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Subject: Next generation of werewolf? rss

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Nushura
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Disclaimer: I got a prototype copy of the game from the designer. We have given feedback and plan to continue doing so. As such, we are emotionally invested in the game. Take this into account when reading the review.

Quick summary: Like many others, I played many versions of the werewolf game. Starting in the early 80s with the basic villagers/werewolves version and along the years I have been trying many variations. In my opinion, the two games that brought a big improvement were Resistance (removing the need of moderator) and One night Ultimate Werewolf (compressing the game to a much shorter span and reducing the player count).

In short, I believe that this game has the potential to be a new generation of the werewolf game. It has all of the good things of the previous games and introduces a lot of new features

Game overview: As usual, it is human vs werewolves. In the beginning there is only ONE wolf and the objective is to kill all other humans or make them into werewolves as well. If by the end of the game there us one human alive humans win. Otherwise, werewolves win.

The game is played with a deck of card consisting of five types of cards:

(i) bite: if you ever hold 3 of these in hand you become a werewolf. Even if you get rid of them afterwards
(ii) charm: cancel bite cards one for one. So you can hold 4 bites and two charms and still be a human
(iii) wound: three of those and you are dead
(iv) salve: cancel wounds (like charms but for wounds instead of bites)
(v) other special cards

As you can imagine, bites and wounds are more frequent than charms and salves. In each round (or day phase), you reveal a card from the top of the deck and give it to another player. Then next player does the same, and so on.

After a few cards have been passed around comes the night phase: you pick one card to send to each of your neighbors and receive one from each of them. You shuffle both cards and look at them at once, so you are not clear on who sent you which card. After three night phases (or roughly 30 cards/5~10 minutes) the game is over. If there is still a human that has not been killed nor transformed into a werewolf, then the humans win. Otherwise, the werewolves win.

The key point is that humans cannot send bite cards away during the night phase (werewolves can and often do so to make other players join their team). An easy rule-of-thumb is that humans will get rid of their wound cards whereas wolves will send out bite cards. Of course, like in all of these games people will bluff and double bluff to obtain their victory!

Note that I skipped many details, like for example that every night there is a special event... but the overall picture of the game is there.

Current status of the game I was low on the details of the game because I expect them to change. As mentioned above, the game is in playtesting phase. However, the core rules (as described above) are fixed. The tweaks that are needed are to adjust the density of bite vs charm cards (similar with wound vs salve), adding/changing the powers of special cards, and so on.

What is there to like? This game brings quite some new ideas that I find interesting:

-No boring roles: even though this idea was known before (for example in ONUW: Daybreak), in this game it feels much better implemented. All players (except one) start as humans and thus they all have the same information. It does not feel that the werewolf has a lot more to start with (since his task is harder). Over time more and more information is spread, but it feels very even (since most of it is public)

-No long discussions: In order to win at the game you do not need to find out who is on which side: you only need to keep a human alive (if human) or give "weapons" to your allies that are close to other humans (if you are a wolf). Because of this, the game does not lead itself to long discussions about who did what. One of my groups does not like the deception that is inherent in this type of games and they still liked it. You can play with little or no lying around (one of the groups I played with liked it this way).

-Possibility of a long game night: one of the special (v) cards is a "coin" that is simply 1VP if your team wins. That way you can play several rounds of the game and have an overall winner (say, when someone gets to 10 VPs). It also gives interesting decisions (you can give VPs during day as "bribes" to other players and during night as "bluff" for humans having no wounds) This goes very well with the next point.

-Highly expandable/customizable. I played a "bare bones" version with few type (v) cards. The designer said that he had in mind several "packages" of 10 cards or so that can be added into the game as desired. By adding/removing the expansions I assume you make the game deeper and/or more replayable with cool combos that can upgrade the game from a "filler" to a "main event" of a gaming night.

Like many other werewolf games it is also portable and easy to teach, so it will be a staple in my backpack for the foreseeable future. If you like this kind of games make sure to give it a try. As of this writing the game designer is still looking for playtesters...but if you read this later look for a PnP or the upcoming kickstarter.
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Joey V

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Very nice review! There is a print and play version available for free at:

[EDITED WITH NEW LINK]
https://tinyurl.com/GROWLlowink

If anyone else would like to write a review, please do so!

joey
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Nicolas Reta
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cannibalkid wrote:
Very nice review! There is a print and play version available for free at:

http://growl.launchrock.com

If anyone else would like to write a review, please do so!

joey

I wntered my email and full name, but didn't received any link, but was asked to follow on facebook instead. There is no print and play, not even if you register.

Not sure if an error, or ill intentioned clickbait. I will be more careful on the future when following BGG links.
 
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Joey V

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retax7 wrote:
cannibalkid wrote:
Very nice review! There is a print and play version available for free at:

http://growl.launchrock.com

If anyone else would like to write a review, please do so!

joey

I wntered my email and full name, but didn't received any link, but was asked to follow on facebook instead. There is no print and play, not even if you register.

Not sure if an error, or ill intentioned clickbait. I will be more careful on the future when following BGG links.

The print and play is now here:

tinyurl.com/GROWLlowink

It is available on the top of the Kickstarter page as well. I also uploaded it to the files section of BGG - not sure if it was approved or not. [EDIT: yes, it is in the files section]

I had to pull that print and play off the launch site because it had out of date rules and cards.


joey
 
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Nicolas Reta
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Thank you very much!! I will try to print it and test it and give a review as soon as possible. I'm sort of very busy this month, but I will give my feedback as soon as I am free to test it.
 
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Andrew Corvin
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Just got my copy yesterday, just in time for an afternoon of gaming!

Had a lot of fun with it, and it's a decent comparison to Werewolf (I'm less experienced with/fond of the other variants you mentin).

I'm really looking forward to playing with the expansion that makes the dead players their own faction; one that can even potentially win the game.

The only thing I think you might want to note is that it's possible to start with two or even more werewolves depending on the number of players, at least in the current edition. We had eight people, which necessitated two starting werewolves and a "Sniff" at the beginning in which the werewolves identified each other.

I do have a question, assuming Joey is reading this thread still:
During the Sniff, should all the werewolves identify themselves, or just the starting ones? As the manual reads it's possible for additional players to become werewolves due to receiving three bite cards (not that I know anyone that happened to...), which occurs before the Werewolves identifying each other. Actually, the way the manual is written I'm assuming it is indeed -all- werewolves, not just the initial ones. I'm kind of curious as to what went into that decision, as it obviously makes things easier for the wolves.
 
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Nushura
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doniago wrote:

I do have a question, assuming Joey is reading this thread still:
During the Sniff, should all the werewolves identify themselves, or just the starting ones? As the manual reads it's possible for additional players to become werewolves due to receiving three bite cards (not that I know anyone that happened to...), which occurs before the Werewolves identifying each other. Actually, the way the manual is written I'm assuming it is indeed -all- werewolves, not just the initial ones. I'm kind of curious as to what went into that decision, as it obviously makes things easier for the wolves.

I am not Joey, but hopefully my answer helps you: the rules never distinguish between a wolf that became one because of 3 bite cards or because they are a starting one. I would say that all open their eyes.

In any case, it is such a rare case to happen (I never saw it myself) that I would not worry much about it.
 
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Joey V

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Nushura wrote:
doniago wrote:

I do have a question, assuming Joey is reading this thread still:
During the Sniff, should all the werewolves identify themselves, or just the starting ones? As the manual reads it's possible for additional players to become werewolves due to receiving three bite cards (not that I know anyone that happened to...), which occurs before the Werewolves identifying each other. Actually, the way the manual is written I'm assuming it is indeed -all- werewolves, not just the initial ones. I'm kind of curious as to what went into that decision, as it obviously makes things easier for the wolves.

I am not Joey, but hopefully my answer helps you: the rules never distinguish between a wolf that became one because of 3 bite cards or because they are a starting one. I would say that all open their eyes.

In any case, it is such a rare case to happen (I never saw it myself) that I would not worry much about it.

CORRECT. Wolf Zero has a starter bite card and/or received 3 bites as their 3 cards added to the starter card. Once the first sniff happens, there are no other sniffs, so newly converted wolves won't get to know what is going on.

The old reviews only played up to 7 players, the final published game now allows up to 10 players, which is why old reviews will reference things that seem odd.
 
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