The definitive 2020 ranked list of the best hidden role board games. This mechanic spans all sorts of different types of games. What hidden roles mean is that one or more players are assigned different roles that are not publicly revealed at the start of the game. This can be found in deduction games, hidden traitor games and so much more. The one thing that always remains the same is that you never know who to trust. This is our list of the top 10 best hidden role board games.
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#10 | New Angeles
New Angeles makes the list of the best hidden role board games because it is a great elaborate engine builder where you have to do your own thing but then you very much need to deal with your competitors and how to properly hide your corruption. You never really know who to trust.
You gain control of a megacorporations, then you use your wealth and influence to create more wealth and more influence. You will cut deals and forge temporary alliances, and leverage your credits and assets to gain financial superiority over your corporate rivals. You also need to strike deals with the other corps as necessary in order to keep a lid on crime, disease, and unrest. You need to keep New Angeles open for business. For 4 – 6 players, games run 2 – 4 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy New Angeles
#09 | Bang!
Bang! makes the list of the best hidden role board games because it recreates an old-fashioned spaghetti western shoot-out, with each player randomly receiving a Character card to determine special abilities, and a secret Role card to determine their goal.
A player’s Role is kept secret, except for the Sheriff. Character cards are placed face up on table, and also track strength (hand limit) in addition to special ability. There are 22 different types of cards in the draw deck. Most common are the BANG! cards, which let you shoot at another player. Other cards can provide boosts or weapon attacks. Play the right cards at the right time to be victorious. For 4 – 7 players, games run 20 – 40 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Bang!
#08 | Bang! The Dice Game
Bang! The Dice Game makes the list of the best hidden role board games because you never really know if a player is on the side of the law or an outlaw. This is a fun and fantastic franchise and the surprise makes it all the better. Bang! uses this idea so well that both the games (which are separate) make this list. A sign of true confidence.
At the start of the game, players each take a role card that secretly places them on a team: the Sheriff and deputies, outlaws, and renegades. The Sheriff and deputies need to kill the outlaws, the outlaws win by killing the Sheriff, and the renegades want to be the last players alive in the game. On a turn, a player can roll the five dice up to three times, using the results of the dice to shoot neighboring players, increase the range of his shots, heal or do a few other things. For 3 – 8 players, games last around 15 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Bang The Dice Game
#07 | One Night Ultimate Werewolf
One Night Ultimate Werewolf makes the list of the best hidden role board games because this is a fun party game great for everyone that takes you into a thematic town and puts you on the side of either townsfolk or the mythic beast. The game is very quick and is likely the most boiled-down version of the hidden role mechanic.
This is a fast game in which everyone gets a role: One of the dastardly Werewolves, the tricky Troublemaker, the helpful Seer, or one of a dozen different characters, each with a special ability. In the course of a single morning, your village will decide who is a werewolf…because all it takes is lynching one werewolf to win. For 3 – 10 players, games are a quick 10 minutes.
#06 | The Resistance
The Resistance makes the list of the best hidden role board games because that is the entire game and it is a very well crafted one. The game is about communication and deception. You need to fool others while figuring out who they really are. They are trying to do the same to you.
The Empire must fall. Your mission must succeed. By destroying their key bases, you will shatter Imperial strength and liberate your people. Yet spies have infiltrated your ranks, ready for sabotage. You must unmask them. In five nights you will reshape destiny or die trying. For 5 – 10 players, games run about 30 minutes.
FOR MORE: Games Like The Resistance | Buy The Resistance
#05 | Secret Hitler
Secret Hitler makes the list of the best hidden role board games because the theme and gameplay about exposing the hidden traitors is top notch. This is a fun party game that is a great conversation caveat for any group. The game is all about giving the people hiding several masterful opportunities to do so, if they can talk everyone into it.
This party title is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930s Germany. Each player is randomly and secretly assigned to be a liberal or a fascist, and one player is Secret Hitler. The fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader; the liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late. For 5 – 10 players, games run about 45 minutes.
#04 | Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game
Legendary Encounters makes the list of the best hidden role board games because of all the intriguing secrets to discover inside. This is a great deck building game as far as that genre goes, but this has the extra added bonus of the alien forces creeping up when you least expect it.
You and your fellow players need to survive against hordes of aliens. Taking on the role of a protagonist such as Ripley, Dallas, Bishop and Corporal Hicks, you take turns recruiting cards for your deck from a central selection in order to improve and defeat Xenomorph cards that pop up. Like Aeons End, this one is full co-op, so it is survive or bust. For 1 – 5 players, games run about 30 – 60 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Legendary Encounters: Alien
#03 | Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica makes the list of the best hidden role board games because it is one of the best and most satisfying secret traitor titles ever released. Thematically, if you like the series it is based on, you know that the whole series is about hidden roles and this board game does that justice.
You are one of ten favorite characters from the iconic show, each with their own special traits. All the characters must work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. Problem is, one of you is a Cylon. Players must attempt to expose the traitor while fuel shortages, food contaminations, and political unrest threaten to tear the fleet apart. For 3 – 6 players, games last about 2 – 3 hours.
#02 | Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep makes the list of the best hidden role board games because it is a worker placement game where you do not have all the information needed at hand. This game carries the Dungeons & Dragons brand which speaks volumes to its theme and intensity level.
In the game, you are one of the secret rulers of the city. This bustling metropolis gives you many opportunities to recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hurt the opposing Lords of Waterdeep. For 2 – 5 players, games run 1 – 2 hours.
FOR MORE: Games Like Lords of Waterdeep | Buy Lords of Waterdeep
#01 | Nemesis
Nemesis takes the top spot on the list of the best hidden role board games because it is an epic experience with the threat of secret hostile creatures at every turn. It keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat and cautiously moving forward. There is so much to this game but having hidden roles at the core is a big positive.
You and your crew-mates must survive on a ship infested with hostile organisms. To win, you will need to complete a variety of missions and return back to Earth alive. You will find many obstacles on your way: swarms of Alien organisms, the poor physical condition of the ship, the other players that will have their own agendas and, sometimes, just cruel fate. For 1 – 5 players, games last about 90 – 180 minutes.