Inis is a game deeply rooted in Celtic history and lore in which players win by being elected King of the Island (Inis). The win conditions are such that tactical alliances must be formed and manoeuvring of your clan to different locations to maintain control and respect of other factions. Although conflict will occur it is not the whole point of the game. Your whole turn may hinge on the actions of other clans.
The game is not as simple as expand and conquer to become the only faction left. It is much deeper than that. It delves into human relationships and explores the human condition. It achieves its goal of mirroring how politics between clans may play out.
In INIS, The game is set up to have people place their clansman onto the board. Players then shuffle the action cards and deal them equally among each other. Players will then take 1 action card and pass the rest on to the next player until all action cards are taken. These action cards will then be played until all players either do not have any more actions or choose not to play any actions. The main goal of the game is to satisfy the win conditions as listed:
- Leadership: Be the leader — i.e., have more clan figures than any other player — of territories containing at least six opponents' clans.
- Land: Have your clans present in at least six different territories.
- Religion: Have your clans present in territories that collectively contain at least six sanctuaries If at the end of any round someone has satisfied one of these win conditions than he wins.
If two players have satisfied the win conditions and one of them controls the capital than that player wins. If however two players satisfied a win condition and none of them controls the capital than the game continues. In this way, you will at times find yourself helping another player complete a win condition to prolong the game.