I’ll be honest. I’m a huge fan of board games. I’m currently in the process of building my 2nd Kallax Ikea shelf to store them. So, when I heard there was a Fringe show that was doing games of Werewolf, I signed up immediately.
Werewolf, or Ultimate Werewolf, or One Night Werewolf, or Mafia, or Town of Salem, or the many other names it goes by isn’t anything like a traditional board game. Monopoly this ain’t. It falls as under a category of games know as Social Deduction games. There’s no board, no dice to roll, no pieces to move. Instead everyone is given a card with a role on it. For most people your card will say Villager. You are just a run of the mill townsfolk trying not to get eaten in the night. For a special two or three you will be a Werewolf, you prowl around during the night and find a Villager to maim, while during the day you play it cool as to not alert the Villagers to malicious intentions.
During the day phase of the game all players talk amongst themselves, discussing who they believe is the Werewolf and who they want to lynch during the day. Once a player has been lynched and his or her role is revealed the game then moves to the night phase. All the players close their eyes. The Werewolves then open their eyes and in silence point to a player they wish to kill in the night, then they close their eyes again. All the players then open their eyes and the day then begins anew minus one Villager. A fresh round of interrogations then begins to find and lynch the Werewolf. This continues until either all the Werewolves are dead, or the Villagers are.
This is all managed by a Moderator. The Moderator will set the scene, direct people to sleep and wake during the phases and direct people to take their actions when necessary. The Moderator for the Adelaide Fringe Werewolf is an impeccable orator and builds up an atmosphere of fear and dread to get your spine tingling while the Werewolves slowly consume the town. I’ve played in many different Werewolf games and must say Nick Phillips delivery and hosting is one of the best. I have picked up a few tricks that I’ll be adding in my own games.
Werewolf is a game of bluffing, misdirection and social interaction. This is an event suited if you have an easy time interacting with strangers and are good at reading people. Other roles are added to the game to make things more interesting. Cupid picks two players on the first night to become lovers. They can never vote for one another and if one dies the other dies of heartbreak, the Hunter gets one shot to kill another player when he/she is killed, the Witch has two potions he/she can use during the night, one will kill a player while the other will save a player, and final and most powerful role is that of the Seer who each night can investigate a player to see if they are a Villager or a Werewolf.
This is one of my favourite games and to be able to play it in a comfortable and immersive environment with friends and new acquaintances is an absolute delight. If you like games or want a new and interesting experience this is a No1 recommendation.
Words by Jonathon Tonkin