Monday, December 23, 2013

Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf


The Game: Ultimate Werewolf
The Publisher: Bezier Games
Time: 45 minutes or more
Players: Me, +Sarah Dyer+Ray Tomlin, Russell, Glen, Sarah Wise, John, Will, Alisdair, +Matthew Homentoasty

So, this game can be played with a deck of cards, and it's sometimes called "Mafia" and other things. The basic idea is: There are two werewolves, but no one knows who they are. Every night (round) everyone closes their eyes, and the werewolves wake up, choose someone to kill, and then shut their eyes. Everyone who isn't a werewolf is a Villager, though there are a number of other people to add in (common ones are a Seer, who can investigate one person per round and determine if they're a werewolf, and a Bodyguard, who can protect one person per round from death).

Intense discussion.
Each day, the moderator (me) announces who died, and then the Villagers discuss who did it and who they should lynch. If the Villagers kill both werewolves, they win! If the werewolves outnumber or achieve parity with the villagers, they win!

There are a number of different variations of this game; the most famous is probably the one from Looney Labs, which I've played. That's fine, but it's become a kind of weird gamer-culture thing, and it's played very differently than I'm used to. For instance, apparently listening for movement during the night is considered cheating, but it's very much been the way we've played (and honestly, if you're not doing that, then what are you basing arguments for who to lynch on?).

This version of the game also includes a lot of other roles, including Lycan (a Villager, but reads as a werewolf if the Seer investigates), Hunter (if killed, shoots someone of his choice), Troublemaker (once per game can choose to have a day have two lynchings) and Ghost (dies the first round, but thereafter can write one letter per round).

Opinions: I personally enjoy this game, but I like being the Moderator. If I play, I find I get lynched quickly because I talk, and talkers get viewed with suspicion. Being able to lie well doesn't help you if everyone always thinks you're lying regardless. It's a good party game, but it's a game that you have to help people learn, especially when they're drinking, otherwise they give themselves away.

"I'm totally a werewolf. Ssh."
Keep? Yep.