(Editor's note: these rules are from a group of PBEM players from Compuserve. I don't know when they were compiled, but my copy was received August 21, 1996. I have not changed the content; I've just HTML-ified it and posted it by permission.)
compiled by AATLEMIDRM (Paul DeMartino)
CIS ID: 76167,336
The two main problems of playing INWO by e-mail are the physical position of cards and setting up the game. These rules are divided into these two areas, followed by a section on playing the game and specific problems that a group of players might run into.
The position of the cards on the table is the greatest obstacle to playing INWO online. There are two ways to show a power structure, the diagram and the hierarchical tree.
The diagram is simple; just make a diagram and a key to explain it. Any diagram is assumed to be viewed with the Illuminati group straight up and the other cards turned as necessary. For instance:
| -A- | B A= The Bavarian Illuminati B= Paranoids
This shows that the Bavarian Illuminati are controlling the Paranoids on the "bottom" of the card. They have three empty control arrows, but the Paranoids have none (which is no surprise).
In this method, the structure is indicated as a "tree", working down from the Illuminati group. On each card, the "top" side is designated as A, and then each side clockwise is indicated as B-D. The incoming arrow of a non-Illuminati group is designated with an INCOMING. Thus, the above power structure would look like this:
The Bavarian Illuminati A: B: C: Paranoids A: INCOMING D:
Personally, I would strongly suggest the tree method if you're playing the Bermuda Triangle (making a new diagram every turn will drive you up a wall).
It has also become standard to include a "legend" with your structure. Please reproduce only the text necessary to play the game. In general, any of the italicized comments are out of bounds. Please respect the copyrights of Steve Jackson Games.
A player also must keep track of his decks (especially his Plot deck). An initial deck may be:
Plots: 24 cards unknown
Groups: 19 cards unknown
Since you may put a card into your deck, for simplicity you may put it anywhere within the deck at your option. This means that you may put a card EXACTLY seven cards down if you like. This would be expressed as:
Plots: 7 unknown, #12 (the plot card number that you are replacing), 16 unknown
A player's Power Structure should be posted at the beginning and end of their turns, and anyone may request anyone's or everyone's Power Structure be posted at any time and for any reason. Needless to say, if a single player's Power Structure is requested out of turn, that's another reason for paranoia. Deck information must also be provided with your Power Structure.
The first thing that must be done in PBEM play to find a neutral party for the beginning of the game. The players should then determine what the Basic Goal will be. For practical reasons, 11 is suggested. BTW, it is impossible to play the cheating game online (or at least, I wouldn't play it if I were you <g>).
Each player should then design a deck of 45 cards (including the Illuminati). These decks should be divided into a Group deck and a Plots deck. Each deck should be shuffled, and then each card in each deck should be numbered.
Once this is done, each player should post the number of cards in each of their decks, and then send their Illuminati group to the neutral. The neutral will post a single public message, giving the Illuminati and the "seating order" around the table. Each player then posts three Plot numbers and seven Group card numbers, with one Group card clearly marked as an alternate. This alternate is used only if one of the Group draws that you have been given is your initial puppet.
This post is directed to the next person counterclockwise around the table. You get your draws from the person to your virtual right and you give draws to the person to your virtual left. Please note that giving the next person draws is the equivalent of knocking.
After each person gets his Plot card hand, he then sends his initial puppet to the neutral. The neutral posts the puppets and either asks for new ones if there is duplication, or posts who goes first. Note that if two initial puppets are identical, then the two players will have to renumber their Group cards. Also be careful that your failed initial puppets are not in your initial Group hand (this is illegal in v1.1 of the INWO rules).
This might seem overly long and involved, but is an essential part of the game. As an obvious example, a Network player might well base a decision to play or not play Japan as an initial puppet based upon whether or not Shangri-La is in the game.
PBEM play depends upon trust (no matter how inappropriate <g>). The active player posts what he's doing and then allows everyone else to react. The time that should be left for reactions is 24 hours, and this time should allowed after:
This 24 hour waiting period can be extended at the request of any player for any reason. The usual reason is private negotiation, so everyone else should get very nervous if a request is made <g>. You may also request that another player refrain from knocking in order to do something that must be done during another's turn. They must comply for one 24 hour period, and are then free to knock. No extension may be made to this. Know what you're doing before you ask. For example, I wanted to play a Privatization before it became my turn (and I would have to use my action tokens from my new turns to do it), so I requested that the player before me hold off from knocking (I then took several days to do it, which is where this rule comes from <g>).
"Check" need not be declared. If you sneak up on a victory, then everyone else is at fault, not you.
Timing is determined by the date and time stamp on the message. Please note that this gives the player whose turn it is a definite advantage in playing Seize the Time and the like, since no one else may play them before the player knocks. That's part of the FTF game too and there's no way to change it for PBEM, so just be aware of it.
As a practical matter, attacks cannot be feigned in the way that they can be in FTF play. In other words, you cannot declare an attack, wait for the opponent to react, cackle and explain that you were just considering it. Your opponents cannot see that you haven't removed your tokens (nyuck, nyuck). Any attack announced online is regarded as having been officially declared with the token removed.
The cards that must be specifically noted:
The Great Pyramid--Be aware that there is no practical way to prevent the owning player from taking notes. In fact, if the player, like me, uses automatic online software it is more difficult to prevent it than to take the notes. Note that this makes this card MUCH more valuable in PBEM play than it is FTF.
NSA-This is the big problem in PBEM play. In a nutshell, there is no way to look at the first three cards of someone's deck without the victim knowing them too (at least not without a moderator). Be aware that this makes this card MUCH weaker in PBEM play than it is in FTF.
This list may be expanded in the future, and some cards might be specifically banned if physical play is intrinsically necessary (for example, the Chaos Orb in Magic).
Everything in here that is copyright Steve Jackson Games is copyright Steve Jackson Games. Their use here does not constitute endorsement by Steve Jackson Games, nor should it be viewed as a challenge to their copyrights. I like them. I hope they like me.
Last modified: Tue May 26 15:40:36 EDT 1998
Ralph Melton <email@example.com>