The other day in a game of “Werewolf” I proclaimed passionately to the group, “I am not a villager!” This act was, of course, instant death by group vote as they were accusing me of being a werewolf, and my inadvertent admission of guilt was more than enough reason to lynch me.
For anyone who hasn’t played Werewolf or any of the variants, here’s a quick summary of the game to save you the click to wikipedia.
– It’s a group game that teaches how to read people and how to lie.
– It is commonly used as ice breakers or in team building exercises.
– In a group of 10 people, there are a mix of “villagers, werewolfs, and special players that change the dynamic of the game.
– “Darkness falls on the village” — everyone in the game closes their eyes and makes noise with their hands.
– A “moderator” character guides everyone through the process (and officiates the game). He asks the Werewolfs to wake up (as they would at night if this was real)
– Silently, and while everyone else is “sleeping” they work together to determine who to “kill”
– the moderator asks them to go back to sleep, and then instructs everyone to wake up at the same time…except for the person who was killed in the night — that person is now out of the game.
– Durring the game, the villagers look around at each-other trying to determine who among them are the werewolves. The werewolves do their best to blend in and usually try to support lynchings so long as it’s not one of them.
And if that wasn’t confusing enough, the special characters really mix things up:
– the “Seer” wakes up at night and can ask the moderator (silently) if one person is a villager or a werewolf.
– the priest can heal anyone in the group at night, keeping them from werewolf death (including themselves)
– the minion is a villager, but tries to help the werewolves during the day (Seer-counter)
… and the list goes on and on.
I find the game fascinating, as it really forces you to analyze how people act when they are trying to hide something. It also forces you to watch yourself…especially when you are a special character like a wolf or seer.
But most of all, it’s a game of imagination and creative debate; A story-world that 10 or so people agree to enter. It’s role playing for adults. it’s storytelling, acting, drama, self expression, and self perception (as in, why the heck did I just announce I was NOT a villager?!”
I very much look forward to the next round.