Secret Voldemort

On Episode 7 of the podcast we discussed Secret Hitler. While I did enjoy the game, we touched on the idea that the inclusion of Hitler and Nazis might immediately create a situation where some people wouldn’t want to play it. Hell, excluding the presence of Hitler in the game, it sort of sounds dull – play a political party member, vote for the president, and pass political policies.

To me, on the surface, that sounds unappealing. But the game is fun damn it! It was a game I wanted more people to play, specifically my partner Marie. So spurned on by our discussion on the podcast of re-theming the game I set about creating Secret Voldemort!

secret-voldemort-cover

A Crafty Gift

I was humming and hawing about whether to dive in and actually get to work on the project at first. I had just released my first D&D adventure and was buzzed to keep writing, but at the same time it was coming up to Christmas and I had no idea what to get Marie this year. For our honeymoon we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida, so “something Harry Potter” is usually a safe bet when gift shopping. But this had the added bonus of being home made – or crafty if you will! I knew (or hoped!) if I made this that she’d love it so I bit the bullet and dove head first into converting Secret Hitler into Secret Voldemort.

Plus I could always just buy her something shiny or a puppy if I screwed up… right?

A Fascist By Any Other Name

Given my background in animation my immediate instinct was to rush ahead and start making artwork… But then I realised I didn’t really know what was going to be what in the game and that maybe I should take a breath. And possibly read the rules.

So I did! As I read through the rules (handily available with a print and play pdf on the Secret Hitler website) I pinpointed elements that could transfer to the Harry Potter universe: Fascists became Death Eaters because of course they did; Liberals became The Order of the Phoenix – a little bit more of a mouthful but it fit thematically; the “execute” power became “Avada Kedavra!”, the killing curse; “Yes/Ja” and “No/Nein” cards became “Lumos” and “Nox” (“On” and “Off” for a light but it’ll do!) and so on.

The thing I struggled with most was the logic of who was being elected to what position. Was “Dumbledore’s Army” involved? Was Voldemort trying to infiltrate the Order of the Phoenix? Was it just in Hogwart’s or was it the whole Wizarding World. Eventually I managed to create the slightly warped justification that the President was now the Minister of Magic, and instead of electing a Chancellor they were choosing the next Headmaster of Hogwarts. This fit with the story enough in my little brain that it felt like it worked – after all, the Ministry does get corrupted in the books and put unpleasant people in charge of Hogwarts, and surely if Voldemort was headmaster that would be a very bad thing. This also lead nicely to governmental “Policies” becoming “Educational Proclamation”s akin to those enacted by Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I thought was quite clever if I do say so myself. 10 points to Gryffindor!

Portrait of a Slytherin

draco
Great artists steal and all that!

So with that stewing nicely inside my mushy little brain I set about creating the artwork. Now I should mention that while my background is in art and animation I have long since been corrupted by the lure of project management (I just can’t resist those sexy spreadsheets), so creating the artwork was pretty daunting. Saying that, I’m not half bad at vector art so I decided that was the route to go! I googled around for some inspiration and came across this beautifully simple vector art of Draco Malfoy by a design student named Théo Richard. Taking that as a inspiration I set about creating the rest of the art.

 

One thing I wanted for Secret Voldemort was that, rather than just being a generic Death Eater or member of the Order of the Phoenix, I wanted the card you were dealt to represent one of the characters for the books. It wouldn’t any mechanical difference but I thought it would add to the fun. I also created a few more of these cards than there are in Secret Hitler so that people could pick and choose which characters to play with each time they played. Here’s the list:

teams
Ok, Umbridge is technically not a Death Eater but she is a jerk!

It turns out that there is a lot that goes into making the artwork for a board game (who knew!), especially if you’re doing two sided cards. But I soldiered on and got it all done.

fred-and-george
I can’t express how happy I was that Fred & George were twins. Two-for!

After that I started to put together the play boards (4 in total) and Headmaster and Minister placards, and since the people who made the game are professional artists and game designers I just took their layout and altered it! All in all it took about a month and a half of working on it whenever I could to get all the artwork done. But it was finally ready for the printers!

Printing & Packaging

Before getting the game printed I ordered a really nice and inexpensive wooden box to store it in on Amazon. Unfortunately it ended up being smaller than advertised so the play boards had to be altered. The cards fit perfectly though! I used a local printers to get the work done and it turned out really nice, they even manually rounded the corners on the cards! (Funny story: some of the artwork I sent was sized wrong and the placards were almost printed 3 foot wide instead of 6 inches!)

Revelio!

So here is the final gift! Looks pretty neat right?

revelio

For anyone who would like their own copy of Secret Voldemort I’ve included all the printable files below. These are suitable for bringing to a printers and getting everything nicely printed two-sided, and I’ve also included print at home files.

Print & Play Files

Professional Print Files


So there you have it, my crafty gift for my partner Marie. Have you reskinned any games or made crafted anything for people as gifts? Let us know!


UPDATE: 28/8/2017

As of the above sate I have corrected the spelling errors in all the PDF files and the rule book (apparently I have a really problem spelling “Minister”!).

Thanks to numerous requests I have updated the above post and download page to also contain a link to the individual PNGs for each card.

Happy gaming!

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49 thoughts on “Secret Voldemort

    • Howdy,

      The cards were printed on 400gsm paper (basically business card paper) and the boards were printed on 2mm board. These were done at a local printers and were relatively expensive. You could probably get them printed cheaper online but I didn’t have time to shop around!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m guessing your name i Swedish, so my answer might be that much more relevant. I went to Arkitektkopia and printed these on 300gsm paper. I printed everything singlesided (except the rulebook) and place the fron and back of each card in a clear sleeve. I payed 50SEK for this (5-6USD) including the rulebook that was printed doublesided on regular paper.

      Like

      • Thanks for the information. The name is actually Danish though, but I live in Manchester. So unfortunately Arkitektkopia isn’t an option for me.

        Haven’t had any luck with actual print shops, so today I’m taking the print and play files to Office Outlet (who took over Staples) and will have them print it.

        I will also print single sided and use sleeves and think it will turn out pretty nice.

        Like

  1. I can’t seem to get the Print and Play with backs to line up perfectly on my printer, have you got any advice on how to align them?

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    • Howdy,

      I’ve had issues with this myself and it seems that some printers default to having a border on them which messes up two-sided printing. I’d recommend checking your printing setting both in Adobe (if that’s where you’re printing from) and with the actual printer itself. It can be very frustrating!

      Hope that helps and you get it working. Enjoy!
      – Emmet

      Like

  2. Hey Emmet… AMAZING WORK!! I’m a huge fan of the original game (Secret Hitler), but it’s always hard to get new players to want to play, they simply can’t get past the name, factions, etc… and in truth I can understand… so coming across your version of Secret Voldemort is great! People don’t think twice about playing SV vs SH.

    Anyway, I have one comment/discrepancy that one of my players noticed so I figured I’d share it with you. On the ‘Ministry of Magic’ nameplate, under the ‘Election’ section, it states ‘Get at least 50% of the table to vote “Lumos”… meaning in the event of a ‘tie’ the vote swings to ‘Yes’… but in the rules (for both SH and SV), it states that in the event of a tie, the vote swings to ‘No’… so these two contradict themselves. The wording on the original SH nameplate says ‘more than’ while your SV says ‘at least’.

    I just thought I’d let you know… but overall, thanks for the printouts!
    -joe

    Like

    • Hi Joe,

      Delighted you like the files. Glad it could help get new people playing!

      Thanks for pointing out the error. That’s really odd though, since I copied the text from the actual Secret Hitler print and play files! Must be an older version or something. Anyway, thanks for the heads up!

      Happy gaming!
      – Emmet

      Like

  3. We found some misspellings in the rules (e.g. “minster” instead of “minister”). Is there a plan to update, or a source file that can be changed?

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  4. Such a great job. Thanks for doing this!

    We’ve noticed some misspellings in the rules (e.g. “minster” instead of “minister”). Is there a plan to change this, or is there a way to access the source files to make the changes ourselves?

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’d be interested to know when you fix the spelling errors as well! Especially the ones on the more visible printouts. I’m not so concerned about the rules, but it would be great to have the name plate for Minister of Magic fixed up. The placard also reads Minster of Magic, and then on the reverse side it has a misspelling for Minstry instead of Ministry.

        Fantastic work on the re-theme though! Really looking forward to printing this one out!

        Like

      • I’d be interested to know when you fix the spelling errors as well! Especially the ones on the more visible printouts. I’m not so concerned about the rules (as only I will see that), but it would be great to have the name plate for Minister of Magic fixed up. The name plate also reads “Minster” of Magic, and then on the reverse side it has a misspelling for Minstry instead of Ministry.

        Fantastic work on the re-theme though! Really looking forward to printing this one out!

        Like

  5. Hi Emmet,
    The Artwork is truly mazing. Thanks for sharing your proyect.
    I would like to know what typography did you use because I want to change the Snape Role Card from Death Eater to Mastermind which is an interesting role that can be found on BGG forums.
    I would also like to translate Secret Voldemort to Spanish as many of my friends have never seen HP in English. Death Eater means nothing to them, we like Mortifagos.
    Anyways, Thank you very much!

    Like

  6. Thank you for sharing this game. I went to the printers in my area today and they said that I need to be able to break apart the cards into groups so that I can create folders with specific fronts and backs of cards. Is it possible for you to break apart your files so that I can then separate them into individual cards and create my own folders.

    Thank you so much.

    Like

  7. Emmet, Maybe when breaking apart the files you could allow me the ability to change the way that Minister is spelled. Would that be possible as well?
    Thank you, Emily

    Like

  8. This re-skin is absolutely genius and beautiful. Would you be willing to make a couple of additional role card or provide the vector artwork so I could do it? I play with a more even split of female/male friends and would love to have Ginny and Luna cards.

    Like

    • Hi Abby,

      Glad you like it. I had a big long list of other characters to add like Fleur, McGonagall, and Luna but due to time constraints I had to prioritise my wife’s favourite characters. Do you have a list of characters and I’ll add a new page?

      Cheers
      – Emmet

      Like

      • I second Abby’s request for additional characters. If you find the time, I believe McGonagall, Ginny, and Luna are musts. After that, I think Dobby and One Eyed Moody would look cool in your art style. In addition an unnamed Death Eater in one of their masks would also look awesome in your art style. To fill the last spots on a page you could consider Fleur, Wormtail, and even Nagini (Voldemort’s Snake) might be fun and interesting to do as well. Thanks for your time and effort (including sharing) this great project.

        Like

  9. Hi Emmet,

    This is a wonderful project, I’m planning to make a copy for a gift. Two things:
    1) My friend went into illustrator and corrected the spelling issues (Minstry vs. Ministry) in the rules and the Name Plates, how do I get the updated PDF over to you so that they can be shared with others? I’d like to give my friend credit for the work, I’ll include his name in however you recommend I get the files to you.
    2) I want to get this printed professionally as a gift, but when I look at printers like GameCrafter, they require the player boards to be uploaded as images, not PDF. Is there a link somewhere of the individual items as PNGs so they can be uploaded? I have zero experience printing anything so if I’m missing something I apologize in advance.

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Hi Jason,

      1. I still haven’t gotten around to correcting the typos, to my shame! If you mail me in the contact tab above I’ll reply from my personal email and you can send them through there. Might be quicker if I just get off my ass and do it myself!

      2. If you email me I’ll send the player boards to you as PNGs, and then when I get a chance I’ll upload all the images to a shared drive aswell.

      Thanks, hope the gift goes down well!

      Like

  10. Wow Emmet! These look absolutely incredible and is what I have been looking to grab so I can get this game to the table.

    As an absolute noob to print-and-play, is there a guide somewhere on how to do it? I don’t need them looking “professional” per say, but the highest quality that I can manage (like your photographs).

    So which files do I use? How do I match the front and back of the cards? What card paper did you use?

    How did you get the boards and wooden name tags?

    The quality is incredible. Thanks so much for doing this!

    Like

    • Hi Joe,

      Glad you like the work! For print at home with the backs the simplest thing to do is use the file “Secret Voldemort – Print & Play with Backs”. All you should need to do is tick “Print on both sides of paper” in Adobe Acrobat when printing. This should do all the work for you, however some printers automatically put borders on when printing so this can cause misalignment. I recommend test printing a few pages first to see if it works, then make changes based on your printer.

      I got mine printed in a professional printers as it was a gift so I can’t really give much recommendation on at home printing. As I said I recommend doing some test printing first and then find some good quality thick paper or card that your printer can use.

      The boards themselves are actually printed on a board! I’d recommend maybe printing out these on paper and then trying to find some nice card stock or board that you can glue them to. The name plates are on a thinner laminate board that is just bent into shape, so just get card stock.

      When you’re happy with everything get a laminater and then laminate the cards to protect them during play. Keeps people from knowing what card is what role!

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you’ve any more questions
      – Emmet

      Like

  11. Great re-theme! I’ve been playing around to see if I can get these printed via BoardGamesMaker. Do you have the intended dimensions for all the final products by any chance? I tried measuring out the Secret Hitler components, but some of them are nonstandard sizes and I’m not sure if the files are meant to match components of identical dimensions anyway.

    If anyone ever manages to find an online service that’s able to get these printed reasonably, I’d appreciate any leads and instructions. I don’t have a lot of experience in this kind of thing, and figuring out a practical (i.e. not heavily DIY-reliant) process for getting higher-quality prints is proving a bit challenging.

    Like

    • I got my version printed over at the https://www.thegamecrafter.com/. It’s not terribly complicated, and It came out to about 30 bucks or so plus shipping. I had to make the Headmaster and Minister of Magic name plates myself though, (they refused to print the game with them because of copyright, but had no problem printing the game when I removed those files). What I did for the name plates was get some small wooden blocks from Michael’s (local craft store), and I did a photo transfer using mod podge. They came out to be decent with an antiquey look.

      The files needed to be resized, however, to fit the dimensions required by the Game Crafter. I did that on adobe Illustrator myself (I simply exported the images that Emmet created as a differently sized image according to the proportions that they require). I was able to do so with minimal stretching. It took some work to arrange and bring the product to life, but Emmet’s artwork made this all entirely possible, and I have an amazing game to share with my friends because of it.

      Like

  12. Great work, Emmet.

    I took a liberty and modified the files to line things up a bit, and take out the outlines on the backs of the cards, to eliminate unsightly lines. They’re up on boardgamegeek.

    Like

  13. Amazing! Excellent work!
    could You give me suggestion how to print the material? (paper size, dimension, etc..) in order to get a best work (like Your).
    One more question: there is any chance to get editable files for board and name plates? Just in order to translate in italian (just to make it “children friendly” ^^ )
    thanks

    Like

    • I had a similar need for a kid friendly version. Emmet was kind enough to share the fonts he used in a post above, so I edited the boards with the following changes:
      Crucio = Legilimens
      Imperio = Confundus
      Avada Kedavra = Stupefy
      Kill = Stun

      Like

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