There is a free iphone app that will read the script for the First Night and Night phases of the game. Just search the app store for “Salem Moderator.”
The year is 1692, and it is a perilous time to live in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. One wrong step, or one misplaced accusation, and you could be the next witch to hang. “Salem” takes players into this perilous world and lets them re-live the tension, politics, and religious extremism that still has people talking about it 300 years later.
The game is packaged in a faux book box that closes magnetically. The game, disguised as a worn out leather book, can easily hide on your bookshelf and masquerade as an antique.
Players can play as prominent villagers from the old Salem town, and even read their bios in the instruction manual. The servant girl Mary Warren, pastor Samuel Parris, farmer John Proctor, storyteller Tituba, and beggar Sarah Good are some of the 12 characters featured in the game.
Players, each acting as one of these unique characters, are given 3-5 Tryal cards (depending on the number of players). These Tryal cards reveal the true identity of each player, “Witch” or “Not a Witch.”
During gameplay, players gather cards that they use to accuse, or defend, other players. Deciding who to trust is key to survival, since you can never play a card on yourself. When you suspect someone to be a witch, you can begin accusing them with red accusation cards. When enough accusations have been placed on one of the players, the player who lays the final accusation chooses one of that player’s Tryal cards to reveal. Once all “Witch” Tryal cards have been found, the villagers of Salem win.
Players can also use green and blue cards such as “Alibi”, “Stocks”, “Matchmaker”, “Asylum”, and “Scapegoat” to help or hurt their allies or enemies.
As players draw cards, they will eventually draw black cards that take immediate effect. One black card, “Night”, forces all players to close their eyes while the Witches choose someone to eliminate and the Constable chooses someone to potentially save. The other black card, “Conspiracy,” forces all players to take a face-down Tryal card from the player to their left. Killing witches quickly is essential, otherwise “Conspiracy” may soon have the whole town turned evil.
Before long, accusations will be flying, and screams of “She’s a WITCH!” will wake the neighbors. Will you be the hero who purges your town of witches, or will you be wrongly accused and hung for witchcraft? Or perhaps you will be a witch yourself, escape conviction, and bring Salem to the ground.
I played this with a regular game group these last two weekends and I have to say it is an absolute hit! We’re all very picky when it comes to our games and the fact that yours is universally requested shows just how excellent your final product is.
From me and my family and friends. Thank you. We finally broke out Salem on Saturday. I’ve played five times since that initial wonderful first game and each game has been wonderful, full of laughs and intrigue.
We played with 7 – 12 players each time and and each game has been vastly different to the last with one exception. One of our players always seems to end up in the stocks
One of our pickiest gamers said: “I want to play this immediately again” and he has never said that about anything. All that played over the weekend loved it and there hasn’t been a single player who said a bad thing. The artwork is beautiful, the box is beautiful and most importantly the game itself is beautiful.
It was massive HIT in Puerto Rico. New gamers and experienced gamers alike loved it. Love it, Salem easily rocketed to my top favorite games and now my party game of choice.
-Emmanual Ortiz Sotomayer
Salem Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! It’s available for iPhone! Search for “Salem Moderator” in the app store and download it for free.
Yes! It’s rough and slightly outdated (we’re making a new one soon). But here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnI00k6nEE4 You can also watch a game streamed by Battle Bin here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw1kx6IfymU&feature=youtu.be
Currently we are testing several possible expansions, including “Courts of Salem” and “Ghosts of Salem.” We’re thrilled with both so far. These expansions will be created if the demand is there for them. So keep spreading the Salem community and we’ll make the expansions happen!
Back in the 1600s Tryal was often spelled with a “y” instead of an “i”, much like old used to be spelled “olde.”
We wrote a blog entry about fitting Salem in the box and getting sleeves for the game. Read it here: https://facadegames.com/storing-sleeving-for-salem/
No! As the first law of Salem states, you may never play a card on yourself. This includes blue, green, and red cards. For example, you can’t give yourself Piety or Asylum. You can’t use Robbery to give someone else’s cards to yourself. You can’t move cards off of yourself using Scapegoat. You can’t use Alibi to move Accusations off of yourself. The only way to win in this game is to have allies who have your back!
Once a witch, always a witch! As explained in the Conspiracy section of the rulebook, you remain aligned with the witch team, even if you don’t have the Witch card anymore. But remember, to win the townspeople only need to hunt down the actual Witch card, not all of the witches.
Since the Black Cat is a blue card, once it is in play just treat it like any other blue card. It can get discarded by Curse, moved with Scapegoat, or get discarded when the person with it dies. If a person re-draws it from the deck, they can play it on anyone they would like.
If Conspiracy is drawn and the Black Cat is not in play, then nobody loses a Tryal from the Black Cat.
When a player dies, the cards from their hand and the cards in front of them all go to the discard pile.
Conspiracy happens simultaneously for all players. Therefore, you can only take cards from the person to your left, not from the person to their left who they just took a Tryal card from.
Yes. Once during the game Tituba can rearrange all cards in the deck, including the Night card, for two lengths of the hourglass. If she’s a witch this can be very helpful to finish the townspeople off. If she’s not a witch, it’s helpful for her to move Conspiracy to the bottom of the deck.
One of our users, Thomas Averette, had a great idea. Here’s what he said: “One idea I had was a “Benefit of a Doubt” rule where if you have 3 or more Tryal cards face-down the accuser chooses 2 cards instead of one and the accused gets to choose which one to reveal. The benefit of this is that unless the Witch makes a mistake there will not be an early Tryal reveal. The players will still get a great deal of information by how the accused reacts to the Tryal cards chosen (hesitation, relief, etc.). I don’t think this would create much benefit for the Witch as a group who is convinced will quickly reduce the Witch to two cards and the Benefit of a Doubt will no longer apply.”
Extra Cards/New Card Ideas
These cards can either be used to replace worn-out or lost cards, or they can also be used to invent new cards in the deck! If you have an idea for a new green, blue, or Tryal card, we’d love to hear about it! Contact us so we can spread the word.
Spy: Gets to see one Tryal card during the Night.
Pardon: When played on a player who has lost at least one Tryal card, that person randomly chooses one Tryal card from all those previously discarded in the game. This could re-introduce the Constable, or even make them a Witch. It could serve to slightly extend play, and balance the power to an ally who is lagging behind in remaining Tryal cards. (From Dennis Gorsline)
Peek: The person it’s played on gets to see one Tryal card on any player. (From Austin)