There is a party game played called Werewolves, also known as Mafia. I’ve figured out a pretty strong strategy for villagers to win, but they have to work together, they have to trust each other, and trust logic of the system itself, because, after all, the game is just liars versus truth-tellers. The rule set that we played by is simple…
Gather at least 8 people into a circle, and also get one neutral narrator.
- With everyone’s head down, narrator assigns two people as werewolves (made men), the rest as villagers, and one villager as a priest (informant).
- Every round, everyone discusses and tries have a majority rule vote to kill off a player. If a player is voted off, he leaves the circle, and admists to his real role.
- Between rounds, players put their heads down for hte night phase. Narrator asks the werewolves to look up and silently pick a target. If both agree, the next round the narrator announces who was killed at that night.
- After werewolves choose a kill in the night phase, if there is a priest, the narrator will ask him to look up and point to a person in the circle. The narrator will nod if that person is a werewolf.
- The game is over when either 1) both of the werewolves are eliminated, or 2) there are an equal number of werewolves and villagers.
Now, there are many variations. But for the one I’ve described, here is what villagers do to win:
- Wait until roughly half the players are killed off, or until the priest has identified at least one werewolf. The latter is hard to know, so there is some luck.
- If you are a villager, announce the following: “I may or may not be a werewolf, but this strategy works regardless of my truthfulness. At this point in the game, the priest must step forward to admit is identity if he feels there is enough info. Then he will proceed to tell us everything he knows about who is innocent and who is a werewolf. If you think this is a werewolf ploy, that’s fine, just vote me out, but consider the logic behind this plan. It does not need my survival to work.”
- A couple things will happen if the priest complies.
Scenario A: He confesses and then tells the group some information to help narrow down which are the werewolves, but likely sacrificing his life.
Scenario B: Another werewolf pretends to be a priest and offers false information.
Scenario C: Both werewolves pretend to be the priest, using teamwork to thoroughly confuse the villagers as to the real priest.
So the scenarios boil down to A) having solid information, B) two possible priests and one possibly hidden one, or C) priests and werewolf roles all laid out. Clearly, this is a trap for the werewolves. The best thing they can do at this point is to go with scenario B and have only one werewolf pretend to be a priest. Otherwise, players will either know the truth, or will have the candidates narrowed to three people.
In scenario B, villagers should NOT vote anyone out at first. The reason is simple. The werewolves will have to vote out the priest, who will identify the hidden werewolf, or identify villagers and address them directly. But if werewolves kill off the priest, then they’ve fallen into a trap. Clearly, the other candidate at the time was the werewolf then.
This strategy isn’t foolproof because it relies on the priest complying (in one game our priest didn’t come forth, a werewolf did) and the faith villagers have in the logic of the system. However, it is designed to give villagers an edge as long as players want to win… that means villagers tell the truth and werewolves save their skin. You will be accused of being a werewolf, and likely voted off, but that doesn’t matter. If your villagers are reasonably intelligent, they will see the logic here and follow through.