Best Play Recommends: Secret Hitler
What: An amazing game of tension, lies…and Hitler
Time: 20–30 minutes. Longer with bigger groups
People: People who like to lie, to scheme to argue
Available: Print it yourself for free here Official print out & Rules
Why we recommend it
“GLENN IS HITLER!” is a sentence I never thought would be yelled at me, but now it has started to feel normal.
One of my best friends is wildly gesticulating to everyone else how obvious it is that “GLENN IS HITLER!”
For now, I just sit there being accused of being possibly the worst human ever alive.
I wait just a beat as he’s mid-explanation of his theory and interrupt him to say “How can I be, I’ve pushed through several liberal policies and HE hasn’t. He’s a fascist.” Everyone goes quiet again, contemplating for a moment before the votes are cast.
My friend throws his arms up in frustration as we prepare to flip over the cards “I’m a fucking liberal.” he protests.
JA, JA, NEIN, JA, NEIN, JA
The JAs have it. I am the new chancellor and…
I am Hitler.
The fascists win.
Secret Hitler is a game of deduction, a game of risk, and for me it seems a game of being my worst lying self. The group is secretly split unevenly into a few fascists and a majority of liberals. One of those fascists is Hitler.
The facists know who each other are, but the liberals are all in the dark. Each turn you form a government of two players (President and a Chancellor) who will pass a fascist or a liberal policy.
Things can quickly get messy though, as there are far more fascist policies to enact than there are liberal ones, so sometimes even two liberals may be forced to pass a fascist policy as that is their only option. They then have to convince everyone else they had no choice and that one of them isn’t secretly ya know … Hitler.
Sometimes the fascists will pass a liberal policy to curry favour and throw everyone else off the scent. They steal knowing glances to each other without anyone seeing.
In the most desperate of times a group of liberals may even go against their better judgement and become the thing they hate, by pushing through a fascist policy. Why though?
Fascist policies give the current president certain powers, one of which is to assassinate another player. They might accidentally kill of one of their own or they might have figured out the secret. If they kill off Hitler, the liberals win, but their morals will forever be compromised.
I have never protested so loudly, been so conniving and had so much adrenaline running through my body after a board game. It is equally one of the most enjoyable and stressful games I have played and its theme and rules make it feel more personal and exciting than anything else like it.
My only request if you play this game: when it’s all over, make sure you all kiss and make up. Do not hold a grudge. It’s just a game. Once it’s over, none of us are Hitler anymore … I hope.