Here is a guide to how to play Werewolf.
Werewolf is an interactive multiplayer game. This activity often appears in corporate settings as a team building game or icebreaker. Werewolf is a slightly complicated game, and understanding the rules beforehand is essential.
This article covers:
- Werewolf game rules
- Werewolf game roles
- how to play Werewolf
- how to play Werewolf online
Here are the basics.
Werewolf game rules
Werewolf is one of the best team building games. You can play the exercise in person or online via a Zoom or video call. This game requires participants to listen carefully and communicate clearly. The game Mafia inspired Werewolf as we know it today. Players have utilized a version of this game for decades.
The main goal of the werewolf is to survive the “night.” Players have different roles, which determine what can happen to them during the game. The most crucial element to success is that the moderator or host understands the rules clearly.
The main narrative involves a werewolf trying to devour other players. There is also a medic and a seer. Everyone who is not assigned one of these specific roles is a villager. You can find more information about all these roles below.
Before the game, the moderator will assign roles to all participants. If you are playing in person, then you can ask players to draw cards out of a bowl. Or, you can pass out cards. If you are playing virtually, then you can use an online generator to assign roles. Or, the moderator can directly message each player with their role. The most important thing is that players do not know who is in what role.
To play the game:
- The moderator will advise all players on what time of day it is. For example, the werewolf is active at night. The seer and the medic also awake at night. However, the villagers do not wake up until morning.
- The moderator is a neutral guide and cannot die nor vote on the werewolf.
- During the day, the moderator guides discussion among the villagers as they attempt to determine who the werewolf is.
- The villagers vote on who the werewolf is.
- If the villagers figure out who the werewolf is, then they win.
- If the villagers are wrong, then night falls again. If the werewolf manages to kill everyone before getting caught, then he or she wins.
- No cheating! Players cannot open their eyes until instructed to do so by the moderator.
The most important rule of Werewolf is that for survival, the seer, medic, and werewolves should conceal their true identities and masquerade as villagers for as long as possible.
Werewolf game roles
There are several roles in Werewolf, and each has a purpose.
The moderator has a vital role. It is your job to ensure the game runs smoothly.
First, you will assign roles either randomly with cards or using an online generator. The moderator must protect the identities of both the werewolf and the seer. If the villagers figure out who these players are, then the game ends. While the moderator cannot win or lose the game, they carry the most responsibility.
The moderator controls day and night throughout the game and wakes up the werewolf, medic, and seer. The moderator also can pronounce villagers dead. Afterward, they guide discussion among the villagers as participants attempt to determine who the werewolf is. Fair warning, it can be a challenge to remain impartial and not give anything away when you know so much!
The moderator has several jobs throughout the game, in the following order:
- Assign roles to all the players.
- Notify all players when night falls.
- Wake up the werewolf and find out who they want to kill.
- Wake up the seer and find out who they think the werewolf is.
- Wake up the medic and find out who they want to save.
- Wake up all the players when the day arrives.
- Give the bad news notifying villagers who died.
- Guide discussion among villagers as the debate who the werewolf is.
- Take a vote and tally who the villagers want to kick out.
- Depending on the vote, notify the voted out villager, or the caught werewolf.
The moderator has the task of moving along the story and keeping players engaged.
The werewolf is the game’s villain and main antagonist. The werewolf’s only job is to stalk the villagers at night and kill them without getting caught. This role probably has the most power in the game. Each night, the moderator wakes the werewolf up and asks them who they want to eat.
Of course, the werewolf needs to act as sneakily and stealthily as possible. This is where strategy comes into play. Your goal is to deflect or deter villagers’ suspicions. For example, choose random villagers, and avoid victims that might be an obvious choice for you. Furthermore, during daytime deliberation, try to make the villagers believe you are one of them.
For the best chance at surviving, the werewolf needs to figure out the identities of the seer and medic. The seer, in particular, is your biggest threat. Once the seer figures you out, their only goal is to turn all the villagers against you.
If you have eight players or more, then consider having two werewolves. For groups of 16 players, three werewolves are best. As the group grows, increasing the number of werewolves keeps the game balanced. When playing with many werewolves, you can ask them to work together to choose a victim. Or, the werewolves can take turns choosing their victims on different nights.
The seer is the anti-werewolf. This character is attempting to catch the werewolf and save the villagers. The seer has the chance to discover the werewolf, and then try to persuade other players.
The seer gets the night to ask the moderator who the werewolf is. Once you find out the truth, you are indispensable to the villagers. However, this fact makes you very dangerous to the werewolf, who will likely try to eliminate you as early as possible. For this reason, the seer must keep their identity hidden from the villagers and the werewolf.
To stay alive longer in the game and keep the werewolf from getting suspicious, try to remain neutral in discussions. If you are always trying to get the villagers to vote for the werewolf and they refuse, then you will likely end up dead very soon. Reading the room during the discussion can help you to stay alive. For instance, if another player mentions the werewolf, then you have a chance to guide the conversation without pointing fingers.
The medic is a fun but unnecessary role if you play with a smaller group. The moderator wakes the medic up each night after the werewolf and the seer. The moderator will ask the medic who they want to save. The medic will not know the identities of the seer nor the wolf’s victims. If the medic chooses the wolf’s intended prey, then that villager survives.
The medic is extra helpful if they can figure out the identity of the seer. Once the seer knows who the werewolf is, they can help end the game. If the medic can figure out who the seer is, then the medic can keep the seer alive.
Again, if you are playing with a smaller group, it is OK to leave the medic out. Playing without a medic will only mean that villagers die when the wolf attacks them.
Every participant who is not the moderator, seer, medic, or werewolf is a villager. Think of these characters as potential food for the werewolf. Their only goal is to figure out who the werewolf is and stop the feeding frenzy.
An individual villager stands no chance against the werewolf. However, a community can band together to catch the werewolf and save the remaining group members.
To be successful, the villagers should figure out who each role is. The villagers know that a participant is lying to cover up their tracks. They also know someone is telling the truth and trying to save the whole village. The key is to figure out who is who.
How to play Werewolf
the following is the main flow of the game Werewolf.
- To play the game, the moderator will assign roles to players. The moderator will then tell all players that night has fallen. Participants should hum or lightly tap their desks so ambient noise and movement are not as noticeable. Once night falls, the only player to speak is the moderator. The werewolf, the medic, and the seer should be as inconspicuous as possible when answering the moderator.
- First, the moderator will wake up the werewolf. You can say a phrase along the lines of, “Werewolf, open your eyes and choose your victim.” The werewolf will choose a villager to kill by pointing at them. The moderator should confirm this by holding their hand over the selected victim. The werewolf will then go back to sleep.
- Next, the moderator will wake up the seer. The moderator can say something like, “Seer, wake up. Who do you think is the evil werewolf?” The seer will choose a player by pointing at them. Again, the moderator should confirm by holding their hand over the chosen player’s head. Then, the moderator will audibly answer with either “villager” or “werewolf.” The seer will then go back to sleep.
- Then, the moderator will wake up the medic. You can ask the medic, “Who do you think needs saving tonight?” The medic will point to someone. Just like with the werewolf and seer, be sure to confirm their choice by holding a hand over the head of the villager they chose. The medic will then go back to sleep.
- Finally, the moderator will announce the sun has come up, and all villagers should wake up. As soon as the moderator wakes the villagers up, they will inform the villagers there has been an attack. If the unlucky villager that the werewolf picked is not also chosen by the medic, they unfortunately die. Yet, if the medic chose the same villager as the werewolf, the attack was not fatal, and the villager will pull through.
- During the day, the moderator will guide the villager’s discussion as they attempt to figure out who the werewolf is. Any player can say anything in these debates. But, villagers who are already dead must remain quiet. You can think of them as silent ghosts. During this discussion, villagers can proclaim their innocence and accuse werewolves. It is best to give a time limit on discussions. After a couple of minutes, the moderator will call for a vote.
- Then, allow for villagers to make their accusations. You can hold your hand over the head of the accused werewolves and ask for votes. Villagers should raise their hand when the moderator is over who they think the werewolf is.
- The villagers eliminate the participant who gets the most votes. The player should then reveal whether they were the werewolf. If they were a villager, then the moderator could say, “The village has voted to condemn an innocent person! The werewolf will find a new victim tonight.”
- If the accused was the seer, then the moderator can say, “The village has voted to condemn the seer, the one player who knew the truth. The werewolf will find a new victim tonight.” If the accused was the medic, then the moderator can say, “The village has voted to condemn the medic, the one player who could save an attack victim. The werewolf will find a new victim tonight.”
- However, If the accused was indeed the werewolf, then the moderator can say, “The village has voted to condemn the werewolf. You are now safe from the ravenous appetite of the werewolf. You can sleep well tonight knowing that the wolf is no longer hunting.” However, if you play with more than one werewolf, let the villagers know they caught one werewolf, yet more werewolves remain.
- If the villagers do not catch the werewolf, or the last werewolf, then the game continues. The moderator should then inform participants that night has fallen again. Next, repeat the steps in the same order, asking the same questions. If the werewolf kills the seer or medic, skip those questions.
The game continues until the villagers kill all the werewolves or until the werewolves kill all the villagers.
How to play werewolf online
Werewolf is a fun game to play virtually, as well. Rules are the same, but there are a few factors to consider to make the game a success on a Zoom call.
- First, the moderator needs to be the host of the call. This step is to ensure the moderator has enough control to manage the game.
- Next, be sure each participant knows how to “Raise their hand.” This feature puts a hand icon next to a player’s name in the participant’s list. At the beginning of the game, all villagers as well as the werewolf, medic, and seer should raise their hands to place the icon by their name. As players die, they should remove the icon. Removing the hand clarifies who is still actively participating in the game.
- The moderator can use the chat feature to message participants about their roles directly. Or, the moderator can send an email or text message to players before the game begins. Similar to in-person gameplay, roles must remain secret.
- When night comes, all players should turn off their cameras and mute their microphones to keep players from giving away information through body language or facial expressions. The moderator will ask questions to the werewolf, the seer, and the medic out loud for all participants to hear. However, the werewolf, the seer, and the medic should answer by private message. If there is more than one werewolf, then they should privately discuss who they want to kill before answering the moderator.
- Next, the moderator will wake up all players and ask them to turn on their cameras and microphones. The group will then try to figure out who the werewolf is. Next, the moderator takes a vote. Participants will vote by physically raising their hands on the camera, using the platform’s polling feature, or typing guesses into the chat.
The game continues as it would in person.
Werewolf is an entertaining game for teams to build relationships and interact socially. During the game, players must communicate clearly and rely on strategy. Werewolf is a great way to open a meeting or for team building at a retreat.