Card Game Database Wiki
Illuminati: New World Order
Designer Steve Jackson
Publisher Steve Jackson Games
Players 2-8
Age range 12+
Playing time Approx 2 hours
Random chance Some
Skills required Card playing
Basic Reading Ability

Illuminati: New World Order (INWO) is a collectible card game (CCG) that was released in 1994[1] by Steve Jackson Games, based on their original boxed game Illuminati, which in turn was inspired by the 1975 book The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. INWO won the Origins Award for Best Card Game in 1997.

Card contents[]

Cards come in several types, including Illuminati, Plots, Groups, Places, Personalities, Resources, and New World Order cards. The various cards are printed with two differently colored backs and are collectively referred to as simply "Groups" and "Plots". The premise is that you play one of the Illuminati groups (the Adepts of Hermes, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Bermuda Triangle, the Discordian Society, the Gnomes of Zürich, The Network, the Servants of Cthulhu, Shangri-La, and the UFOs) bent on world domination. You seek to control a predetermined number of Groups (such as the Boy Sprouts (a spoof of the Boy Scouts), the Men in Black, the CIA, etc.) and/or complete a Plot to achieve your goal before your opponent(s)...

Product information[]

INWO is often said to be more difficult to learn than most CCGs, but it is infused with much more humor, similar to other Steve Jackson games. As with most CCGs, deck building, aggressive play, and sheer luck are keys to winning. However, intrigue, negotiation, deal-making, and deviousness are also important elements.

INWO was released as a 412-card main set in double starter decks (suitable for two players) and sealed packs, in both limited and unlimited editions. There was also a boxed set called variously The Factory Set and One With Everything which contained one of each card from the main set of the limited edition, multiples of the Illuminati cards, and a few cards previously only available in magazines. One 125-card expansion of sealed packs has been released, called Assassins, as well as a complete-in-one-box 100-card expansion called INWO SubGenius. SubGenius can also be played as a stand-alone game.

There are common, uncommon, and super-rare cards in the main set and in Assassins; Assassins also includes 10 "ultra-rare" cards. All cards in SubGenius have the same rarity. Packs of blank cards are also sold for those who wish to create their own cards, an activity that has proven so popular that online collections of homebrew INWO cards now list thousands of cards. The INWO Book, by Steve Jackson, is the official guidebook to the game.

Alignments in INWO[]

There are 10 official Alignments in INWO in each of the Group cards (Illuminati, Organization, Personality). Groups gain bonuses when attempting to control other Groups with the same alignment or when attempting to destroy groups with an opposite alignment. Conversely, Groups incur penalties when attempting to control Groups with opposite alignments or when attempting to destroy groups with the same alignment. These bonuses are cumulative for any and all alignments for both Groups.

  • STRAIGHT leans towards the status quo, what the public views as normal; WEIRD is unorthodox, deviating from the normal, what the public would view as unconventional and irregular.
  • CONSERVATIVE is like the Republican agenda as well as the religious right; LIBERAL leans towards the Democratic agenda, and is somewhat socialistic.
  • VIOLENT groups use rage and weapons to their advantage, and sometimes terrorism; PEACEFUL alignments depict pacifist and anti-war movements.
  • GOVERNMENT has lawmakers, Congress/Parliament, and groups which rule nations; CORPORATE has big business executives who run worldwide companies for profit.
  • FANATIC is a unique Alignment, opposing all other "Fanatic" groups.
  • CRIMINAL is a unique Alignment that includes terrorists, drug cartels, corrupt politicians, greedy CEO's, etc. The "Criminal" Alignment has no opposite.


This game has caused some controversy—because, although it was released in 1995, it contains two cards reminiscent of 9/11.[citation needed] One of those cards could show an explosion in the World Trade Center (albeit labeled "Terrorist Nuke"), and the other shows an explosion in The Pentagon.

Outside impact[]

INWO was mentioned in Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons, but as a computer game.


  1. BoardGameGeek (2009). "Illuminati: New World Order". BoardGameGeek, LLC. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 

External links[]