Secret Hitler

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Secret Hitler
Secret Hitler.svg
ManufacturersBreaking Games
Designers
  • Max Temkin
  • Mike Boxleiter
  • Tommy Maranges
IllustratorsMackenzie Schubert
PublishersGoat, Wolf, & Cabbage
PublicationAugust 25, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-08-25)
GenresParty game
LanguagesEnglish
Players5–10
Playing time30–60 minutes
Websitesecrethitler.com

Secret Hitler is a hidden identity social deduction party game developed by Goat, Wolf, & Cabbage LLC, manufactured by Breaking Games and distributed by Blackbox. The board game was designed by Max Temkin, Mike Boxleiter and Tommy Maranges, with artwork created by Mackenzie Schubert, and first released on August 25, 2016. In Secret Hitler, players assume the roles of liberals and fascists in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic, with one player becoming Hitler. To win the game, both parties are set to competitively enact liberal and fascist policies, respectively, or complete a secondary objective directly involving Hitler.

Gameplay[edit]

Secret Hitler sees players divided into two teams: the liberals and the fascists, the latter also including the Hitler role. The identity of Hitler is known to all other fascists, while the identities of the fascists are unknown to Hitler in games with at least seven players.[1] The role distribution depends on the number of players in a game session:[2]

# of players # of liberals # of fascists
5 3 1 + Hitler
6 4
7 2 + Hitler
8 5
9 3 + Hitler
10 6

At the start of each round, the player to the left of the previous President becomes the new President (the first President is chosen randomly). The President nominates a candidate for the Chancellorship, and every player, including the proposed government, votes either "Ja!" (yes) or "Nein" (no) to the proposal. The Chancellor candidate cannot be the current President nor the previously elected Chancellor.

If more than half of the players vote for the player currently nominated as the Chancellor, that player is granted the office and becomes the new Chancellor. After each successful election, the President blindly draws three policy cards, each of which could be "liberal" or "fascist". The President then discards one of these cards before giving the other two to the Chancellor, who in turn selects which of these will be passed and enacted, ending the round. There are 6 liberal policy cards and 11 fascist policy cards in the deck at the start of the game. After the end of each round, the Presidential role is passed onto the player to the left.

If the election ends in a tie or more than half of the players vote against the player currently nominated as the Chancellor, the election is unsuccessful. Every time an election fails, the Election Tracker is counted up by one and the Presidential role is passed on, ending the round. Whenever three consecutive elections have failed, the policy on top of the draw pile is enacted without oversight by the President or the Chancellor, and the Election Tracker is reset. The Election Tracker is also reset if a Chancellor is elected.

While enacting a liberal policy will have no direct effect on the game, passing a fascist policy may grant the President the power, i.e. the ability, to check the three top cards of the deck, investigate a player's party membership, choose the next round's President via a special election, or assassinate a player. These powers are activated by covering up a fascist policy tracker space that has an ability written in it, after which that power has to be resolved before ending the round. Passing five fascist policies unlocks the ability to exercise the veto power for the rest of the game. Whenever the veto power is used, the Election Tracker is counted up by one before the end of the round.

The game ends when either five liberal policies or six fascist policies have been enacted, resulting in victory for whichever party has achieved that policy count requirement. Additionally, after three fascist policies have been passed, the fascists can win by having Hitler elected Chancellor. Whenever the President is required to assassinate a player, the liberals can win by having Hitler assassinated. If the assassinated player is not Hitler, game continues without the remaining players knowing whether the assassinated player was a liberal or a fascist.

Development and release[edit]

Secret Hitler was designed by Max Temkin (the co-creator of Cards Against Humanity and Humans vs. Zombies), Mike Boxleiter (co-founder of Mikengreg, the video game developer behind Solipskier and TouchTone) and Tommy Maranges (the writer of Philosophy Bro), and was illustrated by Mackenzie Schubert (illustrator of games such as Letter Tycoon and Penny Press), collectively known as Goat, Wolf, & Cabbage LLC. The development team worked out of office space provided by the Cards Against Humanity team for new game designers.[3] The original concept was developed by Boxleiter and Maranges as means to re-engineer the gameplay of Avalon, with Temkin adding significant influence from Werewolf variations.[4] On November 23, 2015, Temkin launched a Kickstarter campaign for the game seeking $54,450.[5] The project was successfully funded by 200% within the first 24 hours, and the campaign ended on December 23, 2015, with a total of $1,479,046 pledged by 34,565 contributors, making it one of the most successful tabletop games in Kickstarter's history.[6] Meanwhile, a freeware print-and-play edition of Secret Hitler was released on November 25, 2015, under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative Commons license.[7]

Secret Hitler first shipped for Kickstarter backers, in multiple waves starting on August 25, 2016, and was released to retail shortly after. The game is produced by Breaking Games, a division of Cards Against Humanity manufacturer AdMagic, and distributed by Blackbox, a shipping company founded by the creators of Cards Against Humanity, including Secret Hitler designer Temkin. An official, Wil Wheaton-narrated companion app, Secret Hitler Companion, was launched alongside Secret Hitler, for Android and iOS.[citation needed]

In February 2017, free copies of Secret Hitler were shipped to all 100 members of the United States Senate.[8][9] The Trump Pack, a booster pack for Secret Hitler, which replaces the fascists' cards with Donald Trump and prominent members of his administration at the time (respectively Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and Mike Pence), was released in June 2017, with all proceeds generated from the pack's sales donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.[10]

Reception[edit]

A board game review in The Wirecutter stated that the game has a steep learning curve because of its complex rules.[11] It also stated it has a "potentially offensive theme".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Orsini, Lauren (January 18, 2016). "'Secret Hitler': For Big Groups, A Heil Of A Good Time". Forbes. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Orland, Kyle (January 16, 2016). "Secret Hitler, the bluffing game for people who hate bluffing games". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  3. ^ Elahi, Amina (December 23, 2015). "Cards Against Humanity creator's new team to release Secret Hitler game". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  4. ^ Hartz, Taylor (September 15, 2017). "Secret Hitler board game an unlikely hit for Chicago game-makers". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Taylor, Chris (November 25, 2015). "'Secret Hitler' game turns your friends into Liberals and Fascists". Mashable. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  6. ^ Bromwich, Jonah (September 5, 2017). "Secret Hitler, a Game That Simulates Fascism's Rise, Becomes a Hit". The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Statt, Nick (November 29, 2015). "With Secret Hitler, Cards Against Humanity's co-working space becomes an idea machine". The Verge. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Cullers, Rebecca (February 28, 2017). "Cards Against Humanity's Founder Sent His New Game, About Hitler's Enablers, to All 100 U.S. Senators". Adweek. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  9. ^ Vainshtein, Annie (September 5, 2017). "'Secret Hitler,' board game about fascism, gaining in popularity". SFGate. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  10. ^ Frauenfelder, Mark (June 6, 2017). ""Secret Hitler" board game adds Trump administration booster pack". Boing Boing. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Perling, Anna; Austin, James (December 9, 2019). "The best beginner board games for adults". The Wirecutter. The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2021.

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