"Salem definitely stands out as a unique accomplishment in board game design. The theme, mechanics and flow of play are all highly engaging. I've played it numerous times and it continues to be distinctly different–and distinctly fun–from anything I've seen" –Amy Logan, Co-owner Gamma Ray Games and The Raygun Lounge
"I got a sneak preview of this game back in 2009 in Chicago and had to back it immediately" --Daniel Cassar, designer "Cavemen: The Quest for Fire" (Rio Grande Games)
STRETCH REWARDS--included with each copy of the game once the noted funding has been reached:
Salem has been in development since 2006 and has been play-tested over 300 times by more than 200 play-testers. The final product is elegant, streamlined and enjoyed by a broad variety gamers. Players are always active, even on other player's turns, making it a perfect fit for groups of 3-7 players. Extensive research has been done on the 42 citizens in the game, adding a deeply rich narrative to a highly engaging game.
The year is 1692. In an atmosphere of pessimism and charged paranoia, the citizens of Salem are at the mercy of demons; not demons of the soul, but demons of the mind. What began as a devout Puritan community devolved in a matter of months into a people torn apart by fear, lies, and fanatical orthodoxy. The residents of Salem quickly discovered that they could find Hell all around them.
This game incites the atmosphere of paranoia that held the village of Salem captive. Players act with the assumption that there are witches among them (and, in this case, there will be). Each player controls 6 residents of Salem, 3 of whom are witches. Game play is simple: try to rid the village of witches and keep the identities of your own residents secret.
The game plays over the course of 4 rounds representing the 4 months (June–September 1692) in which the hysteria was at its height. Each round has 3 parts: a Witch Hunt and a Witch Trial followed by hangings. During the Witch Hunt, players send residents to jail and provide alibis for their own jailed citizens. At the end of each round all jailed citizens stand trial. Players then collectively decide who is hanged and who is spared. The player who is most successful at discerning witches from villagers wins!
While the story surrounding the Salem witch trials has become something of a legend, every character in this game is based on a real person whose life was directly touched and in some cases torn apart or taken away by the events surrounding the Salem witch trials.
While this game focuses on the people and events specific to Salem, Massachusetts, similar witch hunts were taking place as far north as Maine and as far West as Connecticut. Surely, the devil had come to New England.
I can't say it enough: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your contribution. This cannot happen without you!!
Full rules can be downloaded HERE (note that these are still in the process of being play-tested, clarified and edited. The full rule book will be 12 pages with beautiful illustrations by Levi and lots of historical add-ons)
THE CITIZENS OF SALEM
the following citizens are still available for custom art:
LYDIA DUSTIN female, 79 (available)
MARY EASTY female, 56 (available)
REBECCA NURSE female, 71 (available)
MARY PARKER female, 55 (available)
SARAH WILDES female, 65 (available)
MARGARET SCOTT female, 77 (available)
ANN FOSTER female, 70s (available)
ANN PUDEATOR female, 70 (available)
ELIZABETH HUBBARD (taken)
MARGARET JACOBS (taken)
SARAH CHURCHILL (taken)
MERCY LEWIS (taken)
ALEXANDER OSBORNE (taken)
REBECCA JACOBS (taken)
THOMAS PUTNAM, JR (taken)
JOHN INDIAN (taken)
ROGER TOOTHAKER (taken)
JOHN HATHORNE (taken)
DORCAS GOOD (taken)
GILES COREY (taken)
REVEREND SAMUEL PARRIS (taken)
ABIGAIL WILLIAMS (taken)
REVEREND GEORGE BURROUGHS (taken)
SARAH OSBORNE (taken)
JOHN PROCTOR (taken)
ELIZABETH PROCTOR (taken)
MARTHA CARRIER (taken)
WILMOTT REDD (taken)
SAMUEL WARDWELL (taken)
ELIZABETH HOWE (taken)
BRIDGET BISHOP (taken)
GEORGE JACOBS SR (taken)
MARY WALCOTT female, 17 (taken)
SUSANNAH MARTIN female, 71 (taken)
Risks and challenges
The challenges of completing this project is getting everything done in a timely fashion. Historically when it comes to board games this is where we fall flat. I've been very open and engaged with my artist and my manufacturer about the scope of this project. The artist has agreed to not take on new projects so we can have the artwork finished in time, and the manufacturer has a track record of being the best, most reliable in the industry. I'm committed that everything about this game is done right. I freaking love what i do. This is a project about the love of games. And I plan on doing this for a very long time to come.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The cards are numbered 1-7. Does that mean that if I memorize that 2, 4, 6 cards are witches, that I can know which of your characters are witches by which number is assigned to to them? It seems like the numbers should be on the character cards.
The Character cards can be placed in any configuration--they simply notate which player they belong to once the citizens wind up in jail. All the randomization happens with the 49 identity cards which look identical (ie, there is no way for me to tell whether your 1 citizen is a witch or a villager as there will always be 4 villagers and 3 witches of each number). The identity cards are randomized using 7 setup cards that provide over 4000 possible combinations that the players will get at the start of the game. I will be posting rules and a video explaining this shortly, as it's best to see visually.
At the start of the game you remove one of your citizens. Does it have to be a villager? Or is there a possibility of removing a witch? If it's guaranteed that you will always be playing with 3 villagers and 3 witches, then what is the point?
The answer to this question is mathematical. For years the game had 6 sets of 6 cards. However with this configuration players would have 2 Witches (same number identity card) in common with one other player. This ended up impeding those players to deduce between each other. By having 7 sets of 7 cards, each player will have exactly one Witch in common (same identity number) with every other player. This knowledge aids your deduction. Removing one Villager also provides all players some information about all other players, and streamlines the deduction process to the sweet spot.
A lot haha
190 accusation cubes (20 each of 7 player colors, plus 25 Witch and 25 Villager cubes)
49 identity cards (2mm cardstock)
42 resident cards
7 setup cards (2mm cardstock)
1 town center board
4 month cards (round cards 2mm cardstock)
21 player markers (3 of each color, 2mm cardstock, used when playing with fewer than 7 players)
21 alibi cards (3 of each player color)
49 accusation cards (7 sets of 7)
14 witch trial cards (7 Witch, 7 Villager)
1 deduction pad (100 sheets)
7 privacy boards (for keeping deductions secret)
1 accusation marker
1 rule book
I saw on the KS video that there will be a player board with the finished product. Will it be a large board to include areas to place all of the cards, or just a smaller board for the scoring, or both?
the cards (identity and citizen) will all be 2mm thick card stock, so the need for an additional game board is completely superfluous (we had one for a while, and it mostly got in the way and was a nuisance). the game board referenced will be small (5"x5") and double sided for the witch trial and scoring at the end of the game.
great question! the majority of the last 10 months of playtesting has been devoted to ensuring it scales well with any number within that range. all the colors are used in every game (unplayed colors are divided up among remaining players) so you really get the same game no matter the number of players involved. when one of your non-default colored citizens is accused, the alibi you offer is given using your base set of cards. so you get additional information up-front, however the deduction also scales so that it's not too easily solvable. i'm really proud of how well we worked that out.
In the unfortunate event that all stretches are not met, is there a way to get them anyway by add-ons?
This is an option I'm looking into and am waiting on a 2-week turn around for a quote. I'll keep you updated!
I do have a variant to the game that I've been working on--so far haven't worked it out well enough to make it official but I'll break it back out again and see what I come up with!
90 minutes is typical. If you have experienced players it drops off a bit, for first time players it can be a bit longer than that.
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