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In Werewolves there are many Villager roles: normally we play essentially the same roles every time and the players know exactly which are the roles that are going to be used.

If you have 8 players you could choose to play with, for example, 2 wolves, 3 plain villagers and 3 "special villagers" taking at random the 3 special villagers from a pool of say, 6 possible ones.

The main advantage of this variant is that no one knows if a specific role even exists in that round until the end of the round, which may or may not be fun.

The downsides include

  • the moderator will have to spend more time calling for all the possible roles
  • using cards from a poker set becomes more of an issue with more roles, so you'll probably want to have cards that actually say which role you are

Additionally, the wolves can fake to be villagers much more easily.

What do you think about this variant? Have you ever tried anything like this? What elements were fun at first but weren't in the long run?

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It's true that using standard playing cards with custom roles gets confusing. I suggest using printed roles. I can recommend this free set: werewolfdarkarts.com –  Neal Tibrewala Jan 19 '12 at 7:39
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've found that if you introduce too much chaos it becomes way, way more difficult for the villagers to figure out what's going on. Even if they were picking 3 roles from among 4 you've added enough chaos that you'll likely need at least one more villager (depending on the roles).

I've played it that way a few times and it's been kind of fun, but it throws deduction and intuition out the window, leaving it pretty much entirely a game of chance. Which, of course, the villagers almost always lose since only the wolves have any real idea of what's going on.

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Oh, thanks. I'll try to play it with "just 1 more role", like you did, then - if at all. –  Lohoris Jan 13 '11 at 17:20
    
downvote: I've played Wereworld many times with different groups of varying levels with a variety of special cards. Choosing sides wasn't any easier or more difficult. The trick is balancing 'good' specials and bad specials. Certain good specials actually make it way easier to figure out who the werewolves are. –  Neal Tibrewala Jan 19 '12 at 7:36
    
@NealTibrewala What do you mean "choosing sides wasn't any easier or more difficult"? –  Matthew Frederick Jan 19 '12 at 12:47
    
Sorry for the confusing wording there. I meant that determining which players are on the good or evil sides wasn't more difficult because of this 'chaos' theory. I say 'sides' because in the games I play we often have additional 'evil' player roles (not just werewolves), so we talk about what 'side' you're on, and not 'if you're a werewolf'. –  Neal Tibrewala Jan 20 '12 at 22:25
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@NealTibrewala Different experiences, obviously. I've played about 300 times with various groups and my experience is that when you add random additional roles that no one knows are in the game, as in the original post, the villagers are almost guaranteed to lose. –  Matthew Frederick Jan 21 '12 at 20:12
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I love the introduction of additional roles on both the good and evil sides.

Here's a run down on possible mechanical variations:

  1. Additional good roles (e.g. bodyguard, seer, witch) - By themselves, one or two adds something to the game, especially in a big group, but can unbalance the game towards 'good'
  2. Additional evil roles (e.g. cultists, sorceress) - Good for balancing out evil when good roles are in place, plus the additional element of perhaps the werewolves not knowing who's on their 'side' makes it more fun for them in the daytime.
  3. Random Roles - Random roles allows the game to deviate from fixed dominant strategy for certain known roles, and allows more deception (werewolves can pretend to be good roles not in the game as a defense)
  4. No-reveal games - In these games, when someone is killed the group doesn't find out what they were. (The moderator will declare victory when its obtained). This version is much more difficult for both sides and completely changes role strategies. Suggested only for experienced players.

Overall, any of these things depend on the group and balancing the roles. Nothing particularly becomes stale because you can simply change the mix of cards to effect a different game.

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No-reveal for me is a given, I never considered playing without it. I fear the game would be pretty horrible otherwise. –  Lohoris Jan 23 '12 at 8:33
    
No-reveal prevents beginners from learning from their actions as the game progresses, and instead only allows learning across games. This longer cycle makes it more difficult to achieve proficiency. I assure you the game is still very fun without it. –  Neal Tibrewala Jan 23 '12 at 16:29
    
In my experience, people didn't have problems learning anyway. –  Lohoris Jan 24 '12 at 8:02
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I first started playing Werewolf in a 'reveal' group and after only a handful of games we had all gotten so good that it was almost impossible for the Werewolves to win a game. After two games in a row where we killed a Werewolf day one and then killed the rest of the wolves back to back to back, we decided that none of us would ever play 'reveal' again in our careers of Werewolf =) –  Zack Guido Nov 16 '13 at 3:34
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I think this really all depends on how experienced your group of players are. I have played Werewolf for a few years now, and there were times when we were playing with the same group of people so regularly that we actually came up with this idea of random special characters as a way to keep the game from ending up being all about deduction.

There were plenty of games where we would be down to the late mid-game // end-game and there would be this "mass reveal" from the villagers, where all special characters would come out and say who they were (without revealing their cards of course) and it just made the game way too easy for the Villagers.

I found that doing this really helps the game out -if- your group of players tends to get very deductive as the game comes closer to the end. Just be careful to make sure you aren't ending up with possibilities that keep the game unbalanced. (Like by chance having a set of villagers that don't have a Healer or Seer on their side)..

Enjoy!

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