I am really liking this game so far. I've just been having a hard time getting my head around the rules for Town Elder secrets, especially when they are evil. These rules are kind of spread out through different sections of the book.
I just went through the rules again, as well as the FAQ and the forums. So now I'm going to collect all the rules on this subject in one place.
Here is a link to another thread covering mostly the same information, but in a different format. That one is organized similarly to the rule book, whereas I tried to group things together by the order in which they happen. Hopefully both are useful.
Looking at Elder Secrets:
Competitive game: costs 2 Investigation.
Cooperative game: costs X Investigation, where X is the number of players.
Team game: costs X investigation, where X is the size of your team.
Some abilities allow you to "peek" at a secret for free, without revealing it.
In all cases, when you look/peek at an elder's secrets, you get to see all of them (and in fact you MUST look at all of them).
When to Reveal Elder Secrets: ("Revealing" an evil secret causes the elder to immediately become evil).
This is the most convoluted part of the elder secret rules. I use a capital R for Reveal to show that it is a game term with specific meaning. Think of it as meaning that the secret is Revealed to the townsfolk. In other words, if you show the card to your partner in a cooperative game, that does not count as "Revealing" the secret.
As explained below, sometimes you have a choice to Reveal a secret, and sometimes that choice is made for you. In all cases, you must make your choice immediately. If you decide NOT to Reveal a secret, you cannot Reveal it later (unless you use an ability or action that allows you to see it again).
If you paid Investigation to look at the secret (not a "peek"):
In competitive and team games:
1. If you paid to look at the secret, you get to CHOOSE whether to Reveal it or keep it secret
2. Exception: If the secret says "Reveal Immediately", then you do NOT have the option to keep it secet. It must be Revealed.
3. In team games, you can always show the secret to your teammates. This does not count as "Revealing" it.
In cooperative games: You MUST Reveal the secret if you paid to look at it.
If you "peeked" at the card, using an ability that says "without revealing":
In all game types:
1. You may NOT choose to Reveal it. The secret remains hidden.
2. Exception: If the secret says "Reveal Immediately", then you CHOOSE whether to Reveal it.
3. In cooperative and team games, you can always show the card to your teammates. This does not count as "Revealing" the secret.
When an elder is killed by any means:
Competitive and team game: do not Reveal secrets
Cooperative game: immediately Reveal all of that elder's secrets.
When an elder is chosen for the hunting party:
All game types: Reveal all secrets
When an elder is named in an accusation:
Competitive and team game: Reveal all secrets
Cooperative game: N/A. Accusations are not used in co-op games.
Effect of "Revealing" that an elder is EVIL:
In ALL game types, if a REVEALED secret shows that the elder is an Evil Elder, then flip the elder over, place him next to the villain, and DISCARD the rest of his secrets (even if they are "Good" ones).
When an elder is Revealed as evil, he is no longer a "Town Elder" -- you cannot investigate him, and any cards that refer to "Town" elders can NOT be played on this elder. (That includes Escape, Traitor's Blood and probably others.)
This means that in a co-op game, as soon as you look (not peek) at an evil secret, it is Revealed, and that elder immediately joins the villain. Likewise, as soon as an elder is killed in a cooperative game, his secrets are Revealed, and he will join the villain if evil.
As far as I know, there is no way to redeem an elder once he is Revealed as evil. If the secret is not Revealed, however, there are a few cards that may allow you discard the evil secret.
Comments? Is it right? Am I missing any important points?
This specific issue --- "revealing" Elders' secrets --- have kept our games twisted up in knots, also. I'm glad that you chose to address it here. By halfway through each game, half the Elders are dead and the other half are Evil; so far, nobody has ever taken a Hunting Party into their Final Showdown, so that is a vital element of the game that we are definitely missing out on. We have only played the Competitive game, so far, but we're going to adopt your interpretations, for now, and I'll get back to you on how it plays out. Thanks.