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SECRET HITLER

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.

Goat, Wolf & Cabbage

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20 min

5-10

How to play

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.

Whenever a Fascist Policy is enacted, the government becomes more powerful, and the President is granted a single-use power which must be used before the next round can begin. It doesn’t matter what team the President is on; in fact, even Liberal players might be tempted to enact a Fascist Policy to gain new powers.

GAMEPLAY

Secret Hitler is played in rounds. Each round has an Election to form a government, a Legislative Session to enact a new Policy, and an Executive Action to exercise governmental power.

ELECTION

1. Pass the Presidential Candidacy

At the beginning of a new round, the President placard moves clockwise to the next player, who is the new Presidential Candidate.

2. Nominate a Chancellor

The Presidential Candidate chooses a Chancellor Candidate by passing the Chancellor placard to any other eligible player. The Presidential Candidate is free to discuss Chancellor options with the table to build consensus and make it more likely the Government gets elected.

Eligibility: The last elected President and Chancellor are “term-limited,” and ineligible to be nominated as Chancellor Candidate.

ON ELIGIBILITY:

• Term limits apply to the President and Chancellor who were last elected, not to the last pair nominated.

Term limits only affect nominations to the Chancellorship; anyone can be President, even someone who was just Chancellor.

• If there are only five players left in the game, only the last elected Chancellor is ineligible to be Chancellor Candidate; the last President may be nominated.

• There are some other rules that affect eligibility in specific ways: the Veto Power and the Election Tracker. You don’t need to worry about those yet, and we’ll talk about each one in its relevant section.

3. Vote on the government

Once the Presidential Candidate has chosen an eligible Chancellor Candidate, players may discuss the proposed government until everyone is ready to vote. Every player, including the Candidates, votes on the proposed government. Once everyone is ready to vote, reveal your Ballot cards simultaneously so that everyone’s vote is public.

If the vote is a tie, or if a majority of players votes no: The vote fails. The Presidential Candidate misses this chance to be elected, and the President placard moves clockwise to the next player. The Election Tracker is advanced by one Election.

Election Tracker: If the group rejects three governments in a row, the country is thrown into chaos. Immediately reveal the Policy on top of the Policy deck and enact it. Any power granted by this Policy is ignored, but the Election Tracker resets, and existing term-limits are forgotten. All players become eligible to hold the office of Chancellor for the next Election. If there are fewer than three tiles remaining in the Policy deck at this point, shuffle them with the Discard pile to create a new Policy deck. Any time a new Policy tile is played face-up, the Election Tracker is reset, whether it was enacted by an elected government or enacted by the frustrated populace.

If a majority of players votes yes: The Presidential Candidate and Chancellor Candidate become the new President and Chancellor, respectively.

  • If three or more Fascist Policies have been enacted already: Ask if the new Chancellor is Hitler. If so, the game is over and the Fascists win. Otherwise, other players know for sure the Chancellor is not Hitler

Proceed as usual to the Legislative Session.

LEGISLATIVE SESSION

During the Legislative Session, the President and Chancellor work together to enact a new Policy in secret. The President draws the top three tiles from the Policy deck, looks at them in secret, and discards one tile face down into the Discard pile. The remaining two tiles go to the Chancellor, who looks in secret, discards one Policy tile face down, and enacts the remaining Policy by placing the tile face up on the corresponding track.

Verbal and nonverbal communication between the President and Chancellor is forbidden. The President and Chancellor MAY NOT pick Policies to play at random, shuffle the tiles before discarding one, or do anything else clever to avoid secretly and intentionally selecting a Policy. Additionally, the President should hand both Policies over at the same time, rather than one at a time to gauge the Chancellor’s reaction. Attempting to telegraph the contents of your hand using randomness or any other unusual selection procedure violates the spirit of the game. Don’t do it.

Discarded Policy tiles should never be revealed to the group. Players must rely on the word of the President and Chancellor, who are free to lie.

ABOUT LYING:

Often, some players learn things that the rest of the players don’t know, like when the President and Chancellor get to see Policy tiles, or when a President uses the Investigate power to see someone’s Party Membership card. You can always lie about hidden knowledge in Secret Hitler. The only time players MUST tell the truth is in gameending, Hitler-related scenarios: a player who is Hitler must say so if assassinated or if elected Chancellor after three Fascist Policies have been enacted.

If there are fewer than three tiles remaining in the Policy deck at the end of a Legislative Session, shuffle them with the Discard pile to create a new Policy deck. Unused Policy tiles should never be revealed, and they should not be simply placed on top of the new Policy deck.

If the government enacted a Fascist Policy that covered up a Presidential Power, the sitting President gets to use that power. Proceed to the Executive Action.

 

If the government enacted a Liberal Policy or a Fascist Policy that grants no Presidential Power, begin a new round with a new Election.

EXECUTIVE ACTION

If the newly-enacted Fascist Policy grants a Presidential Power, the President must use it before the next round can begin. Before using a power, the President is free to discuss the issue with other players, but ultimately the President gets to decide how and when the power is used. Gameplay cannot continue until the President uses the power. Presidential Powers are used only once; they don’t stack or roll over to future turns.

PRESIDENTIAL POWERS

 

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.

​A Special Election does not skip any players. After a Special Election, the President placard returns to the left of the President who enacted the Special Election.

 

If the President passes the presidency to the next player in the rotation, that player would get to run for President twice in a row: once for the Special Election and once for their normal shift in the Presidential rotation.

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.

VETO POWER

The Veto Power is a special rule that comes into effect after five Fascist Policies have been enacted. For all Legislative Sessions after the fifth Fascist Policy is enacted, the Executive branch gains a permanent new ability to discard all three Policy tiles if both the Chancellor and President agree.

 

The President draws three Policy tiles, discards one, and passes the remaining two to the Chancellor as usual. Then Chancellor may, instead of enacting either Policy, say “I wish to veto this agenda.” If the President consents by saying, “I agree to the veto,” both Policies are discarded and the President placard passes to the left as usual. If the President does not consent, the Chancellor must enact a Policy as normal.

 

Each use of the Veto Power represents an inactive government and advances the Election Tracker by one.

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WINNING

Every player has a secret identity as a member of either the Liberal team or the Fascist team.

Players on the Liberal team win if either:

• Five Liberal Policies are enacted.

OR

• Hitler is assassinated.

Players on the Fascist team win if either:

• Six Fascist Policies are enacted.

OR

• Hitler is elected Chancellor any time after the third Fascist Policy has been enacted.

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