A Narrator’s Guide
Werewolves is a party game. It was first invented in the 1970s by a Russian professor, Dmitri Davidov, as an experiment in group psychology. Since then, it has been developed and codified by students at Princeton University under the name ‘Mafia’. Depending on your perspective, Werewolf is a study of interactions in a situation where there is an informed minority and an uninformed majority; or a study of group dynamics in an atmosphere of mistrust; or an experiment in mass hysteria. First and foremost, however, it is an intriguing, challenging and enjoyable co-operative party game.
The game is set in a small, isolated 19th-century village that has no contact with the outside world. Most of the residents are innocent Villagers, but a few are also secretly other roles. By night, the Werewolves roam about the village, picking a law-abiding Villager as their victim and devouring him or her. By day, the Villagers gather together, seeking justice, and may vote to execute one of their number in an attempt to eradicate the threat. The Werewolves (and other roles) form one team: they win if they manage to kill all the Villagers. The Villagers (and other roles) form the other team: they win if they manage to kill all the Werewolves. To add some intrigue to the game, there is also certain roles who work neutrally for their own gain. Finally, one player (you) is a Narrator. As Narrator, you are neither a Werewolf nor a Villager, but a neutral referee that facilitates the game.
Green is a Villager Team Member.
Red is a Werewolf Team Member.
The game proceeds in rounds. Each round is divided into two phases: night and day. Each round begins with night. During the night, the village goes to sleep; all players bow their heads and close their eyes. As the night goes on, the Narrator awakens each Role and has them perform their task. After the night is over, the Narrator dictates to the town what events took place last night. Then, the day begins; all non-eliminated players vote on who to execute. Immediately after the trial is over, a new round begins.
As Narrator, it’s your job to announce nightfall and daybreak, and to give instructions in between. It will also help if you remind new players of the need to stay as silent as possible, to make quick decisions, and to pay attention when you communicate with them – because there are very few circumstances in which they will be able to ask for clarification without giving themselves away!
Everyone closes their eyes and bows their heads. The app will prompt you for each role (if they are alive) so don’t worry about forgetting someone. When the prompt shows up, say: “(Character), awake.” The Character depending on their role, must silently fulfill their job for the night. If their role involves choosing other players, they must choose one sleeping player and then identify their choice to you, probably by pointing or nodding in his/her direction so that you understand which player is being identified. They need to do this without revealing themselves by giving away audible clues to the sleeping Villagers. If they can’t decide after a few seconds or if you can’t work out who is being identified, you can prompt them audible to be more specific. After a decision is made and the role for that night is complete, say: “(Character), asleep.” Do this for every role that is prompted by you from the game. Once it prints off the events for the night (i.e it says “Last night,”), the night is over.
All players open their eyes. The game will give you a readout of the events of the night, not all of them are relevant to the players. You as the Narrator interpret the events and relay them to the player base, explaining who died and from what. Those players are now eliminated (see later).
Day follows after the Daybreak. During the day, (non-eliminated) players discuss the events of the preceding night and debate who should be in an attempt to catch the Werewolves. Unlike night, the structure of day is very free. As Narrator, you should encourage players to talk freely, voicing suspicions and asking questions of each other. If the players are new to the game, you may also want to explain how executing works (see below) and give some general tactical advice. Other than that, you shouldn’t need to intervene until a group consensus starts to appear. When you notice the beginnings of a consensus, with clear suspicions being voiced about one or more players, interrupt the discussion to ask the group whether they are ready to accuse someone. In order to proceed to the vote, an accusation needs to be proposed and seconded by a different players. If this is achieved, then all (non-eliminated) players vote on the question ‘Should we execute this player?’. If a simple majority of players votes Yes, then the accused player is executed and immediately eliminated from the game. If a majority vote No, then the accusation fails and debate may continue. The day ends immediately when a player has been executed. It also ends immediately, without a execution, if three successive accusations all fail to muster a majority. When day ends, a new round begins, starting with nightfall.
A player who is killed for any reason is eliminated. Eliminated players can stay in the room and watch the game – including keeping their eyes open at night, if they wish – but they may not contribute in any way to the game, either by communicating in any way with the people around them or by voting. Once again, they are to remain SILENT while eliminated.
The game is won when either the last member of the Werewolf team is eliminated (in which case the Villager team wins) or the last Villager team member is eliminated (in which case the Werewolves team wins). Note that a victory for either team is shared by all members of that team, whether or not they were eliminated.
It follows that there is a turning-point in the game, beyond which the situation becomes hopeless for the Villagers. That turning-point is reached if, at the end of any day, there is only one more Villager than the number of Werewolves (or if the numbers are equal). When this happens, the Werewolves will devour another Villager overnight, removing the Villagers’ majority. It’s normal for the Narrator to award a victory to the Werewolves if this situation arises. It’s also conventional, particularly with new players, for you as Narrator to point out when such a turning-point is imminent. At the start of any day, if the number of Villagers is only one or two higher than the number of Werewolves, you should explain that the upcoming vote is crucial. If the Villagers execute the wrong person, they will hand the game to the Werewolves.
As Narrator, it’s your job to provide hints for players who are new to the game. Before the game run through the following hints:
Take time to explain how things work. Emphasize the following points:
Give some general strategic hints, including: