Gotta love Steve Jackson Games’ Illuminati. In this rollicking adventure of conspiracy, secret groups maneuver to control, neutralize, and destroy each other. The Republican Party controls the Boy Sprouts; or is it the other way around?
Conspiracy theorists are so creative. Too bad they have trouble distinguishing fiction from reality. I prefer my insinuations to cleave (more or less) to the truth.
That’s why the funnest part of an Illuminati game is recounting the true facts behind each card, telling absurd, kind-of-fact-based stories about the hidden links that connect our world.
You play the Church of Elvis card and discuss the giant Elvis statue in Neve Ilan, right outside Jerusalem. Yes, really. You knew Elvis was Jewish, didn’t you?
And those honey shops? They really were an al Qaeda front.
But today I am going to tell you of a man named Dee. Not that mystic, inventor, intriguer and philosopher, the other one! The one behind the world-spanning financial network. This terabuck octopus has no head, just tentacles entwined through every financial institution in the world banking system. You already knew that the US dollar has the sigil of the real Illuminati on it, but Dee Ward Hock did it one better.
The Visa network remains impregnable to subversion by its enemies because it is fully distributed and no one knows who controls it. But that did not stop our Dee from making his megabucks (the currency in the Illluminati game), and retiring early to a Dr-No-ish sea-front estate where he could dream up sophomoric world-changing philosophies. Unlike ordinary sophomores, however, he had a billion dollars to help him spread his ideology.
He called it “Chaordianism.” It’s not quite clear what “Chaordianism” means, something about mixing up chaos and order; but don’t confuse it with Discordianism, the prankster religion responsible for spreading the Illuminatus! Trilogy and a major inspiration for the Illuminati game.
Chaordianism spread and took over a number of organizations, including the 4-H farm youth club–not exactly the Boy Sprouts, but close enough.
After a while, the founder got bored and wandered off to play golf, and that’s when things got interesting. The organization schismed, and a small clique of breakaway Chaordians worked their way into the leadership of La Leche League, the breastfeeding group, with the aid of a generous
donation from an unknown source. In true conspiratorial form, they didn’t call it Chaordianism. They called it the Renewal Initiative.
False fronts and Orwellian Newspeak; just perfect for a game of Illuminati!
In the Illuminati game, one secretive organization controls another, establishing covert chains of control, well-hedged with deniability. Sometimes these tenuous links are neutralized; sometime one Illuminatus battles another to seize control of a group; sometimes one of the groups is destroyed; all part of the fun!
No one at LLL knew what the Renewal Initiative’s philosophy was, but whatever it was, it involved dismantling everything LLL stood for. No longer would a counselor need experience in breast-feeding: Bottlefeeding would do; they’d even take non-mothers; even men. Counselors and leaders who spoke out against RI were purged with a late-night international phone call telling them that they had been “disaccredited.” Some now-ex leaders formed a splinter group called Breastfeeding USA–those who joined it were tracked down and expunged from LLL.
Things got so bad that the Founding Mothers, a shadowy group of otiose figures of power from the distant past, threatened to step in. They had the right by the LLL charter to join the board of directors at will. At last, hope that the League would be saved! But the Renewal Initiative leaders (whoever they are; no one knows) quickly rewrote the bylaws to allow an extension of the board meeting schedule. They then deferred the next meeting just enough that a few of the aged Founding Mothers might die first; and just enough died so that they could not carry the vote.
All appeared lost. But suddenly a lawsuit resulted in a settlement that removed the RI conspirators. Kind of an anticlimactic way to end the game, don’t you think? Like right in the middle of a game, your friend announces that he has to leave, and so you wrap it up without really finishing. What happened? What were the details of the lawsuit? As one may expect from a proper war between enigmatic conspiracies, the settlement remains sealed and protected by watertight NDAs, and so we’ll never know.
So next time that you play a fun game of Illuminati, and the South American Nazis control the KGB and the Cycle Gangs, don’t forget about the time that the master of Visa spawned the Chaordians from which broke off the Renewal Initiative that seized control of La Leche League from the Founding Mothers. For real!