ByAna Valens, writer at
Writer and games critic. As seen at the Daily Dot, Waypoint, Kill Screen, Bitch Media, and ZEAL.
Ana Valens

What happens when your Senate representatives enable an authoritarian president? Send them a copy of Secret Hitler, of course!

Polygon reports that Mike Boxleiter, Tommy Maranges, and Max Temkin have just sent 100 copies of their game Secret Hitler to the entirety of the United States Senate. That's right: one copy for every senator in Congress, from New Jersey to Alaska to Arkansas.

Of course, Secret Hitler isn't a lighthearted card game: it's a party game all about deception. Players split up between liberals and fascists. Fascists attempt to pass six fascist laws, or elect Hitler as the German Chancellor. Meanwhile, the liberals attempt to pass five liberal laws, or assassinate Hitler.

Simple enough, right? Here's where things get complicated: liberals don't know who the fascists are, but fascists are aware of their fellow team members. This adds a layer of deception to the game, and makes play asymmetrical: one of Secret Hitler's strong points. Play goes on until one of the two team completes their goals. Regardless, bloodshed, oppression, and mistakes ensue.

Parallels between Adolf Hitler's populist rise to power and Donald Trump's red state fanaticism have been made again and again. But Temkin, Maranges, and Boxleiter want to send a clear message by sending Secret Hitler to all 100 Congressional senators: there's a fascist in our midst, and the game's mixture of deception, mistrust, and fascist-esque lawmaking can also be seen in Congress. That behavior must be swiftly condemned, lest Secret Hitler becomes a reality.

One of Many Statements

We know what you're thinking. Yes, that is literally bull shit.
We know what you're thinking. Yes, that is literally bull shit.

For Secret Hitler producer Max Temkin, this isn't the first time his projects have been used as a public commentary on society, culture, or politics. His most famous game, Cards Against Humanity, regularly scores headlines thanks to the game's interesting charity fundraisers and event sales.

In 2012, Cards Against Humanity released a holiday pack at a pay-what-you-want price. Contributions went to the Wikimedia Foundation, clocking in at $70,066.27. And to stress the sheer impact of the donations, the CAH team compared the money to the sheer quantity of partridges in pear trees, private island(s), and condoms they could buy with the money. It drove home the point: charity matters.

Charity became an ongoing theme within Cards Against Humanity's operations. In 2015, the team created a science expansion pack that raised over $50,000 for women in STEM scholarships. Their 2015 "Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah" gift campaign included a year-long membership to the Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ, as well as a week of paid vacation for their manufacturing staff in China.

Our personal favorite? The Cards Against Humanity Black Friday deal where you could pay $6 for a package of poop. That's no joke: the company literally sent poop in the mail.

See what we mean? There's no extra card in the box. Just bull shit.

So when Temkin and his fellow developers sent Secret Hitler over to Congress, they weren't just messing around. They knew that sending 100 boxes to Congressmen would send a clear message, one that the public would pick up on: be careful what you do in office. Satirists are watching, and they're not about to let the country fall apart.

Let's hope that the Senate heard him. Or, at least, are about to get into some very entertaining games of Secret Hitler.

What's your favorite Max Temkin public statement? Share yours in the comments below.


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