Step by step instructions on how to play Secret Hitler Board Game. This is a wonderful hidden role party game for 5 or more players that has traitors hiding in plain sight. If you are on the evil team, using your best misdirection is what is going to let you pass your fascist agenda without the liberals being any wiser. Be subtle with your moves and smart with your communication to make it through and avoid detection. This is our definitive guide to how to play Secret Hitler.
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HOW TO PLAY SECRET HITLER – WHAT IS IT?
The year is 1932. The place is pre-WWII Germany. In Secret Hitler, players are German politicians attempting to hold a fragile Liberal government together and stem the rising tide of Fascism. Watch out though—there are secret Fascists among you, and one player is Secret Hitler.
At the beginning of the game, each player is secretly assigned to one of three roles: Liberal, Fascist, or Hitler. The Liberals have a majority, but they don’t know for sure who anyone is; Fascists must resort to secrecy and sabotage to accomplish their goals. Hitler plays for the Fascist team, and the Fascists know Hitler’s identity from the outset, but Hitler doesn’t know the Fascists and must work to figure them out.
The Liberals win by enacting five Liberal Policies or killing Hitler. The Fascists win by enacting six Fascist Policies, or if Hitler is elected Chancellor after three Fascist Policies have been enacted. Learning how to play Secret Hitler is easy but mastering the communication needed to be a champion takes a lifetime.
HOW TO PLAY SECRET HITLER – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: Approximately 45 minutes.
This is a step by step guide for how to play Secret Hitler the popular thematic deduction party board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Put Out Gameboard Tracks
The first step of how to play Secret Hitler is putting out the right pieces. The blue, liberal, board is always the same. Slide that into the middle play area. The red, fascist, board depends on the number of players. There is one for 5-6, one for 7 – 8 and one for 9 – 10. Take the correct one and put it next to liberal track.
2. SETUP | Assign Secret Roles
The Red track you put out will tell you how many fascists and how many liberals will be in the game. Make a stack of cards containing that many characters, making sure that one of the fascist cards is replaced by the Hitler card. Shuffle these up and deal a player a card to assign their secret role. Based on # of players, breakdown is in the below chart:
3. SETUP | Handing Out Voting Cards
Throughout the game you will need to make simultaneous votes. Each player gets a “ja!” for yes and a “nein” for more. Make sure everyone has a set in front of them to use.
4. SETUP | Fascist Discovery Phase
After roles have been assigned, you need to have a “discovery” phase so the Facists can all know who each other are and they know who Hitler is. To do this everyone closes their eyes then only the Fascists (but not Hitler) can open them. They now know who each other is. Hitler puts their thumb up so the other fascists know who they are, but they keep their eyes closed because they do not know who the other fascists are.
5. GAMEPLAY | Decide Initial President
The president is basically your starting player. The role is random at first, but then moves around the circle clockwise each round. This portion of how to play Secret Hitler is all up to you, use a randomizer of choice or maybe something thematic.
6. GAMEPLAY | President Chooses Chancellor
The second in command role is the Chancellor. The president for the round gets to pick that person but then everyone votes on that choice. Everyone takes either their “ja!” (yes) or “nein” (no) cards and flip them over at the same time. If the majority say yes, the Chancellor is elected.
7. GAMEPLAY | Legislative Session to Pass a Law
Now that roles have been assigned, the president takes 3 cards from the face down policy deck. These cards are either going to be liberal (blue) or fascist (red) laws. The president discards 1 secretly and hands the 2 remaining cards to the Chancellor. They secretly remove 1 and flip over the remaining card. This law gets passed. The idea is that you can start to get an idea who the fascists are depending on what gets passed, but you can’t know for sure.
8. GAMEPLAY | Information Chatter
After the law is revealed, everyone can ask the president and chancellor what they did. It is up to them to strategically lie or tell the truth and it is up to you to read them correctly.
9. GAMEPLAY | President Role Passes and Repeat (Early Game)
This above process gets repeated. The President passes clockwise, the chancellor is voted on, a law is passed and informational chatter. The only restriction is the chancellor role cannot go to the same person 2 rounds in a row.
10. GAMEPLAY | Failed Vote Scenario
If you are ever, at any point in the game, in a scenario where the majority of people vote “nein” (no) in a Chancellor vote, you move a tracker along a path on the bottom of the blue board. After two fails, you do not actually form a government, you just flip over the top policy from the deck, pass it as law and move the president to start again.
11. GAMEPLAY | Shuffle Cards (Mid Game)
When a new president and chancellor are set, but there are not enough policy cards to draw three, you shuffle all the cards back into a new deck. This is important because knowing how many of each law is in the deck helps determine who is voting for what, and by shuffling you reset and lose that information.
12. GAMEPLAY | Fascist Abilities (Mid Game)
On the Red score track (fascist) you can see that there are symbols once you get to space 3 or so (depends on the number of players), there start to be effects that trigger and things they can do. The first one, for example, when covered with a passed law, the president at that moment gets to see the next three upcoming policies. So they know if the next president is lying. Future abilities let the president at the moment assassinate one player of their choice.
13. GAME END | Hitler Threat
Once 3 fascist laws are passed the game now becomes much more dangerous for liberals. This is shown by is being the darker shaded area of the red scoreboard. If Hitler is elected Chancellor, the game ends and the Fascists win. On the other side of that, if the liberals are able to use the assassination triggers to their advantage and kill Hitler, they win the game.
14. GAME END | All Laws Passed
If Hitler doesn’t die or get elected Chancellor, it comes down to how the laws are passed. If the Liberals fill all the spaces on their track with laws they win and if Fascists do the same with their track, they win. So many layers in how to play Secret Hitler.
HOW TO PLAY SECRET HITLER – KEY INFORMATION
Investigate Loyalty – The President chooses a player to investigate. Investigated players should hand their Party Membership card (not Secret Role card!) to the President, who checks the player’s loyalty in secret and then returns the card to the player. The President may share (or lie about!) the results of their investigation at their discretion. No player may be investigated twice in the same game.
Call Special Election – The President chooses any other player at the table to be the next Presidential Candidate by passing that player the President placard. Any player can become President—even players that are term-limited. The new President nominates an eligible player as Chancellor Candidate and the Election proceeds as usual.
Policy Peek – The President secretly looks at the top three tiles in the Policy deck and then returns them to the top of the deck without changing the order.
Execution – The President executes one player at the table by saying “I formally execute [player name].” If that player is Hitler, the game ends in a Liberal victory. If the executed player is not Hitler, the table should not learn whether a Fascist or a Liberal has been killed; players must try to work out for themselves the new table balance. Executed players are removed from the game and may not speak, vote, or run for office.
- 17x Policy Tiles (6 Liberal, 11 Fascist)
- 10x Secret Role Cards
- 10x Party Member Cards
- 10x Card Envelopes
- 10x Ja! Ballot Cards
- 10x Nein Ballot Cards
- 1x Election Tracker Marker
- 1x Draw Pile Card
- 1x Discard Pile Card
- 3x Liberal/Fascist Board
- 1x President Placard
- 1x Chancellor Placard
HOW TO PLAY SECRET HITLER – IN CLOSING
We hope you can now say you know how to play Secret Hitler. This well put together deduction game for a group came together so well. The theme is just interesting enough to engross you and the fun mechanics and personalities of your group will keep you entertained. Even though it is relatively new, it is quickly gaining notoriety and is one of the best party board games on the scene right now.