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Shadow Hunters - Board Game Box Shot

Shadow Hunters

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Anime Board Game Character Shadow HuntersYou are a Shadow, a creature of the night, or a Hunter, a human whose job is to destroy supernatural creatures, or a civilian, a normal human just caught in the middle of this ancient battle. But your identity remains secret until someone outs you through your actions and through Hermit cards or you reveal yourself to use your special ability. The key to victory is to identify your allies and enemies early.

Once your identity is revealed, your enemies will attack without impunity using their special abilities like Demolish, Teleport, and Suck Blood or equipment cards such as the Rusty Broad Ax or Fortune Brooch. This ancient battle comes to a head and only one group will stand victorious – or a civilian, in the right circumstances, might claim victory.


shadow hunters game board

shadow hunters game componentsShadow hunters game character cardShadow Hunters Anime Characters


Shadow Hunters is a great game for a large group of players.

images © Z-Man Games Inc. / Editions du Matagot

User Reviews (8)

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I play purple
Football Fan
Movie Lover
32 of 33 gamers found this helpful
“A fast and fun group co-op & secret identity game”

In our board game group, this has been played more than any other game in the past several years and I have easily played it 100+ times. The reasons are simple: we often have ~8 people available who want to play a tabletop game that won’t take much time to learn (or play), is social and has cooperative elements, yet also has some strategy where individual decisions affect the outcome.

I won’t rehash the prior reviews, but I will emphasize key points. You can learn this game in 5 minutes and often we teach how to play by just initiating playing and explaining the game and options as they arise. There are occasionally times where a FAQ is referenced regarding individual character special abilities, but overall new players pick it up quickly.

The game is best with 8 players where you get all 3 shadow and 3 hunter characters in play plus 2 random neutral characters. With this setup the team or character who wins has been most even. The Werewolfe and Vampire shadows are the most powerful individual characters, but Daniel (a neutral) often can tip the balance in favor of the hunters. Emi (hunter), Bob (neutral), and the Unknown (shadow) are the weakest characters of each group and we have often removed Bob from even being a possible draw. Any time a neutral character meets his/her win condition without anyone else winning at the same time is very memorable. Allie is the easiest neutral to win with (she just has to be alive when the game ends), but can be boring for some; though it’s very amusing when the peaceful school teacher goes on a killing spree against other characters to help the game end faster.

There isn’t much deep thought in this game outside of early deduction of figuring out who is who, and the enjoyment of the game will usually be directly related to how much you enjoy the company of those you play with. The most important decision made is often deciding when to reveal your character and start using his/her special ability.

As I hinted above, there are many areas for improvement. Foremost would be improving the components: getting color pieces that are more easily distinguishable on the board (pink/red/orange/yellow become a mess), using a more readable font on all of the cards especially the hermit cards, and having a more clear damage scale on the game board. While there is a single expansion of 10 more new character cards, I’m surprised there aren’t more cards and characters overall as this is the main source of variety in multiple plays.

While only a few players love this game in our group, most folks enjoy playing it 1-2 times each month as a way to interact with a larger group. If it gets overplayed, the luck factor of dice rolls get annoying, or it becomes dull, we move on to similar, if not superior, deduction co-op games like Werewolfe and Resistance. Still, I heartily recommend it for your next game night especially when you want a break from the longer or more complex games available.

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5 Beta 1.0 Tester
Advanced Grader
39 of 41 gamers found this helpful
“The more the merriest.”

On its surface, Shadow Hunters is about finding your allies and killing your enemies, but there are subtle nuances in playing some of the Neutral characters.

At first the game seems complex, but most of the complexity comes in the characters’ special abilities and win conditions.

They say the minimum players is four; I wouldn’t recommend playing with less than five. This is definitely a game that gets better as you add more players.

My main complaint is in the coloring of the Yellow and Orange tokens. In anything other than sunlight or white electric light, the tokens look almost identical, leading to accidentally moving the wrong token on the hit point track or location cards.

Identities are dealt out in secret, so at the start of the game only you know who you are. Through play, mostly by use of the green Hermit cards, players will learn about each other and make educated guesses about whom to attack.

Players may also voluntarily reveal their identity at any time to use their special abilities. Here the game is weighted slightly toward the Shadows, as their abilities are reusable, once per turn, whereas the Hunters’ special abilities are mostly Once Per Game. To compensate, the other aspects of the game seem weighted toward the Hunters, with some Neutral characters having “all shadows are dead” win conditions.

One of the things I really enjoy about this game is that winning is not necessarily exclusive. Just because the Shadows won doesn’t mean no one else can. Most Neutral characters can share in the victory no matter who wins. Hunters and Shadows also win or lose as a team. If the Shadows manage to kill all but one Hunter, but that Hunter manages to kill all of the Shadows, all the Hunters share in the victory.

The first game can take up to an hour as new players learn the game, but subsequent games should go faster. Experienced players have a slight advantage over new players because they have a familiarity with the characters and what their abilities are. This does not unbalance the game and new players quickly gain an equivalent familiarity to remove that advantage.

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25 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“'Bang!' with a magical twist and some evil-things-lurks-in-shadows.”

I don’t really own Shadow Hunters, BUT I’ve played it dozen times in a board game cafe. So out of the hundreds of board games I could’ve choose to play, when would I be playing Shadow Hunters?

Well, Shadow Hunters is a good game and I would recommend anyone to play or try it at least when…

1) You have a large crowd of friends with you (6-8 people?, normal board games usually accommodate 2-5 players).

2) You are sick of guns and would like to play something similar to Bang! with elements of magic and fantasy (and vampires).

3) You have people who are new to board games and you don’t want to bore them to death explaining all those rules in WoW:Board game. You want them to get into the game and let them experience the fun and wonders of board games. (A.K.A easy to learn rules, just in case you missed the point)

4) You like a fast paced game because you know your gang will not be hanging around your place for more than 2 hours.

5) You want a game that is exciting with a lot of backstabbing.

6) You want to play a game that is not too mentally challenging (Power Grid comes into mind, well it’s taxing for me. Don’t judge me! D:<).

7) You love card games, anime and fantasy. This is the game for you.

While the art at the front casing of the game is impressive, I can't say the same for the artwork of the cards. It's not bad, but I've seen better (Seasons, Android…etc. I know, I am spoilt. =( ). For some reason, the way the cards are designed also reminds me of Yugioh, so not much points on creativity there from me.

As for the game play, if you have played Bang!, this game is very easy to learn. Like Bang! this game has 3 factions (with Bang! having 4); shadow, hunter and neutral. How do you win this game you ask? In a nutshell and as the name of the game suggest (Shadow Hunter, duh), if you are a hunter your winning condition is to kill all shadows and if you are a shadow, you are supposed to kill all hunters. Only the neutral characters have different winning conditions. Each player keeps their faction a secret unless he or she, dies or uses their hero abilities. So at the starting of the game, no one knows which player is from which faction (which makes the game exciting and interesting).

So how do one player guesses another player's faction? Well, one thing notable that Bang! doesn't have in this game is the green Hermit card. The Hermit cards are special cards you use to identify the identity of other players. With this card, you can avoid friendly firing your own members to death (happens all the time in my group. Apparently their definition of 'fun' is accidentally of killing your team mates, sigh). These cards contains things like, "if you are a Shadow, wink your left eye twice" (well not written exactly like that, but you get the idea).

Personally, it is a good game overall but not a great one. Don't get me wrong, you will definitely enjoy it but it is not a 'MUST BUY' sort of game; if you get what I mean. But should anyone offer you a chance to try this game, by all means, try it. =)

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Gamer - Level 6
Asmodee fan
Count / Countess
38 of 42 gamers found this helpful

I like deduction games. Nay, I love them! Especially if they’re nicely made. Shadow Hunters falls in between somewhere, whereas it’s not fantastic nor is it bad. It’s good.

As the title says, there are both Shadow players and Hunter players. In addition, you’ll find neutral players. In order to win the game you need to fullfill the requirement of your specific character. Shadow players need to eliminate all hunter players, and vice versa. The neutral players all have their own specific win condition.

But no one knows who is who! You only know what you are. Health tracking is done on the games board which states when some characters die. The problem is, you only know the color of the other players. But there is hope in finding out who they are.

The hermit can foretell what they are. A card might say “Lose 1 health if you are a shadow players.” If you give this card to a player and he doesn’t lose a health, then you know he’s either hunter or neutral. No one else knows, because they didn’t know what the card says. That also goes if he did lose a health; he’s shadow.

The game goes around several rounds and it’s more of an experience than a game. The game opens for a lot of accusations and blame-pointing. And in the end, someone wins.

If deduction / party games doesn’t suit you, then this game won’t fix that. It’s fun for what it is, but I don’t find it hitting the table a lot.

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Advanced Grader
Novice Reviewer
23 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Who's side are you on?”

My friend had this game sitting in his car and he kept hinting we should play it. The thought of playing an anime looking game wasn’t very attractive to me so I kept pushing it off for other games we were familiar with. Well one day we gave in and needless to say, we ended up ONLY playing this game.

For those of you who haven’t read other reviews, it is very similar to Bang, where you hide your identity to the group and try to fish out your allies and enemies. There are two main sides, which are Shadow Hunters and Shadows. Then there is the wild card, which is the Neutrals. Shadows and Shadow Hunters primarily just need to defeat the other side, while Neutrals mainly have their own alternate motives which tend to confuse the group from finding the opposing side. Each character has a special ability that is caused by different triggers, but each character is unique.

The game board has locations, which mainly give you cards but they also have abilities to do things to other players. This also determines your ability to attack other players as well.

Like Bang, you get cards that are either equipment to buff you, heal cards, damage cards, and even trap cards that do bad things to you. However, an added card type are Hermit cards, which are secret cards between the player who obtains it and the person they hand it to. These hermit cards hint towards people’s identities, so that you can start picking your battles.

I actually prefer this game over Bang, for the fact that there is more mystery in who everyone is (depending how everyone plays). The game doesn’t drag, and has a quick flow to it once you understand the rules and people who die usually don’t have to wait that long for the game to finish unless there is some lopsided circumstance. It’s a very social game that doesn’t take very long and it has lots of backstabbing :).

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21 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Quick paced and fun”

Shadow Hunters is a game where you don’t have a lot of sitting around time. It’s a quick pace that keeps everyone included 100% of the time. It’s certainly about nuances, but it’s also quite a simple game to pick up. It’s more about reading people. Gotta have a good poker face and fast hands to win this one.

Once people find out who each person is (or starts guessing) things can get a little brutal! But that’s the fun. No matter how close you are to losing, someone else can always end up dead first. The competition level is a big draw for me. You really can’t predict the out come if you have some great players with this one.

Quick set up, easy to play again, and fun to play again because each character has different goals for you to accomplish.

Remember, dying doesn’t always mean losing in this either!

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I'm a Player!
6 of 15 gamers found this helpful
“Who is on your team?”

I enjoy games where you need to figure out who is on your side, and your characters (eventually) need to cooperate.
You’re a Shadow, Hunter or Neutral, and everyone has their own victory conditions. (I was a Neutral.) Then you get weapons and special abilities, and figure out who is who, then attack them, etc.
I tried to be sneaky, and mislead everyone about what I was … they thought I was a Shadow for a while. Then my cover was blown, and things fell apart quickly. I also did not use my special character ability (self healing) until a bit too late. So, crunch, bang, bash, I was down.

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5 Beta 1.0 Tester
US Army Service
8 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“Best multi Player game out there”

When you have numerous people at a table and still want to keep gameplay moving this is the game. Brilliantly handles large groups without everyone getting bored waiting for turns. A must for any large gaming group.


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