Facade Games: Salem – Review

July 19, 2016


Publisher Facade Games
Genre Card / Social
Number of Players 4 – 12
Play Time 30 minutes
Initial Review Date 7/11/16
Last Updated 7/11/16

In this game, each player is a townsfolk of Salem, but life has turned upside down now that everyone realizes there is a witch among you. Can you find (and kill) the witch before everyone dies? Just be careful, witch trials can be deadly and you just might kill an innocent instead.


Each player is dealt a card that represents who they are in the village. Additionally, each player is dealt a set of trial cards. Most of the tryal cards say “Not a witch”, but a few say “Witch” or “Constable”. These cards are placed face down in front of each player after the player has an opportunity to review them.

A blank token is then placed in front of each player, with the tokens that say “kill” and “save” in the middle.

The playing cards are then shuffled with two exceptions. The “Black Cat” card is placed to the side and the “night” card is placed on the bottom of the deck after it has been shuffled.

Finally, two playing cards are dealt to each player in order to form a starting hand.

One player must make the nightly announcements. This can either be a player involved in the game (called the town crier) or someone outside of the game (called the moderator). This player will then tell everyone to close their eyes. After everyone’s eyes are closed they will then tell the witch to open their eyes and select one player to kill.

The witch will then turn the kill token face down and swap it with one of the blank tokens in front of a player.

Once the town crier or moderator is satisfied that the witch has had sufficient time to do this they will then tell all players to close their eyes again. Then all players are instructed to open their eyes.

All players flip over their tokens in order to reveal the kill token. The player who received the kill token, has the black cat card placed in front of them instead of them being killed. Then the player with the black cat card becomes the start player.


On each of your turns you will start by drawing two cards. You must then play atleast one of these cards before ending your turn. Cards will be one of three types.

  • Red: Red cards allow you to accuse other players of being a witch. You play the card on the player. Each of these cards has one or more strikes on them. When a player receives seven or more strikes they are put on tryal. the player who played the card that put this player at seven or more picks one of that player’s tryal cards to flip face up. The card is then resolved as follows:
    • “Not a Witch” or “Constable” – If the player still has unrevealed tryal cards in front of them then they are safe. If the player has no unrevealed tryal cards then they are proven innocent with their death and they are out of the game.
    • “Witch” – this player has been killed and their remaining tryal cards (if any) are flipped face up. If all of the witch cards have been revealed then the non-witches have won. Otherwise, play continues.
    • After the tryal is resolved all of the red cards in front of the player put on tryal are discarded.
  • Green: These cards are played for an effect and then discarded
  • Blue: These cards remain in front of the player until removed by a green card or the player is killed.
  • Black: If it is the conspiracy card then the conspiracy round is triggered, if it is the night card then the night round is triggered.
    • Conspiracy: Basically two things happen. the player who drew this card selects one tryal card in front of any player with the black cat and that player is forced to reveal the selected card. Second, each player selects a face down card from the player on their left and takes it. In this way the witch card can possibly pass to another player. When this happens, the “old witch” remains a witch and the player receiving the card becomes a witch.
    • Night: When this happens then the moderator or town crier will instruct everyone to close their eyes. Then, as during setup the witch or witches will select a player to receive the kill token. Once sufficient time has been given to do this the witches then are instructed to close their eyes and the constable is allowed to swap one player token with the save token. Once the suffcient time has been given for this, all players are instructed to close their eyes. finally, all players are instructed to open their eyes. At this point, each player may “confess” by flipping one of their tryal cards face up in front of them. Once this is done players flip their tokens over. If a player who “confessed” received the kill token then they are safe from it. If a player who chose not to confess received the kill token  then they have been killed and all of their tryal cards are placed face up. The discard pile is reshuffled with the night card again placed on the bottom afterward.

Win Conditions

The game ends when either all of the witch cards have been revealed or all of the non-witches have been killed, with the respective sides losing.


This game is similar to games like Ultimate Warewolf and Resistance with regard to the social aspects. However, because of the high amount of structure the game enforces it’s much harder for someone to screw you over just because they don’t like you that day. Also, accusations end up flying around pretty evenly when no one has any concrete evidence. That is to say, when one person is sitting there with 1 card revealed and someone else has 4 cards revealed, that person with only one revealed card suddenly starts looking more suspcious to everyone.

If you have played games like Warewolf and Resistance and hated them because they lacked structure I would suggest giving salem a try. If you love those types of games then this will be yet another one you can add to your libary, espeically if you have friends that aren’t very enthuisastic about games like this.

On a side note, a VR version of this game is currently in development and I can see how it would improve it. since it would remove a little bit of the fiddlilyness involved with swapping the tokens in a way where no one can tell it was you.


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