Game Review: Illuminati – Deluxe Edition

Illuminati : Deluxe Edition is the 1987 revamp of the Illuminati collectable trading card game. It was meant to be contained within a single box, to make play easier, as the game’s popularity was slipping and was already esoteric to the general public. The game is centered around controlling one of the secret societies that secretly rules the world including the Bavarian Illuminati, Gnomes of Zurich, or the Discordian Society to complete their assorted secretive goals and prevent anyone else from completing theirs. This is accomplished by controlling other groups in the world such as psychiatrists, the FBI, international cocaine smugglers, and the American Medical Association as puppets to attack each other and gain power throughout the world. The game can support between two to ten players, though four to six is recommended. The expected duration of a game is between one and two hours, longer for games with more people.

Gameplay revolves around assimilating other groups and destroying those that belong to other players through dice rolls. Players start each turn by drawing a card from the deck, laying it into a free area in front of everyone if the card is a controllable group, or keeping it if it is not. Then the player may roll against a group to control it (take it and add it to his or her groups), destroy it (remove it permanently from the game), or neutralize it (taking a card belonging to another player and placing it back in the area with the other uncontrolled groups). Players are encouraged to make alliances, lie, hold back information, and engage in any form of deceit against each other including some amount of cheating.

Illuminati: Deluxe Edition, is a rather fun game full of lies, deceit, and world domination. Considering the amount of intrigue that is encouraged for successful play, the manual even says that the game should only be played with either strangers or close friends. One of the largest issues with this game, however, is the difficulty to find it, outside of the internet, for a reasonable price. Though it can still be ordered from Warehouse 23, the publisher’s website.

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