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fun little game: Werewolf

This is a really cool little group game that uses a deck of cards. It’s a fun little respite during a night of poker playing. Poker groups are ideal for two reasons. First, because 10 people is just about the perfect number of players and second because it makes great practice for reading people’s facial expressions and other body language.
It goes by other names but when it was first shown to me it was called Werewolf. I’ve also heard it referred to as Mafia or Killer but its the same in any case.

The rules are simple. One person is the omniscient moderator who directs but does not involve himself in play. Everyone else gets one random card. There should be one ace, one king, and the rest number cards. No one is allowed to reveal their cards to anyone else. The ace is the Werewolf/Killer and the King is the Werewolf hunter/sheriff/cop. Everyone else are townspeople. The moderator begins the game by having every one go to sleep (everybody shuts their eyes). He then tells the werewolf to open his eyes and select a person to eliminate. The werewolf then closes their eyes and the sheriff is told to open his eyes.

He points to someone and the moderator gives him a thumbs up if he has pointed to the werewolf or a thumbs down if not. The moderator then tells everyone else it is morning and everyone wakes up. The person the werewolf chose, they are told, is dead. they may no longer speak or otherwise influence the game. The remaining players must now figure out who the werewolf is. The deliberate and when they reach a majority decision that person is eliminated as well. The cycle then repeats itself until either they find the werewolf or the werewolf kills everybody.
It is an incredibly fun game especially if the moderator has a knack for description and creating a sense of intrigue. There is also a variant where another player is a nurse (represented by the queen) Same procedure except this character picks someone to be saved from death during the night.
Give it a try. Its a great little example of group dynamics, using subtle means of persuasion, and hiding true motivations (sounds like poker to me). Each game only takes about 10 minutes at most – Great for breaks from poker or quiet little parties at home. Hell if it’s a big party you can have a huge game with multiple werewolves and sheriffs operating together or separately.

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