Salem 1692 Board Game Review

Salem 1692 – Reliving the Trials

Have you ever wanted to go back in time to Salem, Massachusetts, and experience the Witch Trials firsthand? Now you can! But in a much more fun way. Not like back then – yikes! Salem 1692 is a game that will bring you into the real-life story of the world-famous witch trials that still intrigue so many people today.

Salem 1692
  • THE HUNT IS ON: In Salem 1692, the witch hunt is heating up. Who...
  • FLYING ACCUSATIONS: Accuse your friends of witchcraft using...
  • DARK MAGIC: This original game is for 4-12 players and lasts...

Brief Overview of Salem 1692

Salem 1692 is a social deduction card game designed for 4-12 players in which the accusations and mistrust of the witch trials are brought right to your table! When you hold the game, you’ll notice that the box is in the form of a book. Much like what you’d think a spellbook would look like – Salem was about witches, after all.

In the game, you will be able to take on the role of 1 of 12 possible characters who were actually real people that were present at the time – you can even read their bios provided in the rulebook.

The game works by having tryal (a really old word for trial) cards given to each person which indicate if you are a witch or not. The game then goes through as many rounds as needed, with phases in which you have to figure out who you can trust while trying to keep your character alive!

How to Play Salem 1692

Salem 1692 Board Game Box and Components

Setup

Start by choosing a facilitator from the group. The facilitator will need to decide if they are going to take part in the game or act as an outside moderator – Salem 1692 allows for both options. The facilitator is usually the most experienced person in the group.

If the facilitator will be playing along, they are known as the Town Crier – they narrate what happens in the night phases. Now, the amount of tryal cards handed out to each person solely depends on the number of players. These tryal cards must be kept secret.

The game starts with the Dawn Phase, there is only one Dawn Phase for each game. Here, the facilitator will direct the witches to make themselves known to each other while everyone’s eyes are closed. The witches will then place the harmful card (a black cat – classic), on a chosen player’s deck. This card is then placed face up; its effects playing out immediately.

Gameplay

Play then proceeds around the table in a clockwise direction. A turn consists of a player picking up 2 cards and playing at least one card. A person can play as many cards as they like in 1 turn. There are a total of 3 categories of cards – green, blue, and red. Each of these is pretty well explained in the rulebook as they do indicate on the card itself if they are meant to be played immediately or held indefinitely.  

The overall object of the game is to either kill all non-witches or reveal all the witches in Salem, depending on your role. The game continues until either of these objectives are achieved. A player dies when one of their tryal cards reveals them to be a witch, all their tryal cards are revealed, or when a witch kills them during the night phase. 

Once a Witch, Always a Witch

In the game, you will notice that there are special black cards. These are called Conspiracy cards. When they are drawn, they have to be played immediately. When they are played, each person will take a face-down tryal card from the person on their left. This card is then carefully viewed and added to the player’s face-down deck.

If the card indicates anything about a witch, you have now joined the witch’s ranks! Even if later on the card is taken away again, you are still a witch. And when the night phase card gets played, you then take part in the witch’s role with the others.

These are the basic rules of gameplay. Some difficult situations are explained in the rulebook, should you ever find yourself in one of them.

Pros & Cons

Salem 1692 Board Game Box and Cards

Pros:

  • A great game for parties and mixed social groups
  • Up to 12 players can join
  • Book-shaped box sets the mood before the game even starts

If you have a group of people that are socially quite different, this is a great game to try! This game will bring together hard-core gaming aficionados and social gamers in a way few games can. 

The shape of the box is a really nice touch to the game theme. And it will most certainly be a talking point when others see it!

Cons:

  • The rules aren’t always clear to beginners
  • Game mechanics might not appeal to hardcore gamers

If no one in the group has played the game before, the rules might be a bit challenging to understand. So, the first game or two could not be as much fun as expected. The rules do explain some difficult situations that may sometimes happen; but if you’re new to the game, it can be overwhelming.

If you’re the person that regularly plays challenging board games, you might notice some gameplay mechanics that aren’t very smooth, specifically in terms of how they allow the game to flow as it progresses.

Conclusion: Verdict – The Final Gavel Stroke

Salem 1692 is a bluffing, hidden traitor board game that was designed to rile people up while having fun. And it does so very well. It is a game that will make any group of people connect in a heartbeat. What really makes the game attractive is the large number of people that can play at once. The artwork of the cards is also superb.

This is the type of game that won’t go out of fashion and is perfect for any occasion. Salem 1692 can help to break the ice and would definitely get rid of any awkward silences!

The final thing that must be considered when looking to buy the game, is that it would not be the best game to play too often. If it’s played too often, the fun and spontaneous aspect of it might be ruined. But you could definitely consider this a new classic to any collection – whether you’re a serious gamer or just someone who is looking for fun.

Salem 1692
  • THE HUNT IS ON: In Salem 1692, the witch hunt is heating up. Who...
  • FLYING ACCUSATIONS: Accuse your friends of witchcraft using...
  • DARK MAGIC: This original game is for 4-12 players and lasts...

We hope you enjoyed our Salem 1692 review! Have you tried Salem 1692 or any other bluffing or hidden traitor board game? We’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment below.

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Stats at a glance

Players: 4-12

Ages: 12 +

Easy

25-35 Mins

Publisher: Asmodee

Published: 2015