ATM Gaming is a small games startup from Munich. The focus of the previous games is on varied party games. Here we take a closer look at “Little Secret”, which has already won the “Spiel Grand Prix 2022”.

“Members of Her Majesty's Secret Service are organizing secret meetings in offices around the world. Access is only granted to those who know the correct password – the secret code. This was only communicated to the agents. Hackers and a journalist who want to gain access to Little Secret have mixed in with the agents," says the official description of the game. It's up to you agents to unmask the intruders without being suspected yourself.


Little Secret, by their own admission, is a game of word associations and bluffing. The game offers 17 missions in which you have to find out which person is responsible for the Agents heard and which person himself as Hacker or Journalist has crept in. 

Let's start with the Preparation. A person chooses one of the 17 missions and takes all the associated cards. The ticket ratios differ depending on the number of people. If you play with four players, you play with 3 agents and a hacker. If you play with six players, you play with four agents, a hacker and a journalist - the agents are always in the majority. 

There are four different cards in total, with the reverse side being the same. Only the Secret Code has the name on it so you can take the card out straight away. 

The different missions at Little Secret. Image: Nissel

The different missions at Little Secret. Image: Nissel

The agents and the hackers each have a card with ten terms. While the terms used by the agents are identical to the ten terms on the Secret Code card, the hackers have slightly different terms that are thematically appropriate.
Important: Neither agents nor hackers know which group they belong to.

The Journalist Card has no terms; the person must therefore improvise and orientate himself on the hints of the other persons. What is meant by this will become clearer if I now explain the rules.


A person randomly chooses a number and thus the word in question. Each person must now give a clue about this word. Remember: agents and hackers have different terms.
On the one hand, this word must fit the term so well that you are not suspected of being a hacker. On the other hand, it must not be too obvious, otherwise it will be easier for hackers and journalists to guess the right code.
It is important for journalists to guess the correct code, for hackers only indirectly. Knowing the code is of no use to them, but if they know the right code, they can also give very good clues and will not be suspected.

Briefly the the Clues. These may only be one word and of course not the secret code. Each clue can only be used once per game. 

Once each person has given a tip, it's a matter of exposing the hackers and journalists. Together you can discuss the clues and try to find out who the hacker or journalist is.
Now it also becomes clear why it is important to give good advice, i.e. not to give one that is too obvious, but also not too far-fetched. When you have discussed enough (you can also set a timer so that the discussion doesn't end indefinitely), there is a vote. The person with the most votes is eliminated from the game. 
In case of a tie between two people, a rock, paper, scissors duel decides. What happens next depends on who you kicked out:

  • Journalist: The journalist has a chance to guess the secret code. He announces his guess aloud and looks at the Secret Code card. If he guesses correctly, he wins and the mission ends.
  • Hacker/Agent: Look at the secret code and then announce whether you were an agent (same code) or a hacker (different code) - you are not allowed to guess the secret code. 

The mission ends as soon as all hackers and the journalist have been exposed or only two people are left. If the mission isn't over yet, continue from the step where each person says a clue. 

Points are awarded at the end of each mission:

  • All hackers and the journalist have been exposed? Then all agents get 1 point - even if they are eliminated from the mission. 
  • The hackers win if one of them has not been revealed by the end of the mission. Then each hacker gets 3 points.
  • The journalist wins if he was not eliminated or guessed the password after being voted out of the group. Then he gets 2 points.

special cards

From 6 people you can also play with special cards. These will be distributed to everyone in advance and laid out openly. The special cards give the respective person further abilities.

Character cards at Little Secret. Image: Nissel

Character cards at Little Secret. Image: Nissel

Opinion on Little Secret

Overall I really liked the game. I liked the thrill of giving good clues and finding out which clues are suspicious. I also think it's good that the roles aren't clear at the beginning, but are only found out as the game progresses.

With 17 missions, the game offers good game depth. Since you always play with a random term, you can also play missions multiple times - but you should allow some time to pass so that you don't remember which terms belong to which team. 

The preparation made small problems. You have to find out the number of hacker and agent cards at the beginning. Even if these differ in color and you can only try to see the edge of the table, it can happen that you catch a glimpse of a word or part of a word and accordingly see a word that you should not even know. However, this can sometimes be avoided by sorting the cards according to the terms on the far left or right, for example, and then omitting these terms when making your selection.

It has been shown that the larger the group, the more fun the game is. However, it becomes more difficult to find out the hackers and journalists with each additional person, as there was a large number of clues. The more clues there were, the more chances hackers and journalists have of guessing the correct word and adapting their clues accordingly.

When playing, try to ensure that each person is allowed to have their say. If you have quieter and at the same time very active people in the game, it may be that some dominate the argument and the quieter people can hardly defend themselves. If you care a little about it, that's no problem either. And that's not a problem that Little Secret has, but generally affects games that are discussed.

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Last updated on 2.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API