A mind game
Werewolf a Mind Game Werewolf is a simple game for a large group of people (seven or more.) It requires no equipment besides some bits of paper and you can play it just sitting in a circle. I'd call it a party game, except that it's a game of accusations, lying, bluffing, second-guessing, assassination and mob hysteria.
Setup Assemble a group of players. An odd number is best, although not absolutely mandatory. There should be at least seven players; nine or eleven is better. Make up a set of cards, one for each player, with a role written on each one: • • • •
One "Moderator" Two "Werewolf" One "Villager (Seer)" All the rest "Villager"
You can also use playing cards; ensure there are enough red suited cards for the villagers then add two black suit cards which will be the werewolves. You can also add a joker to represent the seer. Shuffle the cards and hand them out, face down. Each player should look at his card, but must keep it secret. Only the moderator reveals his card and identifies himself to the group. (Alternatively, the group can choose a moderator in advance; the moderator then takes the "Moderator" card, shuffles the rest, and hands them out face-down.) Two players are now secretly werewolves. They are trying to slaughter everyone in the village. Everyone else is an innocent human villager; but one of the villagers secretly has the Second Sight, and can detect the taint of lycanthropy.
The Goal The villagers are trying to figure out who's a werewolf; the werewolves are pretending to be villagers, and trying to throw suspicion on real villagers. The seer is trying to throw suspicion on any werewolves he discovers, but without revealing himself to be the seer (because if he does, the werewolves will almost certainly kill him that night, since he's their greatest threat.) Of course the seer can reveal himself at any time, if he thinks it's worthwhile to tell the other players what he's learned. Also of course, a werewolf can claim to be the seer and "reveal" anything he wants. The only information the villagers have is what other players say -- and who dies. Accusing someone of being a werewolf is suspicious. Not accusing anyone is also suspicious. Agreeing with another player a lot is suspicious, and therefore so is pretending not to agree with another player. Never voting to kill a particular player is very suspicious for both of them -- unless it's the seer who knows that player is innocent.
Original game Sample Process: Night and Day (The following is the original game format for game variants see page 6) The game proceeds in alternating night and day phases. We begin with Night. At Night, the moderator tells all the players "Close your eyes." Everyone should. The moderator says "Werewolves, open your eyes." The two werewolves do so, and look around to recognize each other. The moderator should also note who the werewolves are. The moderator says "Werewolves, pick someone to kill." The two werewolves silently agree on one villager to tear limb from limb. (It is critical that they remain silent. The other players are sitting there with their eyes closed, and the werewolves don't want to give themselves away. Sign language is appropriate, or just pointing, nodding, raising eyebrows, and so on.) When the werewolves have agreed on a victim, and the moderator understands who they picked, the moderator says "Werewolves, close your eyes." The moderator says "Seer, open your eyes. Seer, pick someone to ask about." The seer opens his eyes and silently points at another player. (Again, it is critical that this be entirely silent -because the seer doesn't want to reveal his identity to the werewolves.) The moderator silently signs thumbs-up if the seer pointed at a werewolf and thumbs-down if the seer pointed at an innocent villager. The moderator then says "Seer, close your eyes." The moderator says "Everyone open your eyes; it's daytime. And (player name) has been torn apart by werewolves." He indicates the person that the werewolves chose. That person is immediately dead and out of the game. He reveals his card, showing what he was, and leaves it face-up. Now it is Day. Daytime is very simple; all the living players gather in the village and lynch somebody. The mob wants bloody justice. As soon as a majority of players vote for a particular player to die, the moderator says "Ok, you're dead." That player then reveals his card, and the rest of the players find out whether they've lynched a human, a werewolf, or (oops!) the seer. There are no restrictions on speech. Any living player can say anything they want -- truth, misdirection, nonsense, or bare-face lie. On the contrary, dead players may not speak at all. As soon as the sun comes up and the moderator indicates that someone is dead, he may not speak for the rest of the game. No dying soliloquies allowed. Similarly, as soon as a majority vote indicates that a player has been lynched, he is dead. If he wants to protest his innocence or reveal some information (like the seer's visions), he has to do it before the vote goes through. No player may reveal his card, to anyone, except when he is killed. All you can do is talk. Once a player is lynched, night falls and the cycle repeats. Everyone closes their eyes, the werewolves (or werewolf) secretly select someone to kill, the seer (if alive) secretly learns another player's status; then the sun rises, one player is found dead, and the remaining players begin to discuss another lynching. Repeat until one side wins.
Winning The humans win if they kill both werewolves. The werewolves win if they kill enough villagers so that the numbers are even. (Two werewolves and two humans, or one werewolf and one human.) At that point they can rise up and slaughter the villagers openly.
Game Play and Narrator Tips When everyone closes their eyes at night, it is best for people to also start humming, tapping the table, rocking back and forth, or some such noise. This will cover up any accidental sounds that are made by the werewolves, the seer, or the moderator. (Music can also be played in the background to add ambient noise.) The moderator should stick to the script to avoid mistakes or clues. If he says "Open your eyes, werewolves" instead of "Werewolves, open your eyes," a player may misconstrue the command before the last word. The moderator should be careful to always talk towards the center of the group. If (for example) he turns to face the seer when he says "Seer, select someone," the werewolves may detect the change in acoustics. It is really important that dead players not speak, and the moderator not speak outside his official capacity -- even to correct a blatant misstatement about a matter of record. (I've seen a game where one player -- a werewolf -- recited the history of the game up to that point: "X was murdered, then we lynched Y, then Z was murdered..." And he swapped two names, a nightmurder and a day-lynching, to confuse matters. It would be unfair for a dead player to say "Hey, that's not right, I was lynched!") There are several reasons to have an odd number of players (including the moderator): There will be an odd number of living players during each day, which prevents tie votes on lynchings; and the game will always end with a lynching. If there are an even number of players, you can get ties, and the game will end with a nighttime murder -- which is anticlimactic, because everyone knows when the sun goes down that the game will end at dawn. (Because the werewolves are certain to kill a human and win.) But more importantly, the humans' chances are significantly weaker when there are an even number of players (including the moderator.) This is probably because an even game always ends with a nighttime murder, and an extra murder is always to the advantage of the wolves; whereas an extra daytime lynching could help either side. This can be resolved by starting the game with a day phase instead of night. (The Narrator could say the village suspects werewolves are among them and mass hysteria has set in. The villagers, compelled to act, have chosen to hang someone.)
Narrator Script (Script for original game format, game variations are on page 6) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It is night. The Moon is full. Everyone, close your eyes. Werewolves open your eyes. Werewolves choose a victim. The werewolves silently agree on and gesture towards the player they want to kill. The moderator silently confirms them. Werewolves close your eyes. Seer, open your eyes. Seer, point at someone. The moderator gives the seer a thumbs up if the indicated player is a werewolf, and a thumbs down if he or she is a villager. Seer, close your eyes. The sun is rising the night is over. Everyone open your eyes and see that (personâ€™s name) has been devoured by werewolves. The moderator points at the victim who reveals their card and says nothing for the rest of the game. Villagers, select one person to lynch for this killing. Once the villagers reach a consensus the lynching victim reveals their card and says nothing for the rest of the game. The game then continues from the night phaseâ€Ś -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Game Variants Apparitions (Note this variant typically works best in groups of 9 or more. Also this variant has yet to be tested thoroughly.) One common criticism of the original game is that once a player has been killed they are out of the game entirely. Apparitions attempts to solve this problem by keeping the dead players in game, longer. Once the first night and day have passed both players that have been killed (one by werewolves and the other by lynching) become spirits. Whether they were villagers, seers or werewolves it doesn’t matter, they all become spirits when dead. Spirits have roles similar to the seer only they can not communicate with the living villagers in any way, be it verbally or physically. They also do not take part in village debates on whom to hang. Rather like the seer, spirits are allowed to question the narrator during the night phase and ask if a player is a werewolf or not, to which the narrator must indicate with a thumbs up or down if the person is a werewolf. The only time a spirit can help the villagers is when the villagers decide to call an apparition for assistance. The villagers can only do this ONCE per game, and they can only call upon ONE spirit as an apparition. In addition, the apparition is called randomly. So if 4 people have been killed, only one of the spirits is randomly selected to help them. Apparitions can be selected by cutting a deck of cards amongst the spirits, (the highest card being the apparition) a roll of the dice etc… Here is how the process works with spirits; during the first night and day phase two people are killed, one by the werewolves and the second by the lynching. On the second night the narrator calls the werewolves as usual to select their prey, once done the werewolves then close their eyes. The narrator then asks the seer to open their eyes and select someone to ask about, once done, the seer then closes their eyes. Next the narrator asks the spirits to open their eyes, the narrator then asks THE LAST PERSON HANGED to pick someone to ask about. The narrator indicates if that person is a werewolf by showing thumbs up or down. It’s important the spirits not communicate with one another in any way, verbally or otherwise. The spirits that were killed earlier can only observe the “new” spirit ask the narrator about someone. This process is repeated for every night phase after the second night. (Remember the game begins on night 1) It’s important that only the newest spirit be able to query the narrator about another living player. Since the “new” spirit has no way of knowing who was asked about by “older” spirits they could potentially ask about the same person multiple times. Or, for all the new spirit knows they could be asking about someone the older spirits hadn’t questioned the narrator about. This helps vary the power of the spirits as a group each game. It’s also important to highlight the dynamic the spirits posses. When calling an apparition the villagers must consider the median “age” of the spirits, the older the spirit the more knowledge it collects. The first person killed is the oldest spirit and theoretically has collected the most knowledge due to having seen the most questioning of the narrator by subsequent spirits. But the longer the villagers wait to raise the apparition the less likely it is they will be able to ask the oldest spirit for assistance since there are now more spirits to be randomly selected (and the spirit group also potentially contains a werewolf spirit(s)). It becomes a delicate balance of when to call the spirit in relation to how much knowledge the spirits have collected.
Calling an Apparition Apparitions can be called by the villagers for guidance during only ONE day period per game. A majority of the villagers must agree to call an apparition for assistance during the daily debate. The narrator then randomly selects one of the spirits as an apparition. The person selected as the apparition can then point once, and only once at the person they choose to accuse. (They can point for as long as they want but once their arm goes down that’s it.) The apparition can not do anything other than point. They can not verbally or physically communicate with ANYONE in any way. They can’t nod, point repeatedly, move their eyes, hum, talk etc… Once the apparition has been called the spirits are no longer part of the game and they must observe the remainder of the game without saying a word. (If new people are killed after the apparition has been called they simply are out of the game, the do not become spirits.) The villagers must then decide if they take the apparitions advice and lynch the person in question. The apparition can raise some interesting questions for the villagers to consider: “Older” spirits that are apparitions would likely have more time to discover the werewolf’s identity, but how good is their information? If the apparition was once a werewolf, do you trust it? If the apparition is someone that was killed last round do they know enough to be helpful? Additional Note If the combination of seer and spirits is too difficult for the werewolves to overcome, then modify the game so players do not reveal their identities once they have been killed. This will make the villagers much more dependant on the spirits and seer for guidance since they will not know if the person killed or lynched was a werewolf, seer or villager. The narrator should still call the seer and spirits out every night, even if the seer has been killed. This way the villager’s won’t be tipped off the seer is dead. There is a narrator script for the Apparitions game variant on page 8.
Other Variants and Enhancements •
Don't use a "Moderator" card; instead, put in one more "Villager" card. Then have an extra Day phase at the beginning, where the lynched player becomes the moderator. Advantage: Everyone gets to introduce themselves and start casting suspicion around, based on no information whatsoever. (Since it's before the first night, not even the werewolves know who each other are!) Disadvantage: It's possible for the moderator to be a werewolf or seer, which starts one side off with a handicap.
If there are a whole lot of players -- say, seventeen -- it might be better to add a third werewolf. I have not experimented with this, so I don't know. Of course at that point it's also possible to split into two separate games.
In order to prevent discussions from going on forever without getting anywhere, the moderator can set a specific time limit on each Day, at the end of which a vote is taken to decide who should be lynched.
For very large groups playing Apparitions, villagers could call an apparition more than once.
Narrator Script for Apparitions It is night. The Moon is full. Everyone, close your eyes. Werewolves open your eyes. Werewolves choose a victim. The werewolves silently agree on and gesture towards the player they want to kill. The moderator silently confirms them. Werewolves close your eyes. Seer, open your eyes. Seer, point at someone. The moderator gives the seer a thumbs up if the indicated player is a werewolf, and a thumbs down if he or she is a villager. Seer, close your eyes.
If this is the second night phase or the spirits are still in play do the following; otherwise skip this portion. Spirits open your eyes. The last spirit lynched point at someone. The moderator gives the seer a thumbs up if the indicated player is a werewolf, and a thumbs down if he or she is a villager. Spirits close your eyes.
The sun is rising the night is over. Everyone open your eyes and see that (personâ€™s name) has been devoured by werewolves. The moderator points at the victim who reveals their card** this person says nothing for the rest of the game.
If the villagers decide to call the apparition and the spirits are still in play do the following; otherwise skip this portion. First randomly select one spirit to become the apparition. Apparition point at the person you want to accuse. The apparition can only point it can not give any other signs or communication of any kind. Once the apparition accuses someone the remaining spirits are out of the game, anyone who dies from this point on is also out of the game. They must silently observe until the game finishes.
Villagers, select one person to lynch for this killing. Once the villagers reach a consensus the lynching victim reveals their card** and says nothing for the rest of the game. The game then continues from the night phaseâ€Ś ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------** See additional note on page 7, optional rule: players do not reveal their identities after death.
Appendix of Sources Note: the game is also called “Mafia” the rules are the same but the roles have different names. http://www.eblong.com/zarf/werewolf.html (Most of the material in this guide is from the site above; credit goes to Andrew Plotkin for it’s writing).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia_(game) http://www.princeton.edu/~mafia/ (The link above has many variations on the original game, worth a read if you want to mix things up)
http://www.geocities.com/soonger/taiwan/mafia.html http://wolff.to/bruno/werewolf.html For more Google “werewolf party game” or “mafia party game” etc… The edited guide you see now and the Apparitions game play variant were created by Pierre Lemoine. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Feb 2007.
Published on Apr 22, 2012
A mind game -1- • One "Moderator" • Two "Werewolf" • One "Villager (Seer)" • All the rest "Villager" Assemble a group of players. An odd num...