The year is 1919, and post Great War Germany has established a new republic with the Weimar Constitution. The problem? The country is split between two political factions, each attempting to shape this new government in its own image.
There are the Liberals, limiting the government’s control over the people.
There are the Fascists, seeking to seize control of the government, and control through coercion and fear.
Who will win? Who will control the country?
In Secret Hitler, by Max Temkin, Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, and illustrated by Mackenzie Schubert, 5-10 players take the roll of politicians in post war Germany, each trying to manipulate the government to their own benefit, unsure of who their allies really are. In the mix, one player has been given the roll of Hitler.
This secret roll game really delves into the political system, encouraging even the liberal party to pass SOME fascist policies to give themselves an upper hand in controlling the outcome of the game.
As the game proceeds, players take turns as President attempting to seat a Chancellor. Voting takes place for each nominee. Failure to seat a Chancellor may prevent the opposing team from passing their policies, but it also adds the frustration of the populace. Anger the populace too much, and they may force a policy through the government themselves. Once a Chancellor is seated, legislation is passed, and new powers may unlock for the President.
During this time, the Liberal Party is attempting to pass five liberal policies or assassinate Hitler, while the Fascist Party is attempting to pass six fascist policies or to elect Hitler as Chancellor after three fascist policies have already been enacted.
In our play through, one fascist player quickly passed some fascist policies, revealing their hand early. As the Liberals worked together to black ball this open fascist, the remainder of the Fascist Party positioned Hitler to be elected. In the end, four fascist policies and three liberal policies passed before Hitler took the Chancellorship and seized the government, leading to a Fascist win.
In all, the game is a thrilling example of German politics leading up to WWII, where each player seeks to gather information on each other, build power for their party, and minimize the opposing player’s time in office.
We would like to thank the creators for their kind donation of their game to the UNT Media Library. If you would like to play this game, or use it to teach a class, you can find it here at the Media Library.