Ideology: The War of Ideas


What follows are answers to Ideology's most frequently asked questions, sorted first according to their respective phases, and then according to the individual Ideologies.

Resource Phase

1. What happens when I draw my last Influence card?

After drawing your last Influence card, immediately shuffle your Influence deck's discard pile and place it face down as your new Influence deck. You do this even if you are in the middle of drawing new Influence cards during the Resource Phase or Trading Phase.

2. What happens when I draw all of my Influence cards, including those reshuffled from my discard pile, and still don't draw enough to equal my Global Influence?

If you run out of cards, then play with all that you have left, even if they don't equal your Global Influence. The best way to avoid this is to remove your Influence cards from extraneous regions during the Foreign Phase. The removed Influence cards go into your discard pile, thereby replenishing your deck for the following turn.

Players who think ahead can usually remove extraneous Influence cards early enough so that they always receive the proper number of Influence cards during the Resource Phase. Note that this is sometimes more difficult, especially when at a Global Influence of 11 and some of your Influence cards are devoted to influencing an important Independent Region. Regardless of your strategy, resource management becomes very important for all players during the endgame. Once attaining a Global Influence of 10 or 11, players must be careful not to spread their interests too thin.

Trading Phase

1. How do I determine my Trading Influence?

Your Trading Influence is equal to the number of regions in the game where you have some Influence. You do not need to control a region in order to possess some influence there. The number of Influence cards you possess at a particular region is also irrelevant when determining your Trading Influence.

2. Am I required to trade in the full number of cards equal to my Trading Influence?

No, you can trade in any number of cards ranging from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of your Trading Influence.

3. Do I trade in all the cards at once, or can I trade them in one at a time until I'm happy with my hand?

You must discard the total number of cards simultaneously. You may not trade them in one card at a time until you're satisfied with your hand. Basically, the more cards you trade in, the less control you will have over the final makeup of your hand.

4. Why is the Trading Phase listed as "Turn Order"? Wouldn't it be fine for it be run "Simultaneous" like the Resource Phase?

That depends on the group of people you're playing with. Most players, especially newer ones, can simply perform their trades simultaneously. However, some players will want to view their opponents' discards before making their own discard decisions. In those cases, the "Turn Order" for that phase needs to be enforced. As a rule of thumb, experienced players tend to play this phase simultaneously until the endgame begins (usually when one or more players achieve a Global Influence of 9 or 10). That's when they usually pay more attention to what their opponents are discarding.

Development Phase

1. If I anticipate that my opponent is going to remove his Influence card from my Controlled Region later in the turn, can I put extra Influence cards there?

Yes, as long as you don't exceed the maximum level of Influence for that Region (double its starting Development Level). Your opponent's Influence card counts toward the maximum level of Influence, so you cannot develop a Controlled Region past that point regardless of whose Influence cards are currently there.

2. Can I develop Independent Regions during this phase?

No. You can only develop your own Controlled Regions. You may only affect Independent Regions during the Foreign and Conflict Phases, regardless of whether you have Influence there.

3. Can I develop my opponent's Controlled Regions if I have Influence cards there?

No. You may only affect Opposing Regions through Conflict (or by removing your Influence during the Foreign Phase).

4. Can I remove Influence cards from my Controlled Regions?

No. Once you place Influence cards beside your Controlled Regions, you may not remove them. You never "play" cards from your Controlled Regions. You always play cards from your hand.

5. Is there a limit to the number of Advancements that can be purchased during a single turn?

No, you may purchase as many Advancements as you like each Development Phase, even turning in Advancements you just purchased for later ones during the same turn. There is a limit to the number of Level 1 Advancements of each type (Tactics, Industry, and Patriotism) that each player can possess. As indicated on each of these cards, you may not possess more than 3 of each.

6. Is there a limit to the number of Level 2 Advancements (Technological Supremacy, Innovation, and Propaganda) that I can possess? If not, what is the advantage to owning more than 1?

You may purchase as many of these cards as you like, although there is no direct advantage for doing so. Some players like to purchase duplicates to build towards Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), so that they will not lose their only copies of the Level 2 Advancements when purchasing WMD.

7. If I trade in a Level 1 Advancement towards the purchase of a Level 2 Advancement, do I lose the powers granted by the Level 1 Advancement?

Yes. The Level 2 Advancements are more offensive in nature, and they do not incorporate the defensive capabilites of the Level 1 Advancements. You may, of course, purchase more Level 1 Advancements so that you possess both Level 1 and Level 2 Advancements.

8. Is there a limit to the number of WMD that I can possess?

No. Each one provides its own separate point of Global Influence.

9. Since WMD immediately provide me with a point of Global Influence, do I immediately win the game when building one that brings me to a Global Influence of 12?

No. The game does not end (nor is the winner determined) before the end of the Turn Order Phase.

Foreign Phase

1. When paying the distance penalty, do I have to pay multiple cards to compensate for regions that are more than 1 region away?

No. Regions are either adjacent to or distant from your Controlled Regions. The actual distance is irrelevant.

2. Whose Influence cards can I remove during the Foreign Phase?

You can only remove your own Influence cards from Independent and Opposing Regions during this phase.

3. When I remove one of my Influence cards from an Independent or Opposing Region, do I take the removed Influence card into my hand?

No. Removed Influence cards are always discarded into your own discard pile.

4. Let us assume that an Independent Region was formerly controlled by one of the players before being returned to the center of the table through Conflict. If that player had begun to develop the Independent Region beyond its starting Development Level, can we continue to develop it during the Foreign Phase?

No. Although extra cards that were previously used to develop a now Independent Region remain on that region, the maximum level of Influence for the region is the same as for all Independent Regions (that is, the maximum level of Influence is equal to its current Development Level). Just because one or two areas of Influence have been increased beyond that point when the region was controlled by someone does not allow that process to continue when the region becomes Independent.

5. What if someone successfully develops a Controlled Region to its next Development Level, and then the region becomes independent again?

In this case, the region's current Development Level is equal to the Development Marker on the card, and players can extend Influence cards to it as appropriate for that Development Level.

For example, let us assume that the Communist player gained control of Indonesia and developed it to a Level 2 Region. During a later Conflict Phase, the Fascist player replaces half of the Influence cards at Indonesia with his own, forcing it back into the center as a Level 2 Independent Region. On a later turn, someone else fires a WMD at Indonesia, removing 2 Cultural cards and 1 Economic card. Because new Development Levels are only assigned to Controlled Regions (not Independent Regions), players on subsequent turns can now add up to 2 Cultural cards and 1 Economic card to Indonesia, since it's still considered a Level 2 Independent Region.

Conflict Phase

1. Can I initiate a Conflict at any region, even if I don't have Influence there?

Yes. You are not required to have Influence cards at a region in order to initiate Conflicts there. You may initiate Conflicts at Independent Regions, Opposing Regions, or even your own Controlled Regions. The only limitations regarding where and against whom you can initiate a Conflict is the Diplomacy Chart, which indicates the current types of Conflicts you may initiate against your opponents.

2. Why would I initiate a Conflict in one of my own Controlled Regions? Can I eliminate my own Influence cards that way?

No. You may never remove your own Influence cards from your Controlled Regions. The purpose of initiating a Conflict at one of your Controlled Regions is to replace your opponents' Influence cards at those regions.

3. Can I ever initiate a Conflict against one of my own Influence cards?

No. You may only initiate Conflicts against your opponents' cards.

4. If both my opponent and I possess one Industry Advancement, do we both have to pay Economic Advancement penalties against each other?

No. The Advancement penalty is equal to the difference between the two levels of Industry. Therefore, when you have the same number of Industry Advancements as your opponent, neither of you pay Economic Advancement penalties against each other.

5. Is there an advantage or disadvantage to having more of a particular Advancement when initiating a Conflict against my opponent?

No, there is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage to possessing more Level 1 Advancements than your opponent when you are initiating a Conflict against him or her. These cards only protect the person who is being attacked. They provide no direct benefits to the person who is attacking, other than allowing that person to match his or her opponent's defenses.

6. Is the defending player required to deflect an opponent's Influence card if he has the appropriate card in his hand?

No. A player may always choose to allow his opponent to succeed during a given Conflict.

7. If I succeed at a Conflict, can I immediately initiate another Conflict there if it's the same type of Conflict (Military, Economic, or Cultural)?

No. Once you succeed at (or choose to end) a Conflict, you must allow the next player in the Turn Order a chance to initiate a Conflict. When the action again returns to you, you may initiate another Conflict wherever you choose.

8. Can I fire a WMD at a region with fewer than 3 Influence cards?

Yes, simply remove all the Influence cards there that belong to players with whom you are at war.

9. What if I fire a WMD at a region with 3 or more Influence cards, but I'm not at war with some of the Ideologies that possess Influence cards there?

You can only remove Influence cards from players with whom you are at war. Therefore, you cannot fire a WMD at a region unless at least one Influence card there belongs to someone with whom you are at war. If fewer than 3 cards belong to players with whom you are at war, then simply remove as many cards as you can from the players with whom you are at war.

10. Can I fire a WMD at one of my own Controlled Regions?

Yes, as long as you follow the rules on the WMD card. In other words, you must be at war with the Ideologies whose Influence you are removing. You of course cannot be at war with yourself, so you cannot remove your own Influence cards this way. Also, you must fire the WMD from an adjacent Controlled Region. Since a region is not considered adjacent to itself, the Controlled Region must be adjacent to one of your other Controlled Regions in order for you fire a WMD at it.

11. Can I use a WMD against a player with whom I am neutral, as long as I only remove Economic and Cultural Influence cards?

No. The use of a WMD is always an Act of War, regardless of which types of Influence cards you intend to remove.

12. Can I remove my Influence cards from Indepedendent and Opposing Regions during the Conflict Phase?

No. You can only remove Influence cards from regions during the Foreign Phase. Once the Conflict Phase begins, you must wait until the following turn to remove your Influence cards.

Diplomacy Phase

1. Can players flip flop back and forth with their diplomatic stances during this phase? Or are they commited to a declared diplomatic stance once a counter is placed on the Diplomacy Chart?

The Diplomacy Phase is very "free form." Players are permitted to flip flop back and forth in any way or order they choose. For example, if I declare war against a particular Ideology, I can choose to rescind that after further discussion takes place during that phase. Of course, the other Ideology can choose to remain at war by declaring war itself. The only rule of thumb to remember is that if two players offer diverse terms to each other and cannot come to an agreement, the more severe stance is adopted.

2. If an Ideology declares war against Capitalism and on a later turn offers terms of peace or neutrality, is the Capitalist player forced to comply?

No. Although the Capitalist player is unable to declare war against another Ideology, the Capitalist player can choose to maintain a state of war for as long as he wants after another Ideology declares war against him.

Assessment Phase

1. If one of my Controlled Regions dips below its starting Development Level due to a WMD or the "Jihad" ability, does it automatically become an Independent Region during this phase?

No. Once a player seizes control of a region, he continues to control that region as long as he maintains a majority of Influence cards there, regardless of whether or not the region dips below its starting Development Level. Even if there are only 1 or 2 Influence cards left at the region, it remains under the player's control if he owns more than anyone else. However, should a region lose every last one of its Influence cards, it does become Independent because no one controls more cards there than any other player.

2. Assume I place enough Influence cards on a Controlled Region for it to become a higher Development Level during the Assessment Phase. But during the Conflict Phase, my opponent replaces enough cards to force the region back into the center as an Independent Region. What happens?

Remember that there is a particular order to the Assessment Phase. First, new Development Levels are assigned to Controlled Regions. Then the majority of Influence cards at each Controlled Region is evaluated. Finally, control of Independent Regions is determined.

Since the first thing you do during this phase is assign new Development Levels to Controlled Regions, the region in question would receive its new Development Level during the first part of the Assessment Phase. Remember, a Controlled Region remains a Controlled Region until the second step of the Assessment Phase, regardless of whose Influence cards are there. Only after the region receives its new Development Level does the player check to see if he no longer controls the region. If he does not, it becomes independent but retains its new Development Level. Finally, when determining control of Independent Regions during the final step of the phase, if the player's opponent actually possesses more Influence cards there than any other single player, he would seize control of the region, even with its new Development Level.

3. Assume a formerly controlled Independent Region was developed beyond its starting Development Level. If it loses Influence cards while in the center as an Independent Region, does it revert to its previous level during the Assessment Phase?

No. New Development Levels are assigned to Controlled Regions only, not Independent Regions. Even if an Independent Region loses all of its Influence cards, it still maintains its current Development Level as indicated by its Development Marker.

4. Assume a Controlled Region loses all of its Cultural Influence cards due to a WMD. Assume also that the owner no longer maintains a majority of Influence cards there. Furthermore, assume that his opponent now maintains a majority of Influence cards there. What happens during the Assessment Phase?

First, the Controlled Region is assigned a Development Level of 1 (since no Region can ever fall below a Development Level of 1), since it now possesses zero Cultural Influence cards. Second, since the owner no longer possesses a majority of Influence cards there, it becomes an Independent Region. Finally, although the opponent now possesses a majority of Influence cards there, the Independent Region is not at its maximum level of influence in all areas (since a Level 1 Independent Region needs at least 1 card in each area of Influence to be at its maximum, and there are currently no Cultural Influence cards there at all). In this rare circumstance, the region would remain Independent until a later turn when it receives a Cultural Influence card during the Foreign Phase.

5. If there are "extra" Influence cards on an Independent Region (due to its having been partially developed by a player who formerly controlled it), are they ignored when determining who possesses the most Influence cards at the region?

No. Even though there are more Influence cards at that Independent Region than would normally be the case, all of the Influence cards there count when determining if any player possesses more Influence cards there than any other single player.

Turn Order Phase

1. Does the game's starting Turn Order have any impact on later turns? For example, assume the Capitalist player moves ahead of the Imperialist player on the Turn Order Chart. Later, the Imperialist player equals the Global Influence of the Capitalist player. Does the Imperialist player now move ahead of the Capitalist player since that was their starting position?

No. The starting Turn Order has no bearing on the game once play begins. In the example above, in order for the Imperialist player to move ahead of the Capitalist player, the Imperialist player would have to exceed the Capitalist player's Global Influence.


1. Can I use the "Attractive Culture" ability once against each player during a single turn?

No. You may only use this ability once per turn (whenever you choose), no matter how many players initiate a Cultural Conflict against you.

2. Since I can't declare war against any Ideology, what is the point of the second half of the "Isolationism" penalty?

Even though you can't declare war, other players can still declare war against you. Once you are at war with another Ideology, you can choose to maintain that diplomatic stance as long as you want, regardless of whether the other player wants to revert to a less aggressive stance. While at war with another player, you may initiate Military Conflicts against that player at any region (keeping in mind the penalty described in the second half of the "Isolationism" penalty).


1. Can I use "Totalitarianism" multiple times during the same turn?

Yes. As long as you have the appropriate cards in your hand at the end of the Assessment Phase, you can use "Totalitarianism" to replace any number of your opponents' Influence cards that are in your Controlled Regions.

2. Does my diplomatic stance with another player affect my "Totalitarianism" ability?

No. Even if you aren't at war with a particular Ideology, you can still replace its Military Influence cards using this ability.

3. If I no longer possess a majority of Influence cards at one of my Controlled Regions at the start of the Assessment Phase, can I immediately use "Totalitarianism" to prevent it from becoming Independent?

No. "Totalitarianism" is used at the end of the Assessment Phase, so if you no longer control a region by the end of the Assessment Phase, you cannot use "Totalitarianism" at that region.

4. Does "Iron Curtain" affect me during the Foreign Phase?

No. It only adds a penalty when initiating an Economic Conflict against a distant Region during the Conflict Phase. It has no affect at all during the Foreign Phase, nor does it affect you when initiating an Economic Conflict against an adjacent region.


1. Can I use "Lightning Strike" once against each player during the same turn? Also, must I use it for my first Military Conflict of the turn, or can I save it up for later during the same turn?

The "Lightning Strike" ability is triggered automatically the first time you initiate a Military Conflict each turn. You may not save it up for later during the turn, nor does it ever trigger more than once per turn, even if you attack multiple opponents during the same turn.

2. Does "Intolerance" affect my Cultural Conflicts?

No. You only pay the penalty when extending Cultural Influence during the Foreign Phase. During the Conflict Phase, you may initiate Cultural Conflicts without this added penalty.


1. Does "Global Colonization" assist me during the Conflict Phase?

No. You must still pay the distance penalty when initiating Conflicts against distant Regions during the Conflict Phase.

2. Does the "Forced Markets" penalty apply to every Industry Advancement I purchase, or just the first one?

It applies to every Industry Advancement you wish to purchase during the game.

Islamic Fundamentalism

1. Must I use both parts of the "Jihad" ability during the same turn?

No. Both features of the "Jihad" ability can be used at will, regardless of whether or not the other facet of "Jihad" is used during the same turn.

2. If I spend a Military Influence card to declare war during the Conflict Phase via "Jihad," can I immediately initiate a Military Conflict and/or fire a WMD?

Yes. Using the "Jihad" ability to declare war does not take up an action. You may immediately initiate a Conflict after declaring war.

3. Can I declare war against multiple Ideologies during the same Conflict Phase by using "Jihad"?

Yes, as long as you pay 1 Military Influence card each time you declare war against an Ideology during the Conflict Phase.

4. Regarding the second ability of "Jihad," when I use this once per turn, can I choose when and against whom I use it? Must I declare that's what I'm doing before the defending player decides whether to defend?

You can use the second half of the "Jihad" ability once per turn after any successful Military Conflict. You do not have to declare your intention to use it until after you succeed at a Military Conflict. It is possible to conduct several normal Military Conflicts before using the "Jihad" ability during a later Conflict.

5. If I use the second half of the "Jihad" ability, thereby discarding my successful Military Influence card instead of using it to replace my opponent's Military Influence card, what happens to my opponent's Military Influence card?

Nothing. Since you are using this ability to discard your opponent's Economic or Cultural Influence card, his Military Influence card remains in place.

6. Does the "Radical Fundamentalism" penalty apply to every Technological Supremacy and Innovation Advancement I purchase, or just the first one of each type?

It applies to every Technological Supremacy and Innovation Advancement you wish to purchase during the game.

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© 2003 Z-Man Games, Inc. All rights reserved.
Game Design © 2003 Andrew J. Parks
Illustrations © 2003 C. James Parks