Are You a Werewolf?
How to Play Are You a Werewolf?
The Are You a Werewolf? Game
When you're balancing out the cost of a game versus its playability, you sometimes notice a balance issue. How many times have you dropped quite a bit on a game that features all of the bells and whistles, only to discover that it is such a hit on time and brainpower that you only want to play it occasionally? With Are You a Werewolf? you'll spend hours, play unending amounts of games, and the cost is low. (It's only $4.98 on Amazon at the time of this writing.) I've even seen people make their own Werewolf decks so they can play with more of the variants.
Are You a Werewolf? is a party game that needs at least 4 players, but it only heats up when you have 6 or more players. It's been called names like Mafia, Witch Hunt, and Traitor, but the premise doesn't change. There are werewolves (or mobsters, or witches, or...) in your town, and you have to find them. With the help of a seer, you have only limited knowledge of what is happening. All you know is that every night, somebody dies, and the werewolves are to blame.
How to Play Are You a Werewolf?
Learning how to play Are You a Werewolf? takes very little time, and it isn't hard.
The first thing that needs to be done is decide who is going to be the Narrator. This is the person who sets the stage for the game, tells everyone when it is time to move onto the next phase, and keeps track of how long everything is taking. They don't get to play, but they do have complete omniscience of what is going on which can be even more fun than the game itself.
The Narrator then distributes cards that tell the players what their station is. Most of the players are townsfolk, one player is a seer, and two or more players (depending on how many players you have) are werewolves. The players read their cards privately, and they keep them safe so that nobody can sneak a peek.
Then the Narrator sets the stage. Depending on her dramatic flair, she might lay out a long and detailed plot about how the town has been in distress since chickens and cows had started disappearing. Before everyone went to bed though, they had no idea the horror that was to befall their little home. If she isn't dramatic, she might just say something like, 'Night falls, go to sleep.' The players all then hide their eyes.
Then the Narrator asks the werewolves to wake up, make eye contact with him, and go back to sleep.
Then the narrator asks the seer to wake up and make eye contact with him.
Now the werewolves know who their partner in crime is, the Narrator is aware of who is playing which part, and the game is set for murder.
Are You a Werewolf? Instructions
The rest of the game is a series of rounds, where the townsfolk start discussing who they think the werewolves are, the werewolves try to seem like innocents, and the seer tries to impart any knowledge they have while avoiding saying that they are the seer. The first round in any game tends to be a bit more chaotic than the following ones, but that's all part of the fun.
At the end of each 'day' - the townsfolk vote somebody out for being suspect. In some variants the character then reveals himself, but for a more difficult game says nothing. They are officially out for the rest of the game.
Then the Narrator states again, "Night falls, everybody goes to sleep." As before, the players all drop their heads, but this time when the werewolves are asked to awaken, through subtle gesture, they decide on a player together. When the seer opens their eyes, they also gesture to someone, to which the Narrator gives them a thumbs up or down. A thumbs up is a signal that they have figured out who one of the lycanthropes are, but even a thumbs down is useful, because they know that it's somebody they can trust throughout the game.
Everybody wakes up, the Narrator tells the townfolk which one of them was killed in the middle of the night, and now the seer should be trying to lead the innocents towards who to trust. All of this goes on while the werewolves try to remain undetected. Another day, another vote out, another night falls, and this continues until the only ones left are the townsfolk or the wolves.
Are You a Werewolf? Strategy
Here are some examples of Are You a Werewolf strategy:
No Drama - This is a conversational game created to stir dissension amongst your friends every time you play. Make sure that nobody takes this sort of thing personal, as it isn't hard for good friends or even marriages to break into argument over accusations that can come out of Werewolf. There will be another game in fifteen minutes, so it's bad form to hold any sort of personal grudge above anybody's head, plus it makes everybody else uncomfortable.
The Seer's Gambit - The seer is really the only character in the game who is given any true insight into the motivations of the players. The catch 22 of being the seer is, if you reveal that fact too quickly, you will become the next night's werewolf chow. The only instance that using your seer card is when the werewolves (or dumb townsfolk) have chosen that you are to be the one ousted from town before bed. Many a seer have saved a town by announcing their powers. A good werewolf could also do this, though.
Follow Patterns - The strategies of Werewolf are much closer to poker strategy than they are to a game like 7 Wonders or Civilization in that they are largely social strategies. Pay attention to how people react when someone is accused. Does one other person ALWAYS come to their rescue, or agree with the accuser? Many times, especially with new players, one werewolf will take point, and another will lead and play quiet. Keep an eye on who is the alpha and who is the beta for a leg up on who has been howling into the night.
Are You a Werewolf? Variations
The version of the game I've been writing about is the one you can get from the Looney Labs cardset, but there are a near infinite number of variations of the game. Most add another character or faction of characters to gameplay. This sort of thing makes it a little harder for the Narrator to keep track of and tends to need more players, but makes the game that much more fun and intricate.
The Paladin - During the night phase, the paladin is awakened and chooses someone to protect. If the werewolves try to kill them, it doesn't work. If the paladin can figure out who the seer is, the combination of their powers can be dire for the wolves.
Lives - If you are playing with a smaller group of people, allowing players to have two 'lives' means they will all stay in a little longer. This also means that it's a little harder to kill the wolves too, though.
The Public Seer - A final variant of the game has the Narrator announce the seer's findings. "The seer has discovered a werewolf!" This is just another confusing factor for both the townsfolk and the werewolves alike to use to sow dissent amongst their peers.
I've probably played Are You a Werewolf? at least a hundred times, with any of the above variants and more. New players will always balk confusedly at first, but by the end of the game they will be asking to play again. The larger the group, the more intense the game can get, so if you have a party with nothing to do, break out your Are You a Werewolf? cards and start hunting.
Werewolf Game Websites
Any number of Werewolf game websites exist. The game has been produced commercially in multiple editions with multiple titles and variations. Below I've included a list of what I think are the most interesting and helpful sites about Werewolf:
Also, it should be noted that the original name of the game was Mafia. The author of the first website on our list is the one who had the idea to use a werewolf theme while playing the game.
Copyright 2007-2011 Board Games Pub - All Rights Reserved