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Subject: How to play Werewolf where all eyes are open? rss

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Victor L
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My wife wants to do a Mystery/Murder party game on her birthday. So, with roughly 20 people coming, I'm planning a game of Werewolf. (Is there any other choice?) It will be the first time playing for me and for all other guests.

Since it's tough for a group of 20 partially intoxicated non-gamers to "go to sleep" in an orderly manner, I'd like to play the game where all eyes are open. Here is my plan so far. I'd like some feedback and suggestions, please.

Role Selection
I will play with villagers, werewolves (alpha, beta, etc.), and the Seer.

After all guests have shown up, I will randomly assign roles to them. I will call each guest into a separate room and tell them their role. At this time, I will also inform the Werewolves of each other.

Day Phase
Each player will have a white and a red chip. Guests will mill around like any other party. Hopefully, they'll be figuring out who to kill off. After a specified time, players must give their white chip to another player as a nomination for the hanging. The top two nominee defend themselves. Finally, the players use their red chips as their final vote.

Dead players can nominate but do not participate in the final vote. They only have a single white chip.

Night Phase
I will call each guest into a separate room. In the room, I will simply chat with the regular villagers. The Werewolves, on the other hand, will vote for their victim. If there is no majority pick by the Werewolves, then the player chosen by the highest-ranked Werewolf gets killed. Also, the Seer will find out if another player is a Werewolf.

Additional Considerations
Besides the eyes open aspect of the game, I also want to make sure that there is no way guests can screw up and reveal their role. There will be no cards and no other way for guests to prove who is who. Only, I, as the moderator, will know all the roles.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Sounds like it should work, but it also sounds like you will be doing a lot of work for it. Is there someone else (spouse, SO, friend), who can help out with the normal business of hosting a party for 20 people (making sure food and drinks are available and cold/warm as needed, showing people where to put coats and purses, etc, etc.)?

It would also be cool if the dead people had some additional role, but I can't think of what it would be...
 
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Brian M
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I hate to sound voice of doomy, but are you sure this is a good idea? In my experience, Werewolf is really tough for a group of new players to 'grasp' - you need several experienced players to drive the game forwards, otherwise people just get confused and wonder what to do.

The actual Murder/Mystery party games can be a lot of fun...
 
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Forest Cole
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Hey, I'm in Texas, how come I'm not invited?
 
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Victor L
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Quote:
In my experience, Werewolf is really tough for a group of new players to 'grasp'


Does anyone else think that Werewolf may be tough for new players to grasp?

Personally, I feel a "classic" Murder/Mystery party game may be just as tough to grasp for those who haven't played one before.

I have been to a Murder/Mystery party once. Everyone was assigned a certain character and had to say certain things to other people. By the end, I had no clue who the murderer was and neither did any of the other players (not even the murderer herself). One person got the murderer right with a lucky guess. The murderer's motive was so convoluted that it felt like a cheap mystery novel.

I feel like the time of the "classic" Murder/Mystery party has passed, especially for the younger crowds.

Some of the reasons I'm leaning toward Werewolf for my party include:
1. It costs $0.
2. It is re-playable. If people like it, we can play it again. Or, we can play it at a future party.
3. I'm growing a gaming group, and playing Werewolf may help. It will weed out potential gamers from the rest. It may also invigorate the gamer inside a non-gamer.
 
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Eric Jome
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vxl119 wrote:
Does anyone else think that Werewolf may be tough for new players to grasp?


No. Basic Werewolf is very easy to understand.

But your plan really has too much wandering between rooms, extra rules for voting, and too much work for you.

The only tricky thing with Werewolf is having the werewolves pick a victim without the rest of the villagers see who they are when they do the picking. And the Seer guess who the werewolves are.

To do this with eyes open, I would just give each player a little pad of paper. At night, I would ask all players to write their name and the name of someone else on the paper and turn it in. You would just alternate turns for the werewolves; as you know who they are, you would announce the victims each day.

The same process could be used for the Seer. Note that each turn, all players only turn in one paper with the name of another player on it during the night phase. The Seer is asking about werewolves. The werewolves are picking victims. Everyone else is just covering for the others.

This plan strikes me as being easier to maintain. You run the days as normal with a show of hands and all.
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Mike Wong
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Victor,

Perhaps you should make your plan a back-up plan if you think it will be chaotic. Just simply say it's night time and ask them to close their eyes and see if that works. It would save a lot of effort on your end and make it a much faster and more enjoyable game for you and the guests, being your first time playing. Once everyone starts debating, you will want to keep the debating and voting SHORT. Those who are dead will quickly become bored/impatient and roam around the room and may not want to play again.

Every couple of weeks, I regularly have 14-20 people over and we play Werewolves of Miller's Hollow a lot. I used to have 8-11 people come over for the game and that was fun, but our very first time with 20 people was NOT enjoyable by everyone. It took an hour for the game I think (dead people don't like to wait) and it was chaotic. The next time we played with 18, we tried it one more time and we found we just had to keep the game short and when it came to debating, I as moderator would give 1-2 minutes MAXIMUM time. We now enjoy it with 12-20 people and no longer enjoy it with 8-10! The more the merrier!

You, as moderator, must keep the game going, not allow it to drag, keep the debating short, and maintain control of the group (i.e. eyes closed, eyes open). This will keep the tension going, not bore the dead people, and allow everyone to play about 3 werewolf games in an hour once you get the hang of things. Hopefully, you can pass the moderator torch to someone else so that you can play as well.

Rather than doing the red/white poker chips for voting, I would suggest a simultaneous finger-pointing after a count to 3 ala Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. When people in my group are ready to vote, they'd have their finger pointing up and ready to accuse. In the event of a tie village vote, no one dies. My group played Lupus of Tabula but everyone enjoys Miller's Hollow much more, especially with Cupid (picks two people to be lovers), Hunter and Little Girl added! With Lupus or similar, I found I had to be concerned if there were an even or odd number of players if it came to a 3 player villager debate so that there can be a chance the villagers could win or the werewolves. You will encounter this too...somewhat hard to explain but you'll know what I mean when you play with an odd and an even game. Miller's Hollows works well enough that I don't worry about odd/even players because of tie votes, lover scenario or werewolves not willing to agree.

A couple more suggestions:
- I'm not sure what your party agenda will be, but if you are planning to play once people arrive, start playing a game when you have 8-10 and make it a quick game so that the initial people become acquainted with the game. They can then help you explain the game to people new to the game as they arrive.
- Use basic characters initially (just werewolves, villagers, seer). As others arrive, they can see how the game plays. You can then add more characters to the game later on and explain what the new characters do once everyone has arrived so you only explain once.

I know this doesn't answer your question with eyes open for a murder/mystery, but if you haven't played Werewolves or Mafia with eyes closed even, you may complicate things more with explaining red/white chip rules, deciding what a highest-ranked werewolf is, roaming, etc., and dealing with 20 people at the same time.
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Victor L
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Thank you all for your suggestions so far.

I will definitely try to keep the game as simple as possible. I will rework the voting system to incorporate simultaneous finger pointing. I will get rid of the Werewolf hierarchy and simply pick a victim if there is no Werewolf majority. Also, I'll try to keep the game moving.

Downtime
I'm not sure how much I should be concerned about downtime.

Since this is a birthday party, the primary reason people are going to come is for the party, and not for the game. Many will expect to hang out and chit-chat. Some guests may not even want to play Werewolf. Of course, I will strongly encourage everyone to participate, but who knows.

As far as the restless dead are concerned, they will still be able to participate in the discussions and the nominations. They will not do the final vote and will not do the night phase. That should keep them relatively engaged, if they want.

My expectations are relatively modest. I would like to get through 1 game of Warewolf. Two games would be great.
 
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