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Subject: Werewolf: The iPhone Version rss

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IrishFire Herself
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Indiana
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"Stop, stop!" you say. "A phone is not a board, and thus things played upon it are not board games! Get thee hence, and take that infernal witchcraft contraption with you!"

Woah, there! Easy! This IS werewolf. It is the same game played with cards, with the same minor differences found between various card versions, and one major difference: the digital moderator.

This review is for BGGers curious about the iPhone iteration of the game. Is it worth getting? Can it replace Charlie, the traditional storyteller who sometimes wishes he could nom villagers with the rest of the wolf pack but always bravely volunteers to die first and tell the tale as a ghost anyway?

I seek to help you answer these questions.

For the purposes of this review, I'll also assume you're familiar with the basic werewolf concept.

Your choices are thus:

Werewolves: 1, 2, 3, 1-2, 2-3, or 1-3
Seers: 0, 1, 0-1
Vigilantes: 0, 1, 0-1
Protectors: 0, 1, 0-1
Innocent Lovers: 0, 2, 3, 0 or 2, 0 2 or 3

Yeah, 3 lovers. I wondered about that, but we failed to play a game involving lovers, so I have nothing to report yet.

Once you have decided on how many special things you want in your game, the game tells you the minimum number of players you need to pull it off. If you don't have that many people, you're going to have to make do with fewer lovers: sorry, charlie!

Further options involve ambient noise (crickets during the night, a rooster to signal daybreak) and the length of your "day" cycle. How long do you want your party to argue over suspiciously wolfy characters?

The game is not customizable beyond this. No werehamster, no occultist, no magus. An occultist is not needed, actually: the game will always tell you the identity of whoever you just killed.

The game plays well, and only crashes as often as any other game does on my poor beaten up phone. In a larger party, I would NEVER replace a human story teller with this thing, entertaining though it was.

One strange thing to note: you can only add names (and thus, players) to the frey through your contacts list. I'm not in my contact list, so I decided to play as my favorite restaurant in Dallas. The people I didn't know well in the party played as various friends of mine with names that sounded similar. It's an oddity, but it doesn't break the game.

We played at a jazz club, with non-gamers, and started with 5. As our party grew to 10, people joined us and we continued to play. Minimal instruction was needed to explain to people what was going on, which is massively impressive, and we were able to play without being able to hear each other very well.

Most interesting to me, the game didn't break up the social side-bars. The couple was doing their thing in the corner, there was a passionate discussion about the merits of chocolate martinis to one side, and the girls across from me were going on about their evening prior as well as their after-jazz-club plans. This would be a little sad in a traditional game night, but for surprise-gaming-on-the-fly, in a very social setting, it worked well. I'm glad it enhanced the evening instead of shifting the focus into a purely game-oriented event.

If this sounds like something you'd like to carry around in your pocket for a couple of bucks, it's a low-risk investment. If you prefer to scoff that such a feckless device could NEVER replace good ol' Charlie, well, I'd have to agree with you.
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Odin Wednesday

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As another participant in the evening, a couple of my own supplementary thoughts:

* The upper end of three wolves puts a practical limit on the number of players, somewhere in the neighborhood of 15. Then again, if you had more people than that, I'm not sure you'd be wanting to use the phone to run the game.

* One nice aspect of using the phone that IF didn't mention is, you don't have to lose one person to be the GM. In a small group (say, fewer than eight or nine), that's a big deal.

* The one negative we ran into was, one member of the group was a little careless about clicking through the post-night report when he was the last one to act at night. There wasn't an apparent way to get that information back.
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