Updated: Nov 20
Designed by Johan Benvenuto, Alexandre Droit, Kévin Jost and Bertrand Roux, and published by Funnyfox, Secret Identity is an easy-to-play party game for 3-8 players that's suitable for all the family. What's more it can be played and enjoyed by gamers and 'non-gamers' alike.
The game comes with 150 double-sided character cards. These show the name of a well-known personality or fictional character. Eight of these are placed randomly at the eight numbered locations around the board. This is the time to check that everyone who is playing recognises all the names; if one of them is a D-list 'celebrity' that one of the players hasn't heard of, then just swap that card for another.
Corresponding to the eight numbered locations there will be eight numbered 'Mystery Keys'. These are shuffled face down so that players don't know the number on each key. Players each then draw a key and peek at it. The character at that numbered location is their Secret Identity. If you're playing with fewer than eight players some of the Mystery Keys will be unclaimed. That's not a problem; just be sure to avoid anyone seeing the numbers on those keys.
Everyone takes a 'safe' and eight numbered keys in the matching colour. They slide their Mystery Key into the top of the safe. They then try to create a clue for their character using up to three of the 10 random picture cards they've been dealt. The picture cards all give you a choice of four pictures so whatever you're dealt you should be able to offer some sort of clue to your character by placing pictures by the green indicators on your safe ('represents your character') or the red indicators ('does not represent your character'). Players create their clues simultaneously and then they pass their safe on to the player on their left, who uses the pictorial clue to guess the Secret Identity. All the safes are passed around, and all the guesses are secret because players slide their coloured keys into the safes.
When everyone has 'voted', the safes are returned to their original owner, who pulls open the magnetic cover on the top of the safe to reveal each player's guess of their Secret Identity. Players that correctly deduced or guessed the Secret Identity score a point, and the player who set the picture clues gets a point for every player who correctly guessed their character. The rules suggest playing over four rounds with new characters each round but with no new picture cards; indeed, the number of picture cards a player has left at the end of four rounds is the tie breaker in the event of two or more players ending with the same number of points.
Tho' we prefer Secret Identity at higher player counts, the game is certainly playable with three or four, and even with eight players our plays at Board's Eye View have taken only around 25 minutes. That's feels spot on for a light party game. The components are of high quality: the safes with the slot-in keys and magnetic reveal are bound to be a big hit with players, and the sheer quantity of character and picture cards means that there's plenty of replayability. Secret Identity would be a great choice for an after-dinner family game this Christmas.
Board's Eye View was not paid to show off Secret Identity but we were sent a free review copy from UK distributors Hachette Boardgames UK. Secret Identity is available from board game and hobby stores, or click here to order it through Amazon.