I always balk a little at the suggestion of playing Werewolf. This isn’t because I think it’s a bad game. It’s not. It’s a great group game that goes on for a set amount of time (I’m looking at you, Cards Against Humanity), it forces people to be a little creative, and it’s one of those games that encourages players to lynch their closest friends. It’s wonderful to see.

If you’re not familiar with the game, here’s an overview (of the version we played). Every player is a townsperson. Lurking among the players are two werewolves—no one knows who they are, except the werewolves themselves. Every night, while the rest of the town slumbers, the werewolves cruelly maul an innocent villager. Every morning, the town decides that justice should be served, and they lynch their best suspect. Our town also contained a Doctor and Seer (also anonymous, like the werewolves). The Doctor is able to pick one person a night to heal, and the Seer is capable of investigating one werewolf suspect a night. The whole game is facilitated by an omniscient moderator.

My problem is that I am a terrible liar. I mean… how do you even figure out what to say? How do you say it? Should you say anything at all if nobody says anything to you? I really have no idea. I love variations of the game that don’t involve face-to-face deception (bonus points if you don’t even have to say anything at all).

Nonetheless, when the ESA exec team decided that playing Werewolf at our Halloween event would be a great idea, I agreed (for the good reasons mentioned above). I then proceeded to be the second person lynched—regretfully so, since I was the Doctor.

But let’s start at the beginning…

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The sunrises on England, which was promptly renamed to Litville after we realized “England” was silly. “Litville” was also rejected because we’re trying to foster community between English literature and language students so “Litville” just wasn’t cool. Sashaville, then, since Sasha’s so upset about it. We made her the mayor, too, because why not.

The newly established Sashaville gathers in the village square to meet each other. Everything is well.

The town sleeps.

In the morning, the townspeople are horrified to discover that their newly instated mayor has been mauled…by werewolves! Eyes turn to me, the Doctor in disguise as a Political Upstart, and I frantically warn the villagers that they will regret this decision. I do not tell them why they would regret it, because if I did, the werewolves might as well maul me on the spot.

My so-called Campaign Supporter, however, encourages the villagers to take my warnings as a last-ditch effort for survival. With no one else to turn to, the town hangs the person who they don’t know is their only hope of surviving the werewolf attacks.

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With every ensuing death—the Farmer, the Cobbler, the Farrier (he makes horse shoes), the Town Defender—the werewolf attacks fail to cease, and suspicion in Sashaville divides all that remains of the villagers. From the graves, the dead watch helplessly and silently as the werewolves take advantage of the increasingly untrusting villagers until only three remain: a Villager, the Seer, and a Werewolf.

In the morning, the Werewolf convinces the Villager to lynch the Seer.

With only one villager remaining, the werewolves win.

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In the event that the ESA decides to play Werewolf again (which I’m sure we will, since our esteemed president has cut out custom ESA Werewolf cards), I have compiled three mistakes that I—and the rest of my fellow villagers—should avoid.

  1. When the town is named “Sashaville” and the mayor is Sasha, and the first townsperson to die is Sasha, you should not introduce yourself to the village as the Town Political Upstart. This is especially stupid when you play a helpful role in the game. Sure, this throws the werewolves off your trail, but they don’t care who dies, as long as you all die.
  2. Watch out for the person doing all the accusing. If the girl next to you seems very eager to jump on every suspicion that the divided townspeople have, ask yourself: Why is she so eager? That sure seems suspicious.
  3. Unless, of course, that person has the tendency to speak up. Watch out for the person saying nothing. Perhaps they want you to think they’re quiet and innocent!
  4. Maybe you just shouldn’t play the game if you’re a terrible liar.
  5. Maybe you should just ask Eleanor if you can moderate next time.
  6. I hear Bananagrams is a great game.

Do you have any literary board games you’d like the ESA to acquire? Share them with us, and diligently watch the ESA newsletter for a board game night sometime in the future!!

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