The year is 1692, and it is a perilous time to live in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. One wrong step, or one misplaced accusation, and you could be the next witch to hang. "Salem" takes players into this perilous world and lets them re-live the tension, politics, and religious extremism that still has people talking about it 300 years later.
The game is packaged in a faux book box that closes magnetically. The game, disguised as a worn out leather book, can easily hide on your bookshelf and masquerade as an antique.
Players can play as prominent villagers from the old Salem town, and even read their bios in the instruction manual. The servant girl Mary Warren, pastor Samuel Parris, farmer John Proctor, storyteller Tituba, and beggar Sarah Good are some of the 12 characters featured in the game.
Players, each acting as one of these unique characters, are given 3-5 Tryal cards (depending on the number of players). These Tryal cards reveal the true identity of each player, "Witch" or "Not a Witch."
During gameplay, players gather cards that they use to accuse, or defend, other players. Deciding who to trust is key to survival, since you can never play a card on yourself. When you suspect someone to be a witch, you can begin accusing them with red accusation cards. When enough accusations have been placed on one of the players, the player who lays the final accusation chooses one of that player's Tryal cards to reveal. Once all "Witch" Tryal cards have been found, the villagers of Salem win.
Players can also use green and blue cards such as "Alibi", "Stocks", "Matchmaker", "Asylum", and "Scapegoat" to help or hurt their allies or enemies.
As players draw cards, they will eventually draw black cards that take immediate effect. One black card, "Night", forces all players to close their eyes while the Witches choose someone to eliminate, the Constable chooses someone to potentially save, and the Spy chooses a Tryal card to look at. The other black card, "Conspiracy," forces all players to take a face-down Tryal card from the player to their left. Killing witches quickly is essential, otherwise "Conspiracy" may soon have the whole town turned evil.
Before long, accusations will be flying, and screams of "She's a WITCH!" will wake the neighbours. Will you be the hero who purges your town of witches, or will you be wrongly accused and hung for witchcraft? Or perhaps you will be a witch yourself, escape conviction, and bring Salem to the ground.