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How to Play Secret Hitler rules to skip the rulebook

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 based on the number of players.
  • Place it next to a Liberal track.
  • Shuffle 11 Fascist Policy and 6 Liberal Policy tiles into one Policy deck.
  • Place it face down on the Draw pile card.
  • Each player needs an envelope containing:
    • A Secret Role card
    • A corresponding Party Membership card
    • A Ja! Ballot card
    • A Nein Ballot card
  • Distribute roles as outlined in the table below.
  • Liberal Secret Role cards must be packed with a Liberal Party Membership card.
  • Fascist and Hitler Secret Role cards must be packed with a Fascist Party Membership card.
  • After filling the envelopes, shuffle them to keep roles secret.
  • Select one envelope per player at random.

The table below outlines the correct distribution of roles.

How to play secret hitler

    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

    • President placard passes clockwise to the next player each round.

    Nominate a Chancellor

    • Presidential Candidate chooses a Chancellor Candidate by passing the Chancellor placard to any eligible player.
    • Discussions with the table are allowed to build consensus.


    • Last elected President and Chancellor are term-limited, ineligible to be nominated as Chancellor Candidate.
    • Term limits apply only to Chancellorship; anyone can be President even if they were just Chancellor.
    • With five players, only the last elected Chancellor is ineligible for Chancellorship; the last President may be nominated.
    • Specific eligibility rules: Veto Power and Election Tracker detailed later.

    Vote on the Government

    • Discussion allowed once Presidential Candidate picks a Chancellor Candidate.
    • All players vote on the proposed government; reveal ballot cards concurrently.

    If the vote is tied, or the majority vote No

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

    Election Tracker

    • If three governments are rejected in a row, enact the Policy on top of the Policy deck. Ignore any power granted by this Policy.
    • Election Tracker resets, existing term limits are forgotten, and each player becomes eligible for the Chancellorship in the next election.
    • Shuffle the Discard pile with the Policy deck if less than three tiles are left.
    • Reset the Election Tracker each time a new Policy tile is played face-up.

    If the majority votes YES

    • Candidates become President and Chancellor.
    • Proceed to the Legislative Session.
    • If three or more fascist policies are enacted:
      • Ask if the new Chancellor is Hitler. If yes, Fascists win. If no, proceed to the Legislative Session.

    Legislative Session

    • President’s Action:
      • Draw three tiles from the Policy deck.
      • Examine them in secret.
      • Discard one face down into the Discard pile.
    • Chancellor’s Action:
      • Look at the remaining 2 tiles in secret.
      • Discard one face down.
      • Enact the remaining Policy tile by placing it face-up on the corresponding track.
    • President and Chancellor may not communicate verbally or nonverbally.
    • Random selection, shuffling tiles, or any unusual methods are forbidden.
    • President must hand over both Policies at once.
    • Discarded Policy tiles should never be revealed.
    • Players must rely on the word of the President and Chancellor, who can lie.


    • Players can lie about hidden knowledge.
    • Must tell the truth in game-ending, Hitler-related scenarios.

    Policy Deck

    • If fewer than three tiles remain in the Policy deck, shuffle with the Discard pile to create a new deck.
    • Unused Policy tiles should never be revealed or placed on top of the new deck.

    Presidential Power

    • If a Fascist Policy covering a Presidential Power is enacted, the President uses that power. Proceed to Executive Action.
    • If a Liberal Policy or a Fascist Policy without Presidential Power is enacted, start a new round with a new Election.

    Executive Action

    Using Presidential Power

    • If a new fascist policy grants Presidential Power, the President must use it before the next round starts.
    • President can consult with players but decides how and when to use the power.
    • Gameplay pauses until the power is used.
    • Presidential Powers are one-time use; they don’t stack or rollover.

    Presidential Powers

    • Investigate Loyalty
      • President chooses a player to investigate.
      • Investigated players hand over Party Membership cards (not Secret Role cards).
      • President checks and returns the cards.
      • President can disclose or misrepresent investigation results.
    • Call Special Election
      • President chooses the next Presidential candidate.
      • The new President nominates a Chancellor Candidate and election proceeds as normal.
      • No players are skipped. The President placard returns to the left of the President who called the Special Election.
      • The next player in rotation runs for President twice.
    • Policy Peek
      • President looks at the top three tiles in the Policy deck and returns them without changing the order.
    • Execution
      • President announces the execution of a player.
      • If the player is Hitler, Liberals win.
      • If not, the player’s role remains secret, and they are removed from the game.
    • Veto Power
      • Activated after five fascist policies are enacted.
      • Executive branch can discard all three Policy tiles if both Chancellor and President agree.
      • Chancellor may propose a veto, and President must consent for it to take effect.
      • If the President does not consent, the Chancellor enacts a Policy.
      • Election Tracker advances by one each time 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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