FAQ.
If you meet the conditions for victory, do you have to declare it?  No.  You only have to declare victory when you want to win.
Can you play a Plot after declaring victory?  The rules say "At this point, if you have achieved one of your Goals, you must say so, to give other players a last chance to stop you by spending their actions or playing Plot cards."  Doesn't that mean that only your rivals may play Plots?  Anyone may use Plots, actions, or special abilities to thwart or secure a victory attempt. Of course, no one may make attacks (those are only during the Main Phase of one's own turn) unless some Plot or special ability allows it.
I'm Cthulhu with 10 Groups controlled and 2 destroyed, and I declare victory.  A rival plays Upheaval to thwart my victory. May I then play a Disaster to destroy a 3rd group to preserve my victory?  Yes; see previous answer.
If my last puppet is removed and I reveal the Arise Goal, I stay until the end of the turn, and then win.  What if someone plays a card that causes the turn to end before the victory declaration step? You still win when the turn ends, because the Arise Goal specifically says so.  In effect, this text means that there is a victory declaration step at the end of this turn whether it follows the normal turn sequence or not.
The rulebook says that if the Servants of Cthulhu destroy their own last puppet, and it is their eighth kill, they are not eliminated -- instead, they win. Do they win right away, or during the normal victory declaration step of the turn? They stay until the end of the turn, and then win, just like the Arise! Goal.
Summary -- A Group immune to foo Groups cannot
  1. be attacked by a rival foo Group,
  2. have rival foo Groups aid an attack against them (including Assassination and Disaster boosters),
  3. get Relief from rival foo Groups
  4. be affected by special abilities (even passive ones that dont require actions) of rival foo Groups.
Immunity does not affect other Groups or Resources in the same Power Structure.
Can you use special abilities of your Group on a rival that is immune to your Group? No!
Does immunity to a Group also give immunity to a Plot powered by an action from that Group? Immunity does not protect against Plot cards, even when they are powered by actions from Groups covered by the immunity. However, the immunity does prevent those Groups from adding their Power to attacks.
For instance, the Discordian Society is immune to Straight and Government Groups. Rivals can still use actions from those Groups to power Plot cards against the Discordians, but cannot (for example) use a Government action to increase the Power of a Sniper against a Discordian-controlled Personality.
If Discordia spent its action and an appropriate Plot to turn the Nuclear Power Companies into a Government group, could the NPCs just use their action to cancel the Discordian action and stay Corporate? No, because when they became Government they fell under Discordia's immunity. It's now illegal for them to do anything to Discordia. A Group cannot take an illegal action, even if it would retroactively make itself legal.
Does immunity prevent that type of Group from interfering in your attacks from your hand? For example, would Discordia's immunity prevent a Government Group from interfering with Discordia's attacks to control a Group from hand? No. A Group just played from hand isnt in the players Power Structure, and isnt protected by his immunities. During an attack you can aid or oppose an attack made by a Group that is immune to you because you are not using your Power on the attacking Group youre using it on the defending Group (which isnt immune to you).
Immunity prevents a Group from making or aiding an attack on the immune Group. How about opposing an attack? A Group can oppose an attack regardless of immunity (if it is otherwise eligible).
In Play vs. Just Played
What is the distinction between these two terms?
  • In Play: In Play refers to already controlled Groups or Resources. A Plot is In Play while it remains on the table to mark its effect.
  • Just Played: Just played refers to a card being attacked to control from the hand. This card is not In Play yet. (Also written as "just been played" or "just played from the hand.")
"Inherited" Power
If a group (like Libertarians) inherits the Power from a group that has doubled power (like New York with the Necronomicon), can the Libertarians' inherited Power also be doubled? Until further notice the general rule is this: A group that "inherits" power like the Libertarians cannot inherit the doubled Power. Other Power modifiers still apply (additions, subtractions, and changes) for Libertarians when applied to the card it gets its new Power from.
Instant Attacks
Can Plot cards which increase a Group's Power, for one use only, be used to help fight an Instant Attack -- that is, a Disaster or an Assassination? In general, no, because such cards don't specifically say that they can be used against such attacks. However, if a Group has a special ability to interfere in some type of Instant attack, then Plots that increase its Power can be used before it gives its aid. Note that some Disasters, like Giant Kudzu, are not Instant -- defensive cards and Power-boosters can be used normally in that case.
Can you remove a Zap during an Instant Attack? Nope.
Do you get the +5 rival Illuminati bonus on instant attacks? No. The only things that affect Instant Attacks are proximity to your Illuminati and cards that specifically say so.
Can you spend Action tokens to draw Plots during an Instant attack against one of your own Groups? Yes.  Note that you may not spend the target's Action token; the rules say "The target may not spend any action tokens, even to defend itself, until the attack is resolved."
Can you use a Plot control ability like the Rosicrucians' special ability to select a Plot card during an Instant attack? Yes. (Note again that the target of the attack cannot spend an Action token, however.)
Can you play a NWO during an Instant attack?  Even one that would change the Power of the Groups involved in the attack? The rules say that NWOs can be played at any time except during a privileged attack, but they also say that cards can't aid either side of an Instant Attack unless they specifically say so.  The most consistent answer is that NWOs could, strictly speaking, be played during an Instant attack, but would not take effect until the Instant attack resolves (which, as a practical matter, means that you might as well wait until after the Instant attack to play them).
Does card text which completely forbids a certain type of attack (e.g. Dr. K'Taden Legume says that nobody can attack any of your other SubGenius Groups "in any way") also prevent Instant attacks? Yes.  For example, Shangri-La cannot target a non-Violent Group with an Assassination or Disaster.
"Killed" Personalities
Is there any difference between "assassinated" and "killed"? We didn't intend any, but some cards (like the Clone Arrangers) refer specifically to "assassinated" personalities, while others (like Moonbase, in the case of personalities living on it when it is destroyed) refer to those personalities as "killed." As far as we're concerned, the two terms are interchangeable -- so the Clone Arrangers can bring back a clone of a personality who happened to be on Moonbase when it blew up. Similar apparent contradictions between other cards should be handled the same way, by treating these two terms as interchangeable.
The rules mention "knocking", but don't define it. What is it? The term comes from euchre. It means to knock on the table to alert everybody that your turn is coming to an end. The next player to the left should pause a moment to see if anybody declares victory or plays Seize the Time, and then begin his turn.
If you say "That's all", but don't actually knock on the table, is it the next player's turn? Whatever your group wants to accept, as long as it's clear to everyone. Fooling someone into thinking it's their turn when it's not is not acceptable behavior unless it's a cheating game.
Why would you want to link a Personality to a Place? Because one of the two cards mentions some advantage to be gained by such a link. If neither the Personality nor the Place card specifies a reason for a link, we suggest that you just not do it, thus cleverly avoiding any pointless "what if" questions.
Which links are permanent? Any link between a Plot and a Group is permanent. Other links are temporary unless the card text says otherwise.
How many links can a card have? Each Resource or Plot card may only be linked to one other card, unless the card text says otherwise. A Group may have any number of links.
What, exactly, is an "illegal link"?  A link is illegal if it violates a restriction on one of the linked cards or a rule that limits which cards may be linked.
If a Group is linked to an alignment Plot (e.g. Jake Day), and later linked to the opposite alignment Plot (e.g. Straighten Up), is the earlier one discarded?  No. The two conflict, so the later one prevails over the earlier one (see the Meta-Rules), but the earlier link has not been made illegal.
Does that mean that if the later alignment Plot is removed somehow, the earlier one is back in effect?  Yes. For instance, if a Group is linked to Jake Day, and then linked to Straighten Up, it is Straight and not Weird.  If the Straighten Up is removed (e.g. by Backlash), the Group will be Weird again.
What about Plots that require a specific alignment, such as the Power-boosters?  If a Plot says that it can only be linked to a Group with a certain alignment and the Group loses that alignment, the link is illegal. If the alignment change is permanent, the Plot will be discarded.
Magic Attacks
What constitutes a "Magic" attack? An attack by a magic Group, an attack using a Plot card that requires a Magic action or says that the attack is Magic, or an attack using a Magic Resource.
Non-Instant Disasters
If you play a non-Instant Disaster (e.g. Epidemic, Giant Kudzu) you receive both your standard attack bonuses and Disaster-specific bonuses. The target gets all its standard defense and anti-Disaster bonuses, as well.
New World Order Cards
While NWO: Military-Industrial Complex is in play, the Recording Industry gets Emergency Powers. NWO: Military-Industrial Complex then gets removed from play. What happens to the Emergency Powers? Alignment changes from NWOs are considered permanent. Thus, a Plot made illegal by the playing or removal of a NWO card is discarded.
If someone plays a NWO card, then a new one of the same color is played immediately on top of it, do any effects from the first one occur? Yes. For example, if NWO: Apathy is played, any actions that were spent to aid an ongoing attack would immediately become illegal, even if NWO: Apathy was in play for only a moment before being replaced. The only thing that would cause the NWO not to take effect at all is if the NWO card is canceled.
Plot Cards
Can an action-canceling Plot or special ability be used to cancel an exchange of Action tokens for Plot cards? No.
If I have too many Plots in hand, and I play one that increases my legal limit (e.g. Unmask as the Gnomes of Zurich), does the new limit apply immediately?  Yes.
Can you spend Action tokens to draw Plots during an Instant Attack against one of your own Groups? See Instant Attacks for questions concerning the play of Plots during Instant Attacks.
If I spend Action tokens to draw a Plot, and spend the Rosicrucians' action to select that Plot, and then a rival uses the Liquor Companies to "prevent" my Plot draw, do I get any of my tokens back?  No. The Rosicrucians' special ability use was made impossible, so they lose their token.
Privileged Attacks
Can "third parties" buy Plots during a Privileged Attack? Yes, but they may not give or trade them to either participant in the attack or play them to affect the attack (unless they can remove its Privileged status).
Does an increase in regular Power also increase Global Power? The rules explicitly say "no, not unless a card specifically says so."
What counts as permanent Power and what is printed Power? Printed Power is actually printed on the card. (If a card has a "*" printed on it, like OPEC, then whatever instructions apply to the * count as printed Power.) Permanent Power is the net result of printed Power and any permanent changes. See the VFAQ on Winning and Victory for a discussion on permanent Power.
Some Resources must be linked to a certain type of Group (Angel's Feather, Necronomicon, etc). Can you play these Resources if you don't have any qualifying Group? You may still control the Resource (it's linked to your Illuminati) but you can't use its special ability. For example, Angel's Feather must be linked to a Peaceful Group -- if you don't have any Peaceful Groups you can still control the Feather (and count it toward Goals), but you can't use it.
If a Resource whose effect has a duration (such as Orbital Mind Control Lasers) is destroyed, does the effect vanish immediately? Yes.
Can I give another player the Center for Weird Studies, (or any other unlinked Resource), after I've used it on my turn?  No. If you give a Resource away, it is considered linked to the recipient's Illuminati until he can re-link it, and this violates the rule against re-linking a Resource after it gives its benefit for the turn.
Results of an Attack
Say Cthulhu draws his Plot card for destroying a Group. Is it too late to use a roll-changing card? Is it too late to use a re-roll card? Yes -- once you have moved onto effects triggered by an attack, it is too late to muck around with the dice.
In general, how can you tell when it's too late to change a die roll? Is there a hard and fast rule, or just a rule of thumb? In general, its too late to change a roll or cancel something if you've resolved the results (Groups have been captured and moved, Cthulhu has drawn a Plot card, etc) or moved on to other things (a new action or attack, a new turn phase, a new player's turn, etc).
That is the rule of thumb for changing rolls and canceling actions, Plots or special abilities -- but it is obviously subject to speed play. You can't just swoop down on your target Group and move it to prevent your opponent from using a last-minute play to make the attack fail after all.
When you re-roll the dice after the attack, are you resuming the attack? No. The attack is over. The roll is merely to determine the results of the attack. A re-roll does not allow for new interference, etc. Once matters have gotten to the point of rolling the dice, all that can be done is to use a Plot or special ability that forces a die roll modification or re-roll.
Returning Group Cards
Can you return Group Cards to your deck like you can Plot cards? Nope. If, for some reason, you need Group Cards in your deck (for example, to power certain Plots), you can legally choose not to draw from the Group deck when you have the chance.
Secret Groups
The rules say that a Secret Group's master and puppets can always aid its attacks. Does that mean "even regardless of alignments"? No. The Group must still have either Global Power or an appropriate alignment in order to aid its Secret master or puppet. The rule just means that a Group is not barred from aiding its master or puppet because of Secrecy.
Is a Secret Group immune to attacks (or effects) of Resources? No, unless the Resource is explicitly linked to a Group that cannot attack the Secret Group. An unlinked Resource is considered to be property of the Illuminati, which can attack Secret groups. For example, the Orbital Mind Control Lasers can play games with the alignment of a Secret Group, just as though it were not Secret.
Do the various "any attempt" bonuses work against a Secret Group, even if the bonus comes from a non-Secret Group? No.
Likewise, can a non-Secret Group power a Plot on a Secret Group? Yep. Even though the token came from a non-Secret Group, the Plot is directed by the illuminati (deep and mysterious are their plans...)
Can a non-Secret Group use its action to affect a Plot linked to a Secret Group if the Plot text provides for such an effect? (For example, can a non-Secret Group provide a Science action to remove Frankenfood linked to a Secret Group?) Yes. This is a function of the Plot, not the Secret Group.
Special Abilities
What counts as a special ability? A special ability is anything in the text box that is generally beneficial to the controller of the card. All other text is flavor text (usually italicized) or instruction text.
Instruction text includes any special modifications to Power, Resistance, alignments, or attributes, as indicated by a * printed on the card. It also includes any effect which is generally detrimental to the owner of the card (e.g. the Bobbies increase in the owners Basic Goal or Moonbases killing of linked Personalities if Moonbase is destroyed).
Sometimes, instruction text is beneficial under special circumstances (for instance, a self-destructive Servants of Cthulhu Power Structure can benefit from Moonbases text). This does not change the fact that the test is whether or not the feature is generally beneficial.
Do we have to count them if we don't want to? Specifically when attacking Ninjas? Yes, you do. If someone notices that you "forgot" to count a bonus, you have to include it.
See the VFAQ for more detail on Special Abilities.
Speed Play
During the roll off to determine who wins a speed play, can you use cards like Terrorist Nuke or Swiss Bank Account? Nope, because they add to your attack strength, not to your attack roll. Only those cards that can affect the die roll itself will help you here.
Starting the Game
Does the Illuminati card counts as part of your starting 45? Yes.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of Groups required in a starting deck? Not unless you have set house rules about it. Some players like "finely-tuned" decks with only a few key Groups, but such decks are vulnerable to Group-killing attacks.
You start the game with one "lead" puppet. Do you put it out immediately, or is that the automatic takeover that you will get on your first turn? Your "lead" is put out immediately. On your first turn, you get an automatic takeover -- that is a different card.
Two people playing the same Illuminati may not share a Percentage of Goal Victory (using tournament rules) unless they are Shangri-La.
What's this "in-between turns" phase? A terribly bad idea. The whole concept has been removed in Version 1.1 of the rules. There is no such thing as a time that is between the end of one turn and the beginning of the next. We deny all knowledge. No such thing. Fnord.
Some parts of the Turn Sequence are still unclear. Sorry about that; this version should be somewhat clearer:

Turn Sequence

Beginning of Turn

During this portion of your turn, you may only use Action tokens to buy Plot cards, to power Plots or special abilities that directly affect one of the Beginning of Turn phases listed below, or in response to some other Plot, special ability, or action. Plots and special abilities that do not require an Action token are not affected by this restriction.

  • Draw the top card from your Plot deck, if you wish. At the same time, you may exchange Action tokens on your Groups for additional Plot card draws.
  • Draw the top card from your Group deck, if you wish.
  • Make one automatic takeover, if you wish. Choose any Group or Resource from your hand. You bring it into play automatically -- no die roll is required.

    If you choose a Group, place it so its incoming control arrow aligns with an outgoing control arrow in your Power Structure, without overlapping any other Group. You may not duplicate a Group already in play unless a card specifically allows it.

    If you choose a Resource, put it beside your Power Structure. You may not duplicate a Unique Resource already in play unless a card specifically allows it.

  • Place an Action token on each of your Groups that doesn't already have one. Some Resources (the ones that have the word "Action" at the bottom) also get Action tokens.

Main Phase

  • Attempt attacks or other Main Phase actions.

    During the Main Phase of your turn, you may 1)make attacks, 2)move Groups, 3)create or move Links, 4)give or trade Resources, 5)play one Resource by spending an Illuminati action, or 6)trade one Illuminati action for a Group card draw.

End of Turn

  • Use Plots or special abilities that happen "at the end of your turn" (such as the Bermuda Triangle's special ability).
  • Knock. Rap on the table to alert the other players that you're finished.

    At this time, any player(s) (including the one who just knocked) who has achieved one of his Goals may declare victory. If someone declares victory, any player may use Plots or special abilities to thwart or secure the victory. Action tokens may be used to buy more Plot cards or to power Plots and special abilities. However, nobody can make an attack (it's not the Main Phase of anybody's turn) unless a Plot or special ability allows it.

    If no one wins, the current turn ends and the next player to the left starts his turn. Play continues counterclockwise until a player or coalition of players wins.

"Any Time" Moves

You may perform the following moves during any part of your turn, or even during somebody elses turn, unless a rule or card text prevents it:

  • Trade Action tokens for Plot cards: At any time, you may exchange one Action token from your Illuminati or two Action tokens from your other Groups for one Plot card drawn from your deck. This does not count as an "action" by the Group(s) that provide the tokens, and your rivals cannot use action-canceling Plots or abilities to prevent it.
  • Use a special ability of one of your Groups or Resources: Some abilities can be used at any time; others are limited to certain times or circumstances. Read the card text to see how its special ability works, when you may use it, and what costs (actions, discards, etc) you must pay.
  • Play a Plot card: As with special abilities, read the card text to see how the Plot works, when you may use it, and what costs you must pay
  • Discard any card from your hand or return a Plot card to your deck: You may voluntarily get rid of cards. If you have too many Plot cards or Goals in your hand, you must immediately get rid of the excess.
  • Give away or trade cards from your hand: You can give gifts or make trades as part of your negotiation strategy.
  • Aid or oppose an attack: Whenever a player (you or somebody else) makes an attack, you may aid or oppose it (unless something prevents you from getting involved, such as Privilege).


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