The game consists of three different cards (illuminati cards, group cards, and special event cards) and money. During a player’s turn, a new card is drawn from a deck containing both group cards and special event cards. If it is a special event, the player in turn keeps the card and plays it when desired. If it is a group card, it is turned up along with any other face-up cards. The player in turn may then attempt to take over any group. This can be either a group on the table or a group already controlled by another player. If another player already controls the group it is more difficult to take it over, but not impossible.
How difficult it is to take over a group depends on the strength of the controlling group, the resistance of the group being taken over, the proximity of the group being taken over to the controlling player’s illuminati card (if someone already controls it), and other factors. Once this is determined, both the attacking and defending player can modify the odds further by spending “megabucks”. Once a group is taken over, it has to be attached to the card structure the player already controls. How cards can be attached to each other is limited by in- and outbound arrows on the cards, and maintaining a well-structured tree of groups can be vital to success.
The winning condition for each player is different and depends on what illuminati card that player has.
This first edition contains 54 small black and white cards.
Illuminati Expansion Set 1
Illuminati Expansion Set 2
Illuminati Expansion Set 3
Illuminati: Deluxe Edition
Illuminati: New World Order
Imagine (Issue 6 – Sep 1983)
European Illuminati – New cards.
The Space Gamer (Issue 59 – Jan 1983)
Illuminating the Post Office – Converting six groups to Illuminati.
Space Gamer (Issue 72 – Jan 1985)
Death to Deadheads! – Variant rules for Illuminati, The Evil Geniuses Are Here! – Variant new cards for Illuminati, More Groups Illuminated! – A couple more illuminated groups for Illuminati, The Monty Python Illuminati – The British Illuminati, 24 groups, and 3 special cards with a Monty Python theme.