Uncontrolled Deck

Steve Hatherley

This variant is an expansion of the Uncontrolled Area. It’s different from a One Big Deck game - everyone brings their own Illuminati deck and there’s also an Uncontrolled Deck (which consists of groups and also some NWOs). Each turn the top card of the Uncontrolled Deck enters play - either into the uncontrolled area (if a group card) or into play as an NWO.

Preparing the Uncontrolled Deck

The way we prepare the deck is as using sets of cards. Each set comprises

  • 2 NWOs
  • 1 Resource
  • 1 group of Power 5+
  • 1 group of Power 3-4
  • 1 group of Power 0-2

The number of sets used in the Uncontrolled Deck is equal to one more than the number of players. (So use 3 sets, a total of 18 cards, for two players.)

Shuffle the uncontrolled deck before play.

Theme decks: You could create uncontrolled decks based around a theme. I’ve thought about Space or Communist theme decks (but not actually created any yet).


  • At the start of each turn, draw the top card of the Uncontrolled Deck and put it into play. A group or Resource is put into the uncontrolled area. A NWO is put into play as normal.
  • Groups or unique Resources that duplicate other cards in play are discarded.
  • Groups in the uncontrolled area can be attacked as if they are in your hand. They can also be taken over as an automatic takeover.

Other Impacts

The presence of an uncontrolled area leads to other rules:

  • Deck construction: We permit a maximum of 9 groups in a deck so that players must target the groups in the uncontrolled area if they want to win.
  • Starting hand: We reduce the starting hand to 3 groups, again so that players need to attack the groups in the uncontrolled area. (Otherwise, what’s the point of having it.)

How it plays

I’ve found it to be a lot of fun. By including some of the less-used groups in the Uncontrolled Deck, the games become quirky and fun. (I play it as part of the Plan 28 mega variant, which uses a number of rules.)

Homebrew cards

The Uncontrolled Deck is an excellent way of introducing homebrew cards. You don’t need to worry about being criticised for stacking your deck with game-breaking homebrews - as everyone has an equal chance of getting them when they’re in the Uncontrolled Deck. You can create your own homebrew cards using Superior POD - click here to read Print your own INWO Cards.

Further thoughts

There’s no reason why homebrew plots couldn’t be included in the Uncontrolled Deck. If you draw one, then put it into your hand, exposed. (I think if I did this I’d make the deck bigger and make players draw two cards each turn, to make sure there were enough groups in play.)


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