Advent Reviews: Werewolves (of Miller’s Hollow)

Werewolves is the quintessential party game. I love playing it – unfortunately, it is difficult to gather enough people to play it.

What kind of game is this?

Werewolves is a funny kind of a game. It exists in many versions, and was played for a while without any commercially released edition. It was originally known as Mafia, and can also be found ind the guise of “Do you worship Cthulhu?” All that said, the version of the game that really made it famous was “The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow”.

In any version, one player is the moderator. All other players receive a character card, showing whether they are a common villager, a werewolf hiding in the village, or one of a number of special characters, most of which are on the side of the villagers.

The game is played in a number of day/night cycles. Each night, the moderator tells everyone to close their eyes. When everybody has closed their eyes, the moderator tells the wolves to open their eyes and vote for whoever they want to eat that night. After the werewolves are done, a number of other characters can open their eyes, one at a time, in order to use their special powers – like the Seer, who will point to someone to find out whether they are a werewolf or not.

After the night phase, everybody opens their eyes, and the moderator tells them the results of the night: Who died, and what else happened? Then the players debate who they suspect of being a werewolf, and vote to lynch someone. The game ends when all the werewolves are dead, or when the werewolves overpower the villagers.

How many people should you play this with?

The more the merrier! I think a minimum for playing this is eight players and a moderator. But the game really shines when you have 10-15 players. This will make the game a fair bit longer, and the first player to die will be out for a fair while. This is unfortunate, but you can help it either by involving the dead players in the game, or by having them start a second game at some point.

What do I think of this game?

This game is so much fun! It hits a sweet spot between roleplaying and board gaming, and causes some really fun situations when everybody is slinging accusations back and forth. The rules are very light, and not very strict, but that is perfect for what the game is – not least because it makes it easy to bring new people into the game very quickly.

A few interesting things to note

How important artwork is. The difference in the feel between this version of the game and the one called “Ultimate Werewolf” is more or less just the artwork, and yet I much prefer Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.

How fun it is to have a game you can customize so much. Each time, the moderator chooses a set of cards, which means none of the players can be entirely sure what’s in the pile. That keeps you on your toes.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Simon James Pettitt on December 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Oh I had forgotten all about this game! Still need to try it some day. Can it be gotten any where by the way?

    Reply

    • Posted by Elias Helfer on December 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      I always love playing it. The big hurdle is getting the people together – in Danish roleplaying and boardgaming circles, that can be very difficult for some reason. But with you, me and Cheresse, we’d be getting somewhere. Six more people would still be required.

      You can get it all over the place. Faraos has it, I’m sure Fantask and Dragon’s Lair have it, Amazon for sure, and probably loads of other webshops. A friend of mine actually found a Chinese version in China recently. Or you can get Ultimate Werewolf – or even just find some rules and make your own using playing cards.

      Reply

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