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When playing Werewolf, my group and I always have the same problem: whom should we lynch on the first day?

In a group of ~10 people, we usually play 2 werewolves plus 2 "seers," who have one shot per night to guess one werewolf. On the first day, either the seers don't have correct information, or it would just be stupid to share information with the group because the werewolves would kill them the next night. Increasing the number of seers or reducing the number of werewolves always seems to unbalance the game too much to one side or the other!

Without any real indicators, we always resort to guesses and "cold reading" people — I think you're the werewolf because I can see it in your face — resulting in many "feel-bad" moments.

What is the best method to choose whom to lynch on the first day?

or

What mechanics can we use to prevent or reduce lynching people at random?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The first day it is awfully random. However, there are a few rules of thumb you can use.

First, you mentioned the seer, so let's get that out of the way, then the rest of my explanation should work for games without seers.

As a seer you should stay quiet until you've identified a werewolf. Once you've identified a werewolf:

  1. Say "I am a seer"
  2. Reveal who've you've identified good and bad
  3. The other seers in the game should ALSO admit to being seers, and give the information they've learned

Once this is done, there may be a werewolf masquerading as a seer. This is fine, as both groups now will kill each other off until there are no more people claiming to be seers. Since cards are revealed, you now know which seer information to trust and which not to trust.

Next, assume a game with no (more) seers.

To figure out who and how to accuse, consider the following:

As a werewolf:

  • The odds are against you, accuse the more experienced player
  • If you feel like the group is a forgiving one, accuse your other werewolf, be antagonistic to him throughout the game. If this is known it's likely you'll be seen as safe once one of you dies.
  • Say nothing, at all, ever. People tend to accuse people seen to have 'agendas'

As a human:

  • Accuse the most experienced player. He is the one most likely to succeed at deception.
  • Accuse the most impatient person. A werewolf doesn't need to wonder anything. Wondering takes cognitive cycles, so werewolves tend to be quicker to talk/accuse.
  • With a 2/8 split, your odds of choosing someone randomly as a villager are 5:2 (71%). So have all the players, simultaneously, choose a person at random and point to that person. This is their 'safe' person that they'll 'trust' throughout the game. If any two people are pointing to each other (the odds are against this), kill that person, else kill the person with the fewest fingers pointing at him. (NOTE: The two at each other prevents the werewolves from protecting themselves). Do not change your safe person throughout the game. If your safe person dies, you do NOT choose a new one. This technique works not within a single game (the odds of who gets the most safe fingers is random), but across games, as this makes the safer people MORE OFTEN the villagers than the werewolves. The 'no two at each other rule' also helps to make the werewolves less likely to have the most votes.

BTW, cold-reading, is a perfectly valid strategy. I correctly identified, on the very first round, a werewolf in 9 of my last 10 games I played. The biggest tell is a change in people's behavior. Most people are not good actors and can't help but play differently.

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It wasn't my intention to pass cold-reading as an invalid strategy, I was just looking for ways to reduce the bad feeling people get on the first round when they are lynched by no reason and the bad feeling of killing an innocent on a bad hunch. –  rahzark Jan 20 '12 at 10:15
    
"since cards are revealed..." is a bit of an assumption. We play where "dead men tell no tales", and identities are kept secret until the end. –  The Chaz 2.0 Jan 22 '12 at 3:54
    
No-reveal games are much more difficult. I don't recommend this type of game except for very expert players. –  Neal Tibrewala Jan 22 '12 at 4:32
    
We also reveal cards once we die. Seems to be interesting not to, since people sacrificing themselves for the greater good sometimes just make it really hard for the wolves. –  rahzark Jan 23 '12 at 13:29

You should play on the fact that no one is really sure of who is who. If I tell you "I am a seer, this guy and that guy are werewolves", who says I'm not a werewolf trying to pretend I'm a seer, just to kill some people faster?

Try that: each one has two roles, a real one and a fake one. Don't change the rules of the game, don't distribute more cards, just tell them to choose another role by themselves and to act during the day as if they were that person.

For example, I may be a werewolf, but I decide to act as if I was the witch (someone else could have the same idea and two people can claim to be the witch). During the day, you can ask anybody who he is, but you have no guarantee that that will be the truth.

By doing that and discussing freely of who is who, you will have a way to determine who to lynch: the one that seems to hide something (well, everybody does, but there are people who hide more hideous things such as "I am a werewolf").

Of course, you can't decide "who is a werewolf" on the first evening, nor can you choose randomly. So playing that way gives you a reason to talk to eachother and maybe find that "Pete's story has some holes in it. Maybe he's not a werewolf, but surely he is a liar. Off with his head!"

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Isn't this hard to "implement"? Sure the werewolves are eager to pretend to be another person, but as a villager why should I be pretending to be anything else? My feeling is that people will just play like they do now. –  rahzark Jan 20 '12 at 10:19

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