Five Killer Moves to Win Your Next Game of Werewolf

Here are my favorite tricks to win (or at least spice up) the popular party game, Werewolf.

For some reason, people don’t trust me when we play Werewolf. In games, I seem to exude a shady, “this guy is up to something” vibe. At any rate, today you’re in luck—you get to benefit from my sneaky mojo.

Note: I’m assuming you know how to play the game, but if not, you can read the rules of Werewolf here. Or, check out the very-detailed rules from Ted Alspach’s Ultimate Werewolf cards. Also, if you are looking to pick up a deck of Werewolf cards, buy my friend Corey’s deck. I love the art on the a cards

#5—Stand up for someone early and make yourself an ally

If you are a Werewolf, defend someone from the group’s suspicions early on, especially if that person is sitting near you. It will win you goodwill from that person and make them less likely to believe you are not a Werewolf.

The chain of reasoning goes like this:

  1. I am a villager.

  2. That guy stuck up for me.

  3. He must not want me to die.

  4. Therefore, he must also be a villager.

  5. I’ll protect him too.

It is hard to vote to kill someone you have fresh feelings of goodwill toward, so the strategy is to help people to have goodwill toward you. If your new buddy is seated next to you, lean over to them and ask them what they think. Then, agree and support their play. There is something about a whispered strategic conversation during the game of Werewolf that says, “Hey. We’re on the same team. Let’s try to figure this thing out.”

Then, after you have used your ally/patsy, dispose of them. What a game!

#4—If you are the Seer, Check the person sitting next to you

If you are the Seer, check one of the people sitting next to you. If you find a villager, you have found an ally with whom you can plot and strategize. This enables a number of strategic moves:

  • That person can act as a lightning rod (read: meat shield) by doing the accusing when you do find a Werewolf. This will help you stay out of the limelight by never having to do your own nominating.

  • You can also covertly leak your information to your buddy so that, if you die, your information still stays in the game.

  • You can continue to check adjacent people so that you can develop a whole bloc of trusted allies who are all sitting next to one another.

  • If your allies are up to date on the information you gather in the night, one of them can come out as the Seer, keeping you from the Werewolves vengeance.

If the person you check is a wolf, great! Make them think you are their friend and that you think they are innocent. Use strategy #5 since, if they think you trust them, they will be less likely to kill you. While you are at it, mention a few of your suspicions about other players to them. See how they react. If they try to steer you away from some other player, check that person the next night. You may be about to find another Werewolf.

Thanks to Brandon Bernard for this strategy.

An uber-sneaky variation of this strategy if you have to good fortune to be a Werewolf sitting next to a dead player is to claim that person was the Seer and has been running strategy #4 until they died. It might blow up in your face, but hey, what a way to go!

#3—If you are in the hot seat, throw some shade

If you have the chance to defend yourself before a vote is called on you, remember: the best defense is a good offense. Unless you have a better defense, don’t defend yourself at all, just throw someone else under the bus.

It is a simple formula. Just say, “I’m just a villager, but I have a suspicion about [insert name]. He [insert accusation].” And it is just that easy. The accusation doesn’t even have to be that good. Say he is talking too much. Or not talking enough. Say he is acting nervous. The point is to point your finger at someone else. Odds are the group will follow where you are pointing, or you will at least put someone else on the chopping block with you, doubling your odds.

#2—Werewolf-as-Seer Seppuku

This one is for the Werewolves. If you are not the last Werewolf, wait a few rounds and then come out as the Seer. In this strategy, it doesn’t even matter if the real Seer is dead or not yet. Tell the group who you have checked, being sure to name some of your fellow Werewolves as innocents and an innocent or two as Werewolves.

[Note: Make sure you know how many rounds have elapsed and that you know the right number of people you are supposed to have checked. Otherwise, you’ll look like a dummy.]

The next night, get your fellow Werewolves to kill you. When someone who comes out as the Seer dies, it ratifies all their choices because everyone expects the wolves to kill the Seer. Plus, if you never die, the village will get wise to the fact that you’re lying through your sharp, pointy teeth so the plan to lie about being the Seer is only ever a temporary strategy anyway.

But if you die right away, the village’s next move will be to kill the villagers you said were Werewolves and protect the Werewolves you said were villagers.

Even in death, you win.

#1—Silently pretend to be the Seer

When a player claims to be the Seer, it always makes the game more interesting. I like to kick that tried and true strategy up a notch and come out as the Seer privately to only one player at a time.

In the past, I’ve done this by mouthing the words “I am the Seer.” It seems plausible because people understand that you are doing this because it is dangerous to declare yourself publicly. And you might score an ally if they feel like they can trust you since you declared yourself to them.

However, this strategy can really backfire if (1) you reveal yourself to the real Seer or (2) you reveal yourself to a Werewolf. If the former, things are about to get interesting. If the latter, you are about to get dead.

But if it works, the people who believe you to be the Seer probably won’t vote to kill you. And if you can pull this off as a Werewolf, the game is in the bag.

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