Werewolf is a social deduction game (usually using cards to assign roles when played in person) that is, while commonly played at conventions, also popular online via Play-by-Post or voice/text-based chatrooms. It is a variant of a 1986 game from the former Soviet Union called Mafia. In 1997, Andrew Plotkin listed the rules for the game online under the new name Werewolf.
A lot of players are needed, with one being the moderator. The rest of the people are all citizens of a village. However, depending on how many players there are, one or two people play the role of the werewolf. The werewolf's job is to kill all of the villagers. The villagers' role is to survive. One of the villagers can be the seer (in other versions, a "cop" or "seeker"), who can "see" who the werewolf is. There are many other possible roles and rule variations, depending on the number of players and medium of play, such as defender roles that can protect a person from being eaten at night, "strongmen" who take two attempts to kill, or games where the werewolves can convert a villager to their side.
- During the "night" phase, everyone must close their eyes, put their head down, and repeatedly slap their thigh or pound the table. GENTLY.
- When the werewolf is called by the moderator, it is his or her job to select who they want to kill by silently pointing to whom he or she desires to be eliminated from the game. The moderator will then tell the werewolf/werewolves to go to sleep...
- ...and call upon the seer, who will rise and point to who he or she thinks is the werewolf. The moderator will nod yes or no, since the moderator has already seen the werewolf/werewolves raise their heads. It must be done in this order.
- When morning comes, the moderator announces who has been killed, usually also revealing their alignment and role (if they had one), and that person remains silent for the rest of the game. It is then time for the villagers to decide who is the werewolf, deciding every morning who to lynch. Anyone can claim to be the seer (or any other role, for that matter), as it throws people off and makes the game fun.
This is a simpler version of The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. The most common form of this game is Are You A Werewolf?, developed by Looney Labs in 2001. A similar game, Town of Salem, was developed by indie company Blank Media Games in 2014.
Tropes associated with Werewolf/Mafia:
- Driven to Suicide: In some setups, the "Vigilante" role must commit suicide if the target of their wrath is revealed to be pro-Town.
- Hilarity Ensues - Inevitable, once accusations, claims, and counterclaims start flying. Some variants will add even more rules to up the potential chaos.
- I Know You Know I Know - Given that information is at a premium in this game, figuring out who is on whose side often turns into this. (Is my suspicion on any given player founded in reality, or am I being paranoid? If someone is caught in a lie, are they doing it for a good reason, or are they the enemy? Is the idiot attracting a lot of attention doing it because he's a Jester who wants to get hung or a Scummy scumbag sacrificing himself for his teammates? And so on.)
- Spot the Imposter - Happens when more people claim to be a role that is stated to exist by the rules of the game. Most Town-aligned players' usual reaction is "hang them all and let the reveal sort it out" unless hanging the wrong person might cost Town the game.
- Taking You with Me:
- A feature of some roles is that they will kill anyone who kills them, either directly in self defense as part of the Night action or after the next Morning's reveal.
- Any player on any side will often be motivated to cast aspersions on people voting for them. The knee-jerk instinct to vote for someone in retaliation for voting for them is especially prevalent.