Shadow Hunters

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Have fun spending the entire game pretending to be on everybody's side at once.
Shadow Hunters is a Japanese tabletop strategy game published by Z-man games and is notable for not sucking as much as other Japanese tabletop games. In terms of game play it's kind of like Munchkin meets Clue meets Hellsing with more paranoia and broken friendships.

The Rules[edit]

Each player is given a secret identity card which is either a hunter, a shadow, or a neutral. Hunters want to kill shadows, shadows want to kill everybody but themselves, and neutrals all have completely lolrandom goals like dying first, collecting loot, or making the person to their right win (Its possible for multiple people to win).

So players take turns rolling dice and drawing cards, forcing other players to give vague clues to their identities, collecting items, and attacking each other. At any time players may reveal themselves to unlock their hidden special ability, or just to stop their dumbass teammates from attacking them. At this point the game moves towards a conclusion pretty quickly as shadows and hunters race to slaughter one another and the neutrals try to fuck everybody over before they can fuck each other.

The Strategy[edit]

Its an incredibly simple game backed up by an incredibly complicated meta-game. Winning requires knowing your enemies, knowing what they know, and knowing what they know about what you know about other people. When that fails it requires randomly killing people and hoping you didn't just screw yourself. Needless to say the game can be outstandingly fun if you have some good roleplayers, and a single canny fa/tg/uy can have the entire table working for him.

The Characters[edit]

Since each character in the game plays similarly, but with completely different goals, it can be incredibly hard to discern who is who from their actions. There are, however, a few things that make them noticeable over several games.

  • The Hunters: The Hunters are almost completely based around raw power, and being able to spring the trap and blow up an enemy just after revealing themselves. They are often the ones to reveal themselves first, since they need to get the Neutrals on their side quickly - If not, they'll often look like they're just fucking about and smashing people in the face like the Shadows tend to do. For this reason, the hardest part about being a Hunter is to survive for long enough - Sometimes, you might even need to sacrifice your own life, so other characters might come out themselves and show their true form. Find a team, locate your enemy, spring the trap. Hunters of note are Charles and George, hardhitters and tough sons-of-bitches, and Emi, who's... Well, weak, but she can teleport, so that's cool.
  • The Shadows: You like to fuck over everybody? You like being able to smash faces and trick people into thinking you are one of the good guys? You want to be nigh unstoppable when revealed? You, dear Sir or Madam, want to play a Shadow. Shadows are the goal of the game, and you must know that as soon as you get your character card - Everyone, and I mean everyone are out to get you, and even more so than all the other players. For this reason, it's important to gang up as quickly as possible, if you find another Shadow - This isn't because of you being all good buddies, but because you'll have the least reason to fight. Shadows are often very hard-hitting when revealed and can be tough to bring down, but this does nothing when the rest of the table is out to get you. Work the other players against each other, then take control when the chaos is at it's peak. Notable Shadows are the Werewolf, who hits very, very hard when properly kitted out, the Vampire, who heal himself, and the infamous Unknown, who never has to reveal itself and may lie when Scried, as the only character in the game.
  • The Neutrals: FUN* incarnates, the Neutrals are the faction you cannot ever depend on - They might behave like a Shadow, killing anything and everyone, or just keep the hell outta dodge for the entire game, and might win the game by doing so. Neutrals often end up supporting Hunters, since Hunters want to kill Shadows, who in turn want to get both Hunters and Neutrals out of the way, and they can be a very important ally to them, too. An example of this is Allie to the right, who is a Neutral but oftentimes play like a Hunter - She wants to not get hurt, because when she does, she'll often need to reveal herself to heal. This is a great thing for the Hunters, though, as they might be able to discern if those who were hitting her before could've been a Shadow going for a Neutral kill, and have stopped now, to keep themselves from being noticed as Shadows. Other Neutrals, like the even-more-infamous-and-dickish Daniel, who wants to die first... After playing your first game with this motherfucker, you'll know just how much he'll warp the game around him and his goal. Other Neutrals of note are David, who is fucking tough to play, because he wants to win by getting a kill very, very late in the game, or Mia, who wants a player on her right to win... Unless she reveals herself, in which case she wants the one on her left to win. The game is fun like that.
Board Games
Classics: Backgammon - Chess - Go - Tafl - Tic-Tac-Toe
Ameritrash: Arkham Horror - Axis & Allies - Battleship - Betrayal at House on the Hill - Car Wars
Clue/Cluedo - Cosmic Encounter - Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Dungeon!
Firefly: The Game - HeroQuest - Monopoly - Snakes and Ladders - Risk - Talisman - Trivial Pursuit
Eurogames: Agricola - Carcassonne - Settlers of Catan - Small World - Stratego - Ticket to Ride
Pure Evil: Diplomacy - Dune (aka Rex: Final Days of an Empire) - Monopoly
Others: Icehouse - Shadow Hunters - Twilight Imperium