Secret Hitler Review:
Secret identity games are among my most favorite in the board gaming world. Using clues and social deduction can be very satisfying if you’re able to find out who the culprit is at the end of the day. A new game that is hitting these mechanics on all cylinders is Secret Hitler. It is a social deduction game for 5-10 players whose chief goal is to discover who among the group of politicians is Hitler.
Teams are secretly divided using liberals and fascists, much like the political climate of pre-WWII. While liberals hold the majority, players can use any means to get votes in order to push a fascist agenda. The game is played by everyone deciding whether or not to vote for the president and their appointed chancellor.
If a liberal government is elected, they may choose to enact liberal policies. If fascist policies are elected, however, this gives the government more power and Hitler (whoever he may be) is one step closer to winning the game. Players can elect to not vote the current government into office, but this will increase the chances of random polices being enacted by which they have no control.
The main mechanics of the game are bluffing and voting, but there are a great deal of other activities going on throughout the game. The liberals win if they either enact enough liberal policies or can destroy Hitler. The fascists win if they can enact enough fascist policies or if Hitler is elected chancellor with less fascist policies enacted.
Secret Hitler gives you everything you’d want in a social deduction game. There’s secret identities, different winning conditions, and a plethora of strategy.
The game components are among the best I’ve ever seen, and the games accommodates very well in terms of scaling different amounts of players. It is very easy to get engulfed in the game because of how well the mechanics are tied to the theme. With each election, there is new possibilities of sinister policies being enacted. After a fascist policy gets enacted, was that because the chancellor was Hitler, or did the president make the chancellor do it? Communication is key for the liberals to win while deception is crucial for the fascists to be victorious.
There is a great deal of suspense to the game, while each aspect of the mechanics is very streamlined. It is worth discussing the components of the game again. They are that good! There are wooden placards for the president and chancellor being elected on for that round, and there are foil inlays on the boards.
Additionally, each player’s role comes with their own mini envelope to ensure anonymity at the beginning of the game. These add a tremendous amount of weight to the experience of Secret Hitler. Component quality and the theme/mechanic tie in are easily the two major strengths of the game. The third and final strength worth mentioning is the simplicity of the rules. A game of this weight is very simple for those new to the game. While it’s easy to pick up, it’s hard to master. Each session is different because the strategy is largely due to who is playing and what role they have. Inevitably, which each session you’ll soon discover which side of the game you’d rather be playing on. I personally like snooping out who the fascists are, but selling yourself as an ally when you’re really an enemy is extremely fun as well! Secret Hitler does what few games can in bring two truly different perspectives to the gaming table in a consistently satisfying way.
Secret Hitler is a fresh new development in social deduction games. The components are out of this world, and the replay value is very high due to the variety of roles found within the game.
The WWII theme might turn some gamers off, but the way the mechanics tie into the political climate of Germany before WWII are incredible. If you need a new secret identity game in your life, or if you want to add another party game to your repertoire that’s more strategy and less slapstick, Secret Hitler gives you everything you need for a great night of fun, mystery, and espionage.
Do you have a favorite social deduction game? Do you prefer strategic party games or more silly ones? Comment below!
Until next time,