by Nicholas Hjelmberg

Glasnost is a social deduction game with the classic concept of hidden identities. Three different teams have three different and contradictory objectives and the deduction comes not only from the table talk but also from the movements on the board. Respond to the Party crises according to your personal objectives and try to identify your secret allies for an instant victory but beware - a purge will cost you influence and may lead to the fall of the Soviet Union!


  • Time: 40-60 min (incl. rules)
  • Players: 4-12
  • Language: English (the game itself is language-independent - only the player-aids and flavour texts are English)

You play a Party member in a totalitarian regime facing grave crises. Each crisis can be resolved through reforms or repressions but each Party member has his or her own secret objectives.

Each Party member is either a Reformist, a Repressionist or a Nationalist. To win an instant victory for the Reformists or the Repressionists, you must perform a coup and name all your faction members (no more, no less). If you fail, the opponent faction may perform a countercoup. Too many failed coups (depending on the player count) award the Nationalists the victory.

If the game ends before a Faction victory, Party Members score VP for policies according to their personal objectives instead, e.g. Yeltsin wants to repress the Economy and reform the Security. The Party members with the most VP share an ”End game victory”.

The players take turns to play the following phases:

  1. Seat: Play a seat token next to two Crises.
  2. Vote: If all seats are occupied, play a secret vote for a policy (Reform/Repress).
  3. Purge: If the vote is not unanimous, play an open vote to purge a Party member and have his or her seat token removed.
  4. Coup: Optionally perform a coup by naming your faction members.


The game ends either through a Faction victory or if no seat token can be played, in which case an end game victory decides the winners.

Glasnost features not only two secret teams with opposite goals but also a third team that wants both to fail. There is also a spatial element, whereby players may observe and draw conclusions from which crises the other players choose. Lastly, the victory condition to name all other team members offer rich opportunities for bluffing and double-bluffing.

About the designer

My name is Nicholas Hjelmberg and I have been a hobby gamer since childhood. Starting with classic games like chess and RISK, I moved on to explore "American" games like Diplomacy and Civilization and then "Euro games" like Settlers and Tigris & Euphrates. Combining my game experience with my history interest and IT and quality profession, I have entered the exciting world of board game design and production. I have designed 30+ boardgames and this will be my second participation at Fastaval, following last year’s game Politeia.