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Subject: Playing with kids? rss

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dennis bennett
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does anybody here have any experience with playing this game with kids?
I recently explained the rules to a 9 year old. He understood the basic rules and was able to play along, but he seemed to have serious problems grasping the actual "purpose" (or strategy?) of the game. The whole deduction/bluffing thing seemed to be over his head...
He just kept claiming roles because he thought it was "fun", not because it actually allowed him to deduce anything or even win the game.

Any experience here?
From which age onward would you guess is this game playable by children?
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Robert Stewart
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dennisthebadger wrote:
does anybody here have any experience with playing this game with kids?
I recently explained the rules to a 9 year old. He understood the basic rules and was able to play along, but he seemed to have serious problems grasping the actual "purpose" (or strategy?) of the game. The whole deduction/bluffing thing seemed to be over his head...
He just kept claiming roles because he thought it was "fun", not because it actually allowed him to deduce anything or even win the game.

Any experience here?
From which age onward would you guess is this game playable by children?


I'd have to say it depends on the child.

You need a developed theory of mind, which puts a minimum age at about 4-5 years old (where children can distinguish between what they know about a situation and what someone else falsely believes about it).

I was about 7 when I analysed Cluedo in terms of what the questions you ask tell other players, so I'd say I was probably capable of "getting" ONUW at that age, but I could be giving younger me too much credit.
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Goo
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My 10 year old is in 5th grade. Not only does she play well, but she takes her copy to school and plays at recess with other 5th graders.

On the flip side, I played with an advanced 7 year old recently and it didn't work at all. He understood the mechanics but not the "game."

Your 9 year old is probably there or almost there. It might take a few plays, but I'd bet he'll be up to snuff in no time.
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dennis bennett
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thanks!
well, i wouldn't try and play the game with a kid much younger than 8 or 9 anyway (regarding the whole "theory of mind" thingy...).
The kid i played it with had actually only just tunred 9 the other day. I'd guess he's a bright kid (at least he doesn't have any problems with the school curriculum, he has god grades and all that). I just think he's not quite at the age yet where he's capable of seriously seeing all the angles and strategies within a game.

I can't actually remember playing anything similar at that age (not sure if mastermind and scotland yard count?).

I'd love to teach this game to a group of kids and watch them play. could be quite insightful...

does anybody have experience in playing basic werewolf/mafia with kids?
 
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Ted Alspach
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It will depend on the specific kids, and oftentimes, their exposure to "real" games that they've played so far. My kids were playing werewolf with adults at 6 and 7, but they've kind of grown up with it, and had watched several games without taking part prior to playing...and that's really the key there (at least for most kids). Having them watch a few games first, especially if they know who is who (they keep their eyes open during the night phase) can be enlightening for them, and prepare them well for playing.

I've watched small kids play and have a great time, but some kids definitely are playing to "play at" the game, inventing their own internal rules and having fun by lying just for the sake of lying, not because it helps them win at the game. The kids tend to ALL have a great time, but the adults involved might get frustrated.
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dennis bennett
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toulouse wrote:
It will depend on the specific kids, and oftentimes, their exposure to "real" games that they've played so far. My kids were playing werewolf with adults at 6 and 7, but they've kind of grown up with it, and had watched several games without taking part prior to playing...and that's really the key there (at least for most kids). Having them watch a few games first, especially if they know who is who (they keep their eyes open during the night phase) can be enlightening for them, and prepare them well for playing.

I've watched small kids play and have a great time, but some kids definitely are playing to "play at" the game, inventing their own internal rules and having fun by lying just for the sake of lying, not because it helps them win at the game. The kids tend to ALL have a great time, but the adults involved might get frustrated.


Good point, the kid i introduced to ONUWW had an absolutely amazing time! He loved it! but then, i've not really met anyne yet who didn't have a great time playing it... Seriously, even people who don't like the basic concept of hidden roles and bluffing/deduction enjoy the experience of playing it.
 
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Ronster Zero
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I've had this issue with adults.....



Of course they had never played games like this just were not sure what to do and never really understood the subtleties.
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Denis Begin
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My seven year (girl) old begs to play this game and the ten year old girl across the street thinks it's the best game she has ever played. The length makes it ideal for younger players. When questioned why she likes it so much my seven year old replied "because you get to lie in this game".
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Andrew Paterson
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My 9 year old likes the game, and is pretty good at it. My 7 year old gets it as well. The 4 year old gets the game (if he isn't too tired), but likes to cheat.
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dennis bennett
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Droo wrote:
My 9 year old likes the game, and is pretty good at it. My 7 year old gets it as well. The 4 year old gets the game (if he isn't too tired), but likes to cheat.


That is awesome!
Do you feel playing with your kids affects the way YOU (or other grown ups) play the game?
Are your kids capable of generating their own theories about who's a werewolf and why they must be one?
Can you discuss strategies and theories with them about the different roles and their effect in the game?
What other kind sof games do your kids enjoy/play well?
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D.M. Jones
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gjira wrote:
My seven year (girl) old begs to play this game and the ten year old girl across the street thinks it's the best game she has ever played. The length makes it ideal for younger players. When questioned why she likes it so much my seven year old replied "because you get to lie in this game".


I think this nails an important point. Not only do the kids need to be able to understand the game mechanisms and strategy but they need to understand that the game operates in a 'lie-friendly' domain. This is probably not something all kids will grasp immediately and it may take a few plays to 'get.' The domain change might require some adjustment. Interestingly I think this domain shift is also a huge part of the fun.

I think ted is also right that it is impossible to give an exact age as kids develop different abilities at different times. As a general age I think this probably starts to work with kids around the 8, 9 or 10 age range. By 11-12 most kids should pick it up quickly. Actually I saw a YouTube video of a family playing numerous games of this. The youngest boy at the table seemed like he was probably one of the strongest players there. He was constantly putting pressure on the other player through lies and making good deductions. His main weak point was that he couldn't handle being put on the spot himself and he would reveal too much that way. But that is something he can learn. Seriously, he's gonna be a ONUW beast once he gets to where he can control his tells under pressure.

In short, I think most people will get better after getting a few plays under their belts. Pre-teens can probably handle the game but may find having an adjustment period even more helpful.


Cheers
 
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Paul S
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My 10-y-o tonight played really well. Where he misses the idea is e.g. at the outset, when he asks too many questions of the "remind me again how this role works" - or, more likely, groans that he has a Villager again.

Once over that sort of meta-issue, he can now play not just well, but with a good sense of deriving clues from comments made.

So I'd say 10 is a good point for WW play.
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D.M. Jones
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Video of the gaming session I mentioned before:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnBSXVDSDkc

The youngest kid in this game plays really well. Actually, he makes some really imaginative moves to put pressure on the other players. His real problems seemed to center around controlling his facial expressions and dealing with the fact that he was playing with his mother (which, understandably gives her extra leverage over him).

It was a pretty interesting session to watch.

Cheers
 
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Clyde W
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Beloch wrote:
My 10-y-o tonight played really well. Where he misses the idea is e.g. at the outset, when he asks too many questions of the "remind me again how this role works" - or, more likely, groans that he has a Villager again.

Once over that sort of meta-issue, he can now play not just well, but with a good sense of deriving clues from comments made.

So I'd say 10 is a good point for WW play.
You can always just exclude Villagers from the rolesets you pick! I played some amazing 4p games this evening with the roleset:

Wolf
Wolf
Minion
Tanner
Robber
Troublemaker
Drunk

So good! So much lying.
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Paul S
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Clyde, we did exactly this last night, and loved it!

Villagers are now strictly an optional extra.

Thanks for the input.
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Clyde W
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Wolf
Wolf
Minion
Tanner
Robber
Drunk
Hunter

That's another good one!
 
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Barry Cake
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My kids are obsessed with this game and they are 5, 7 and 9. When we stayed at their cousins (5 and 9) they would all get up and play it together without adults. And they are brilliant at it - they took to the lying and bluffing scarily quickly!
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Gary Boyd
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It's funny that you asked this question, because we just played Werewolf with my 10 year old son last weekend at our FLGS. He loved it and can't wait to play again. In our first game he was the first elected Sheriff and he was lynched the first morning.

In our last game he was the fortune teller (I thought he was a werewolf). I was just a villager. He could have saved me but he saved his potion to save himself later. I gave him a hard time about it afterwards (jokingly of course). That night, when I tucked him in for bed, he said: "Sorry I didn't save you when I was the fortune teller."

It was a great experience.
 
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Mr Punter
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Just got this last week and started playing with my 6.5y/o and 4.5y/o. We spent the first handful of times with my younger kid "playing" along with my wife before jumping in.

My kids are now clamoring to play it at any opportunity and thanks to the short nature of the game we've squeezed in games at random times.

We play with the app and that adds to the fun for them, but also makes the role rules less of an issue as the app clearly spells out what they can do (most of the time this works fine though sometimes my youngest still gets confused). We also keep the discussion short, usually 2 mins.

My oldest "gets it" and while not the greatest liar, he's had some success as the werewolf winning the odd time. He's also reasonably involved in the discussion

My youngest isn't as successful but she still enjoys it. She chips in with her info and hasn't quite yet worked out the deception side.

What it really boils down to is a battle of wits between my wife and I to convince the kids to do our bidding. This is fun for us, though my wife holds slightly more sway with them then I (Grr!)

Obviously it would be nice to have 4 equal players, but we still get a kick out of playing.
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