October Game of the Month – Red Scare

The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and the Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it. The Game of the Month is written by the Meeple’s Head Game Master – and former Ravenwood Innkeeper – Karington Hess.

The year is 1951. Fear and paranoia fill the air and the America we know and love is fraught with it. The threat of communist infiltration is at an all-time high and red panic is everywhere. Director Hoover has entrusted you and your group of loyal, trusted patriots of the FBI to scour the files for evidence of any kind that might point to a citizen who has been promoting the Soviet agenda and threatening the American way of life! Director Hoover, The FBI, and the entire nation trusts you and your team to detect these traitors. Then, you must accuse and deport them back to Soviet Russia! But be warned. There have been reports of Double Agents everywhere! Even your closest colleagues cannot be trusted. Perhaps even you have something to hide, eh Comrade?

Red Scare is a social deduction game with hidden roles for four to ten players. The game pits Patriots against Soviets, and teams gain points by exonerating their citizens and deporting the opposing side’s citizens. At the end of the game, the team with the most points will be declared the winner. This may sound fairly straight forward, but there’s a delightful little wrinkle – the only way to uncover the truth about your friends is with a pair of secret decoder glasses!

Half of the players are equipped with decoder glasses, the other half are not. Each player, regardless of whether or not they have decoder glasses, receives a secret alignment card denoting whether they are Soviet or Patriot. Players are allowed to claim to be on either team, but are not allowed to show their alignment card to anyone. Players are also given two Judgement Markers and a hand of three cards. Here is where the decoder glasses come into play. There are two types of cards; some cards that can only be identified with the decoder glasses and some that can only be identified without the decoder glasses.

During a player’s turn they can perform each of the following actions once:

  1. ID – A player may show any number of cards in their hand and have another player identify them. This will allow the player to have help identifying cards that they cannot identify themselves.
  2. TRADE – A player may request a trade with another player in order to build a hand of cards to be judged. Players may exchange any number of cards so long as it is an equivalent exchange.
  3. JUDGE – Once a player has a hand of three cards that they are allowed to judge (Cards that they cannot ID) they take a judgement token from in front of them and place it on the board. They choose to exonerate or deport ALL of the cards in their hand, and then draw a new hand of citizens.

At the start of the fourth round of play, players are also allowed to accuse. A player can accuse at any time by placing an alignment token in front of each player and guessing their alignment. If he is correct he scores points for his side. If he is wrong, he loses points. The game is over when the judge action has been used a number of times equal to the number of players or when a player has made an accusation. The citizens are flipped over and points are added to the team’s total if the citizen was exonerated or subtracted if they were deported. Players may reveal their secret alignment cards now. Whichever side has the most points is declared the winner.

Stop in at Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple to check out Red Scare, the latest game from one of our local designers. When the Intrigue gets too thick don’t forget to cool off with a milkshake or craft beer. We hope you enjoy this unique social deduction game!

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.