Werewolf


July 31st, 2012

While I’m banging on about communication, might as well tell you about my most recent Werewolf experience.

Werewolf is a game for between 10 and 30 people (thereabouts – don’t quote me). It’s not at all physical. It’s played sitting in a circle, either on the floor or in chairs. It helps if all the players can see each other. There’s one moderator.

The premise is straightforward: the game is set in a village where some of the villagers are actually werewolves. By day, they look like any other villager; by night they turn into werewolves and kill innocent villagers. The villagers want revenge. By day, they lynch someone who they suspect of being a werewolf. Who will win? Villagers or werewolves. At night, players are instructed to close their eyes. By day, eyes are open. At night, the game is played in silence. During the day, anyone can speak.

Players are given a random role (either villager or werewolf) at the beginning of the game that they only reveal after they have died.

It’s an easy game to set up – no materials or props are needed, and it’s an easy game to moderate.

It’s not such an easy game to play. Some people adopt a strategy of saying nothing at all (Suze hasn’t said anything all night. I bet that’s because she’s hiding something. I bet she’s a werewolf!), or taking control (Who does Tom think he is? He’s trying to tell us all what to do. I bet that’s because he’s a werewolf!) or pointing out what else is happening (Why is Sarah deflecting us from her? She wants us to think she’s innocent. I bet she’s a werewolf!) or doing nothing at all (Frank looks a bit shifty. I bet he’s a werewolf!).

See, fraught. The game is fraught with innuendo, misinformation, uncertainty, not knowing who to trust and life and death decisions made on account of the way someone is sitting, what they are or are not saying, or who they glance at.

It’s brilliant. It’s fun, multi-layered and a perfect platform to unravel all those grand ideas we have about who we are and how clever we are reading other people.

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