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I've only played about 10 games of ONUW and during deliberation on who to vote out, a trend emerges: we often discuss what we did and try to deduce who is who.

Say there was a Seer, Troublemaker, Robber, and Village Idiot, each one would tell everyone else which cards they looked at/swapped around, so much so that by the end of the deliberation, we usually have all of the players correct. Is the game meant to be played this way? Is there any benefit to a villager telling a lie?

What if no player has a werewolf (say they're all in the middle). Is there a way villagers can even win the game? A villager must be voted out (unless there's a draw?).

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There is a benefit to a villager holding back information, or telling a lie. The benefit is that if all the villagers immediately and automatically tell the truth, then the werewolf can use the information to his advantage. For example, if no villager claims to be the Seer, then the werewolf can safely say that he was the seer. If, however, people are reluctant to claim things, then if the werewolf claims to be the Seer, then the real Seer can speak up and call out his lie.

Another thing I've seen done is the troublemaker telling a lie about which players he switched. For example, I'm the troublemaker, and I switched players A and B with each other. I suspect that player C is the werewolf. I say "I switched players A and C". Player C, who really was the werewolf, believes me, and says "well in that case, I was the werewolf to start, so now player A must be the werewolf!" Then, when I reveal the truth that player C is was NOT actually switched, we all know that player C is the wolf, he just admitted it!

It is also not clear from your description what a werewolf does in your games. If "everyone tells the truth", and everyone is believable, then what does the werewolf do? If someone says that he was a Village Idiot, how do you know if he's telling the truth, or if he is actually a werewolf who is lying?

If there is no werewolf, then the villagers win by not killing anyone. The only way to do this is to not give more than 1 vote to any player (for example, each player votes for the person on his/her right). Often players will agree to vote this way if they are truly convinced that no one is a werewolf; but if they do so, and there actually was a werewolf, then the werewolf wins.

So yes, it is normal to discuss what each person did, and who each person is. But the werewolf will almost always be lying, which means that you can't know for sure if any 1 person is telling the truth or not.

  • 2
    I guess recounting steps is the way to play and finding out who is lying is what makes it difficult. – gator Sep 10 '16 at 4:24
  • I pulled this exact stunt - not knowing I was being such a clever puppy. When recounting the events came around to the Seer, I made some comment or joke - a distraction just long enough to give a Seer time to speak up. When no one claimed to be Seer, I claimed it myself, and got off scott-free. – DaveC426913 Nov 28 '18 at 19:30
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In addition to the answer above: Yes, the way to figure out what exactly happened is to openly discuss what each played did during the night. But as the players share their information, this could lead to one of the players finding out they were the werewolf. Him openly sharing their information would then have led to a loss, because he helped the others figuring out that he is the werewolf.

In my experience, sharing bits and pieces of information is useful, but never placed all your cards on the table unless you are very very sure you are not unmasking yourself.

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It is generally to the villagers advantage to be honest, as between their collective information, they can usually pinpoint the werewolves. The werewolves have three typical strategies to combat this:

  1. Camouflage as a villager. Have a story that is innocuous or actually backs up someone's story. For example: a villager claims to be the robber. Then you (the werewolf) claim to be the seer and confirm that they are the robber.
  2. Have a coherent story that contradicts a villager story and argue it out. For example, a villager claims to be the seer and that they saw you were a werewolf (which is true). Then you (the werewolf) claim that you were the seer and you saw they were the robber, so they probably stole a werewolf card and are trying to get a villager killed.
  3. The best is to manipulate the share of honest information to get a specific person killed. For example, you (the werewolf) claim to be the troublemaker and claim having switched a human with the person you know to be the other werewolf. The other werewolf can have an unconvincing story, leading people to believe that they were originally the werewolf, but if they also believe you, then they will kill the person you claimed to have been on the other end of the swap. Since you were not actually the troublemaker, this person is still a villager and the werewolves win.

Adding roles that want to die, such as the Tanner and the Minion, can make this easier for people who have trouble lying since these roles are intentionally trying to be unconvincing in their stories to attract votes.

If all players get one vote, no one dies. In this case, if all people were villagers, the villagers win. However, if there were any werewolves or a minion, team werewolves win. Also, all a werewolf has to do in this case is vote for a different person than they are supposed to and someone has two votes and dies.

Advantages to the villagers for lying or withholding information are in a couple places:

  1. If you got swapped with a werewolf (say by the troublemaker), you won't know you have something to hide until everyone has shared their information. Thus, you have an advantage to sharing information later. This is more important in games with more swaps, such as with the Village Idiot. The counterpoint to this is that if people have conflicting stories, whoever spoke first is usually seen as more credible, so there advantages to both speaking early and speaking late.

  2. Lying about what you did early on can cause people to give up information by making them think their role has changed even when it hasn't. This is especially good with the Troublemaker as you can make a werewolf or minion think that they are a human and give up who the other werewolves are.

  3. It's usually a repeated game. If the villagers do too well every game, you will have a hard time playing as a werewolf.

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