Saturday, 12 March 2011

A Weredinosaur, Not a Spacewolf

...or something like that.
OK, so one of the things I've gotten rather into on the Playground is all the Werewolf (WW) games in the Structured Games subforum. I think I may have mentioned them in passing once or twice already, but I've been trying to avoid doing so until I made a post explaining what they are and how they work. This is that post.

I'm not entirely sure if it's technically Werewolf or Werewolves. Anyway, it's sometimes also known as Mafia, including, notably, on wikipedia, but I'm going to use the werewolf terminology because that's how I know it.
Werewolf was originally created as a party game. The basic premise is that the players are in a village infested with werewolves. Only these werewolves are a bit different to normal (That or the moon's doing something weird) because they transform every night. So every night the werewolves will kill someone. The villagers would obviously prefer them not to, and the only way to stop them is to kill them. So each day the village will lynch someone and hope they're a werewolf (They also transform upon death, so you do find out afterwards).
In real life play, one person acts as the Narrator - they run the game, determine who is a wolf and who is a villager, tally votes, etc, and narrate people's deaths. Each day phase, the players discuss who to lynch, try to figure out who's a wolf by observing their mannerisms and whatnot, psychology etc. Once a consensus is reached, the person dies and it becomes night. Everyone closes their eyes. The Wolves then open their eyes and vote who to kill by pointing at them (Obviously they can't discuss it since their voices would be recognised). The Narrator tallies the votes, announces the death and we go back to day, and so on.
In forum play, you still have a Narrator (Though they can possibly put more thought into their narrations since they don't have to be completely on the spot), but other aspects are different. Each day and night phase has an approximate time limit. During the day, the players vote who to lynch by posting their names in red text. If they change their minds, they can strike through their previous vote and make a new one. At the end of the day, whoever has the most votes is lynched. Then, the Wolves' night kill is done by sending a private message (PM) to the Narrator. Of course, PMs can also be used for private discussion between players on both sides (Though Villagers have to be careful, as they will not in general have a means of knowing whether or not their confidant is a Wolf). Also, since there's a risk of people vanishing in forum play, it's usual to auto-lynch anyone who doesn't vote for a certain number of consecutive day phases, though they may be replaced by someone else, at the Narrator's discretion.
Villagers win if they kill all the Wolves. Wolves win if they reduce the Villagers' numbers to equal theirs (Since then they can't be prevented from killing the rest).
I've left out some details, but those are the basics.

Then there are other common roles, like Masons (Villagers, but they know each others' identities), the Seer (Each night can learn someone's role), the Baner (Each night can protect someone from the Wolves) and the Devil (Like the Seer, but on the Wolves' side). There are many more possibilities, but I don't want this blog post to get too list-y.

There are quite a number of these games played on the Playground, and I've gotten quite into them. In fact I've played... hang on, I've got this recorded in a Word document... 43 games so far. I've also become the person responsible for maintaining the schedule (Because we don't want all the games starting at once and not having enough players). And I've run three games (Also currently running a fourth). So, while I'm not one of the high-profile, big reputation players, I've become at least relatively known. (It's always kind of weird for me when I realise that I've become one of these people the newcomers to the Playground will think is an 'oldie'. Of course, others probably feel much the same when it happens to them)

Now, while the basic, original idea is werewolves in a village, different games have wildly differing fluff: vampires, assassins, gangsters, pirates, ducks (I kid you not), and so on. And then of course often people will set WW games in pre-existing settings, like Harry Potter, Discworld, Star Wars and so on. Since so far this blog post isn't that long, I think I can fit in briefly detailing the games I've played, as well as my own ones which I've run. Mostly chronological order, but where the games are in a series I'll comment on the whole series all in one go. Here goes:

Fears 2 - Pretty much the basic, but with things called 'fears' rather than werewolves. I was a Villager, didn't really get into the game. Didn't play Fears 3, I think I was busy.
Jack the Ripper - What it says on the tin. I was a Mason, which in this game meant I was a prostitute. Oh joy. We won, though I was dead by that point. And at the end Jack actually decided to commit suicide.
Alchemists III - Based on Fullmetal Alchemist. I was Lust, and basically I only existed to stop Gluttony going insane. We lost.
Classic IX, X, XI, XII - Classic is a regular fixture. Basic rules, actual werewolves, etc. In IX, we had a family, some of whom were werewolves, squabbling over a relative's will. I was a Wolf, and we lost, though I wrote myself a fairly amusing death scene. X had werewolves IN SPACE! I was a Mason, we won. XI was so much back to basics PMs were mostly banned, to try and emulate the real life game more. XII was back to normal, I ran it myself, setting was a small town in 19th century British Colonial Africa, more or less

Phantom of the Opera II, III - In II I was Firmin. Someone made a stupid mistake which got me killed early on. In III I was a Cast Member (Villager), lost track of the game after a while, but I think we won?
Memesville II - Based on all manner of internet memes. Sadly I died really early.
Thursday Next - Based on the books by Jasper Fforde, though I hadn't read them before the game (They're very good, by the way). Villager, we won, though there was a lot of player drama at the end and the final narration never got written. Still annoyed about that.
Assassins III - Basic idea, assassins trying to take over the country, but some of them are Sleepers - they only find out they're assassins if another assassin tries to kill them or a previous assassin dies, until which point they think they're just regular Villagers. Was won by a neutral role. Assassins IV is currently recruiting. There's a role named after me!
Mafia X, XI - Another regular fixture. Again, basic stuff, but with two competing Wolf teams, who can kill each other as well as the Villagers. Also they have the option of abducting people rather than killing them outright - in which case the abductee may no longer post, but their death is not revealed until two day phases later. Both times I was a Villager. X we should have won, but apparently the Village took leave of their senses after I died. XI I lost track and got autolynched.

Simply Werewolf 3 - Twenty players, Villagers, Wolves, Masons, and nothing else. Villager, we lost.
Bounty Hunters 1, 2 - Wolves are Bounty Hunters, who get a certain number of points for killing people. The first one who reaches a target no. of points wins. 1, Villager, we won. 2, Bounty Hunter, we lost, though I swear the point target was far too low.
Hunting of the Snark - Based on the wonderful poem by Lewis Carroll. Also Jabberwocky. Strange variants on the rules, odd roles, items, and all the narrations written in poetry. Who was crazy enough to run such a thing, you ask? Yes, it was me.
Arkham Asylum - Na na na na na na na na BATMAN! Based on the video game I think? Villager, lost. Had an interesting thing with the Joker - the Joker had no particular abilities, was known to everyone, but couldn't be lynched until the other villains were all gone. His purpose was simply to try and confuse everyone.
Discworld 2 - Set during the events of Night Watch. Some odd rules which I won't go into. One or two narratorial slip-ups, but it still worked out alright. I was an Agent of the Tyrant (Wolf) alongside Carcer, and we won. So much for the self-correcting history...

Kingdom Hearts - Well, actually it ended up as more just Disney. Two opposing Wolf teams who can recruit the neutral Villagers. I was Jafar (Baner/Recruiter), but really everything went wrong for us pretty quickly in this one.
Ye Olde West IV - Usually western themed, but this time it was Star Wars. Two sort of Wolf teams, one who kill people and one who steal money (Oh yeah, there's money which you can find and also use to buy things)
ReBoot - Based on the excellent TV series of the same name. Sadly the game died part-way through.
Reverse WW 1, 2, 3, 4 - As the name suggests, things are reversed. You have a village of Werewolves against one undercover Villager. Each night the Villager can kill someone, or every 4 nights (Starting on night 1) they can cure a Wolf, making them another Villager. And each night a random Wolf gets to kill someone. 1, I was the original Villager and I won. 2 and 3, I was just another Wolf. 4 is ongoing.
Camelot 0.5, 1, 2 - Pretty sure these were actually based on The Once and Future King, but at the time I hadn't read it. The power roles had an interesting thing where by refraining from using their abilities to gain points to be spent on more powerful abilities. I think. 0.5 was just a test run basically. I think I was a Villager in all three. Sadly the guy who was running these vanished a while back.

Vampire 3, 4 - Vampires! Usually Dracula-type, Victorian England sort of thing, but 3 was Buffy-themed. Designed to mess with people's expectations by having various events departing from standard WW rules. This combined with narrator issues and me being busy means I've never gotten so into these, sadly.
Playground Squares WW Edition - Mixing WW with Playground Squares (Based on Hollywood Squares), this allowed people to potentially survive being lynched if they could answer a question in such a way as to trick the other players into thinking they were wrong/right rather than right/wrong.
Abhorsen 1, 2 - Books by Garth Nix. In 1 I was the Devil, and in one of the most annoying narrator errors ever, I was lynched when I shouldn't have been. My team went on to win, though I'm not quite sure how they got everyone to believe the outrageous lies they told, but I missed out on it anyway. 2 I was just a Villager.
Monster Mash III - Craziness. Multiple teams who can recruit and kill. It's impossible for the Villagers to win. A game more for enjoyable insanity than serious tactics/strategy.
Llama Llama Duck III - Pretty much the king of ridiculous games. You get to choose your own role, though not your team, and it's all crazy.

Mad Science! - Kind of based on my 22nd birthday party. Like Hunting of the Snark, designed partly with the express goal of confusing the players.
Harry Potter - 'Nuff said.
Convoy 2 - Trucks carrying soft drinks or something. I died early on. Rules are strange. Also notable because while there are seven Convoy games listed in the WW archive, only 3 of them have actually happened, namely 2, 4 and 7. Not in that order.
Pirates V - Pirates! Another big name game. Items and things. Kind of served as a history lesson in Playground WW games, representing different series as islands.
Alien Invasion III - Aliens abducting people. I was the Devil again! We won. It was a good game.

Rebellion V - Medieval, peasants, nobles, rebels. Complicated rules for the interplay of the sides, I don't remember, I was a bit swamped with stuff at the time and got autolynched.
Titans 4 - Six pantheons of deities. One on the Villagers' side, five against (But also against each other). Roles not revealed from night kills.
The City - Bleahh complicated I don't remember I was busy. Something with mafia and street gangs and possibly Batman. I mean he wasn't named as Batman but he was pretty much Batman.
itP: Battle for Alarra - OK, background: there was a game based on Magic: the Gathering called Battle for Alara. The Playground has a moderator called Alarra. You can see how people could get confused. So the idea was that Real Life was trying to steal Alarra away from the Playground and we had to stop it from doing so. I think we failed (In the game, that is, Alarra is actually still around). Man I hate Real Life.
Breaking the 4th Wall - Trolls or hackers or something invading the Playground and we had to get rid of them.

And finally,
L-Space WW - I was originally planning on running Mad Science! 2, but the rules for that are complicated and I haven't finished them yet. So I thought, "Just use basic rules and pick a setting!" And I decided to use the idea of L-Space, from the Discworld books, with some references to The Ink Thief thrown in. (Does anyone else remember The Ink Thief? Did anyone else even watch The Ink Thief?) Slight variant, the wolves have no power roles, but they gain abilities from the Village power-roles when they kill them. Ongoing.

OK, now this post is plenty long. I'll probably do individual posts about the games I've run at some point, but in general this serves as background, so when I mention WW games, you know at least vaguely what I'm talking about. Now I think I have to write a narration for about seven hours ago. Whoops.

1 comment:

  1. See when you said Werewolf I assumed 'the Apocalypse' and then the following explanation made no sense to me at all.

    I need to stop trying to read this when it's almost midnight.