Critical Play — Allie Littleton

We played the online version of Secret Hitler, which is based on the board game. It was created by Luke Tsekouras and is hosted on, which hosts many online games. The target audience is friends — likely adults or young adults — who want to socialize by playing games whether or not they are in the same physical place.

The game requires at least 5 players, each of whom is assigned a team — liberals or fascists — with one person on the fascist team assigned the role of Hitler. The players on the fascist team know who each other are/who Hitler is, but the liberal team members do not know anyone else’s role. Each round, a different player is assigned to be the president, and that player can nominate a chancellor. The rest of the players then vote to elect the chancellor, and if the nominee is elected, the president and chancellor enact a policy. The way this works is the president is given three choices — a random assortment of liberal and fascist policies– and eliminates one, and then the chancellor chooses between the remaining two. Here, you can see what an enacted fascist policy card looks like:

Interestingly, the objectives are different for each team: the liberal team wins if they kill Hitler or enact 5 of 6 liberal policies, and the fascist team wins if they elect Hitler as chancellor after having enacted 3 fascist policies. In our game, the fascists won, as seen here:

In this way, it is technically a team game but also has aspects of a unilateral game, in that all the liberals are united specifically against the player assigned as Hitler. This also means there are different types of fun to be had by each team: all players experience fellowship, but only the liberals have the added fun of the mystery to solve.

The only other game I have played that resembles this one is Spyfall. This is different from Spyfall in that there are more procedural aspects — i.e. each round is constrained by more rules. As a first-time player without much knowledge of the strategies involved, I felt a little too constrained by Secret Hitler and prefer the creativity Spyfall offers. However, as we neared the end of the game, I started to better understand the strategy involved and think I would enjoy it much more if I were to play it again.

Overall, I really enjoyed the game! I got to feel connected with my friends, and it was the right amount of challenging to keep me entertained and learning but not too confused. However, one thing I did not love was the fact that as a member of the liberal team, I didn’t get to experience team camaraderie since I didn’t know who was on my team. If I were to change the game, I might include a way for the liberal team members to have their teammates revealed to them periodically to remedy this feeling of isolation.

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