INWO Variant: BYOP - Bring Your Own Plots

By Jim Tetrick

This variant is a hybrid between the "One Big Deck" rules and the standard INWO rules. The basic concept is that, just as in Real Life TM, there is only one pool of groups to infiltrate, but everyone hatches their own secret plots. Thus, only one deck of Group cards is used, but each player brings his own deck of Plot cards.

The deck(s)

There are many ways to put together a Groups deck for BYOP:

  1. Use the Groups from the One With Everything set. There will be only one of each group this way, and some heated competition for everyone's favorite Groups.
  2. Everyone brings their own Groups to the table, and they are combined into one deck. This requires that everyone keeps track of what cards they brought. This option is perfect for INWO OMNI League decks, where everyone has their cards marked anyway.
  3. Start with someone's collection of INWO cards, and each player "drafts" a number of Groups into the deck. This is somewhat like (2), but without the need for recordkeeping. Trading a draft pick for a specific card is perfectly legal, but remember -- trading for a "card to be named later" is not a binding agreement!
  4. Someone (like a tournament referee) puts together a deck for everyone to use. This is, of course, subject to the whims, and corruption, of the person putting together the deck.

It is suggested that, for options (1) and (4), all players be aware of what cards are in the deck before designing their Plots deck. With options (2) and (3), each player knows what cards they put into the deck, and can build their Plots deck around that theme.

Also, for options (2) and (3), it is suggested that the total of each player's cards (their Plots plus their contribution of Groups) be the same. That is, just as in regular INWO, no one player should have more or less than any other player. In the other options, everyone should have the same number of Plot cards.

The Plots decks are controlled only by the rules in the INWO WDH v1.1, and each player's own twisted imaginations.

Starting the game

  1. Each player puts his chosen Illuminati card on the table, all at once. It can happen that more than one players have the same type of Illuminati . . . which means they represent different factions of the same conspiracy. See the INWO WDH v1.1 rulebook.
  2. Each Player shuffles his Plot deck and draws three Plot cards. Players may look at their cards, but cannot play any of them until the game actually begins.
  3. Shuffle the Group deck and deal a starting hand of 7 Groups to each player, face down. Players may look at their cards, but cannot play any of them until the game actually begins.
  4. Each player chooses one Group card from his hand, as the first puppet of his Illuminati. All players show their choices at the same time. Any puppets which are chosen by more than one player go back into the owners' hands, and they must make alternate choices. This continues until there are no duplicate puppets.
  5. Deal the top four Groups from the deck into the middle of the table, to start the "uncontrolled" area -- see below.
  6. Each player rolls two dice. The one with the highest roll goes first.

At the beginning of the game, you may not attack a player who has not yet had their first turn! You may not use Plot cards or special abilities on them, either.

Game play

Once the game starts, use the regular turn sequence. Draw Plots and Groups normally, as per the regular INWO rules - but everyone draws from the same Group deck. When any card refers to an individual player's Groups deck, just read that as meaning "the" Groups deck. Thus, a card that normally lets you look at the top card of your own Group deck now has the same effect as a card that lets you look at the top of a rival's Group deck. There's just one deck. Note that cards which allow you to look through the whole deck are now very powerful . . . of course, in 30 seconds, you may not find the card that you want! When someone uses such a power, be very strict about the time limit!

A player who returns a card to the deck may still put it on the top, the bottom, or in the middle. But, of course, there's no guarantee that he will be the one to draw it again!

The Uncontrolled Area

The uncontrolled area represents those groups that provide an opportunity for an enterprising conspirator to infiltrate. This is different from a player's hand, which represents organizations which he already has infiltrated with "sleeper" agents.

When any player tries to control a card from his hand and fails, that card goes into the uncontrolled, or neutral, area. (Exception: The special power of the Adepts of Hermes means they keep a group even if they fail their attempt to control it.) And if a player drops out or is destroyed, the groups in his hand go into the neutral area.

Any player may try to take over or to destroy a card from the uncontrolled area, and anyone else may aid or oppose those attacks, following the normal rules for attacking and for interfering with other players' attacks. However, you may not make an automatic takeover from the uncontrolled area.

When a Resource is turned over, it goes into the uncontrolled area. Any uncontrolled Resource may be taken over by the player whose turn it is; this costs an Illuminati action.

Groups in the Neutral Area are not 'in play' for the purposes of Goals. They can be affected by the OMCLs, etc.? A Group that's just been turned over is considered to be 'just played' for the purposes of the Immortality Serum, and so on.

When a controlled group is destroyed or neutralized, its puppets go to the uncontrolled area.


Players may trade cards among themselves after the initial deal, before the game starts. This may result in some hands being slightly larger than others. So it goes.


You could stack the deck in this game, abusively or otherwise. For instance, you could put in nothing but Weird groups. But that would probably be a bad idea, because then either there would be very few groups, or there would be lots of duplicates for each Group card, and either way people will fight over the groups.

Cards Referring To Duplicates

The One With Everything set contains only one of each Group and Plot card. Therefore, a few cards are worthless if you play a BYOP game with a single One With Everything set. Any player who draws one of these cards may show it, discard it immediately, and draw a new one. These cards include Media Blitz, Counter-Revolution, Payoff, Purge, Faction Fight, Clone, Impostor, Forgery, and any other card which is good only with duplicate Group cards. Of course, in a BYOP game that does contain duplicates, these cards are no longer worthless . . . leave them in!

Cards Powered By Deck Discards

Some Plots or Groups require you to "spend" undrawn cards from your Group deck. In a BYOP game, spending undrawn Group cards is not a penalty! Therefore, remove them from the game.

Change the cost for 18 1/2 Minute Gap to "discard the top 3 undrawn cards from your Plots deck," in addition to the Action token cost listed on the card. (If this is too much trouble, remove these cards).

Some cards also give you the option of discarding undrawn Group cards. That option is not available in a BYOP game. These cards include The Big Sellout and Fnord!.

Alternately, you may ignore what was said above about Group deck discards -- If you discard from the Groups deck, you take the chance of discarding the only copy of a card that you really need.

Optional rules

These optional rules are intended to recapture even more of the flavor of the original Illuminati game. Feel free to use or ignore them at your own peril (uh, I mean discretion).

  1. Instead of drawing Group Cards into your hand, always put them in the uncontrolled area. This eliminates the automatic takeover (unless you are also using optional rule 2, below).
    If you use this rule, you must modify the Adepts of Hermes' special ability as follows:
    • +4 on any attempt to control the Group you drew this turn.
    • +6 on any attack against Magic groups.
  2. Eliminate the automatic takeover, but instead, each player gets the option of "passing" on their turn. When a player passes, they automatically take the Group they just drew and place action tokens, but nothing else. If a player passes, that player may not claim victory at the end of their turn!
  3. A group may attack a group within a power structure with the intent to neutralize the agents controlling it. This attack is made as an attack to control, with a +6 to the attacker. If the attack succeeds, the target and all of its puppets are placed in the uncontrolled area.
  4. You may drop a group from your power structure during your own turn. as a free move. The card goes into the uncontrolled area, and any links or Plots it has stay with it.

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