How to Play Secret Hitler

I like board games but I bloody hate reading the rulebook. This How to Play Secret Hitler rules guide hopes to summarise and make the rules easier to understand and read. The goal is to get your game started as fast as possible.

Now,, if you are still deciding if Secret Hitler is the right game for you, click here for our quick Secret Hitler overview that explains the gameplay and looks into what makes it fun.

Players: 5 to 10 | Game duration from: 40 mins | Game Complexity: EASY

Still looking for the official published Secret Hitler rules pdf / rulebook, click here.

What is the goal?

  • Players are secretly assigned to one of three roles: Liberal, Fascist, or Hitler.
  • Liberals have a majority, but do not know who anyone is;
  • Fascists must resort to secrecy and sabotage to achieve their objectives.
  • Hitler plays for the Fascist team, and the Fascists know Hitler’s identity from the start, but Hitler doesn’t know them and must figure them out.

Liberals win if they:

  • enact 5 Liberal Policies or
  • kill Hitler.

Fascists win if they:

  • enact 6 Fascist Policies, or
  • Hitler is elected Chancellor after three Fascist Policies are enacted.

A fascist policy increases government power, and the President is granted a single-use power that must be used before the next round may begin. The President’s team doesn’t matter, in fact, even Liberals might consider enacting a Fascist Policy to gain new power.

Game setup

  • Choose the Fascist track that corresponds to the number of players. Place it next to a Liberal track.
  • Shuffle the 11 Fascist Policy and the 6 Liberal Policy tiles into a single Policy deck and place it face down on the Draw pile card.
  • Each player needs an envelope containing a Secret Role card, a corresponding Party Membership card, and a Ja! Ballot card, and one Nein Ballot card.

The table below outlines the correct distribution of roles.

How to play secret hitler
  • Liberal Secret Role cards must be packed together with a Liberal Party Membership card, and Fascist and Hitler Secret Role cards must be packed together with a Fascist Party Membership card.
  • After the envelopes are filled, shuffle them so each player’s role remains a secret! Select one envelope per player at random.

In Secret Hitler, some players can find out what team other players are on, but only if Hitler's special role isn't revealed. 

To prevent that from happening, every player has both a Secret Role card and a Party Membership card. 

Hitler's Party Membership card shows a Fascist party loyalty, but gives no hint about a special role. 

Liberals who uncover fascists must determine whether they have found an ordinary fascist or their leader. 

Having been dealt an envelope, all players should examine their Secret Role cards in secret. Randomly pick the first Presidential Candidate and pass the President and Chancellor placards to that player.

5 – 6 player games

  • Everyone closes their eyes.
  • Fascist and Hitler, open their eyes and acknowledge each other
  • .Everyone closes their eyes again.
  • Everyone can open your eyes. If anyone is confused, tell the group now.

7 – 10 player games

  • Everybody closes their eyes. Make a fist with your hand.
  • Fascists who are not Hitler should open their eyes and acknowledge each other.
  • Hitler – close your eyes and raise your thumb in a thumbs-up gesture.
  • Hitler has an extended thumb, fascists take note.
  • Everyone closes their eyes and put their hands down.
  • Everyone can open your eyes. If anyone is confused, tell the group now.


Gameplay is round based. Each round has:

  • Election to form a government,
  • a Legislative Session to enact a new policy, and
  • an Executive Action to exercise governmental power.


Pass the Presidential Candidacy

With each new round, the President placard passes clockwise to the next player, who is the new candidate

Nominate a Chancellor

The Presidential Candidate chooses a Chancellor Candidate by passing the Chancellor placard to any other eligible player. Chancellor options may be discussed with the table by the Presidential Candidate to help build consensus and increase the likelihood that the Government will win.

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


  • Last elected President and Chancellor are subject to term limits, not last nominated.
  • Term limits only apply to nominations to the Chancellorship; anyone can be President even if they were just Chancellor.•
  • When five players remain, 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 which are detailed later in the guide.

Vote on the government

Players may discuss the proposed government once the presidential candidate picks a Chancellor Candidate. All Players vote on the proposed government. As soon as everyone is ready to vote, everyone’s ballot cards should be revealed concurrently.

If the vote is tied, or the majority of players vote No

The vote fails. The Presidential Candidate misses this chance to become president, and the President placard moves clockwise. The Election Tracker advances by one election.

Election Tracker
The country is thrown into chaos if they reject three governments in a row. Enact the Policy upon revealing it on top of the Policy deck. Any power granted by this Policy is ignored, but the Election Tracker resets, and existing term-limits are forgotten.

Each player becomes eligible to hold the office of Chancellor in the next election. Shuffle the Discard pile with the Policy deck if there are less than three tiles left.

The Election Tracker is reset each time a new Policy tile is played face-up, whether it is enacted by an elected government or by the frustrated populace.

If a majority of players vote YES

Candidates for President and Chancellor become President and Chancellor, respectively.

Proceed to the Legislative Session.

If a third or more fascist policies have been enacted
Ask if the new Chancellor is Hitler.
If so, the game is over Fascists have won.
Otherwise, other players know that the Chancellor is not Hitler. Proceed to the Legislative Session.

Legislative Session

A new policy is enacted secretly by the President and the Chancellor during the Legislative Session.

President’s action:

  • draws three tiles from the Policy deck,
  • examines them in secret, and
  • discards one face down into the Discard pile.

Chancellor’s action:

  • looks at the remaining 2 tiles in secret,
  • discards one face down, and
  • enacts the remaining Policy tile by placing it face-up on the corresponding track

Chancellor and President may not communicate verbally or nonverbally.
It is forbidden that the President or Chancellor choose Policies at random, shuffle the tiles before discarding one, or do anything else clever to avoid secretly and intentionally selecting one.
Furthermore, the President should hand over both Policies at once rather than one at a time to gauge the Chancellor’s reaction. Random selection or any other unusual method of revealing your hand violates the spirit of the game.
Discarded Policy tiles should never be revealed. Players must rely on the word of the President and Chancellor, who can lie.


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 game-ending, 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, start a new round with a new Election

Executive Action

If the new fascist policy grants a Presidential Power, the President must use it before the next round starts.

When using the power, the President is free to consult with other players, but he ultimately gets to decide when and how to use the power. Gameplay cannot continue until the President uses the power. The President’s powers can only be used once; they do not stack or rollover.

Presidential Powers

Investigate Loyalty

  • President chooses a player to be investigated. A player may not be investigated twice in the same game.
  • Investigated players hand their Party Membership cards (not Secret Role cards!) to the President
  • President checks their loyalty in secret and then returns them
  • President is free to disclose (or misrepresent!) the results of their investigations.

Call Special Election

  • President chooses the next Presidential candidate by passing placard to any other player
  • The President can be any player, even those with term limits.
  • As usual, the new President nominates an eligible player as Chancellor Candidate and election proceeds as normal
  • No players are skipped in a Special Election. The President placard is returned to the left of the President who enacted the Special Election.
  • When the President passes the presidency on to the next player in the rotation, that player gets to run for President twice in a row: once for the Special Election and once for their normal shift.

Policy Peek

The President secretly looks at the top three tiles in the Policy deck and returns them to the top of the deck without changing the order.


The President announces the execution of one player, “I formally execute [player name].” If the player is Hitler, the game ends in a Liberal victory.

If the player is not Hitler:
The table should not learn whether the executed player was a Fascist or Liberal; players must figure out the new balance for themselves.
Players who are executed are removed from the game and may not speak, vote or run for office.

Veto Power

After five fascist policies have been enacted, the Veto Power comes into effect.
The Executive branch can discard all three Policy tiles for all Legislative Sessions following the fifth fascist policy as long as both the Chancellor and President agree.

  • Upon drawing three Policy tiles, the President discards one, and passes the remaining two to the Chancellor.
  • Instead of enacting either Policy, the Chancellor may 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.

The Election Tracker advances by one each time the Veto Power is used.

How to win?

Liberals win if they:

  • enact 5 Liberal Policies or
  • kill Hitler.

Fascists win if they:

  • enact 6 Fascist Policies, or
  • Hitler is elected Chancellor after three Fascist Policies are enacted.
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