Illuminati: New World Order (INWO) is a collectible card game (CCG) that was released in 1995 by Steve Jackson Games, based on their original boxed game Illuminati, which in turn was inspired by The Illuminatus! Trilogy. INWO won the Origins Award for Best Card Game in 1997.
Cards come in several types, including Illuminati, Plots, Groups, Places, Personalities, Resources, and New World Order cards. The various cards are printed with two different 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 Scouts, the Men in Black, the CIA, etc.) and/or complete a Plot to achieve your goal before your opponent(s).
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 key 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 rare cards in the main set and in Assassins; Assassins also included 10 "ultra-rare" cards. All cards in SubGenius have the same rarity. Packs of blank cards are also sold for those who wish to make up 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.
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