Reference Secret Hitler Rules

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  1. chefTENGU

    chefTENGU Does not approve Administrator

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    Secret Hitler is a game similar in style to Mafia, set in the flavor of 1930's German politics. In addition to the usual theme of a sneaky, devoted contingent attempting to subvert the established order for its own end, Secret Hitler is also intended as a reminder of how easily things can go wrong if those who care about freedom become complacent.

    Secret Hitler was developed under a Creative Commons License. Boxed sets are available for purchase, but the game's rules and materials for tabletop play are also available free to download at This thread will present an adaptation of these rules for forum-based play.

    Players: 5-10, plus Host

    Roles: It is the Host's job to arbitrarily designate a party affiliation and secret role for each player (in most cases, party affiliation and secret role will be the same), according to the size of the group. Each game will have a majority of Liberals, a minority of Fascists, and one Hitler; Hitler is considered to be aligned with the Fascists, but there are special rules pertaining to the role.

    Group Size / No. of Fascists
    5 - 6 / 1 + Hitler
    7 - 8 / 2 + Hitler
    9 - 10 / 3 + Hitler

    Players receive their role information in secret directly from the Host. Liberals are never told the roles of any other players. Fascists know who all other Fascists, and Hitler, are. Hitler is not aware of anyone else's role; in groups of 5 or 6, however, when there is only one regular Fascist in play, Hitler will be told which player that is.

    The Host arbitrarily determines from among the players who the first presidential nominee is, as well as establishing a sequential order by which all players will have a turn at being the presidential nominee before repeating anyone. Both the presidential nominee and the order of succession are public knowledge for all players.

    In secret, the Host also arbitrarily establishes a "deck" of legislative policies, 11 Fascist and 6 Liberal, and records the order in which they will be drawn. This order is not to be revealed to any players.

    Objective: Liberals can be confident of their majority, but their lack of certainty over who their true allies are can spell their undoing. The Liberals win if at least 5 Liberal policies are enacted, or if Hitler is executed.

    Fascists are forced to operate in secret, quietly manipulating the rest of the table in order to achieve success. The Fascists win if at least 6 Fascist policies are enacted, or if Hitler is ever elected Chancellor after at least 3 Fascist policies have been enacted.

    Discussion: Communication drives the game, and is limited or prohibited in only a few parts of the turn. Players are never under any obligation to speak truthfully about anything; the Host never lies, however, and indeed must reveal game-ending scenarios if and when they arise (e.g., electing Hitler as Chancellor after 3 Fascist policies are in force).

    Sequence of Play:
    #1 — Election
    A turn begins with the players attempting to establish a government. The presidential nominee nominates one other eligible player to serve as Chancellor; term limits prevent the presidential nominee from nominating any player for Chancellor who was elected as President or Chancellor during the previous turn. If at any time there are five or fewer players remaining, only the last elected Chancellor is ineligible by term limits; the last elected president may be nominated for the Chancellorship. Once the nomination is made, all the players (including the two nominees) put it to a vote, secretly submitting a Ja! (Yes) or Nein! (No) directly to the Host. Once all votes are in, the Host reveals the result and shows exactly how everyone voted.

    If the result is a majority Yes, the government is elected and the turn proceeds to the Legislative Session (see below). If the result is tied or majority No, the presidential nominee has failed to form a government. The next player in the nominee sequence (as established by the Host at the game's outset) then gets a chance to form a government in the same way. Remember, players are only term limited from the Chancellorship if they have been elected to the post during the last turn, not merely nominated for it.

    Before calling the vote, the presidential nominee is free to discuss the available options with the other players and build a consensus to increase the chances of forming a government. If a government cannot be formed after three elections are held, then popular discontent boils over and forces the players' hand: the Host enacts the top policy on the "deck". Any Executive Action permitted is ignored, and fresh elections are held. The "popular discontent" countdown resets back to 3 elections any time a policy is enacted, no matter whether is was proposed by the government or forced by failure to form one.

    If Hitler is elected Chancellor after 3 or more Fascist policies have already been enacted, the game immediately ends in Fascist victory.

    #2 — Legislative Session
    The Host secretly reveals the top three policy proposals directly to the President. The President reviews them, then secretly tells the Host which two to communicate to the Chancellor, disregarding the other. The Host then secretly reveals the remaining two policies to the Chancellor, who then chooses which one to enact. Absolutely no other communication pertaining to policy is to be made between the President and the Chancellor at this time. The Host records the enacted law in the tally, and determines whether or not the government is entitled to an Executive Action this turn; if not, the turn ends and new elections are held.

    If the 5th Liberal policy of the game is enacted, the game immediately ends in Liberal victory. If the 6th Fascist policy of the game is enacted, the game immediately ends in Fascist victory.

    Policy proposals are never to be revealed directly to any other players; they must rely on the word of the President and Chancellor over what hands they were given, which may or may not be accurate to reality.

    If 5 Fascist policies are enacted, Veto Power comes into effect. After the Chancellor reviews the two policy proposals before him, he may move to Veto the policies rather than enact one of them. If the President agrees to the Veto, then both remaining policies are disregarded, the turn ends, and fresh elections are held. If the President does not agree to the Veto, then the Chancellor must enact one of the policies before him. A successful Veto counts as a failed election in gauging popular discontent; remember, it is enacting policies that resets the countdown, not forming a government.

    If at any time the Host's "deck" is at fewer than 3 policy proposals remaining, all previously disregarded policy proposals are combined with the unused portion, and secretly reshuffled into a new "deck". Policies already enacted are not shuffled in with the rest.

    #3 — Executive Action
    At times, enacting a Fascist policy will entitle the President to take an Executive Action; these actions must be taken at the time the policy is enacted, and are made at the sole discretion of the sitting President. The President is free to weigh his options and discuss the power before him with the other players, but only the President can decide how it should be used. Due to the power and utility of Executive Actions, Liberal players are often tempted to pass Fascist policies in order to reap the strategic benefit.

    Remember, any time a Fascist policy is enacted by popular discontent, as opposed to an elected government, any Executive Action otherwise permitted is lost.

    Executive Actions occur in specific sequence according to how many Fascist policies have already been enacted and how many players started the game. These sequences are outlined here, followed by descriptions of the specific actions.

    5 - 6 Players
    3rd policy: Policy Peek, 4th policy: Execution, 5th policy: Execution

    7 - 8 Players
    2nd policy: Investigate Loyalty, 3rd policy: Call Special Elections, 4th policy: Execution, 5th policy: Execution

    9 - 10 players
    1st policy: Investigate Loyalty, 2nd policy: Investigate Loyalty, 3rd policy: Call Special Elections, 4th policy: Execution, 5th policy: Execution

    Investigate Loyalty — the Host reveals a player's party affiliation (not their secret role!) directly to the President. The President is free to speak up, keep quiet, or lie about the information revealed to him; no player may be investigated more than once per game.

    Call Special Election — the President chooses any other player to be the next presidential nominee, regardless of the normal sequence. This special election does not change or disrupt the normal sequence, the player who would have ordinarily been nominated is the next one to be nominated for president after the special election (and potential government) ends. If the player who was nominated for the special election is the player who would have gone next anyway, that player gets to be the presidential nominee twice in a row.

    Policy Peek — the Host reveals to the President the next three policy proposals, and the sequence they will be presented in.

    Execution — the President chooses to eliminate one other player by stating "I formally execute [player]". If that player was Hitler, the game ends immediately in a Liberal victory. If that player was not Hitler, the Host announces so, but no other information is revealed about that player. The remaining players must piece together for themselves the unfortunate's former party affiliation for themselves. An executed player may not be nominated for office, vote, or participate in further discussion.

    Notes on Strategy: The following are tips and hints prepared by the developers for players new to the genre, and about Secret Hitler specifically:

    It is always in your best interest to claim to be a Liberal. Outing yourself as a Fascist will only engender distrust in the other players and complicate your strategy. Even the other Fascists will have to keep you at a distance, lest they draw suspicion on themselves.

    If you're Hitler, remember to act Liberal. Odds are you don't know who your true allies really are, so try to pass yourself off as Liberal until you can work it out. Don't become a target for execution, and trust to the other Fascists to create opportunities to advance the cause in their own way.

    Liberals tend to succeed when play progresses slowly and discussion thorough. Fascists, on the other hand, should find ways to rush the vote or otherwise obscure the truth during play.

    Fascists tend to win by getting Hitler elected, not by passing Fascist policies. Hitler needs to seem like the sort of person Liberal players would want to elect. Even if he can't quite manage this, sowing distrust among the paranoid Liberals is the key to obtaining a Fascist victory.

    Ask players why they do the things they do. Especially where Executive Actions are concerned. A president who executes another player without getting any input from outside must have had a very good reason for doing so, don't be afraid to put them on the spot.

    If a Fascist policy gets enacted, it was due to one of three reasons: 1. The President, 2. The Chancellor, 3. The luck of the draw. Figuring out what brought about the policy in any given government is the key to victory!
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
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