The Secret is Out: Secrets Sucks
The game isn’t short. For a game that has about as much strategy as Love Letter, it stilll finds a way to last five times longer. Especially in the early game when you don’t know who is who, and in the late game when it’s kingmaker time decisions can get pretty complex and analysis paralysis can strike. Maybe with enough plays it gets easier and faster but I found in my plays that it took a surprisingly long time.
The biggest problem with the game is also the most damning. Winning isn’t fun. The end-state of the game generally looks like this: all players are one or two cards from ending the game (totaling between 2-6 points). Both teams have pretty good knowledge of at least a single team mate and most everyone knows who the hippie is. This means if some players get just one more card, the game is over and the outcome is obvious. At this point whoever is the dealer basically gets to choose who wins. Either by simply giving a high-scoring card to a team mate and ending the game, or by giving a team mate a role-shuffle effect to simply swap a high scoring enemy with a low scoring hippie ending the game. Either way, it’s uneventful and no one get’s the coveted bluffing moment of truth:
“Ugh I am not sure what to do… You could be lying but I trusted you all game… I am just going to take a chance and give you the scientist… NOOOOOO YOU ARE A COMMUNIST!”
More like this:
“Alright, this is a journalist for you, and I think I have less points than the hippie so pretty sure we win right? Ok good game.”
The hippie “wild card” is a complete joke too because of the late-game role-shuffle. Even if you foolishly think you are going to be a wise guy and just reject every deal to stay at your pristine 0 points, you are just going to get swapped with a blue or red guy. There is NOTHING you can do about it. It is in the best interest of BOTH teams to swap the 0 point player with a player from the other team because not only does it remove the possibility of a hippie loss, but it also secures a team win. So… have fun being clever with the hippie.
Secrets doesn’t have a place. It takes longer then other light filler games like Love Letter, Coup or Skull. It has worse deduction elements then Resistance or Secret Hitler. It offers no epic plays or amazing throw-your-hands-up moments. But most importantly it isn’t fun.