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One Night Ultimate Werewolf» Forums » Variants

Subject: Feedback on a simple variant / BSG retheme rss

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Greg Wilson
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So, I'm trying to put together a quick simple hidden-role game that can be played during in-character during a Battlestar Galactica LARP. Resistance would be ideal but is too long and involved. I think a stripped-down One Night Werewolf game might work.

Here's what I've got; it's basically the original ONW with a few tweaks.

3 players: Cylon, Sleeper, Oracle, Crew (1 role in the middle)
4 players: Cylon, Sleeper, Oracle, 2 Crew (1 role in the middle)
5 players: 2 Cylons, Sleeper, Oracle, 3 Crew (2 roles in the middle)
6 players: 2 Cylons, Sleeper, Oracle, 4 Crew (2 roles in the middle)
7 players: 3 Cylons, Sleeper, Oracle, 5 Crew (3 roles in the middle)

Cylons see each other
Oracle looks at one player's role
Sleeper looks at the middle roles and takes one

With this setup there's no possibility of zero Cylons, or of a Cylon majority, so that removes the need for the circle-vote mechanic.

Does anyone think this version loses anything vital? Switching the Thief for the Sleeper means nobody else is switching roles; does this break anything?

Also, are there any other roles from ONUW that you'd consider worth including, either because they're a lot of fun or fit the theme really well?

Thanks!
 
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Leif The Lucky
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The robber and the troublemaker are an integral part of the game. It's important that werewolves are never 100% certain that they are still a werewolf and their buddies are still actually on their side.

Without thief or troublemaker, all werewolves will just claim villager, and unless the seer happened to see a werewolf, it's entirely random who wins. So, they may not be as thematic, but they're vital villager roles.

Sleeper shouldn't get to look at all central cards. Only one, and they're stuck with it. Seeing all the cards gives too much info.

Doppelganger could be sympathizer or new recruit.
Insomniac could be Beta test subject.
Hunter could be ported over easily (sniper or marine).
Tanner could be suicidal rogue cylon.
Masons could be childhood friends.
Minion could be insane traitor.
Drunk could be drunk (or just re-name drunk to sleeper, since sleeper agents think they might be human, but aren't sure).

Being a villager is boring after the first few plays. The more roles, the better. I've played with all of these roles, and each has a highly fun, unique strategic place in the game.
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Greg Wilson
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VikingJ wrote:
The robber and the troublemaker are an integral part of the game.


Must admit, I didn't realise until I looked at the roles that the Ultimate version had both the troublemaker and the robber as core roles. Original just had the thief, right?

VikingJ wrote:
Sleeper shouldn't get to look at all central cards. Only one, and they're stuck with it. Seeing all the cards gives too much info.


Fair enough, I probably confused that with the thief from regular werewolf.

VikingJ wrote:
It's important that werewolves are never 100% certain that they are still a werewolf and their buddies are still actually on their side.

Without thief or troublemaker, all werewolves will just claim villager, and unless the seer happened to see a werewolf, it's entirely random who wins. So, they may not be as thematic, but they're vital villager roles.


Yeah, this is my concern. I'm having trouble justifying a role that turns humans into Cylons and Cylons into humans thematically, but I'm not sure if removing the switched-roles possibility ills the game. Human-Cylons and Cylon-Humans could be sympathisers and rebels, but who causes that change?

Unless I go meta and have a 'Phantom' role, reflecting the ref team's invisible red-clothed NPCs...
 
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Leif The Lucky
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BlackSheep wrote:
Yeah, this is my concern. I'm having trouble justifying a role that turns humans into Cylons and Cylons into humans thematically, but I'm not sure if removing the switched-roles possibility ills the game. Human-Cylons and Cylon-Humans could be sympathisers and rebels, but who causes that change?


It might work if you theme it this way: your initial role is who you think you are based on your initial information, and your final card is what you truly are. I.E. your initial information may be wrong. The thief and the troublemaker represent additional information coming in about who the roles actually are.

This has the potential to be slightly confusing to new players, though, so I'm not sure I can recommend it, but at least it's more thematic.
 
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Greg Wilson
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So how does this look?

3P+1: Sleeper, Cylon, Phantom, Oracle
4P+1: Sleeper, Cylon, Phantom, Oracle, Crew
5P+2: Sleeper, 2 Cylons, Phantom, Oracle, 2 Crew
6P+2: Sleeper, 2 Cylons, Phantom, Oracle, 3 Crew
7P+3: Sleeper, 3 Cylons, Phantom, Oracle, 4 Crew

Cylons see each other
Oracle looks at one person's role
Sleeper takes a role from the middle and looks at it
Phantom may switch two other people's roles

The Phantom being on the human side doesn't make much sense, mind.
 
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Greg Wilson
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Or as an alternative, Sleeper counts as a Cylon only if there are no Cylons in play? So kind of a cross between Drunk and Minion.
 
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Leif The Lucky
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BlackSheep wrote:
So how does this look?

3P+1: Sleeper, Cylon, Phantom, Oracle
4P+1: Sleeper, Cylon, Phantom, Oracle, Crew
5P+2: Sleeper, 2 Cylons, Phantom, Oracle, 2 Crew
6P+2: Sleeper, 2 Cylons, Phantom, Oracle, 3 Crew
7P+3: Sleeper, 3 Cylons, Phantom, Oracle, 4 Crew

Cylons see each other
Oracle looks at one person's role
Sleeper takes a role from the middle and looks at it
Phantom may switch two other people's roles

The Phantom being on the human side doesn't make much sense, mind.


I worry that the set-ups with only a few players don't have the strategic depth to really appeal to new players, especially players who are already nerdy enough to watch BSG and go LARPing. I recommend testing it first with a group who already enjoys the original game, and see if they think it's as good as the original.

If the purpose of the fluctuating number of center cards is to simplify the game by avoiding the circle-vote, I wouldn't bother with it. The circle vote is a fairly simple, straightforward mechanic, especially if you explain it at the end of the teaching time once everyone understands the rest of the game. The idea that everyone might agree not to lynch makes sense, both intuitively and thematically.
 
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Leif The Lucky
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Also, the center cards are there to add variety to the game. This way, you can play with the same starting cards and never know what's in play. With your three- and four-player variants, everyone knows exactly what's in play: the only question is which card wasn't activated. And the sleeper knows that, and has little reason not to tell.
 
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Greg Wilson
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VikingJ wrote:
I worry that the set-ups with only a few players don't have the strategic depth to really appeal to new players, especially players who are already nerdy enough to watch BSG and go LARPing. I recommend testing it first with a group who already enjoys the original game, and see if they think it's as good as the original.


Given the original game had four roles, I reckon four or five should be plenty for a casual version.

But yeah, I think messing with the centre roles might be restricting things too much. Of course, that's kind of the point, since I'm trying to avoid the no-Cylon/Cylon-majority situations, but having the same specials in play every time isn't good either. I'll have a think.
 
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BlackSheep wrote:
VikingJ wrote:
I worry that the set-ups with only a few players don't have the strategic depth to really appeal to new players, especially players who are already nerdy enough to watch BSG and go LARPing. I recommend testing it first with a group who already enjoys the original game, and see if they think it's as good as the original.


Given the original game had four roles, I reckon four or five should be plenty for a casual version.

But yeah, I think messing with the centre roles might be restricting things too much. Of course, that's kind of the point, since I'm trying to avoid the no-Cylon/Cylon-majority situations, but having the same specials in play every time isn't good either. I'll have a think.


Some of the best games I've played were five player games where the doppelganger copied a werewolf, and there were now three werewolves to two villagers. Since there are two roles that can shuffle cards, it's not a guaranteed victory for them, and they still manage to lose half of the time.

No-werewolf games are rare, but when they occur, they can still make for a compelling game, since villagers are not necessarily telling the truth at first, and so conflicts may arise. There's still paranoia (maybe someone is lying!) but sometimes we manage to all win together. And that's a cool feeling.

The circle-vote mechanic has also been used in our group as a tool by the villagers. For example, we had a seer who lied about who she looked at and pushed for a circle-vote. Werewolves (and everyone else) agreed. When we voted, she changed her vote at the last second to kill a werewolf and unexpectedly win. It's a very useful tactic that'll make the werewolves a little more wary of a circle vote, and thus balance the game away from that in the long run.

So, my opinion is that these are two very compelling possibilities that you're trying to eliminate. Part of the uncertainty is in not knowing how many agents are out there trying to bring you down. Harness that uncertainty.
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Greg Wilson
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For the record, I did end up going back to this and put together a set for a BSG-themed party. However, we still didn't end up getting a chance to try it out. The card set I wound up with was:

2 Cylons (wolves, with lone wolf rule)
4 Crew (villagers)
Oracle (seer - look at one player card or one centre card)
Sleeper (take a centre card and look at it)
Amnesiac (drunk - take a centre card without looking at it)
Phantom (combined thief/troublemaker - either swap your card with another player and look at it, or swap two other players without looking)
Visionary (insomniac - look at your card at the end of the night)
 
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