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Dr Martha McGill

Witch Hunt 1649

‘We are come to the dregs of days, where it is counted virtue to point out the imperfections of our brethren’.

Zachary Boyd, 1629

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…

In The Dregs of Days, players take on the roles of neighbours in an East Lothian village. Players are allied in pairs, so gameplay blends competition and cooperation.* The aim is to develop your holding (home) by buying assets. Let your welfare or reputation drop too low, or get convicted of witchcraft, and it’s game over!


Fate cards give players scenarios to navigate, while assets can be used defensively or to attack other players. Optional Story cards offer additional historical context, and each game will feature at least one witch trial, in which accused players try to defend themselves against damning allegations. Gameplay is straightforward while still being moderately strategic. Be prepared for unruly livestock, belligerent neighbours and tales of Satanic orgies, brought to life through colourful quotations from historical records.

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

*Alliances do not feature in 2-player games, and are optional in 3-player games. In games with an odd number of players, one player will be unallied.

Key points

Players: 2-7

Age range: 14+

Time: 10 minutes/player

goose (2)


7 Character cards
60 Asset cards
36 Fate cards
24 Black Mark cards
7 Welfare/Reputation/Defence tracks
13 Story cards
2 Coin cards

You will also need small tokens.