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Oct 06


I went to a Werewolf night recently. Werewolf is a game also commonly known as Mafia. The rules are simple and you don’t need anything to play it except people. Sly, backstabbing, two-faced, lying, shameless people. And the more the better.

Let’s say you have 12 people playing (plus 1 person who is the game’s “narrator”). You allocate, by some random, secret means, three people to be werewolves, and the rest to be villagers. The game has two phases, day and night. In the night time, the narrator gets everyone to close their eyes. The werewolves then open their eyes and by hand gestures, indicate to the narrator which villager to kill. The werewolves close their eyes.

The day phase starts with everyone opening their eyes. The narrator tells who was killed during the night – that person is then removed from the game (but spectating is quite fun). People then have to work out who are the werewolves. At the end of the “day” everyone votes. The person who receives the most votes is lynched. The identity of the lynched person is then revealed. The task of the villagers is to kill all the werewolves during the day. The task of the werewolves is to bring the villager population down to the same size as the werewolf population (during the night and by manipulating votes during the day).

Variants can be added in, with people being allocated “special roles”. For example, a seer is a villager who gets to wake up during the night and obtain the identity of a player from the narrator. The seer can then disclose this information in the daytime (although they are likely to die quickly that night). The other problem is that multiple people can then claim to be seers.

It kept us entertained for hours, was good for helping people remember people’s names and breaking the ice. At the start of the night the group was fairly hesitant and quiet, but by the end of it slander and accusations were being blasted about left, right and centre.

I just have to recount one game where I managed to thread the eye of the needle. There were 14 players including 2 werewolves and 1 werehampster (Jonathan, myself and Jo), 1 seer and 1 witch. On the very first day, the crowd sentiment disturbingly looked like it was turning towards Jonathan so on a whim I decided to vote for him, despite him being a fellow werewolf. Much to his chagrin, he was narrowly voted off with 4 votes. The loss proved to be a boon for me further down the track. In the second round, in an amazing case of bad luck for us werebeings, suspicions turned to Jo and she was voted off nearly unanimously (sensing the bloodthirsty atmosphere, I was forced to jump on the bandwagon). So there I was, 1 werewolf against 10 raging villagers. And to my surprise, I began to pick them off one by one. Suspicions never rested on me for very long because I could always point to voting against Jonathan and Jo. The other issue was selecting very carefully who to kill at night. Even when Simon developed an accusatory attitude towards me, I left him alone for several rounds at night. In the end, I managed to turn his seemingly wild accusations against him during the day, convincing the rest that his crusade against me was evidence he was a wolf. He was promptly voted off. I also tried to quickly kill off those physically closest to me so they wouldn’t hear me moving around at night. The other consideration was to kill off people who “vigourously” voted for someone else in the previous round – in the daytime you could then accuse that someone else of committing a revenge killing to shut up his or her “vigourous accuser”. In the end, it was down to three. I had enough trust at that point to be the person in the “pivot role” – with the other two people trying to convince me that they weren’t the wolf. All I had to do was confirm they were going to vote for the other person and my work was done.

But that destroyed my credibility for the night. In the next game I was unanimously voted off in the first round (I was a villager).

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