The Illuminati Card Game

Every now and then a claim surfaces that the Illuminati card game predicted 9/11, the BP oil spill, or some other act terror or false flag. Those claims always fail to convince me. I happen to own that game. I bought it ten years ago before I was “awake” or was serious about conspiracy theories. I had an interest in them, but due to social pressure I was persuaded that they are not important. I’m a gamer. I play computer games, table-top roleplaying games and board/ card games. I had played Illuminati at a friend’s place and I enjoyed it. When I saw it on sale in an online game store I bought it.

Illuminati: New World Order (INWO) was released by Steve Jackson Games in 1994. INWO is a collectible card game, along the lines of Magic: The Gathering and many others, where you have to buy a few starter decks (consisting of 60 around 60 cards) and booster packs (around 15 cards) to build a deck to compete against other players. An older version of Illuminati is a non-collectible card game, which means you only buy one set and get the cards, similar to board games. The original Illuminati was released in 1982. Both games are similar, but one might say INWO is an advanced version of Illuminati. I possess the set of INWO, the collectible card game, of which I bought the Deluxe INWO pack which includes the Factory Set, i.e. a copy of each card in the game. INWO is also the game which has earned notoriety on the internet. The cards you might have seen online in videos and articles are of INWO, not the original Illuminati.

As I already said I haven’t bought the conspiracy theories regarding the card game. I see it as a fun game (or at least I thought it was fun back then, now I’m tired of it). The designer of the game Steve Jackson was inspired by The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, and other conspiracy theories. Any connection the game has to real conspiracies or conspiracy theories is due to research, in my opinion. Some of the cards of the game seem to be describing events that have happened, because the designer did his job well. He researched conspiracy theories, and used them in his work, the same as a good author would do for a book. A novel about a doctor might have convincing medical jargon due to proper research, even though the author has no training in medicine. I doubt greatly that there is predictive programming included in the game. In fact, when INWO was in development the FBI or police raided the office of Steve Jackson Games and confiscated their computers. I’m pretty sure the Wikipedia page used to mention this fact in the past, but now the fact seems absent.

Let’s take a look at claims regarding some of the cards. The card Terrorist Nuke has a picture of two tall buildings, one of which is exploding in the middle, resembling the WTC. The effect in the game is that using the card gives +10 to the power of a Violent group, which I interpret as you use a false flag to rally the people for a war or other violent operation. Resembles 9/11, doesn’t it? The buildings are probably depicting the WTC, yet it’s not 9/11 the card is alluding to, but the 1993 World Trade Center bombing which was supposedly perpetrated by Muslim extremists. Another card I’ve heard weird claims about is Oil Spill. Someone has claimed it refers to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. However if you just look at the card you see a bird covered in oil, and behind it a ship is sinking with the word “Valdez”. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill happened in 1989. In the card Pentagon there’s a picture of the building with a big explosion in the middle. According to claims this is also refers to 9/11 when the Pentagon was hit by a plane/ missile. The exception is that the explosion is in the middle, and looks a bit like a mushroom cloud, whereas the 9/11 explosion was to the side of the building. I must admit I’ve always thought the picture to be odd, but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with 9/11.

The logo of Steve Jackson Games is the all seeing eye and the pyramid. It is used in all of their board and card games. I’ve always thought of it as a joke. So is the Illuminati game. Steve Jackson, as he is the designer of the game, was obviously interested in The Illuminatus! and conspiracies. It doesn’t mean he believed them when he made the game. In pre- 9/11 world there were many people who were interested in conspiracies, yet were not quite sure what to make of them, as the conspiracy was not so obvious to all of us as it is now. Perhaps he even wanted to expose the Illuminati in some way by making the game. I see no reason to think the existence of the INWO card game is that is some sort of Illuminati plot to screw with us somehow. It’s possible, sure, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of it. Steve Jackson might have nefarious connections behind the game, but if that is the case, please investigate it first, and prove it before accusing a game of being some sort of esoteric conspiracy. It is a game, a humorous game, with some serious underlying themes. I enjoyed playing it in the past, and it taught me some basics of how conspiracies work.

Interestingly according to Wikipedia INWO was designed by Brandon Marek. However, in the rulebook which I have in my hand, it is said it was designed by Steve Jackson. I don’t see the name Brandon Marek anywhere in the rulebook.

Sources:

Illuminati: New World Order: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1552/illuminati-new-world-order

Original Illuminati: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/859/illuminati

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminati:_New_World_Order

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