- Faux Book Box
- Wood Gavel Toke
- Black sand hourglass
- 15 Town Hall Cards
- 15 Kill Cards
- 59 Playing Cards
- 39 Tryal Cards
The year is 1692 in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. Evil is lurking, and you're convinced that some of your fellow townspeople are witches!
During the game you will draw and play cards to accuse the players that you don't trust and help the players that you believe are on your side. When the deck runs out and the Night card is revealed, the witches will attempt to kill an innocent player.
The people who have owned a Witch Tryal card at any point in the game are Witches and win when they have killed all non-Witches.
The people who have never had a Witch card during the game (the Townspeople) win if they are able to reveal all Tryal cards that say "Witch". During the game the Conspiracy card will shift Tryal cards around, so someone you trust now might become a witch in the middle of the game.
Act fast or soon you'll be the only decent Puritan in a town overrun with evil!
Select the most experienced Salem player to be the Town Crier. The Town Crier will direct the opening and closing of eyes during Night rounds.
If your group is new to Salem, someone wants to sit out, or you have a large group, it is recommended that instead of a Town Crier, you use a Moderator.
The Moderator will facilitate the game without actually playing and is not considered a player.
Gather the appropriate number of Tryal Cards based on the number of players in the table below. Place remaining Tryal Cards back in the box. Shuffle the Tryal Cards and evenly distribute them face-down to each player.
Discreetly look at your Tryal Cards and then place them face-down in front of you, in a row. If you received a card that says "Witch" you are a Witch for the rest of the game.
If you received a card that says "Constable", you will act as the Constable during the Night phase of the game. It is possible to be a Witch and the Constable. The Constable will attempt to save a player during the Night.
Shuffle the Town Hall cards and deal one to each player. Place face-up in front you. Read your character's ability to the group.
If there are 7 or fewer players, you may deal two Town Hall cards to each player, letting each player choose to keep one, placing the other back in the box.
Remove the Black Cat, Night, and Conspiracy cards from the deck. Shuffle the playing deck and deal 3 cards to each player. Shuffle the Conspiracy card back into the deck, place the Night card at the bottom of the deck, and place the Black Cat card aside.
Place the Gavel token in the middle of the table. If you will be using a Town Crier, select the black Kill cards that match the Town Hall cards of each player in the game and place them in a stack on the table.
Place remaining Kill cards back in the box. If you will be using a Moderator, place all Kill cards back in the box.
Carry out the Dawn. Dawn only happens at the very beginning of the game. During Dawn, the Witches secretly give the Black Cat card to any player.
This lets the Witches see who each other are, and lets them place a harmful card, the Black Cat, on any player to begin the game. They may also place this card on themselves to throw off suspicion.
If using a Moderator: Moderator will direct players' actions using the Dawn section of the Moderator Script on page 12.
+If using a Town Crier: The Town Crier places the Black Cat card perpendicular and face-up on top of the playing deck (so it's easy for the Witches to grab), and directs all players to close their eyes.
He or she then instructs anyone with a Witch card to open their eyes and place the Black Cat card next to any player (The Town Crier should keep their eyes closed, unless they are a Witch).
The Town Crier will count down slowly from 10, and then instruct the Witches to close their eyes, and for all players to open their eyes.
The player given the Black Cat must put that card face-up in front of their Tryal cards. Once in play, the Black Cat card should be treated like any other Blue Card. It may be discarded or moved by certain cards and may be re-drawn and played later in the game if it is discarded.
The player who was given the Black Cat card goes first. Proceed clockwise. During your turn:
You must do ONLY 1 of 2 things:
Draw 2 cards and end your turn.
If a BLACK Card is drawn, it must be revealed and played immediately.
Play at least 1 card (although you may play as many cards as you want during your turn) on any other players.
GREEN cards are discarded after use.
BLUE cards stay in front of a player until that player is dead, or the card is moved or discarded by another card (such as Scapegoat or Curse).
RED cards remain in front of a player until that player has 7 total accusations. The person playing the 7th accusation chooses a Tryal card to reveal in front of the player receiving the accusations. All Red cards in front of that player are then discarded.
A player dies when:
- All of their Tryal cards have been revealed. OR
- One of their revealed Tryal cards says "Witch". OR -
- Witches kill the player during the Night.
When a player dies, they place all cards from their hand and all blue cards in front of them into the discard pile. They must reveal the rest of their Tryal cards, and truthfully reveal if they ever had a "Witch" card during the game.
The 5 Laws of Salem
You may never play a card, or the Gavel token, on yourself. You can never play a card in a way that would directly affect you (such as giving yourself Piety, giving yourself Alibi, forcing someone to give you cards from Robbery, or moving cards to you with Scapegoat).
When playing a card, once it has been let go of, it cannot be taken back. If a player forgets to use their special ability during the applicable turn... too bad!
If a player delays, flip the hourglass. When the sand runs out, the player must draw two cards (unless they've already played cards) and end their turn.
A player may secretly re-arrange the order of their Tryal cards, but the cards must always be in plain sight of all players.
When a player dies, they may have 3 "last words" before becoming silent. Dead players who speak by word or action shall be shunned.
When a Black Card is drawn, it must be revealed immediately to the other players. Its effects are enacted immediately.
When Conspiracy is drawn, all players will take a face-down Tryal card from the player to their left. If you receive a "Witch" card, you join the team of Witches!
When Conspiracy is drawn:
The person who drew the Conspiracy card will choose one Tryal card to reveal on the player with the Black Cat in front of them. If no player currently has the Black Cat, this step is skipped.
Each player will simultaneously choose and take a face-down (unrevealed) Tryal card from the player to his or her left and place it in front of them with their other Tryal cards.
Each player will carefully view his or her new set of Tryal cards.
If you receive a "Witch" card, you are now a Witch, aligned with the team of Witches. If you lose a "Witch" card, you remain a Witch during the Night and you remain aligned with the team of Witches.
If you receive the Constable card, you are now the Constable and may place the Gavel token during the Night. If you lose the Constable card, you are no longer the Constable, and you should not open your eyes as the Constable during the Night.
In the Night, the Witches will attempt to kill another player (or the Witches may strategize to stage the death of one of their own), and the Constable will attempt to save another player from being killed.
If the Constable is also a Witch, he or she may intentionally save the wrong player.
Unlike the Dawn, the Black Cat card is not involved in the Night. If someone nearby is not playing, or a player has already died, it is recommended that you use them to act as the Moderator instead of using a Town Crier.
If using a Moderator: The Moderator will direct players' actions using the Night section of the Moderator Script.
If using a Town Crier:
Place the Kill cards that match with the Town Hall characters still in the game face- up in a stack. Place this stack perpendicular on top of the playing deck. This will make it easier for the witches to pick up this stack quietly during the Night.
The Town Crier will instruct all players to close their eyes.
The Town Crier will instruct the Witches to open their eyes and place any Kill Card face-down away from the other Kill Cards and place the remaining Kill Cards in a face- down stack.
The Town Crier will count down from 20, and then instruct the Witches to close their eyes (the Town Crier should keep his or her eyes closed, unless he or she is a Witch).
The Town Crier will instruct the Constable to open his or her eyes and place the Gavel token next to any player except for him or herself. The Town Crier will countdown from 10, and then instruct the Constable to close his or her eyes (the Town Crier should keep his or her eyes closed, unless he or she is the Constable).
The Town Crier will instruct all players to open their eyes. Any player choosing to "Confess" may reveal 1 of his or her own chosen Tryal cards in exchange for immunity from the Kill cards. Players must choose to confess before one length of the hourglass
Reveal the Kill card that was placed away from the others. The player who has the matching Town Hall card dies, and flips over all of their remaining Tryal Cards, unless:
- That player was given the Gavel token by the Constable OR
- That player chose to "Confess" before the Kill card was revealed. OR
- That player has the Asylum card in front of him or her.
After Night is over, shuffle the discard pile to re-form the deck, again placing Night at the bottom. Continue playing where you left off.
"All players close your eyes".
Make sure everyone's eyes are closed.
"Witches, please open your eyes and point to any player to give the Black Cat. You may point to yourself".
Make sure that you see who the Witches point to.
"Witches, please close your eyes".
Make sure witches eyes are closed.
"Everyone, please open your eyes".
Place the Black Cat card in front of the player who the Witches pointed to.
"All players close your eyes".
Make sure everyone's eyes are closed.
"If you have a Witch card, or ever had a Witch card, please open your eyes and point to any player to Kill. You may select yourself".
Make sure that you see and remember who the Witches pointed to.
"Witches, please close your eyes".
Make sure Witches' eyes are closed.
"Constable, please open your eyes and point to any player to give the Gavel token. You may not select yourself".
Put the Gavel token in front of the player who the Constable points to.
"Constable, please close your eyes".
Make sure the Constable closes his or her eyes.
"Everyone, open your eyes. Before I reveal who has been killed, any player may choose to 'Confess.' This means that you can flip over one of your own Tryal cards in exchange for immunity from the Kill Cards. Your decision to 'Confess' ends with the sands of the hourglass".
Flip the hourglass. Once time has run out, tell everyone who the Witches killed. That player is dead unless they were given the Gavel token, they chose to confess, or the Asylum card is in front of them. Shuffle the discard pile to re-form the deck, again placing Night at the bottom. Continue playing where you left off.
(refer to as needed)
If a Black Card is drawn, it counts as one of the 2 cards allowed to be drawn on your turn. If it is drawn out of turn (because of a character's ability), immediately resolve the Black Card and then continue play where you left off.
If you draw when the deck only has 1 card remaining you may draw a 2nd card after Night is over.
Contrary to the 1st Law of Salem, Witches may give themselves the Black Cat card during Dawn to throw off suspicion. After Dawn, the Black Cat becomes just like any other Blue Card.
It can be discarded by Curse or moved by Scapegoat. If discarded, it can be drawn and played like any other Blue Card. If the owner of the Black Cat draws Conspiracy, they may choose which of their Tryal cards is revealed.
If only two players are left, all Blue Cards are discarded from the game. If you are one of the last two players remaining, when you draw a Blue Card place it aside and draw a new card instead.
The Constable may never give himself the Gavel token. If the Constable is also a Witch, he or she is an "evil" Constable, and may use his or her power to help the Witches.
If the Constable card is revealed, that player does not necessarily die, but the Constable role is no longer used in the game.
If Martha has inherited John Proctor's special ability, Martha and John look at the cards they will receive from the dead player and take turns picking cards, starting with John.
If Martha had been using Cotton Mather's ability and Cotton Mather dies, Evidence cards immediately count as 3 against Martha even if they are already in front of her.
If both Matchmaker cards are placed on the same player, they are discarded. If one of the Matchmaker owners is killed during the Night, both die, even if the other person "confessed" or was saved during the Night.
If a player is matched with Mary Warren when she dies, that player still dies, even though Mary is unaffected by Matchmaker.
If Matchmaker kills the final non-Witch and eliminates the final Witch card in the same turn, assume that the matched player dies a split-second after the person who was killed in order to determine the victorious team.
Scapegoat can be used to move Red cards from a player onto the player with Piety. Will Griggs can use an Alibi as a Witness card against the player with Piety.
Red Cards are placed on a player, not necessarily in front of a certain Tryal card.
If the number of accusations played on a player exceeds the required amount to reveal a Tryal (Example, if you played an Evidence card on someone with 6 accusations), they do not carry over to the next Tryal.
If you have enough accusations to reveal two Tryal cards on the same player, play the cards to reveal one Tryal card at a time.
Scapegoat and Robbery
As implied by the 1st Law of Salem, a player may never use the Scapegoat or Robbery cards to move their own cards or to receive extra cards. They may only involve two other players, i.e. take cards from one player and give to another.
Therefore, when only two players remain Scapegoat and Robbery may not be played and should be treated like Blue Cards.
When played, the Stocks card should remain in front of the player until they have been skipped. It should then be discarded.
If a Scapegoat card is played on a player with Stocks in front of them, the Stocks card is also moved. If a player is given two Stocks cards, he will be skipped twice in a row.
Thomas Danforth and George Burroughs
If Thomas is playing accusations on George, Thomas needs to place 7 accusations to reveal one of George's Tryal cards.
Tituba is allowed to move the Night card higher in the deck. If she does, play as normal, re-shuffling the deck only when the deck has run out of cards.
Tituba may rearrange the deck and draw cards in the same turn.
A player may have more than one Witch card. If one Witch card is revealed, the player is dead and must reveal the other Witch card as well.
End of the Game
The game ends when:
Townspeople (players who have never owned a "Witch" card during the game) win when they reveal the final "Witch" Tryal card in the game. They don't necessarily need to kill all of the Witches, they only need to reveal all of the "Witch" Tryal cards.
Witches win as soon as everyone still alive in the game is a Witch. Witches either currently have a "Witch" card or had a "Witch" card at some point during the game.
Townspeople win once all "Witch" cards are revealed.
Advanced Rules and Tips
To mask movement during Dawn and Night: Make noise while the Witches are doing their dirty work. Some good ways to do this: stomp your feet, pat the table with one hand, turn on creepy music, hum, etc.
It also helps if everyone stands up before the Night begins so that everyone has easy access to the Kill cards.
After the first player dies, let them become the Moderator, taking over the Town Crier's duties. This keeps the dead player involved, and hides movement better.
To make the game more difficult:
When Conspiracy is drawn, Tryal cards are usually taken from the player to your left. To increase difficulty, take a Tryal card from the player to your left, place this card in the middle, have the Town Crier/Moderator shuffle the cards, and deal a Tryal card to each player.
This will make it harder to track down the spreading of Witches.
You may also play where players don't reveal if they ever had a Witch card when they die.
You may also use 2 Witch cards in 4-5 player games, and 3 Witch cards in 6-12 player games.
To avoid extra-short games: When a player has 4 or 5 Tryal cards remaining, point to 2 of them when you would normally reveal a Tryal. The player being accused may select which Tryal card to flip over. Their reaction and concentration may give something away!