Addendum to previous post: While searching for the method to make an inverted exclamation mark so that I could shout ¡El Hombre Lobo! at you properly, I came across Lion’s new Special Characters
menu, which for the first time includes a section just for emoji.
Here, then, is the Unicode glyph-string for a typical Werewolf village: 👨👩🐺👨👨👩👳🐺👨👩👩 .
Speaking of Werewolf, Scott Nicholson is giving a talk tomorrow afternoon at MIT’s Gambit GameLab on the topic of (mostly) co-operative games with a hidden-traitor mechanic. If you’re in the Boston area, feel free to stop by.
As Zarf mentioned in his last post, I am indeed wrapping up a semester teaching a game lab at Northeastern University, and hope to return to vaguely regular posting here soon. As a gentle transition from this blog being nothing but Plotkin posts, let me show you some Werewolf cards I made.
These are a combination of Danny Novo’s printable card sheet linked from Andy’s own Werewolf page, blue Ultra Pro card sleeves, and some random Poker cards for the sake of stiffening. Nothing terribly fancy, but I like the result so much that I have decided to keep them as they are, rather than return the sleeves to the Race for the Galaxy cards that I swiped them from. While I rarely play Werewolf, I like the thought of having a deck ready anyway.
I just pulled these cards out of my bag, where they’ve been since the last week of class. Due to scheduling oddities, I couldn’t assign any graded work for that final week, so I declared it optional-attendance and pondered some large-group games we could play, just for fun. Another game-focused teacher had told me months before that running Werewolf is always a smashing success in his classes. I had some misgivings, but finally decided I wanted to see that for myself, so assembled cards the night before.
As luck would have it, 11 students showed up (out of 36) — a perfect number for this game! We watched the classic Gameshelf Werewolf review (“Hey, that’s you with no beard!”) and then I dealt out the cards, declaring myself to be moderator. Since I didn’t want any player to “die” without even the chance to say a word, we started in the Day phase, contrary to the official rules. This turned out to be unnecessary, though — when the game ended, the students immediately wanted to play again. We had some good discussion about the game afterwards, and then moved on to other things; I would have the same experience with nine students in the subsequent lab section.
Beyond seeing the game working so well, my other big surprise was the discovery that many students had played Werewolf before. I still think of this game as relegated to National Puzzler’s League conventions or tabletop game conferences, so was unprepared to hear about its use as a teaching tool in high school Spanish class (¡El Hombre Lobo!), or that there exists at least one public Starcraft 2 server running a mod that somehow applies the rules of Mafia (Werewolf’s predecessor) to that game..
While everyone still had fun, the game seems to have become rather less obscure than I had known. Well, what can you say, other than Memetic game is memetic.
Quick plug: Kory Heath, the creator of Zendo, has just implemented Werewolf for the iPhone. (You may know the game as "Mafia".)
It's a very smooth implementation. The phone acts as the referee. During the day phase of the game, it doesn't matter who holds it; anybody can enter the village concensus on who to lynch.
In the night phase, the phone gets passed around. When it's your turn, you unlock the screen with a brief password so that nobody else can see your role. Then you select your target (as a wolf or seer). If you're a villager, the phone asks you to guess who might be a werewolf. This doesn't affect who lives or dies, but it ensures that every player taps the screen on his turn. (Plus, bragging rights at the end of the game if it turns out you guessed right.)
Everything else, the app keeps track of for you. When the game is over, it displays a turn-by-turn narrative, which you can email to yourself or the other players.
iPhone Werewolf costs a dollar. Yes, this is a game you can play for free with a handful of straws or cards. But with the app, you don't need to designate someone as the moderator. And it eliminates the error-prone nighttime ritual, with the directives and the closed eyes and the humming and tapping or however you do it. And it's pretty, and it makes little howling noises. Comes with support for the werewolf, seer, protector, vigilante, and lover roles.
Plus, my face is in the app sample screenshot. So that's worth something. Check it out at Kory's web site, or search for "werewolf" in the iTunes App Store.
midnyte007 on Volity's discussion forums has suggested that a weekly game of Werewolf really ought to happen Saturday nights, at 7pm Pacific time.
As Volity's principal founder, and a fan of Werewolf (whose Volity version was developed by our own Andrew Plotkin), I encourage readers to give it a whirl. (If you don't already have a copy of Gamut, the cross-platform desktop application you need to play Volity games, you can download it from volity.net's front page.)
Obligatory Gameshelf link: Werewolf on YouTube.
View or download a high-quality version.
This episode's games:
This show was produced between September 2006 and and March 2007, and prior to that we hadn't done any shooting since the end of 2005! I hope to pick up the pace quite a bit in 2007, producing at least four or five full shows. I think we've gotten better at it; you can see a real jump in quality between this episode and the last one, and I think that the next episode will be better still.