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Subject: A thought for face-to-face games... rss

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Greg Wilson
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In online Werewolf games, people often like to have quite a few special roles. One of the reasons this can be impractical in face-to-face games is because the night phase can get long and unwieldy, as the moderator goes through a long list of roles who have stuff to do at night.

I had a thought. What about having a bunch of specials with single-use abilities, each triggered on a different night? Wolves and seer act every night, same as usual, but on a given night only one of the specials does anything.

So, just off the top of my head, for eleven players you might have two wolves, one seer, four villagers, plus:

N1 Witness (Good) - on the first night, indicates a target. If that target was killed by the wolves, the witness will be told one of the killers.

N2 Bodyguard (Good) - on the second night, indicates a target. If the wolves attempt to kill that target, they fail.

N3 Assassin (Evil) - on the third night, indicates a target. That target is eliminated as well as the usual wolf kill.

N4 Slayer (Good) - on the fourth night, indicates a target. If that target is a wolf, s/he is eliminated.

The balance on this specific example is probably wonky as hell, but it's the principle I'm interested in. Worth pursuing?
 
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Jeremiah Lee
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I like the idea. I haven't played enough f2f WW to grow tired of the simple setup, but this seems to be a workable situation for those those that have.

It also creates some urgency on killing -specific- players, before they get their night action.
 
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Greg Wilson
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Been thinking more about this, and I really reckon it could work. Couple of issues, though.

First, I don't think you're going to have a special for each night of the game. Between the required wolves, seer and standard villagers, there isn't room. I think you'd need to either accept that the specials will be used up before endgame (not necesarily a bad thing) or have some specials with multiple uses on different nights.

Second, for the same reason, you probably can't have many non one-shot specials. Some of these can be worked into one-shots - cultist finds out the wolves on Nx, wolf cub promotes on Nx - others may have to be discarded. Might have to make an exception for hunter, since I like it so much. I can probably rework sorcerer into a one-shot.

Going to have a crack at working this into a proper set.
 
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Greg Wilson
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Got a chance to run this yesterday. Had to hurriedly prep it on the train, and then adjust it on the fly for an even larger group than I was expecting, but here's the set I used for twenty-six (!) players:

1 seer
5 wolves
13 villagers
2 evil specials as follows
5 good specials as follows

N1 Shaman - on N1 finds out the wolves and they find out him
N2 Witch - on N2 finds out the wolves ad kills someone else

N3 Martyr - picks someone to protect on N3, dies in their place
N4 Vigilante - kills someone on N4
N5 Mystic - gets a seer view on N5
N6 Bodyguard - protects someone on N6. Nobody dies.
N7 Wolf Slayer - picks someone to kill on N7. Only a wolf dies.

Thoughts:

Obviously needs some fine-tuning, more diverse powers, and a more even distribution of specials.

The specials create a lot of cleared players. Probably too many. Wolves weren't killing them off quickly enough, though.

The game ran fast and simple, certainly more so than the big Millers' Hollow games we played as well. Also less broken - piper is massively powerful, events can completely change the game, and the combo of an auto-brutal hunter and a repeating alchemist is hideous.*

Random chance can screw over any game. Early on the village was spinning a bottle to pick a lynch candidate as a starting-point for discussion. The first three people it picked were wolves. They weren't all lynched immediately, but the wolves took a lot of damage early. The bottle pulled the same three-for-three streak in another game later.

* Funy story here, though - the guy who claimed seer was actually a villager sitting next to the seer who'd been whispering views back and forth. We knew the 'seer' would be protected, so we went for one of his cleared views...who turned out to be the real seer. Everyone thought we were geniuses.

The other hilarious thing from that game was that an event came up that let someone ask the dead a yes or no question. They asked whether any of the werewolves were wearing glasses. At that point the wolves realised that, out of twenty-plus players, only six were wearing glasses...including all four of us. That went well.
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Greg Wilson
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I reckon going the route of having specials who activate repeatedly might work better. It means you have fewer specials, hence less safe players if they reveal, and the specials are less likely to reveal in the first place because they're not spent after a single shot. Also, you can do away with the redundant specials - no need for a martyr as well as a bodyguard, or a slayer as well as a vigilante. The limited shots thing is a nice way to limit the more powerful specials, by the way - we all know that protection every night is massively powerful for the village, but protection every three or four nights is handy without being overpowering.

A related thought I had - have a 'power' deck with the specials on it that the GM draws from each night, so you don't know which special is going to be activated in advance.

Seer in one of our games had the worst run I've ever seen, by the way.

N0 - viewed a villager.
N1 - viewed a villager. Said villager was killed the same night.
N2 - viewed a villager. Said villager was killed the same night again.
N3 - viewed a wolf. Seer was killed the same night. Martyr was protecting the person sitting next to the seer.
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Greg Wilson
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Update:

I did make a deck of cards for the 'power deck' idea. Using public domain artwork, too, so at some point I'll get it uploaded as a PDF. I want to get it tidied up first, though.

In the meantime, here's the setup. I find the game moves pretty quickly even with big groups, because there aren't too many roles to explain, they're all pretty simple, and each night is just a single special, then wolves, then seer, and done. And there are a fair number of roles that cause extra kills, compared to the number of protective roles.



Good roles:

Seer - Activates every night. Picks a player, and is silently told wolf or not wolf.

Villager - No psecial abilities.

Apprentice - Activates on some nights. Picks a player, and is silently told wolf or not wolf.

Hunter - Activates on some nights. Picks a player, and that player is eliminated.

Guard - Activates on some nights. Picks a player, and that player is not eliminated if targeted by the wolves.

Evil roles:

Wolf Pack - Activates every night. Picks a player, and that player is eliminated. Know who each other are.

Lone Wolf - Activates on some nights. Picks a player, and that player is eliminated. Counts as a wolf, but the Wolf Pack and the Lone Wolf do not know each other and may accidentally eliminate each other.

Lunatic - Activates on some nights. Picks a player, and that player is eliminated. Is not a wolf, and doesn't know them.



On the first night, the Wolf Pack don't get a kill, but do get to open their eyes and see each other. The Seer doesn't get a view, but the Seer and the Apprentice also get to open their eyes and see each other. Remember you also need to know who the Lone Wolf is for future nights, if present.

On a standard night, you draw one card from the night deck. The named role activates. Call this role first, then the Wolf Pack, then the Seer. If you have two Hunters or two Guards, they get to see each other when first activated, not at the start of the game. So they double as slightly weak Masons.

I play that eliminations are revealed as simply wolf or not wolf, and hence continue to call out roles that have been eliminated.



The role deck distribution:

10P - 1S, 5V, 2WP, 1L, 1A
11P - 1S, 6V, 2WP, 1L, 1A
12P - 1S, 7V, 2WP, 1L, 1A

13P - 1S, 7V, 2WP, 1LW, 1A, 1H
14P - 1S, 8V, 2WP, 1LW, 1A, 1H

15P - 1S, 8V, 3WP, 1L, 1A, 1H
16P - 1S, 9V, 3WP, 1L, 1A, 1H
17P - 1S, 10V, 3WP, 1L, 1A, 1H

18P - 1S, 10V, 3WP, 1LW, 1A, 1H, 1G
19P - 1S, 11V, 3WP, 1LW, 1A, 1H, 1G

20P - 1S, 11V, 4WP, 1L, 1A, 1H, 1G
21P - 1S, 12V, 4WP, 1L, 1A, 1H, 1G
22P - 1S, 13V, 4WP, 1L, 1A, 1H, 1G

23P - 1S, 13V, 4WP, 1LW, 1A, 2H, 1G
24P - 1S, 14V, 4WP, 1LW, 1A, 2H, 1G

25P - 1S, 14V, 5WP, 1L, 1A, 2H, 1G
26P - 1S, 15V, 5WP, 1L, 1A, 2H, 1G
27P - 1S, 16V, 5WP, 1L, 1A, 2H, 1G

28P - 1S, 16V, 5WP, 1LW, 1A, 2H, 2G
29P - 1S, 17V, 5WP, 1LW, 1A, 2H, 2G

30P - 1S, 17V, 6WP, 1L, 1A, 2H, 2G
31P - 1S, 18V, 6WP, 1L, 1A, 2H, 2G
32P - 1S, 19V, 6WP, 1L, 1A, 2H, 2G

The night deck distribution:

10P - 2L, 3A
11P - 3L, 3A
12P - 4L, 3A

13P - 2LW, 3A, 3H
14P - 3LW, 3A, 3H

15P - 2L, 3A, 3H
16P - 3L, 3A, 3H
17P - 4L, 3A, 3H

18P - 2LW, 3A, 3H, 3G
19P - 3LW, 3A, 3H, 3G

20P - 2L, 3A, 3H, 3G
21P - 3L, 3A, 3H, 3G
22P - 4L, 3A, 3H, 3G

23P - 3LW, 4A, 4H, 4G
24P - 4LW, 4A, 4H, 4G

25P - 3L, 4A, 4H, 4G
26P - 4L, 4A, 4H, 4G
27P - 5L, 4A, 4H, 4G

28P - 4LW, 5A, 5H, 5G
29P - 5LW, 5A, 5H, 5G

30P - 4L, 5A, 5H, 5G
31P - 5L, 5A, 5H, 5G
32P - 6L, 5A, 5H, 5G
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THis is interesting thread:

Could you have limited roles but allow the player to choose when he/she will use that role? I think that way the player is more engaged and can actually think about when will be the best time to use it. On the downside, this does take a little more time each night to ask each player and also: there can be interactions if special roles pick each other.

All in all, I like to give players the feeling of more control/choices at the expense of a little down time.


The lone wolf is interesting. How about if the wolves/lone wolf attach each other they discover each others identity and do not kill? On the one hand you might have a problem with even numbered villagers in the day but I dont think this a problem for you given that you already have a lot of specials in the game. But on the other hand: You can actually see the shivers run down the backs of the villagers when you tell them that wolves have identified one another.

I tried something similar with two set of wolves, 2 wolves per set. I called them the north and south wolves and they entered by different gates in the city...if you will (just for flavor). They worked on alternate nights. The psychology of it was pretty interesting even though there was no real advantage to the wolves spotting each other.

I wonder if you could work something like that into the game? Make it so if the wolves find each other, they get a bonus power..

Oh I got it: I have the priest who can confirm killing ability if he picks another villager at night (woe if he picks a wolf!). THe priest is immune until he decides to use the power. (I just posted a session report with this role)


However, if the north and south wolves find each other at night: The priest loses his immunity! Something like that.
 
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Greg Wilson
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Yes, you could absolutely have one-shot powers. As you've figured out, the downside is that each night you have to ask all the remaining specials whether they want to use their powers or not, and remember which ones have used theirs already. A fairly common tabletop role is the witch, who has two 'potions' giving a one-shot kill order and a one-shot protect order.

And having the wolves identify each other in place of a kill will work fine as well. Powers up the wolves slightly, of course, but it shouldn't be a game-breaker.

For multiple gorups of wolves, finding each other is useful anyway, as it means they can form a voting bloc more effectively. Not sure they need to get a bonus as well, although your suggestion doesn't sound overpowering.
 
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oh yeah. I forgot about the voting bloc power, the wolves are usually underdogs in a normal game so I am not too worried about that. So long as you have typical wolf distribution of about 3 when you get to 13 players or so. I think we had about 17 or so when we tried 4. Not sure what the "official" ratio is but those sort of things tend to even out so I dont get too concerned about the ratio.

I was thinking the wolves would miss a kill when they spot each other so that is a downside but the voting bloc now becomes more powerful, assuming all the wolves have survived. I remember it one time where the two groups didnt ID one another until they were down to one each or something.

Im actually thinking with the wolves broken into two groups, you might be able to get away with like 4 wolves in game of 13 or 15. Killing every other night does sort of weaken each group. And of course with ramped up villagers, even four wolves is not too bad...

You could make it that the Priest kills a wolfe IF the wolves pick him. But with this modifier: if the north and south wolves unite then he loses his immunity, sort of a variant on the above idea (where he has to pick a confidant).

One time we had an alpha wolf although I forget what powers I game him. Let's say you have 11 players and 3 wolves...You would have an alpha wolfe he could operate on his own until spotted by the other two. The two wolves kill each night w/o the alpha wolf (he does nothing at night) until they pick the alpha. Then the alpha joins their team and then the priest or whoever loses his immunity.

...And then at THAT POINT, you give the priest the power to kill wolves but only if he can partner up with a villager at night. I've seen it where he picked a wolf at night, cant recall if they killed him immediately or not.


You should check out the session report I posted last night and see what you think. We used Owl for the first time and priest with limited immunity/killing power.
 
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Greg Wilson
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sundaysilence wrote:
oh yeah. I forgot about the voting bloc power, the wolves are usually underdogs in a normal game so I am not too worried about that. So long as you have typical wolf distribution of about 3 when you get to 13 players or so. I think we had about 17 or so when we tried 4. Not sure what the "official" ratio is but those sort of things tend to even out so I dont get too concerned about the ratio.


One for each four or five players is a good rule of thumb. One rule is one wolf in the first five, and then one more for each additional four players, so five players means one wolf, nine players means two, thirteen means three, seventeen means four, twenty-one means five, and so on. That allows the village one mistake per wolf; you have to get one every other lynch on average.

Depends on the presence of specials and non-wolf evils, of course. Millers' Hollow recommends 25% wolves, 50% villagers, and 25% good specials. BGG forum games tend to be roughly 33% villagers, 33% good specials, and 33% evils, but those evils are split between wolves and weaker non-wolves.

If one wolf group gets wiped out, does the remaining group continue to kill every other night, or do they start killing every night?

In the new deck I'm making, which doesn't have the action deck idea, the Lone Wolf works differently. Still a wolf that doesn't know the other wolves, but only gets a night-kill if the main wolf pack gets wiped out.

I've seen two versions of Alpha Wolf - sometimes it just means the leader of the wolves, who makes the night-kill decision, but sometimes the Alpha is immune to the seer view. Very nasty, that one.

sundaysilence wrote:
You should check out the session report I posted last night and see what you think. We used Owl for the first time and priest with limited immunity/killing power.


I had a quick look, will read it over properly when I'm not at work.
 
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Quote:
If one wolf group gets wiped out, does the remaining group continue to kill every other night, or do they start killing every night?


Oh they have to start killing every night. Even w/o a wipeout, when the two groups unite, they would kill as one pack each night.

I remember we had the north/south wolves we tried one night at the Hunt Valley game thing and it was pretty neat when the joined up. THe village was freaked. I think one of those games was where the priest managed to kill a wolfe at night and when it was revealed during the day; the priest just on his own stood up and cheered. I think the wolves had already learned he was a priest so it didnt matter.

Oh one other thing. Which wolf dies if they hit the priest/hunter? The alpha wolf would be my first choice. perhaps he is given some small power to compensate, like he is tie breaker if the wolves cant decide who to pick but that is kind of lame. Any ides?

edit: I see you have an ability for the alpha wolf. Nice!
 
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How about this: What if instead of getting killed by the protected, if the wolves hit whatever you want to call him: wolfsbane/protected. The protected person I am referring to; instead of killing a wolf; the protected person is shown the identity of the alpha wolf..

ANd of course the wolves know who the protected person is. So daylight begins and what happens?

The protected person immediately reveals the alpha wolf?
The alpha wolf immediately accuse the protected person of being a wolf?


Now the priest could of course settle this matter by revealing himself. But the GM tells the village: the priest is not immune to wolves but he still has the wolfsbane in the event the protected person is lynched.

So maybe the priest doesnt want to reveal..?


[edit] well in order to make it more likely to occur, the power to see the alpha wolf is given to both the priest and his confidant. Since it doesnt kill it shouldnt be too overpowered.

So there is a commotion in the village at night and the wolves managed to make out one person. In the morning the accusations fly and the village asks one of them?

"Who is your confidant/priest?"

"Oh I dont think I should tell you."
 
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