SubGenius Rules

INWO: SubGenius Rules, v1.01

Cards and rules by
Steve Jackson and Lynette R. F. Cowper

Art direction by
Reverend Ivan Stang and Steve Jackson

Card illustrations by
Rev. Ivan Stang, Le Mur, O Nenslo, Rev. Poindexter, Atom
Funway Plastico, Paul Mavrides, Rev. Sternodox Keckhaver, Jim
Vandewalker, Rev. Jan Arthur Johnson, St. Joe Riley, John
Hagen-Brenner, "Babe" Huey, Leo Aman, IrRev. Friday Jones,
Rev. Noah Stewart, Cuthulu, Dr. G. Gordon Gordon, Numen
Remissionis, Dr. K'Taden Legume, Tommy Lopez, Michael
Hinson, P. Wei R. Doe, RevvED, Dr. Chuckles
Perdurabonobonanda, Tim Thomas.  See page 15 for full credits

Card back designs by
Derek Pearcy, from a painting by David Martin

Graphic Design by
Derek Pearcy and Jeff Koke (cards), Jack Elmy (rules)

Playtesters and Rules Readers: Andrew "Bob" Aye, Glen "Greg-Bob" Barnett, The Rev. J.C. "Steve" Bevilacqua, Seth "Bob" Cohen, Aaron "Bob" Curtis, the Don Fnordlioni, Rev. Matt "Prof. Insanity" Fritts, Steve "Bob" Hatherly, Pl "Bb" Jackson, John "Bob" Karakash, Sam "Bob" Kington, Ralph "Bob" Melton, Rev. Nickie Michaud-Deathchick, Craig "Bob" O'Brien, Doug "Bob" Sheppard and Members of their play groups -- too numerous to mention individually, but their contributions were valuable.

Incorporated.  INWO, Illuminati and the all-seeing pyramid are registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.  All rights reserved.   This is a work of political and social satire.  Any resemblance to real persons, places, events or groups, living, dead or whatever, other than under license or with satirical intent, is coincidental.  "SubGenius" and the Divine Countenance of "Bob" are registered trademarks of the SubGenius Foundation, Inc., and used by permission.

The Game for Superior Mutants . . .

All right.  Listen up.  The world will end soon, destroyed by alien gods, monsters from the hollow earth, and the unspeakable NHGH.   The foolish Pinks, and the Conspiracy that pulls their strings, will fry in their own fat.  But the Xists in their flying saucers will save a chosen few humans (but only those descended from the ancient Yetis).   Their Earthly spokesman is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the grinning Saint of Sales.   His Church of the SubGenius is your last hope to find others like yourself, gain slack, and SAVE YOUR MISERABLE LIFE when X-Day comes.  Got it?


Can You Repeat That More Slowly?

No.  Pay closer attention.  This is a game for 2 to 4 players.  The INWO SubGenius set includes this rulebook and 100 brand-new cards.  This is not a collectible set; every box includes the same 100 cards.  Praise "Bob"!  No collecting!  You'll also need two 6-sided dice.  Each player also needs around 15 "Action tokens" (glass pebbles are good) and a few pairs of distinctive markers for "links."

You are the leader of one faction of the Church.  You battle against the other factions for SUPREMACY during the last days of Earth.   World leaders, multinational corporations, and entire nations are merely your pawns.  SLACK is yours for the taking.  Praise "Bob"!


Is This Game Compatible With Standard INWO?

Yes.  The rules presented here are a subset of the INWO rules, with a different setup.  The game mechanics are the same, simplified by the omission of duplicate cards and of several special card types.  Experienced players will find this set to be a good way to infect innocent minds with the INWO meme . . . err, to teach the game to new players.

If you are already familiar with Standard INWO rules, you can flip to p. 15 for a quick look at the differences in SubGenius.

All of the SubGenius cards can be used in a standard INWO game; they're all tournament legal.

You can also bring cards (and Illuminati) from other INWO sets into a Subgenius game.  See p. 13 for more about this.


Basic Rules

Object of the Game

The object of INWO is to control the world.  You start with a single Church of the SubGenius card, representing your own faction of the Church.  During the game, you take over other Group cards.  They are added to your Power Structure as your puppets -- unless a rival takes them from you.  You can use Plot cards to advance your own position or harass your opponents.

You may win by controlling enough groups, or by fulfilling the special goal of your own Illuminati, or by meeting the objectives on a Goal card, or, of course, by crushing all of your rivals!  Thus, you prove that YOU are the True Church, and the others are deluded posers.


Beginning the Game

(1) Separate the Group cards (red backs, with a puppet) from the Plots (blue backs, with a hand).  Remove the four Church of the SubGenius cards from the Plot deck and give one to each player; set any extras aside.  Note:   Your "Church of the SubGenius" cards will usually be referred to as "Illuminati" cards in these rules.  Same thing, for purposes of this game.  This is to make the cards fully INWO-compatible.   See p. 15.  Fnord.

Shuffle both decks.  All players will draw from them.   Discarded Plots will all go face up in a single stack beside the Plots deck; discarded Groups go face up in a single stack behind the Groups deck.  If either deck runs out, reshuffle the discards.

(2) Deal three Groups and three Plots to each player.  After looking at his Plots, each player chooses one Group as a "lead" -- the first puppet of his Illuminati.  Resources (see p. 5) can also be leads; place them near your Illuminati.  All players place their leads on the table at the same time.

(3) Each player holds his other two Groups in hand till the start of his first turn.  At this point, he puts his Groups, face-up, in the middle of the table.  This begins the "uncontrolled area" -- the Group cards that anyone can try to capture or destroy.

(4) Each player rolls two dice.  The one with the highest roll goes first.

At the beginning of the game, you may not do anything to a rival who has not yet completed his first turn!  You may not use Plot cards or special abilities on him, interfere with his attacks, or use any cards that injure him.  Exception: If someone attacks you or uses a plot card, Resource or special ability on you during his first turn, you are free to respond against that attack, plot, Resource or special ability use in any way you can.


Turn Sequence

Each turn has the following phases:

Beginning of Turn:

You may not spend any action tokens during the beginning of your turn except to buy cards, respond to rivals' actions, or power Plots and special abilities having to do with these phases of your turn.  You can use cards that don't require actions, though.

1. Draw a Plot card for your hand.   If the Plot deck is ever used up, reshuffle the discarded Plots and then draw.

2. Draw Groups.   If the uncontrolled area contains fewer than 8 cards, draw a card from the Group deck and place it in the uncontrolled area. (On your first turn, the two extra Group cards you were dealt should also be placed in the uncontrolled area.)  If you have any Action tokens on your groups, you may spend them now to draw more cards from either deck.   Each draw costs 2 tokens, or one Illuminati token.  Plots go into your hand; Group cards are placed in the uncontrolled area.

3. Make an automatic takeover of any one Group or Resource that you placed in the uncontrolled area this turn, if you wish.  If you choose an automatic takeover, your Illuminati does not get a new token this turn.  A card with Control Arrows (see diagram, p. 4) is a regular Group.  Put it on any outgoing arrow of your Power Structure.  If a card has a Group back (red, with a puppet) but no Control Arrows, it is a Resource . . . put it beside your Power Structure.   (Regular groups have pink titles and text boxes; Resources have purple titles and text boxes.)

4.  Place Action tokens.  Your Church of the SubGenius card gets one only if you did not make an automatic takeover.  It may accumulate any number of tokens from turn to turn.  These represent its SLACK, and each faction of the Church may gather as much SLACK as it can!

Each of your other groups gets a token ONLY if it does not already have one on it.  No group can ever have more than one token unless a special ability, Resource, or Plot card specifically says it can.

You can use any tokens you want -- we like glass stones -- but they should all be the same.

Main Phase:

5.   Attempt attacks or other actions, as explained below.  Each Action token allows one action -- you can attack, or use a special ability, or power a Plot card, or move groups, or draw more cards.  Plot cards may give you extra attacks or other actions.  Groups that don't act during your turn can use special abilities or Plot cards during the other players' turns!  When a group acts, remove its Action token.

You may also take any "free moves" you want (see p. 6).   These don't count as actions, and can come before, between, or after your actions.

End of Turn:

6.  Has anyone won?   At this point, if you have achieved one or more of your Goals (see p. 10), you may declare victory and give other players a last chance to stop you by spending their actions or playing Plot cards.  Other players may also announce a victory in this phase.  If the victory can't be stopped, the game now ends.  Otherwise . . .

7.  Knock.   Discard all plots whose effects lasted till the end of the turn, do any other "end of the turn" moves and rap on the table to alert the next player that you're finished.  An evil laugh is appropriate here.

The next player now starts his turn.

Play continues counterclockwise until someone wins -- see p. 10.  As play develops, your holdings might look like this:


Your Illuminati card (1) is in front of you.   Connected to it are the groups that make up the rest of your Power Structure (2).  Beside it are your Resources (3) and any exposed Plots, face up (4).  Your destroyed pile (5) is to the side, face up.

You will also be holding a hand of up to 5 Plot cards (some may be "exposed" and face up on the table in front of you).  You will never have Groups or Resources in your hand after your first turn.


Plot Cards

These cards are blue, with a hand on the back.  They represent Illuminated plots.  A Plot is kept on the table as a marker for its effect until it is no longer in effect, and is then discarded.

Each Plot card tells when you can play it.  Follow the instructions on the card.  Often a Plot will allow an exception to the rules.   The instructions on a card always take precedence over this rulebook, except for the Meta-Rules on p. 12.

When you draw a Plot, place it in your hand.  It stays in your hand, "hidden," until you play it or discard it, or until one of your rivals exposes it.  You may expose it yourself, but that's usually unwise.

When one of your Plots is exposed, turn it face-up in front of you.  It stays face-up until it's hidden again (by a Plot or special ability), used, stolen, or discarded.  An exposed Plot is still considered part of your hand.

You may show a hidden Plot to individual rivals, and then return it to your hand, hidden.  They can tell others what they saw, of course.  Or they can lie.

You must always show how many hidden Plots you have, if someone asks.

Some Plots work automatically; others require a die roll.  Some require a specific group to use an action; others are free.  Follow the instructions on the card.  Unless a card specifies otherwise, it can only be "powered" by actions or discards from the player who uses the card.

How to Get Plot Cards

You always draw one Plot at the beginning of each turn.

Spending Tokens for Plots:  You may spend one Action token from your Illuminati, or two tokens from any other groups you control, to draw one Plot card.  You may do this at any time.

If you have tokens on your groups at the beginning of your turn, you may spend these tokens to draw extra Plots immediately, before you place new tokens on your groups!

Limit on Number of Plot Cards

You may have any number of Plot cards in your hand during your turn.

At any time except during your own turn, whenever you have more than 5 Plot cards, you must immediately get rid of the extra(s) . . . by using Plots, giving them away, or discarding them.

Both your unplayed hidden and exposed Plots count toward your limit.   But some Plots stay on the table when used, as a reminder or "link" for the effect they create.  Once you've played them, they do not count against your limit and are not considered to be in hand.


All discarded Plots go face-up in one discard pile.

Trading / Giving Away Plot Cards

Plot cards not yet used may be given away at any time.   See Gifts and Trades, p. 9.


Group Cards

Groups are the cards that make up your Power Structure.  Groups (except for Illuminati) have red backs with puppets.  The name and text box are pink.

The group's name(1) is at the top.  Below the picture are its description and special abilities (2).  The large numbers are its Power and Resistance (3).  At the bottom left are its Alignments (4).   At the bottom right are any Attributes (5) that it has.  At the edges are the gold control arrows (6).&nbs; The Illuminati have four outgoing arrows.   Each other group has one incoming arrow, and 0 to 3 outgoing arrows.

Sample Group Card

You may spend one Action token from your Illuminati, or two tokens from any other groups you control, to draw one Group card and place it in the uncontrolled area.  You may do this at any time, regardless of how many groups are already in the uncontrolled area.

When you capture a Group, place it on any open outgoing arrow of your Power Structure, so its incoming arrow lines up with that outgoing arrow.

Some cards in the Group deck have purple names and text boxes, and no Control Arrows.  These are Resources.  When you take control of a Resource, put it beside your Power Structure.

Types of Groups

There are four types of Groups:

Illuminati: the Masters.  Each player has only one Illuminati group, at the center of his Power Structure.  These have a horizontal design, rather than vertical.  The backs show a hand, like Plots, rather than a puppet like the other groups.  (In this game, all four Illuminati are the Church of the SubGenius, but other sets have other Illuminati.)

Places: Groups tied to a single physical location.

Personalities: Influential individuals, and their loyal henchmen and possessions.

Organizations: All other groups.  The card represents the "inner circle" wielding the true power.  Control them and the rest of the organization follows.


There are ten different alignments.  They are shown at the bottom left of Group cards.  Some groups have one alignment, some have several, and a few have none.  It is easier for a group to control groups with similar alignments, and to destroy those of opposite alignments.

Meanings of the alignments in INWO:

Government -- An arm of any government; its opposite is Corporate.  (Note: There are no Government groups in the Church of the SubGenius set.  It is mentioned here for completeness.)

Corporate -- A business or coalition of businesses; its opposite is Government.

Liberal -- Politically "left," whatever that means; its opposite is Conservative.

Conservative -- Usually mad at the Liberals; its opposite is Liberal.

Peaceful -- Philosophically opposed to the use of force; its opposite is Violent.

Violent -- Armed and/or dangerous; not necessarily vicious; its opposite is Peaceful.

Straight -- Socially middle-of-the-road; Joe Sixpack; its opposite is Weird.

Weird -- Peculiar, offbeat, not like the neighbors; its opposite is Straight.

Criminal -- Extorting money from citizens through force, fraud or threat, and/or committing notorious crimes.  There is no opposite.

Fanatic -- Holding to a limited system of beliefs in defiance of all others.  Any two Fanatic groups are considered "opposite" to each other.

Changing Alignments

Some cards can change the alignments of groups, either for a limited time or permanently.

A group can never have two alignments that are opposite; if it is Violent, for instance, and something makes it Peaceful, it is no longer Violent.   Likewise, a group cannot have "double alignments."  If it is Violent and something happens to make it Violent again, there is no further effect.

Illuminati cards never have alignments.


Certain "attributes," in italic, may appear at the bottom right of a Group card.  These define which cards can be affected by certain Plots or special abilities.  For instance, Church is an attribute.   A card that affects "all Church groups" affects only those cards with Church at the lower right.

Attributes have no automatic effect on each other.  A Church card has no special effect on other Church cards, unless the card itself says it does.

Illuminati cards never have attributes.

You will notice a few attributes on some cards (Space, for instance) that don't seem to affect the game.  Ignore them for now.  They'll come into play if you use these cards with other INWO sets.   Please note: this is also true of the Secret attribute, which is special in standard INWO but has no special effect in SubGenius.

The SubGenius Attribute

This is a new attribute for this set.  It indicates those groups that are officially connected with the Church of the SubGenius.  Many are Weird, but not all.  Some are even Straight; a SubGenius can be Straight if he feels like it!


A group's Power is a measure of its ability to dominate other groups.  The higher the number, the better.  Some groups have two Power numbers -- for example, 7/4.  The first number is regular Power, which is used when the group makes a direct attack on any card, or aids an attack on or defense of a group of appropriate alignment.  The second number is Global Power, which can be used to aid attacks and defenses even if there are no alignments in common (see p. 7).

When something changes a group's Power, the new Power is effective for all purposes unless a card specifies otherwise.  But note that temporary attack bonuses (from +10 Plot cards, for instance) don't count toward Goals.  See p. 10.

Increases in Power do not change Global Power unless the card making the change specifies Global Power.  But if a group's Power is decreased to below its Global Power, then its Global Power must be reduced to equal the new Power.

A group with a printed Power of 0 gets an Action token unless its card says otherwise, but if a group's Power is reduced to 0, it loses its token.   It cannot act until its Power is increased and it does not receive tokens during the Token Placement phase.  No group's Power can be reduced below 0.


This is the group's ability to resist domination.  High Resistance makes a group harder to take over . . . and easier to defend, once you control it.

Illuminati cards never have Resistance, because they cannot be attacked directly.

Control Arrows

Illuminati cards have four outgoing control arrows.   Each of these can be used to control one group.


Other groups have one incoming arrow, and 0 to 3 outgoing arrows.  A group's incoming arrow must be placed next to an outgoing arrow of its master, the group that controls it.

Special Abilities

Every Group has a special ability -- often something that goes outside the normal rules, or even breaks them!  See p. 12 for a glossary of terms used in defining these abilities.



Resource cards represent Illuminated secrets . . . hidden knowledge, weird artifacts, ultra-tech devices and other tools of world domination.

Resource cards have purple titles, and the same back design as Groups.  They come from the Groups deck and count as "Group cards."   To take over an uncontrolled Resource on your turn, spend one Slack (that is, one Illuminati token) at any time during your main phase.  You may get only one Resource per turn in this way.

Resources have no alignments or Control Arrows, and don't go into your Power Structure.  They are placed beside it.  There is no normal way to attack an enemy Resource, but some Plot cards and special abilities can affect them.

All Resources belong directly to your Illuminati unless they are linked to another group (see p. 10).  A Resource can only be linked to a single Group at a time.  Some Resources must be linked to a certain type of Group.  If you don't have that type of Group you may still control the Resource (it remains the property of your Illuminati) but you do not benefit from its effect.

If a group is captured or returned to the uncontrolled area, its linked Resources go with it.  If a group is destroyed, its linked Resources are also destroyed.  Remove them permanently from play.


Action Resources

Some Resources from other sets have the word Action at the bottom, to show that they get Action tokens.  They follow the same Action rules that groups do, but their tokens cannot be traded for Plot or Group card draws.



A group "acts" when it spends its Action token.

There are two main types of action: attacking, and moving a group.  Each of these actions must be completed before another begins.

Aiding an attack (or defending) is also an action, requiring an Action token.

Some groups also have special actions, unique to them.   These are described on their cards.  Other than trading tokens for cards, anything that requires an Action token is an action.

Also, many Plot cards can only be used if a group spends an action.   Unless a card specifies otherwise, it may only be "powered" by actions from the player who uses the card!

Normally, each group may act only once per turn, since most have only one Action token.  When a group acts, remove the Action token on the card.

Remember: Action tokens can also be spent to draw Plot cards, or bring out new Groups!  See p. 2.  Or you may always just remove an Action token, if for some reason you want to.

In phase 4 of your turn, your groups get their actions back -- replace all missing Action tokens.  Groups which still have a token do not get another one, unless they are one of the few groups that normally have more than one action!


Illuminati Actions

The tokens(s) on your Illuminati are especially useful, even aside from their raw Power.  Spend them wisely.  Some Plots can only be powered by an Illuminati action.  An Illuminati action can also let you take over a Resource (see p. 5).  And, on the Church of the SubGenius card, an Action token represents Slack, which can help win the game!


Free Moves

Some things don't count as "actions."  Using a Plot card is an action only if the card says it is!  Free moves include:

Giving away a card from your hand -- you can do this any time, not just during your turn.

Discarding a card from your hand, removing it from play.   There will be times when you want to do this, or even when you have to -- for instance, when you have one Goal card, and draw another one.  You may do this at almost any time (see p. 3).

Creating a link (see p. 10) is a free move unless a card says otherwise.

Buying a card with Action tokens.



In an attack, a group spends its Action to use its Power, trying to control or to destroy another group.  The success of the attack is determined by rolling two dice. 

Illuminati groups can attack, but cannot be attacked!  The only way to hurt the Illuminati is to take away all of the groups they control.

Attacks come after you place action tokens, and, unlike the automatic takeover, require a die roll.  Note that Resources are not groups and cannot normally be attacked.

Announcing an Attack

You may either pick a Group from the uncontrolled area to attack, or attack a card in someone else's power structure.

You must announce who is attacking, who is aiding, the type of attack, and the target.  (Example: "St. Janor, aided by the Nazi Hell Creatures, will attempt to control the Good Sex for Mutants Dating League.")

You may attack any group, regardless of alignment.  Alignment determines who can aid your attack, but not what group can start the attack.  However, it's much easier to control a group if its alignments are similar to the attacker's -- see below.

Calling Off an Attack

After you announce an attack, you can change your mind and call it off -- until you actually play a Plot card or remove an Action token.   At that point, your attack is committed.  You must use whatever Plots or Actions you have committed, and roll the dice.  Once the attack is committed, any tokens your rivals play are also committed, unless you let them take something back.

If rivals use cards or tokens to aid either side, but you call off your attack before it's committed, they get their cards or tokens back.

If you call off an attack on a card in the uncontrolled area, it remains in the uncontrolled area.

Note that if an attack requires a Plot card to play, then making the attack is the same as playing a Plot card, and it cannot be called off.

No Duplicates in the Same Attack!

A group which has two or more Action tokens may not use more than one in the same attack unless it's defending itself.

The same Plot card may not be used more than once by the same player in the same attack.


Attack to Control

This is an attempt to take over an uncontrolled group . . . or to steal a group from another player. 

To make an Attack to Control, your attacking group must have at least one outward-pointing arrow free.  If a group has no outgoing arrow (either because all are being used or some are blocked), it cannot try to control another group.

The strength of the attack is the attacker's Power minus the defender's Resistance.  You must roll that number or less, on two dice.  So roll low!  You must get your attack's strength to at least 2, because that is the lowest number you can roll on two dice.  An attack with a lower strength fails automatically and the dice are not rolled.

Example: If a Power of 6 attacks a Resistance of 2, it succeeds only on a roll of 4 or less.  If a Power of 10 attacks that same Resistance of 2, it succeeds on an 8 or less . . . a much better chance.

Rival Illuminati bonus.  You have a +5 on any attack against a group owned by a rival.  In a SubGenius game with no other Illuminati groups, everyone is a rival Illuminati!

Defense and Interference.  Other groups, both your own and those of other players, can get involved in the attack.   This is described below.

Automatic Failure.  A roll or 11 or 12 always means the attack failed, no matter how much Power was involved.


The alignments of the attacking and defending groups are very important.  Identical alignments make control easier . . . opposed alignments make it harder.

If the groups have any identical alignments, add 4 to the attacker's effective Power for each one.  Then subtract 4 from Power for each opposite alignment.  (Remember, all Fanatic groups are opposites!)   Example: A Weird, Peaceful group is trying to control a Straight, Violent one.  There are two sets of opposite alignments, so subtract 8 from the attacker's effective Power!  Maybe this attack is a bad idea!

Attributes.  These words (in italics, in the bottom right corner) are not the same as alignments.  Attributes don't affect an attack unless a special ability specifically refers to them.

Whoops! If you forgot to declare a bonus during an attack, whether it's for attack or defense, you lose it.  When the dice are rolled, it's over.

Aiding Attacks

If a group has not yet acted, it may use its power to aid an attack made by another group.  This is an action!  Take an Action token from each group that aids the attack.

Any number of groups may aid one attack, adding their Power to the Power of the original attacker.  Example: A group with a Power of 6 is aided by two other groups, each with a Power of 4.  The total power of the attack is 14.

Suppose you start an attack, and meet unexpectedly heavy opposition from your foes.  You may throw other groups into the battle, as long as those groups have not yet used their actions.

Alignment is very important when aiding an attack.  A group may aid an Attack to Control only if it has at least one alignment in common with the target, or uses Global Power!  A group may oppose an Attack to Control (that is, defend the target) only if it has an alignment in common with the target, or if it is the target's master or the target's puppet, or uses Global Power.

However, aiding groups do not get bonuses and penalties for similar or opposed alignment.  That applies only to the group that is leading the attack.

Aiding Attacks With Global Power

Some groups have a second Power number -- Global Power.   For instance, if a group's power is 5/2, the 2 is its Global Power.  This represents power that crosses all boundaries . . . real power.

If a group's alignments don't let it use its normal Power in an attack, it can still use its Global Power.  Thus, groups with Global Power are more flexible.

Resistance to Control

Every group has a Resistance to control.  Subtract this from the attacker's Power in any attack, as described above.

Controlling Alignment.  A group is more loyal if it agrees with its masters' ideals.  When calculating an attack, a group gets a +4 bonus to its Resistance for every alignment that is the same as that of its master.   Opposing alignments don't matter (and remember, Fanatic is the opposite of Fanatic).

Power Structure Position.  Groups which are controlled by a player become harder to attack if they're near the center of their owner's Power Structure (see diagram).  A group which is directly controlled by the Illuminati gets a +10 to Resistance!  If it is one group away, it gets a +5.  If it's farther away, it gets no bonus.

Note that nothing can multiply this bonus.

Special Abilities.  Some group's special abilities (shown on the card) increase their resistance against certain attacks.


When one of your groups is attacked, you may use your Action tokens to defend it.  Each token has a value equal to the Power of its group.  If the target of the attack spends a token in its own defense, it gets a bonus equal to its permanent Power in addition to the Power for the token.  And if the target happens to have more than one token, it can spend them all, and they each give this bonus!

Regardless of alignments, a group can always use its action to defend itself, or its master, or its puppets.  The Illuminati can defend any group.

Other groups can defend the target only if they have at least one alignment in common with it, or if they have Global Power (see p. 7).

Example: A group with a Power of 6, aided by other groups with a total Power of 9, attacks a group with a Resistance of 4.  The base strength of the attack is 15 minus 4, or 11. 

But the target still has an Action token of its own.  Its permanent Power is 2.  With the self-defense bonus, this is 4, so spending the token reduces the attack to a 7.  And the group's master also spends a token.  Its power is 5, which reduces the attack to a 2!

Now the attacker can spend more tokens (if he has them) or ask other players for help -- see Interference, p. 9.

The final strength of the attack is not settled until no players are willing to commit any more tokens, Plot cards, or special abilities.  At that point, the attacker rolls the dice!  Unless, of course, the attack strength is less than 2.   In that case, the dice are not rolled and the attack fails automatically.

Results of an Attack to Control

If Your Attack Failed: then, if the defending group belonged to another player, it stays where it was.

If it came from the uncontrolled area, it remains there.  You may, of course, try again if you have any actions left.

If Your Attack Succeeded: the target group is captured!   It becomes part of your Power Structure.  Put it next to the group that captured it, with its incoming arrow touching any outgoing arrow of its new master.  It does not matter if a card is upside-down or sideways, as long as the arrows line up properly.

If it controlled any puppets, they are also captured!  When placed in your Power Structure, they should keep the same position, relative to their master, that they had originally.  If that makes some cards overlap, you may rearrange any new cards that overlap, as long as they keep the same master.   Those which still cannot fit must be discarded!

And if any Resources were linked to it, they go with it!

A newly-captured group may not act on the turn you capture it.  If it had an Action token, remove it.  It cannot get an action that turn except from a card that explicitly gives an action to a newly-captured group, like Blitzkrieg from the standard set.  (Groups controlled by your automatic takeover at the start of your turn do get an Action token on that same turn.)


Attack to Destroy

You may also try to destroy any group in play except an Illuminati . . . even one of your own groups.  An attack to destroy works like an attack to control, except:

1.  Instead of rolling "Power minus Resistance," roll "Power minus Power."  That is, the target defends with its Power rather than its Resistance.  Its closeness to the Illuminati (p. 7) still counts for defense, unless you're destroying one of your own groups.  Alignments in common with its master do not help!

2.  Unlike groups destroy each other more easily.  An Attack to Destroy gets a +4 bonus for every opposite alignment, and a -4 for every identical alignment.

3.  A group may only aid an Attack to Destroy if it has at least one alignment opposite from the target's, unless it is using its Global power.  A group may oppose an Attack to Destroy if it has at least one alignment the same as the target's, or if it is the target's master, or its puppet, or is using its Global power.

4.  A group does not need an open control arrow to attack to destroy!

5.  If your attack succeeds, the target group is not placed in the discard pile.  It goes to your own separate "destroyed pile."   This lets you keep track of what groups you have destroyed if (for instance) you become the Anti "Bob".  (Note that in other INWO sets you will find cards that return destroyed groups to play . . .)

6.  Its puppets are not destroyed -- they lose their tokens and become uncontrolled.

7.  You may try to destroy a group that you already control.  But no group may attack itself, or aid an attack on itself!

8.  You cannot make an attack to destroy of any sort on a group that you cannot destroy.  If you are prevented from making an attack to destroy on a particular group or type of groups you may still aid an attack to destroy that group.



If one of your rivals attacks another, you may still get involved in the attack.  This is called Interference.  Time for some negotiation and backstabbing!

(1) You can use the Power of any of your groups to aid either the attacker or the defender.  This is your group's action, and costs its Action token.   To be eligible to interfere, it must have at least one alignment that matches the target's (or one that is opposite, to help destroy the target) or it must have Global Power!

(2) You can use a Plot card or special ability.



In general, cards take effect in the order they are played.   Later cards can modify earlier ones.

A player might announce an attack with Group A; then a rival uses Resource B to change Group A in a way that makes the attack impossible or pointless; then another rival plays Plot C to destroy Resource B, so that Group A's attack continues.

Thus, you can use a Plot or special ability to make a rival's just-announced action unprofitable, or even illegal (see p. 11).  But you can never announce a play that is illegal at the moment it is made, even if the play (if allowed) would render itself legal.  Example: Citizens for Normalcy can spend their token and an Illuminati token to cancel a Plot.  A rival plays False Slack, to remove the action tokens from the Citizens for Normalcy and their puppets.  Can the Citizens use their special ability to cancel the False Slack?   No.  The Citizens' token is already gone and they cannot step back in time to make themselves eligible to cancel the False Slack.

If an action or Plot is canceled, all its effects are also canceled.

Throwing Away Cards: If a rival uses a card or special ability to look at (or steal) your cards, you may not spend or discard any cards to keep him from getting them or to control which one he gets.  But if you (or an ally) can use a card or special ability to cancel whatever it was that gave him access to your cards, you may do so.  That's all you can do about it.

Speed Play

A player may not "speed-play" to pre-empt his rivals' reactions.  You can't announce an attack, for instance, and instantly roll the dice.   You must give other players a chance to react to your play.  There is not one type of card that "trumps" other types and can be speed-played.  Be courteous.

The only time that speed of play matters is when cards or tokens for special abilities doing the same thing (or mutually exclusive things) are played at the same time -- for instance, one player plays Give Me Slack, or Give Me Food while another player spends the token from MWOWM to grab the same card.  In that case, the first one played is the one that works.  If they're really simultaneous, roll two dice; the high roll wins.  Plot cards and special abilities can affect these die rolls as though they were "attacks"!

Note that saying you might play a card, or making a threat, is not the same as playing the card.  When in doubt, ask "Are you doing it, or just threatening?"

Your opponent can then put up or shut up.


Moving Groups

On your turn, you may change your Power Structure by moving your groups.  You may move any group you control to any vacant arrow on any group in play, even one controlled by another player (if he wants it).  Any puppets of the group being moved, and their puppets, and so on, move with it, keeping the same position relative to their master.

Moving a group costs one action.  This may be from the group being moved, or its former master, or its new master, or your Illuminati!  Your choice. 

You may give a group to another player during his turn, if he wants it.  This still costs an action, as above.

Groups in your Power Structure may never overlap.  If moving a group would cause some of its puppets (or their puppets) to overlap, any of them may be moved to different control arrows, as long as they keep the same master.   Any group that cannot be prevented from overlapping is lost.  It, and any puppets it has, go to the uncontrolled area.


Gifts and Trades

Cards in your hand, including exposed Plots, may be traded or given away at any time.  Cards from your hand must go into the hand of the player who gets them.  Exposed plots remain exposed.

You may not give away undrawn cards from the decks!

Cards in your Power Structure may be given away -- see Moving Groups, above.

You may also give away a Resource card you have already in play -- see Moving Links, p. 10.

A trade is just an exchange of gifts.  If two players agree to a trade, the deal is binding if they make the exchange immediately.  A deal is not binding if it involves a promise of something in the future.

Example: If you say, "If you give me the Speakers in Tongues now, I'll give you a Plot card," and the other player gives you the Speakers in Tongues, you must give him a Plot.  But if you say, "If you give me the Speakers in Tongues now, I'll give you a Plot card next turn," and he hands them over, you can break your promise next turn if you want!


The Endgame

Eliminating a Player

A player is eliminated if, at any time after his third complete turn, his Illuminati has no puppets.  His sect of the Church (that is, his Illuminati card) vanishes.  The player who stole or destroyed his last puppet absorbs the tattered remnants, taking his Plot hand and his Resources.

If a player leaves the game before he is eliminated, his SubGenius card is discarded, and all his other cards go to the discard pile.  However, someone who tries to quit just to keep another player from getting his cards has demonstrated his Pinkness and should be mocked.


Winning the Game

If you destroy all your rivals, you win.

Otherwise, the game ends when, at the end of a turn (his own, or someone else's), a player meets one or more of his Goals.  The winner can't claim victory until his rivals acknowledge that they can't stop him.

No one may win during the first round.  The first time anyone can claim a victory is at the end of the first player's second turn.  If two or more players both meet a Goal at the same time, neither one wins -- the game continues.


You Can Meet Your Goals in Three Ways:

Basic Goal: This is the same for all players.  Control ten groups, including your Illuminati . . . or 12, in a 2-player game.  You may change these numbers by agreement at the beginning of the game; the more groups, the longer the game. 


Special Goal: For the SubGenius, the Special Goal is the ability to count Slack (that is, Illuminati tokens) toward the total number of groups controlled.

For instance, if you are playing to 10 groups, you win if, at the end of any turn, you have 9 groups and 1 Slack, or 8 groups and 2 Slack, or 7 groups and 3 Slack.  (Only up to three Slack may count toward this goal.)

If you bring in Illuminati groups from other INWO sets, they will have their own special goals, printed on the cards.


Goal Cards: These are special Plots.  If you have a Goal card in your hand, achieving that goal will give you victory.  Any time a foe has even one hidden Plot, it might be a secret goal.

If a foe exposes a Goal card in your hand, it is still a valid Goal -- but now your enemies know about it.  Likewise, if you reveal a Goal to claim a victory, and someone keeps you from winning, the Goal is exposed and can be used for a win on a later turn.

However, no player may have more than one Goal card in his hand.   If you have one Goal and draw another, you must immediately discard one.

When you win with a Goal card, you must expose all your Plots, to show that you had no other Goal cards!  And if a player's Plots are exposed at any time and he has more than one Goal card, without some special card or power that allows it, he's out of the game.

Some Goal cards just modify the basic goal -- certain kinds of groups count double for victory.  Not group can ever count more than double, and no more than three groups can ever count double.


Note that a Goal card is never actually "played."   When a player reveals it and says "I win!", you cannot cancel or steal the Goal card.  Of course, if a Goal is exposed before its owner can win with it, any card that affects exposed Plots can affect it before the victory attempt.

Changing Groups to Meet Goals

If you change a group's abilities, the changes (usually) count for your Goals.

Some changes are permanent (see Glossary, p. 13).  Permanent changes always count for goals.  For instance, if you play a card that turns a group SubGenius, it counts as SubGenius for your goals!

Temporary Power changes (from Plot cards that give +10, for instance) do not count for Goals.  The same is true for anything that gives a bonus to Power effective only for specific actions.

Temporary Attribute or Alignment changes (such as from the Attitude Mutation card) do count for Goals . . . but only while they're in effect!  They are good only for a victory declared at the end of that turn.  For instance, if Attitude Mutation makes a group Weird, it only counts as Weird for that turn . . . even if it is destroyed while Weird, it does not count that way after the turn is over.



A link is a connection between two cards.  Two show that cards are linked, put identical tokens (like buttons) on both -- or put one under the other, with both names showing.  Examples of Linked cards include:

  • A Resource linked to some group other than your Illuminati.   This means the Resource belongs to that group.
  • A Plot that changes the abilities of a specific group, linked to that group to show the connection.

Moving Links

When a linked Plot changes the alignment, attributes, Power, Global Power or resistance of a specific group, the link is permanent -- no one may move or remove it without using another Plot card.  (A permanent link is removed if it becomes permanently illegal . . . see below.)

Other Links can be changed from card to card, but you may move or remove such a Link only on your own turn, and only once per turn.  If you give a Resource to another player, it becomes the property of his Illuminati; he may not link it to another group until his turn.  If a link provides a bonus Action token, card, etc., it may not be moved (or the card given away) after it gives its benefit that turn.

Canceled Actions, Alignment Changes and Other Surprises

Many Plots and special abilities can work only with a Group of a certain alignment, attribute, power level, etc.  Other cards can change a group's alignment, etc., or cancel an action after it's announced.  This can lead to interesting situations -- for instance, when one player announces an action, and a foe changes an alignment to make that action illegal or take away a bonus.

Many Plot cards and special abilities cannot be used in the middle of an attack!  But some can.  Read the cards.

If a permanent Link to a Plot or Resource becomes temporarily illegal (due to an alignment change, for instance), the Plot or Resource is not lost, but it has no effect until it becomes legal again.  It may not be linked elsewhere in the meantime!  It will apply to the Group again when the link is again legal, no matter who controls it.

If a permanent Link to a Plot becomes permanently illegal, the Plot is discarded.  This can happen, for instance, if a group changes ownership and the new owner already has an identical Plot in play.

If a Link to a Resource becomes permanently illegal, the link is lost.  The Resource remains the same player's property and may be re-linked elsewhere on his next turn.

If a group's announced use of a Plot card during an attack becomes illegal before the dice are rolled, the Plot returns to the owner's hand and is Exposed.

If the action of the attacking group is canceled or made illegal, the attack does not happen.  Plots used by the attacking group are lost, and its token is spent.  Any groups which aided either side get their tokens back.  Plots played on aiding groups are returned to hand, exposed.

If the action of an aiding group is canceled, the attack goes on, even if it is now doomed to failure.

If an action is used to "power" a Plot card, and the action is canceled, the Plot is lost . . . discard it.  Exception: If several actions are used together to power a Plot, and one is canceled, another group's action may be used to replace the lost Power.  If this can't be done, the Plot is lost and the other actions are wasted.

If a special ability is used, and that use is then made illegal or impossible, the token(s) or discards used to power the special ability are lost.

If a Plot is canceled, any Actions, discards, or other costs used to power it are spent.


Some specific examples:

  • A Straight group tries to control another Straight group (+4 bonus).   Before the dice are rolled, the owner of the target Straight group uses Attitude Mutation to reverse the alignment of the target, making it Weird (-4 penalty).   Heh, heh, heh.
  • The Rogue Subgenii make an attack, using the Devival Plot (+10 bonus).  Before the dice are rolled, a rival uses the Mediocretinism card to make the Rogues (temporarily) no longer SubGenius!  They are now ineligible to use that Plot.  No link was involved, though -- the plot is Exposed, but not lost.
  • St. Janor is linked to Nental Ife, giving him Global Power equal to his regular Power.  He aids an attack.  Before the dice are rolled, a rival uses Mediocretinism on St. Janor, making him not SubGenius until the end of the turn!  This is only a temporary change, so the linked Nental Ife card is not discarded . . . but St. Janor loses its benefits for the rest of the turn.
  • The Speakers in Tongues (a Weird group) are controlled by Overman Philo Drummond.  This makes them SubGenius, because all Philo's Weird puppets automatically become SubGenius.  And their owner has linked 13013 to them, increasing their Power to 6!  Now, suppose someone else steals the Speakers away.  They are (permanently) no longer SubGenius, so the 13013 is discarded.

The Cards Remember . . .

A permanent Link to a group is not lost just because the Group leaves a Power Structure.  If the card goes to another player or to the uncontrolled area, the link goes with it (unless it's illegal there) and is still in effect.

In general, cards "remember" any changes in their status, until something explicitly changes them back.  For instance, a Personality who becomes a False OverMan will keep those changes even if he is returned to the uncontrolled area.  (But if a group is actually destroyed, it loses any special status it had, and will have only its printed values if something returns it to play.)

These things will rarely happen often enough to cause arguments, but keep notes if necessary!



When someone leaves the room, conspire against him.  There is always a way to make your position a little bit better and his a little bit worse. 

Negotiate with everyone.  your foes are less likely to attack you if they think you might help them win.

To avoid being attacked, you should look strong enough to defend yourself, but not so strong that you are a threat.

What your rivals constantly; keep track of how close they are to their Goals.  The more Plots they have, the more likely they are to play some fiendish trick and win in one turn.  Don't count on others to warn you of danger . . . they may have made a private deal!


Balanced Power Structures

If a group controls many puppets, you must protect it -- losing such a key group really hurts.  If all your groups branch from one Illuminati control arrow, you can be wiped out in one attack. 

But if one of your rivals makes this mistake, you can win by taking several groups in one attack!


Threats and Negotiations

Any agreement between players, secret or otherwise, is permitted, if it does not actually violate the rules.  In particular, you can always try to change an opponent's mind, by promises, bribes or threats, about an action that he plans or announces.

Deals can be made openly or secretly.  The possibilities are limited only by your own duplicity.



These rules take precedence even over what's printed on the cards.

  • When two Plots conflict, the last one played is the one that rules.   If card B is played to cancel card A, and then card C is immediately played to cancel card B, then card A is once again effective.
  • Many cards change groups' Power or Resistance.  When several cards take effect, changes to a specific number come first, then cards that multiply or divide, and then additions or subtractions.  So if one Plot card increases the Power of your Local Clenches to 6, another one doubles it, and then a Plot gives them +2 Power, you first increase it to 6, then double it to 12, and then add the +2.  The final Power is 14!
  • You may never use two multiplying cards to increase the same attribute of one group -- for instance, to double its Power and then double it again.   No matter what the cards say, you may use only the single highest "multiply" effect.
  • If a card specifically says something cannot happen to it, this takes precedence over a card that (supposedly) does that thing to other cards.  But: if Card A specifically mentions Card B by name, then A's ability takes precedence over any defense or immunity B may have.
  • Impossible die-rolls cannot happen.  For instance, MWOWM calls for the player to roll one die.  One die gives a result from 1 to 6.  Any card that would increase the result to more than 6 is treated as a 6; anything that would decrease the result to less than 1 is treated as a 1.
  • Illuminati groups (that is, the Church of the SubGenius) never have alignments or attributes.  They can never be destroyed, except by losing all their puppets.


Glossary of Terms

"Any attempt" abilities give your whole power structure a bonus on some type of attack.  Any such attack by any of your groups receives the bonus.  If you control Dobbstown, for instance, ANY of your groups gets a +5 bonus when attacking any SubGenius Personality.  You gain this ability the moment that you take over Dobbstown, and lose it as soon as you lose them.

Any Time: Many Plots and Special Abilities can be used at any time, during your own turn or someone else's.  Restrictions, however, apply to phases 1-4 of your own turn (p. 2) and during a rival's first turn (p. 2).  You still may not use or discard a card to keep someone else from looking at it or stealing it.

Automatic Failure:   This can wreck a player's attack after he commits actions and Plot cards and rolls the dice.  The attack fails, and all the actions and cards are gone.   life is cruel.  See Failed Attacks, p. 13.

Cancel: Some cards can cancel a group's action after it is announced.  An action is also canceled if it is made illegal (due to an alignment change which conflicts with a special ability, for instance).

The canceled action, and any token(s) used to power it, are lost.   If an attack is canceled, any Plots used by the attacking group are lost, but tokens and Plots spent by aiding and opposing groups are returned.   See p. 6.

If a Plot is canceled, the token(s) or discard(s) that powered it are lost.

A Plot or action cannot be canceled after the dice are rolled or any other irreversible action (such as looking at an opponent's hand) taken!

"Cancel" does not mean "remove an Action token before it is used."  That is an entirely different power.

Direct attacks are those made by the group itself.  For instance, the Church of the SubGenius and other SubGenius groups in its Power Structure has a +2 for direct control of any SubGenius group.  This means you get a +2 bonus when trying to take over a SubGenius group with that card.  If you attack a SubGenius group with another card, even if the Church or one of its SubGenius groups aids the attack, this +2 bonus does not help you.

Discard: Cards may be discarded for several reasons.  A plot is discarded if played, unless it remains on the table with a Link.  That type of card is considered "discarded" only if the Link is permanently invalidated.

Note that you cannot discard (or give away, or use) a card to keep someone from taking it or looking at it, if they have already played the card that gives them the right to take it or look at it!

Discards are all face-up unless a card specifically says to make that discard face-down or without looking.

When a card requires a discard, discard from your hand unless the card specifies otherwise.

Draw and Choose: "Draw" means take the top card from the deck.  "Choose" lets you go through the deck or an opponent's hand, as specified on the card.

Failed Attacks: An attack fails when the number rolled is greater than the attack strength, OR an 11 or 12 is rolled, OR no die roll can be made.  An attack that is cancelled, made illegal, or called off isn't a failure.

Hand: The Plot cards that you have drawn and not yet played.  you can look at them at any time.  They are not considered "in play."

In Play: already controlled groups or resources and those in the uncontrolled area.  Exception: a group in the uncontrolled area is not considered in play for purposes of Goals.   A Plot is in play while it remains on the table to mark its effect.

Master and Puppet: If group A controls group B directly, then A is the master and B is the puppet.

Move: To take a puppet and place it under a different outgoing control arrow.  This costs an Action; see p. 6.

Natural die roll: The actual number shown on the die or dice, disregarding any modifications from cards (such as Bulldada).  If something causes the die or dice to be re-rolled, the new roll is considered the natural die roll and the old roll is forgotten.

Owner: A group's owner is the player controlling that group, not the card's real-life owner.

Permanent Change: Any change to a group's Power, Global Power, Resistance, attributes or alignments that does not have a specific built-in time limit.  Note that "permanent" changes can still be undone by another Plot or special ability!

Permanent Power: The group's Power disregarding any temporary changes.

Power Structure: Your Illuminati, plus all the groups that it controls, both directly and through its puppets.

Printed Power: The actual number for Power printed on the card.

Slack: An Illuminati Action token.

Special Ability: Anything in the text box that is generally beneficial to the group having the ability or to its owner.  All other text is flavor text (usually italicized) or other features of the card (usually limiting its usefulness) and instructions, variable statements, etc.  Under certain circumstances, usually when a player is attacking his own Power Structure, some special abilities are not beneficial and some limiting features become beneficial.  This does not change their definitions.

Temporary Change: Any change to a group's Power, Global Power, Resistance, attributes or alignments that has a specific built-in time limit, such as "for the next action," or "to the end of the turn."

Turn: When a card says it does something "each turn," that means each time its owner takes a turn!  Bonuses are granted at the appropriate turn phase; extra Action tokens come when you get your regular tokens, and so on.

Uncontrolled: Any Group or Resource in the uncontrolled area.

Uncontrolled Area: The Groups and Resources placed in the middle of the table that are not in any Power Structure and available for anyone to attempt to capture.


Adding Cards to a SubGenius Game

These rules assume that you are playing with a single SubGenius set with no additions from outside the set.  But what if you decide to play with two sets, or want to add cards from other INWO sets?  Then some additional rules may be needed:


Duplicate Cards

For the most part, these rules are similar to the rules for duplicates in standard INWO, taking into account that there no groups in your hand.


No player may use duplicates of the same Plot card in a single attack, or to defend against a single attack, either with the same or for different groups.  (This usually matters only if you are using multiple decks.)


Only one copy of a particular Group may be in anyone's Power Structure at any one time.  If you have multiple decks and therefore duplicate Group cards, this has three effects.

Initial Lead: Two different players may choose the same Group for their Initial lead.  Since duplicates of the same Group cannot be in anyone's Power Structure, the leads are said to have bounced -- neither player gets that Group as their initial Group.  Instead, the players of the duplicates should set the bounced leads aside, draw another Group card each and make an alternate choice.  This procedure is followed until there are no duplicate leads.  The bounced cards are then shuffled back into the Groups deck.

Agents: You cannot attack or make an automatic takeover of a group in the uncontrolled area that duplicates a group already in someone's Power Structure.  However, if you turn over such a duplicate, it is not useless, as it represents hidden agents within the controlled Group.   you may use your "agents" card during the turn that you first turn it over whenever that group is attacked . . . to aid that attack, or to fight it.

Only one "agents" card can be used in any one attack.   The owner of the real group cannot play an "agents" card.   Once used, the duplicate is discarded, whether the attack succeeds or fails.

Playing an "agents" card gives +10 to aid an attack, either to control or destroy, and commits you to the attack, just as playing a Plot card would.  It can be used to oppose an attack, too, but it gives only -6 to oppose.

If you choose not to use an "agents" card on the turn you turn it over, it stays in the uncontrolled area and may be controlled or destroyed if the controlled group is ever discarded.  It's generally a good idea to place a marker on it to remind yourself that a duplicate is in play.

Destroyed Groups: You may not take over or attack a Group that has been destroyed unless you have a Plot or special ability that returns destroyed Groups to play.  if you turn over such a card into the uncontrolled area, leave it there, but place a marker on it so you know it cannot be taken or attacked until someone uses a Plot or special ability to return it to play.


Some Resources are Unique -- only one can be in play.   Whoever takes it first has it.  You may not play a duplicate.  Even if the original is destroyed, a duplicate may not be put into play unless a Plot card allows it!  If you turn over a duplicate of a unique Resource, place it in the uncontrolled area, marked as you would a duplicate of an already controlled group.


Other Illuminati

The rules assume everyone is using the same Illuminati -- the Church of the SubGenius.  If you choose to add Illuminati from other sets, this has two effects on the game.  Well two that we're allowed to tell you about fnord.   Anyway . . .


The +5 bonus to attack a rival's Power Structure only applies if that rival is playing the same Illuminati.  If he is playing a different Illuminati, you get do not get this bonus to attack him.  For example: Players A and B are both playing the Church of the SubGenius, while Player C has The Discordian Society.  Player A has +5 to attack any group in Player B's Power Structure, but no rival Illuminati bonus for attacking groups in Player C's.  Player B, likewise, has the same bonus against Player A, but not against Player C.  Player C has no rival Illuminati bonus against either of his opponents -- a disadvantage -- but his opponents don't have the bonus to attack him, either -- a definite advantage.


Players who are playing the same Illuminati (except Shangri-La) cannot share a victory.  If they meet their goals at the same time, neither wins.  This is the usal state of affairs in SubGenius, as everyone is playing a faction of the Church.  However, if two or more players meet their Goals at the same time, and they are playing different Illuminati, they share the victory, dividing the world between them.


Game Support

We will answer questions about this game if they're sent, along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope, to: INWO Questions, Steve Jackson Games, PO Box 18957, Austin, TX 78760.  We cannot answer questions by phone or e-mail.

For a current errata sheet and INWO card list, giving rarities for those cards which are collectible, send a SASE to the address above.


On The Net

SJ Games maintains an active web site at; the INWO pages will be found at   Our online magazine, Pyramid, is at   Also check out the Church itself at, and our own incredible SubGenius Rant Generator at

We also have INWO net-reps on all the major online services and



We support INWO tournaments at local game conventions -- contact us at the address above, or send e-mail to, for more information.


Differences Between This Game and Standard INWO

This is basically a subset of INWO, using a common deck and a modified setup.  Changes include:

  • There are no duplicate cards, except for the Church of the SubGenius itself.
  • The initial Group setup is different.  Draw 3, choose a lead (which can be a Resource), keep the other two in hand.  Place these two in the uncontrolled area with the group(s) you draw on your first turn.
  • Your hand contains only Plots -- nothing else; Groups go into an "uncontrolled area."
  • You do not get a free Group card draw at the beginning of you turn if there are 8 or more Group cards in the uncontrolled area.
  • You may make an automatic takeover of any of the groups you have played in the uncontrolled area this turn (including your initial two on turn 1) at the cost of not getting an Illuminati Action token during the token placement phase.
  • The Secret attribute has no special significance in SubGenius.   However, plots or special abilities that add or take away the Secret attribute or give bonuses against Secret groups will still do so!
  • You can spend tokens to draw Groups -- as you can with plots -- and place them in the uncontrolled area.
  • When Plots are discarded, they go to a separate discard pile.   You cannot discard Plots back to the Plot deck.  When the Plot deck is all gone, reshuffle the discards.
  • Play to 10 groups by default in a multiplayer game.
  • There are no Disasters, Assassinations, or NWOs.  In a set of 100 cards, it would have been hard to include more than a couple of each type.  So we didn't.  Feel free to add cards of these types -- you'll just have to refer to your original INWO set if you need the rules.
  • There are also no cards concerning privileged attacks or immunity.   if you bring in cards having to do with privilege or immunity, be sure to bring your standard INWO rules to cover them!
  • Victories cannot be shared without use of Arise!
  • If you eliminate a rival, you get his Plot hand as well as his Resources.
  • The rules are no different for two-player games.
  • And, of course, the attribute SubGenius is added.

Why is the Church an "Illuminati" Group?

All good SubGenii know that "Bob" has been fighting the Illuminati for 20 years.  Where do we get off, calling the Church an Illuminati group?

Two reasons.

(1) Sorry . . . but when the mortals who run the Church start playing heavy-duty power games, taking over puppets around the world, making deals with the Nazi Hell Creatures for God's sake . . . then they have become what they fought.  They may not be evil Illuminati, but they sure are Illuminati.   Only "Bob" himself remains gloriously corrupted by the fray without losing his essential nature, and it is "Bob" who will redeem the winner of the battle.

(2) Because this is based on a game called Illuminati, and the central group in the game has been called the "Illuminati" for more than 15 years, and changing it would confuse a lot of people.  Including me.  Cut me some slack, OK?

-- Steve Jackson

Card illustrations by

The SubGenii who bring you alt.binaries.slack and

REV. IVAN STANG: 13013, Bulldada, Church 4, Devival, Dobbstown, Dokstok, EternalSalv.**, Frop, Glorps, Head, NHGH, Overman Philo, Pinks, Prairie Squid, Prescriptures, Saucer Landing, SPUTUM, St. Janor, Stark Fist, True Pipe**, 3-Fisted, Time Control, World Ends Tomorrow, X-Day; LE MUR: Arise, Cast Out, Cor-Phrenologists**, Drs. 4 "Bob"*, False Overman*, Good Sex, League-O-Decency, Luck Plane, Mediocretinism, MoreSlack**, Dallas, Pinks, Random Jesii, Stencil**,, Yetis*; O NENSLO: Advanced HellCreatures, Middle America, Phlegm, PsychicPstench, Rant!, Rev. Stang*, Robo"Bob", TapeRuns Out, They-Pink*, Time Control, Xists, Yacatisma; REV. POINDEXTER: Bobbies, Comet, Decency, Excremeditation, Give Me Slack, Official Excuse, OrKillMe, Repent!, Rogue, Saint-o-Sales, Science Cannot*, Shordurpersav, 13th Apostle; ATOM FUNWAY PLASTICO: DXF saucers, Citizens, Connie, False Slack, Jesus bg, Kill "Bob", LocalClench, OverMan, S.C.A.M.*, Schizm, Tongues*, The Brag; PAUL MAVRIDES: Mediocretinism, Icons, Janor Device, Color Dobbshead #1; REV. STERNODOX KECKHAVER: Anti"Bob", AntiSlack, Church 1, Nental Ife, Science Cannot*, Slackfusion; JIM VANDEWALKER: Attitude, Cast Out (Dobbshead), GiveMeSlack, Martyr Meter, Official Excuse; REV. JAN ARTHUR JOHNSON, The ZONTAR Group: MWOWM, Secret and SubGenius FisTemples; St. JOE RILEY and JOHN HAGEN-BRENNER: NHGH, Dobbs masks, icons; Kryptopope St. Kennoid Human (aka K.R. "Babe" Huey): Church 2; LEO AMAN: Inherently Bogus, Hour-o-Slack; IrREV. FRIDAY JONES: 13013, You'd Pay; Rev. NOAH STEWART: Fake Healing, Sultan of Slack; CUTHULU: Divine Mail Order, S.L.A.K., SPUTUM; Dr. G. GORDON GORDON: False Prophets; NUMEN REMISSINIS: JHVJ-1, S.L.A.K.; Dr. K'TADEN LEGUME: Dr. Legume*; TOMMY LOPEZ: Jesus photo; MICHAEL HINSON: Sacred Jests; P. WEI R. DOE: Legume photo; RevvED: Smite Them; Rev. Dr. Chuckles Perdurabonobonanda: Drs. for "Bob" bg*; Tim Thomas (WebBoy): Manifestations

*    Heavily mutated for this game with graphic processing by Rev. Ivan Stang.

**    Heavily mutated for this game with graphic processing by NENSLO.



Action tokens, 2, 3, 4, 6.
Actions, 2, 6; canceled, 11.
Aiding attacks, 7.
Agents, 14.
Alignment, 4; changing, 4, 11; in attacks, 7; in defense, 7.
Any time, 12.
Attacks, 3, 6; aiding, 7; direct, 12; to control, 7; to destroy, 8.
Attributes, 5, 7.
Automatic failure, 7, 12.
Automatic takeover, 3.
Canceled actions, 11.
Captured groups, 8.
Choose a card, 13.
Control arrows, 4, 5.
Control (attack), 7.
Deals and negotiations, 12.
Decks, 2.
Defense, 7-8.
Destroy (attack), 8.
Destroyed groups, 8, 14.
Die rolls, 7, 12, 13.
Direct attack, 12.
Discards, 3, 6, 13.
Draw a card, 13.
Duplicates, 6, 13-14; in attack, 6
Eliminating a player, 10, 15.
Free moves, 3, 6.
Gifts, 9.
Global Power, 7.
Goals, 10; Goal cards, 10.
Groups, 4; captured, 8; duplicate, 6, 13-14; moving, 9.
Hand, 3, 15.
Hidden (plots), 3.
Illuminati, 2, 14, 15; actions, 6, 13, 14; duplicate, 14.
Interference, 9.
Knock, 3.
Lead (puppet or Resource), 2, 14.
Links, 3, 10-11.
Master, 5, 13.
Meta-rules, 12.
Moving groups, 9.
Organizations, 5.
Permanent change, 13.
Personalities, 5.
Places, 5.
Plot cards, 3; discarded, 3, 4;duplicate, 6, 13; exposed, 3.
Power structure, 7, 13.
Power, 5.
Puppets, 5, 9, 13; of destroyed group, 8.
Resistance, 5.
Resources, 5-6; duplicate, 14; extra takeover, 5.
Secret groups, 15.
Shuffle, 2.
Special abilities, 4, 13.
Speed play, 9.
Strategy, 12.
Temporary change, 13.
Threats, 12.
Timing, 9.
Tournaments, 14.
Turn, 2-3, 13.
Trades, 9.
Two-player rules, 15.
Whoops!, 7.
Winning, 10, 15.
WWW, 14.

Are You Different?

Then you are probably BETTER than everyone else.  If you are a superior mutant who wants to throw off the shackles of the Conspiracy and recapture your Slack, if you want to learn to surf the Luck Plane and find your true Yeti Mate, if you want to be on the saucers of the Sex-Goddesses on X-Day, then it's time you got right with "Bob" . . .

Become an ordained minister of the Church of the SubGenius!

Your life time membership includes: wallet-sized minister card, Doktorate of the Forbidden Sciences, Divine All-Inclusive Excuse, 4 issues of The Stark Fist (official SubGenius newsletter), and much more.

Eternal Salvation or triple your money back!
Only $30

payable to:

The SubGenius Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 140306 Dallas TX 75214

Or get ordained by phone using a credit card toll free
1 (888) 669-2323

It's time to take over the world . . .

  • Disclaimer.  Steve Jackson Games is not affiliated with The SubGenius Foundation Inc. and can not be held responsible for any damages that may occur from membership in the Church.  The views and opinions of the SubGenius are not necessarily those of the staff or management of Steve Jackson Games, although they should be because our ways are superior to all others.


If you liked this game, we'll give you a SPECIAL DEAL on other INWO stuff.  But you have to order FAST, because "Bob" tells us that the world will end SOON.

  • The INWO FACTORY SET is $29.95.  403 different Plots and Groups . . . 3 cards each for 9 different kinds of Illuminati . . . and 20 blanks to make up your OWN cards!

  • INWO ASSASSINS was the first supplement to INWO.  It comes in packs of 8 random cards - $1.40 a pack.  There are 125 different ASSASSINS cards, but you DON'T HAVE TO collect them all.

And we want to sell them to you before July 5, 1998, because that's when the WORLD ends.

Until that date, the phrase HAIL "BOB"! -- spoken to our Illuminated mail order department at 512-447-7866, or typed exactly into our web catalog at -- will get you FREE SHIPPING on any order that includes either the Factory Set, or at least five Assassins packs . . . NO MATTER how much OTHER stuff you order along with it.

And while you're at it, point your web browser to, and BASK in the pure light of AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED yet FULLY CORRECT prophecy and dogma.

We love you.  We love "Bob."   "Bob" wants your money.  We want your money.  Hail "Bob"!


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