Secret Hitler is the best hidden role game, and nobody can convince us otherwise. Bang, Ultimate Werewolf, Avalon, and Mafia are great options, but the political machinations and end-game trust freakout make SH our top title in a highly competitive board game genre. We’ve played this game time and time again, and it never gets old!
Know what’s even better? It’s FREE.
Official game sets can be purchased, but Secret Hitler also has a Print-and-Play option on their website. In this article, we’re going to show you where to find it, how to make your set, and a few options for improving your self-made boards! By the time you’re done, you’ll have a quality game board for one of the best hidden role games ever made.
Please enjoy our friendly guide on…
How to create your own Secret Hitler game set
Step 1: Printing
Once you’ve downloaded the PDF’s, just print ’em. That’s all there is to it!
Step 2: Cut it Out!
Get ye some scissors and cut them out! Be careful to follow the lines, make sure everything’s nice and neat.
Now comes a decision: how nice of a game set do you want? If you’re playing this once with family members at Christmas, you can simply play as is. If you want your game to look pretty, head to the next step on card stock. If you want your game to last, go on to Step 3, lamination. If you just want somewhere to store it, voyage to the final instructions on making a box!
Step 3: Card stock
Why use card stock on a Secret Hitler set? First, it’s a great way to make everything sturdier. Two, it’s a decently effective way to tie the game board pieces together, since they print in two parts. Finally, for the paranoid players, card stock ensures light won’t shine through your cards and allow others to see them.
They’re cheaters, the lot of ’em!
Head to your nearest Staples, Walmart, or scrapbooking store. Pick up your favorite color of card stock (we suggest 10 9 x 12-inch pieces at least) and a good number of glue sticks. Or, if you’re a madman, grab a glue bottle.
At this point, glue your Secret Hitler pieces to the card stock. If you’re using 9×10 papers they can be divided thusly:
- Voting cards, discard piles, and role cards: divide the paper into 8ths.
- Liberal and Fascist policy cards: divide the paper into 16ths.
- Game boards: divide the paper once, lay it down long-ways to form a backboard. Place the game pieces on top, closer to one end of the backboard so the breaks in card stock and board pieces aren’t on top of each other.
Step 3: Laminate
To make your cards water resistant, tear resistant, and glue-getting-old resistant, you should laminate them. A well-laminated deck looks professional and stays around much longer!
Personal suggestion from us to you: if you don’t own a laminator yourself, ask friends and family first, then buy your own lamination pouches if they have one. It’ll make life easier.
Once you have the materials, using the laminator shouldn’t be too difficult: the real trick is fitting as many game cards inside one lamination pouch at a time. It all depends on how much material you want on the sides, and how uniform they’ll look afterward.
As usual, the game boards will be an issue, since they’re so long. We put two lamination pouches over them, on opposite sides, with overlap in the middle. Before you run this beast through the laminator, make sure to wait a while for it the machine to get hot. It may struggle to heat up the center.
When that’s all finished, pull a Step 2 and cut the lamination off!
“Final” step: The extras
To play Secret Hitler, there are just a few more housecleaning items:
- Get envelopes to hold the secret role cards. You’ll hand these out at the start of the game to let everyone know their identity for the round. Manila envelopes, plain white, whatever works for you.
- Staple the rule book if you haven’t already.
- Get a container. There are a lot of moving pieces. We recommend grabbing a canvas bag at the very least, somewhere to store the game. If you’re going all-out, you can even make your own box…
Bonus round: Making a box!
We made this box ourselves, which turned out looking pretty great!
You may be wondering: why put in the effort? Aside from looking fly, Secret Hitler game sets are so long and thin that no box on earth seems to fit them perfectly. However, with a little wood, spray paint, and a few key items, you can have a comfy box too!
You can do it. Seriously. We aren’t carpentry professionals by any stretch.
Let’s run through the steps quickly!
- Measure your game boards to determine size. Plan to have a little extra space at the edges: our box ended up measuring in at around 15 x 6 x 3 inches.
- Buy your materials: mosey on over to Lowe’s or Home Depot and pick up a large board of thin wood, preferably under 1/2 an inch of thickness.
- Using your measurements, draw out all pieces on the board. When it comes to piece organization, we made two panels for the top and bottom, then made top and bottom slices for the “wall” to create a lip for the cap. This makes attaching hinges and a latch much easier.
- Cut it. We recommend a radial saw for straight cuts like this. Be warned: the saw takes about 1/8 of an inch from the material. Keep that in mind when drawing out the cuts! And, of course, be careful: stay safe, ask a professional for help if you’re not experienced with power tools.
- Sand it. Just use a light sanding, you don’t want to accidentally form pieces and make them harder to fit together when you:
- Attach your pieces. If your board was too thin for nails or screws, no problem: grab wood glue. Trust us, it’s strong enough by far! Don’t worry if there’s an overhang, that will be dealt with after you:
- Sand that thing to perfection! Even out edges, make it as smooth as you like. Be careful if you bevel, you don’t want to remove too much of the glue.
- Pick up hinges, a latch, maybe even a handle! We found great things at Hobby Lobby, although you may find great options in the craft section of superstores like Walmart. Check it out!
- First finish: We didn’t have time to do lacquer, but we certainly wanted to; make your wood look even nicer if you have the chance! Instead of that, we used a clear spray enamel to protect the box.
- Make the logo. We printed a Secret Hitler logo to the size we wanted on the box, then made a masking tape paint mask by cutting out the letters with an X-Acto knife, using the printout as a guide. From there, we put the paint mask on the top and used black spray paint (three coats).
- Final finish: we recommend one more coat of clear enamel to protect the logo. After that, you’re finished!
Enjoy the box! At the very least, we hope it carries your game set well. At best, we hope you’re proud of your work and can show it off at game nights.
A few more things (IMPORTANT!)
Secret Hitler has a specific creative commons license: you can print off as many copies as you like, but you may not sell them for profit. You can remake the game as you wish (we made a Homestuck version for fun, you can see Jack Noir above), but any new version must be released under the same license, and still cannot be used for profit.
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoy creating your Secret Hitler game set! After just a few hours of work, you and your friends can enjoy many more hours of fun, learning tells and forming trust issues.