Be mean to your friends: in board game form!
Board games provide a fantastic opportunity to escape to another world and work together with your friends to overcome a tricky shared challenge. But they’re also good opportunities to scheme and plot for hours, waiting for the perfect moment to betray your friends and family, stabbing them in the back and snatching up victory along the way. Whether you’re just looking for a little more confrontation in your life or just need some fun party games to keep a larger group of players engaged, secret identity games are always a hit.
Below are our picks for 6 of the best secret identity board games available. So join us in the shadows for a night of backstabbing your friends.
Embark on a noble quest in this semi-cooperative game about knights, wizards and traitors. There are several different adventures on the board that require careful and balanced attention, from searching for the Holy Grail to defeating the Black Knight. Successful adventures reward the party with white swords, while failed quests reward a black sword. Collect enough white swords and the knights win the game. The twist is that there may or may not be a traitor among the knights working in the shadows to undermine their progress, so tread lightly when discussing strategy around the table.
The granddaddy of secret identity games, Werewolf places players into the tunics of villagers under lupine threat. Everyone is secretly a villager or a werewolf, and the goal is for the villagers to suss out the who the werewolves are. There are also special villagers like seers and troublemakers that are able to peek at other players’ roles, or even swap two so that the people playing them don’t even know who they are. The result is a chaotic flurry of accusations and shouts that will have everyone rolling by the end of the game. Each round lasts only a few minutes, too, so it’s easy to play several games in an evening.
Resistance, and its fantasy counterpart Avalon, are partly inspired by Werewolf, but put their own twist on the hidden role formula. In Resistance, players are either resistance operatives or imperial spies. It’s the job of operatives to carry out missions for the resistance, but there’s considerable risk because they cannot be sure who the spies are. Mission success or failure relies on a table vote, so spies must do their best to cast suspicion on other players in order to justify their actions. If social deduction is your thing, it’s hard to go wrong with these games.
Of all the games on this list, Two Rooms and a Boom accommodates the most players. Everyone is divided into a red team and a blue team, and must physically move to separate rooms. One person on the red team is the bomber, while one person on the blue team is the president. The goal of the red team is to get the bomber into the same room as the president while the blue team aims to prevent this. There are a few special roles such as the grey team who can claim allegiance to either team, and the shy guy who cannot reveal their card at all. Each round, the teams vote on who to send to the other room, which is usually accomplished through a lot of yelling. The game is driven entirely by conversation, making Two Rooms and a Boom an ideal ice breaker for a less than exciting party.
The premise of the hit sci-fi show is on full display in this semi-cooperative game. Players assume the role of one of 10 characters from the show, and must work together to keep Galactica safe from harm. The rub is that not all players are on the side of humanity. Secretly, one or two players are Cylons working undercover to sabotage the humans, who must deal with fuel shortages, food contamination, and various other crises all while weeding out the traitors. It’s a tense and fast-paced game that will have you questioning even your closest friends.
In Mascarade, the first player to 12 coins wins the. At the start, everyone is dealt one of 24 role cards, each with their own special ability. For example, the king can gain three coins as an action, the spy can steal one coin from each of their neighbors, the cheat can win with only 10 coins, and so on. The big twist Mascerade offers is that, at any time, a player may attempt to swap roles with someone else. The race to 12 becomes more frantic when you know that the rules for your role might change at any time. Mascarade rewards adaptation, and will have you eyeing your friends with suspicion.