We went to a loud, swank jazz club for a friend's birthday. There were five of us at first. We got through our greetings with hugs, smiles, lip-reading, and much shouting.
An old roommate of mine into hacking and everything Apple grabbed my phone and started snooping, ostensibly to see if I had anything magical and shiny he would need to acquire on his own. He fooled around for 10, 15 minutes, and I had no idea what he was up to until I heard, "MY GOD, is this what I think it is?"
"Is what what you think it. . . ohhhh, werewolf?"
I had forgotten he'd played with us one evening. And successfully, at that! He isn't what you'd call a gamer, but the social mechanics of werewolf had gotten him hooked without me realizing it.
There was begging. I shrugged and agreed to test the app with a mere five persons. Five people! For werewolf! I had my doubts, but who could say no to the puppy-wolf longing in his eyes? It is also entirely backward to have others beg ME for a werewolf session. I tried to play it cool.
I set the app up for a 3-minute day, 1-2 wolves, 0-1 seers, 0-1 vigilantes, 0-1 protectors, and 0-1 vigilantes. We had a fun "everyone is special" round as well as rounds where everyone was either wolf or plain old boring villager. The sheer weight of NOT KNOWING gave wolves license to claim they were just about anything. Games were shorter than we're used to, and lighter: people still cared about what was going on, but not enough to detract from the jazz, the martinis, the brie and avocado sampler, the shouted conversation and lingering looks between out-of-game romantics . . . I was astounded and delighted to learn that werewolf can be something short of all-absorbing to allow for additional social activity.
The first game was a bit rough as I had to convince people to press "next turn" before passing the phone. The phone did most of the moderating, but I found it necessary to play GM for the daytime lynching. This worked in my favor, as I hardly ever suggested offing myself.
A sixth fellow joined us. This sixth fellow, as it happens, harbors deep and passionate out-of-game romantic longing for anyone he can't have, and made it his life's mission to kill my male accompaniment at every opportunity. He also claimed to be a wolf in each round. You'd think this would break the game, but it simply and quickly played into the strategy. "No, it isn't D. D would have killed C by now."
It's important to note that in a case of two wolves, the first wolf suggests a snack, and the second wolf does the actual killing.
After not a small amount of rounds and hours (not to mention martinis), four girls dropped in all at once. I knew one of them, but not by name. "Hi," I shouted over the music. "What are your names? And do you like to kill people?"
They were all in for werewolf. I kept the same settings and added more people to my phone: a mistake, to be sure, but I wanted an easy training round. How was I to know it would be our last?
It's worth noting that regular werewolf would have never gotten off the ground at a jazz club birthday celebration, but the phone managed to moderate just fine with minimal explanation and no closed eyeballs.
The last wolf was pretty wily, but we caught her because another novice, desperate to NOT kill her, turned out to be one of the wolves. Hmmm. The game plays occultist for everyone, telling you each round whether the deceased are wolf or human, and even what special abilities they had. I believe they would have played much better given the chance, but our round of 10 took much longer than the 5-er games, and our out-of-game romantics were getting randy. They departed, the birthday girl and my old roommate, and with that it was over. A good time was had by all, and I'm excited that 4-5 persons I regularly see at parties got positive exposure to the werewolf app and, I think, are likely to ask for it again.