The 1990s card game that ‘predicted’ 9/11, Donald Trump, Covid and the Capitol riot: Illuminati: New World Order continues to attract conspiracy theorists three decades after its launch for its apparently uncanny ability to foretell the future (Joe Sommerlad, 29 April 2021, The Independent)

Illuminati: New World Order was released by Steve Jackson Games and cast the player as a puppet-master pursuing world domination on behalf of their chosen mythic secret society, the game offering a choice of the Bavarian Illuminati, the Discordian Society, the UFOs, the Servants of Cthulhu, the Bermuda Triangle and the Gnomes of Zurich.

The goal of Illuminati – spun off from the same company’s 1982 board game that was in turn inspired by The Illuminatis! Trilogy (1975) fantasy novels by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson – is to develop and consolidate a power structure through which to rule the globe from the shadows on behalf of your chosen order, manipulating society and dealing out apocalyptic blows to your opponents as you go.

“Maybe the Illuminati are behind this game,” Mr Shea wrote in his introduction to the original game’s rulebook.

“They must be – they are, by definition, behind everything.”

While the game’s preoccupation with globalist deep state conspiracy themes was clearly wildly ahead of its time, anticipating our bamboozled, boggle-brained era of fictional election-rigging claims, QAnon, anti-vaxxers, 5G paranoia and seething app-based nonsense cauldrons like Telegram, it’s the 2,000AD, Tarot-style illustrations on the cards themselves that are the real source of fascination. […]

Illuminati has long-since been discontinued and become a collector’s item, with unsealed decks sold on Amazon and eBay for almost $2,000, the wildly inflated price an indicator of high demand among a certain sort of feverish-minded consumer.

In addition to the game’s artwork, a further source of intrigue is the fact that the Secret Service raided the offices of Steve Jackson Games in Austin, Texas, on 1 March 1990 and confiscated hard drives and documents, some of which pertained to the board game.

While conspiracy theorists believe this represented the feds moving in to hastily hush up Illuminati and stop the developers revealing the existence of its secret societies to the wider world (why would you choose to make that information public in board game form, rather than, say, by hosting a press conference?), this is simply untrue.

One of the company’s employees, Loyd Blankenship, was also a hacker who served as the system operator for a messaging board that had published a stolen set of files detailed how America’s 911 emergency response systems worked, a fact the Secret Service had been tipped off to and been a granted a search warrant to investigate.