TableTop Game Review: Ultimate Werewolf
I found out about today’s game, Werewolf, from one of the best sources of all: a teenager. In fact, right now, this game is very popular with the teens that I know. It’s kind of a cross between the old school room classic Heads Up 7 Up and a role playing game. I’ve also been told that it’s a version of another game called Mafia, which I am unfamiliar with.
The premise of Werewolf is simple: All of the players in your game live in a village that is being attacked by werewolves. You want to eliminate – which means identify – the werewolves before they kill all the villagers.
Here’s a brief how to on YouTube:
And here’s a breakdown of the game on How To.
Please note: This game need a large number of players to be played. We recommend 10 or more. So from a library perspective, you’re going to want to play this in a meeting room.
You are going to hand out cards to each player. At least 2 of those cards will be werewolf cards. There will also be one seer, who can ask to identify one character each round. The remaining cards will be villager cards. There are additional cards you can add, but this depends on how many players you have. For example, you can have a priest or doctor card which allows the priest or doctor to heal one person once during the game.
The game operates on a day and night cycle. During the night cycle, the werewolves will identify the next person in the game that they want to kill and the seer will ask the moderator the identity of one player. During the day, the players will nominate people to kill in hopes that they are killing the werewolves and not their fellow villagers.
There is a moderator that oversees the game. The moderator controls the flow of the game. They will tell everyone during the night cycle to go to sleep and everyone lowers their heads. You can have participants tap on their legs or something to help provide a bit of noise coverage. The moderator then says, “Werewolves, open your eyes” and the werewolves choose someone who they want to kill. They are then told to go back to sleep and the seer is awoken. It is here that the seer will find out the identity of one person of their choice. Without revealing anyone’s identity, the seer tries to help sway choices regarding who is killed or saved during the day cycle. The moderator will do this routine every night cycle until either all the werewolves or all the villagers are eliminated.
It is now day time, and the moderator will awaken all of the players. The moderator will tell the player that has just been killed by the werewolves that they are no longer in the game. Players will then nominate a player to be killed, hoping that the player they are choosing is a werewolf. Once all the players agree on a player with a majority vote, that player is also killed. So each round two players are eliminated from the game.
The key to a successful Werewolf game is that players must keep their identities secret. The second key to a successful game is a good moderator. For example, even if the seer or other special characters are eliminated, the moderator will pretend to keep waking them up during the night cycle so that the remaining players don’t know which identities have been eliminated.
If all the villagers are eliminated and only a werewolf remains, the werewolves win. If the villagers identify and eliminate all of the werewolves, then the villagers win. I recently played with a group of around 11 tweens and teens and the werewolves won every time.
This game was a lot of fun and easy to play. And remember, it was the teens themselves that told me about this game so it already has a teen endorsement. It’s quick, easy, fun, and there isn’t a lot of set up.
More Table Top Game Talk at TLT
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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