Secret Hitler Game Rules

The Secret Hitler board game rules are comprehensive, but if you’re someone who is a proper history buff, you’ll love playing Secret Hitler. The game combines an integral part of History with a dose of deception. 

With all players playing as German diplomats (one player even taking the role of Hitler himself), players must either aid or deceive their fellow participants to enact policies that lead their political faction to victory.

And even if you’re not into history or politics, not to worry – you don’t need any prior knowledge of this era to begin playing.

So what are you waiting for? Prove to everyone that you’re born to be a successful leader by learning how to play Secret Hitler the board game. 

What Is Secret Hitler?

Secret Hitler Card Game Info Image

One player will get picked at random to take the role of Hitler but cannot reveal to all players who they are.

The rest of the players get randomly picked to be either a Fascist or a Liberal, with the ultimate goal that they strive to achieve changing depending on their affiliation.

Each round, a new President and Chancellor goes for election, and if successful, they can choose different policies which can change the course of the game. 

Number of Players Required: 5 – 10 players. 

Who Can Play It: Ages 17+. 

Difficulty: Medium. 

Length of Play: 30 – 120 minutes. 

Similar toResistance; Coup; One Night Ultimate Werewolf; Bang! 

Main Objective: Depending on whether you’re a fascist, liberal, or literally Hitler, enact a certain number of policies to win the election and win the game. 

Why We Love It: Secret Hitler manages to take a fascinating period of history and some fairly simple to follow rules and turn it into a strategic board game. At times you’ll work with others, occasionally you’ll go rogue to come out on top. 

Playing Secret Hitler – What You’ll Need.

For you to be able to play, Secret Hitler make sure you get the official Secret Hitler board game first.

Official Game
Secret Hitler
$40.00
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
08/06/2023 11:52 pm GMT

In it, you will find the following:

  • 1 Fascist board
  • 1 Liberal board
  • Presidential and Chancellor placards
  • 6 Liberal policy cards
  • 11 Fascist policy cards
  • 10 Secret role cards
  • 10 Secret Ballot envelopes
  • 20 Ballot cards (10 ja, 10 nein)
  • 10 party membership cards (6 liberal; 4 fascists)

However, if the pre-World War 2 theme isn’t for you, then the Mafia board game, although slightly different, plays in much the same way as Secret Hitler. 

Our Pick
Mafia The Party Game Deluxe Edition, a Game of Lying, Bluffing, and Deceit
$19.99 $18.97
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
07/28/2023 10:37 am GMT

How To Set Up Secret Hitler

You’ll need to do a little bit of set-up before you can begin playing Secret Hitler.

Grab all of the Fascist and Liberal cards and shuffle them. Place them down in the middle of players as the draw pile

Depending on the number of players playing, you’ll need a different number of Liberals and Fascists. 

Follow the table below to see how players affect the number of roles.

Players5678910
Liberals344556
Fascist112233
Hitler111111

Each player will need an envelope that contains a secret role card, a party membership card, 1 Ja ballot card, and 1 nein ballot card.

Make sure that each envelope has been well shuffled and that when players open them up, they keep their designated role secret from other players. 

Secret Hitler Rules

The overall goal of Secret Hitler depends on whether you’re a Liberal or Fascist – Liberals try to either enact 5 liberal policies or assassinate the player they believe to be Hitler.

Whereas the Fascists win if they are able to enact 6 Fascist policies, or Hitler gets elected as Chancellor before the game is over. 

We’ll teach you all the details needed before either side is able to do either of these, however. 

Starting the Game

Begin by revealing who your teammates are. This is done in one of 2 ways depending on the number of players.

If playing with either 5 or 6 players, do the following:

  • Have everyone close their eyes.
  • Next, instruct the players who drew Fascist and Hitler cards to reveal themselves to each other. (As there will only be 1 fascist 1 Hitler with 5 or 6 players). 
  • Tell all players to close their eyes again. 
  • Count to 10, and then have all players open their eyes. 

If you’re playing with 7-10 players, though, do this instead:

  • Start with all players closing their eyes.
  • Instruct whoever is Hitler to put their hand in the air.
  • Tell all players who are Fascists but aren’t Hitler to open their eyes so they can see which player is Hitler.
  • Instruct all players to close their eyes and for Hitler to lower their hands back into a natural position. 
  • Count to 10 and tell all players to open their eyes once the count is over. 

Doing this will ensure that all the Fascists know who each other are and who Hitler is, but none of the Liberals know which players are aligned to which faction. 

If there’s anyone who accidentally reveals their role to another player who isn’t supposed to know, then restart the game and redraw the cards. 

Once this is all done, select the first President at random from the group, give them both President and Chancellor placards. 

How to Play Secret Hitler

You play Secret Hitler in rounds, with each round including 3 parts:

  • An Election to form a government
  • A Legislative Session for the government to pass a new policy
  • An Executive Action for the current president to exercise their governmental power. 

Election

Players pick who they want to be in charge by choosing a government, with the challenge being trying to either avoid or manipulate a Fascist from being in charge. 

The election part of the round is also made up of 3 parts:

  • Pass the Presidential Placard – Whoever holds the President placard is the player who is the Presidential candidate. From the starting player picked at random, this always moves clockwise around the group. 
  • Nominate a Chancellor – The player who is the Presidential candidate nominates a player to be the Chancellor candidate. 
  • Vote on the Government – Everyone playing votes either Ja (yes) or Nein (no) on whether they would like the President and Chancellor combination to form the government. 

Everyone must choose which way they are voting at the same time after a countdown from 5. 

A government needs more than 50% of the vote to succeed; otherwise, the formation of the government fails. 

If the government gets formed, then the round can proceed to the Legislative Session part. 

If it gets 50% or less of the vote, then the round ends, and the Presidency placard moves to the next player on the left, and the next round begins.

The Election Tracker also advances by 1 for every failed government. If 3 governments get rejected in a row, then players need to reveal the top card on the Policy Draw Deck

This Policy also immediately gets enacted regardless of what it is. Anytime a government gets successfully elected; however, the Election Tracker resets. 

Legislative Session

This part of the round occurs whenever a government gets formed. 

The elected president picks the top 3 cards from the Policy Deck, reads them without revealing them to other players, and puts 1 onto the discard pile.

They then pass the remaining 2 cards to the chancellor, who discards 1, with the remaining card becoming official policy

It is important to remember that the President and Chancellor do not reveal what the discarded policy cards are and do not have to be truthful about them either. 

If a Policy card gets played that does not grant any Presidential Power, then the round ends. If it does, however, the round proceeds to the Executive Action portion.

Executive Action

If you reach this part of the round, then it means that your game has taken a step towards becoming a fascist state. 

Enabling an Executive Action gives the President one of the following Presidential Powers:

  • Investigate Loyalty – This allows the President to inspect 1 other player’s Party Membership card to see who they are affiliated with. They can choose to reveal this to other players if they wish. 
  • Call a Special Election –  The President can choose any other player to be the next Presidential candidate. The current round then ends and restarts with that player. 
  • Policy Peek – Allows the president to look at the top 3 cards that are in the Policy deck and put them back once done
  • Execution – This gives the President the power to eliminate 1 other player from the game. 

Which presidential power can be enacted depends on how far along the Fascist Tracker the game has progressed. 

Each fascist policy enacted moves the game along 1 place on the Fascist Tracker. 

Scoring In Secret Hitler

The game ends with either a Fascist victory or a Liberal victory and is achieved in a few different ways:

  • 5 Liberal policies get enacted throughout the game – Liberal victory.
  • Someone executes another player and is revealed to be Hitler – Liberal victory. 
  • 6 Fascist policies get enacted throughout the game – Fascist victory. 
  • Hitler is nominated and successfully gets voted in as Chancellor – Fascist victory.

Games can take a while to finish, so you may only get through 1 or 2 each gaming session you have playing Secret Hitler.

You may want to keep a rolling tally to keep the overall score, however, in case you wanted to prove which one of your pals would make the best Hitler.

Keep it simple by scoring 1 point to players for every win by either enacting 5 Liberal policies or 6 Fascist policies.

Award 3 points for players who win by either electing or assassinating the player who is Hitler, as winning this way is harder to do. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do if there are less than 3 policy cards left to choose from during the Legislative Session?

Simply do what you would do in other card games and grab the Policy discard pile, shuffle it and draw from that new pile instead. 

Is Secret Hitler easy to play?

It is moderately easy to play, as it is a game that requires different skills such as bluffing, bending the truth, and keeping your cards close to your chest. Some players may struggle, however. 

Secret Hitler suitable for kids?

There isn’t anything violent or controversial included within Secret Hitler, but the game does have a 17+ age rating.

Although the subject matter isn’t suitable for younger kids, you may want to look for an alternative game for them to play. 

Related Indoor Group Games for Kids

If you have mature teenagers interested in history and have played similar games before, this will be fine to play with them, though. 

Alternative Games to Secret Hitler

We hope you agree that Secret Hitler is definitely a game that is more involved than other board games and should keep you and your buddies entertained for hours. 

If you want more games that aren’t as complex but have different characters for you and your pals to get randomly assigned, take a look at our guides to the Bang! card game rules, Mafia game rules or the Spyfall rules

Alternatively, if you want games that are slightly easier and more kid-friendly, try to learn all about the Ticket to Ride rules or even the Hive rules. These are 2 games that have rules simple for kids to understand without too much adult intervention. 

Article by:
Read all the articles (51) written by Archika Gupta