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Dr Martha McGill

Witch Hunt 1649

‘woe be to seditious tale-tellers, to lying lips ... It is upon such wicked instruments that the great God hath promised to rain fire and brimstone’.

Simon Grahame, 1609

Scotland, 1649. The last decade has seen bouts of warfare, outbreaks of plague and seismic political upheaval. The kirk (church) is keen to stamp down on sinful behaviour, and witch trials are gathering pace…

Lying Lips is an easy-to-learn, fast-paced game with two phases. In the trading phase, players swap assets, aiming to collect particular combinations. Meanwhile, gossip about witchcraft spreads around the village, represented by the dangerous Rumour card. Holding on to this card gives you a chance to control the village’s narratives and seize victory, but it’s a risky strategy! In the trial phase, players take on roles. Can the trial commissioner and jurors identify the scandal-mongerer?

Lying Lips reflects the importance of words in the witch hunts: accused witches often had a reputation for slandering or cursing others. Optionally, the second phase of the game can be used as a framework for a role-play of a trial, which may be particularly relevant in teaching settings. There is more guidance here.

Read the full rules or download / buy the game. For discussion of how far the game reflects historical realities, see historical context.

Key points

Players: 3-6 or 8

Age range: 14+

Time: 15-45 minutes

chicken (2)


8 Character cards
9 Win Conditions cards
1 Rumour card

Lying Lips also reuses some of the Asset and Black Mark cards from The Dregs of Days.