What's Eric Playing? #118: Werewords Review
Full disclosure: A review copy of Werewords was provided by Bezier Games.
Don’t forget that I’m still running a giveaway! I’ve added a new entry option for the careful Werewords reader.
Well, I’ve already written up most of the One Night series (just haven’t published all of them, yet), so might as well start working on spinoffs. In Werewords, you’re another village with a severe werewolf problem, but you’ve figured out they hate hearing a certain word (the word isn’t “it”, in case you were wondering). If you can figure out what the word is, they’ll leave. Naturally, they don’t want you to guess it, so they’ll work to throw you off track. Thankfully, you have some help, though one of your helpers is maybe less trustworthy? Will you be able to figure out which word’s the right one?
Setup is rather simple. You’re going to want to download the Werewords app, and get that all set up.
Next, one player gets to be the Mayor. Give them a Mayor card out of the available roles:
Now, deal each player (including the Mayor) a role. The Mayor will keep the Mayor card face-up and the other role face-down. You should have 1 Werewolf and 1 Seer in those roles, at minimum. You can make the rest Villagers, or don’t! I’ll talk more about each role as we get to them.
Give the Mayor the various tokens (YES / NO, MAYBE, SO CLOSE, and CORRECT):
They should keep the tokens close. Once you’ve done that, you’re all ready to get started!
The easiest way to explain the game will be to explain the roles, so I’mma do that.
MEET THE ROLES
The Mayor is in charge of this town, but has been rendered speechless by Forbidden Knowledge. Thankfully, he can pretty easily mime “Yes” and “No”. During the Night, the Mayor wakes up and picks a word from three choices on the app. During the Day, the Mayor uses their role to either help the players guess the word or try to stop them (more on that later) by answering their yes/no questions with the tokens they’ve been given.
The Seer wants to help the Village Team win, but needs to be careful! If the Werewolves figure out who the Seer is, it’s bad.
During the Night, the Seer gets to see the word. They can ask yes / no questions during the Day, but if the word is correctly guessed, the Werewolf gets to pick which player they think the Seer is. If they’re right, the Werewolf wins!
Note that the Mayor can be the Seer as well, in which case nobody on the Village Team knows the word. If that happens, the app will assign the Mayor an easier word.
The Werewolf is essentially the opposite of the Seer. Sure, they still know what the word is, but they’re trying to stop anyone from guessing it.
During the Night, the Werewolf gets to see the word. They can ask yes / no questions during the Day, but if the word is not correctly guessed, the Village Team gets to pick who they thought the Werewolf was. If they’re right, the Village Team wins!
Note that the Mayor can also be the Werewolf. If that’s the case, the app will assign the Mayor a harder word.
So, there’s the Minion. Like One Night Ultimate Werewolf‘s Minion, he serves the Werewolves and wants to help them win. However, specifically unlike the other Minion, if, at the end of the Day, he’s picked by the town, the Werewolves lose! He’ll wake up during the night to see who the Werewolves are, but he doesn’t know what the word is.
I’m not 100% sold on this one.
Just like the Werewolf, the Mayor can be a Minion. If so, the app will assign the Mayor a harder word.
Sure, the Minion is … there, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a buff for the Village Team? Well, there’s the Beholder. The Beholder gets to see the Seer during the Night, but not the Magic Word. Unlike the Minion, if they’re picked by a Werewolf, the Village Team still wins! Weird, but okay.
The Mayor can also be the Beholder. I’m not sure if the app assigns them an easier word, though. I would assume not.
The Villager does nothing. They don’t see the word, they don’t wake up, they just, like all other non-Mayor Village Team players, try to guess the word.
If the Mayor’s a Villager, nothing really happens.
So, like I said, Night happens:
- Mayor wakes up and selects their role, then picks a word.
- Seer wakes up and views the word.
- Beholder wakes up and views the Seer.
- Werewolf wakes up and sees the word. They also see the other Werewolf, if there’s one in play.
- Minion wakes up and sees the Werewolf.
Players then ask Yes / No questions of the Mayor, who must answer by giving them a Yes / No / Maybe / So Close token. If a player correctly guesses the word / phrase, the Mayor gives them a Correct! token.
If players guess the word, the Werewolf / Werewolves reveal and point at who they think the Seer is. If a Werewolf points at the Seer, the Werewolves win.
If the players do not guess the word (or run out of Yes / No tokens), every player must point at who they think is a Werewolf or Minion. If a plurality of players are pointing at a Werewolf or Minion, the Village team wins! Otherwise, the Werewolf team wins!
That’s about it.
PLAYER COUNT DIFFERENCES
I wouldn’t recommend using all the special roles unless you’re playing at really high player counts, but that’s about it. Game plays about the same at most player counts.
- You should consider the possibility that the Mayor is the Seer or the Werewolf. Most new players don’t do that, and it can cost them.
- Don’t lie too much as the Mayor-Werewolf. The Seer knows the word, remember, and if they say “I was the Seer and he lied about X”, that looks pretty bad for you. Plus, everyone else gets to see the word, too.
- If you do want to lie, try to feign ignorance. For instance, answer questions that you’d normally answer definitively with a Maybe and pretend that you’re just not sure. It’s fine.
- With two Werewolves, you almost want to guess the word yourselves and then just go for the Seer. Especially if you have the Minion in play, you might not want to try your odds that the Villagers won’t just go after one of you.
- Beholder should be playing just aggressively enough that people suspect her of being the Seer. If she gets killed, that’s fine, you just can’t risk the Seer.
- I usually open with “Is it a person / place / thing / concept?” to try and silo it. That’s generally pretty helpful because concepts are tough if you don’t think they’re concepts. “Is it a proper noun?” is also typically helpful.
- Mayor, stick with one definition of the word. Don’t try to conflate drive (the verb) with drive (the computer part). It’ll just confuse the Villagers. We had one where the Mayor was trying to get us to guess 101 Dalmatians and opted to go the dog route instead of the Disney movie route. Oof.
- Mayor, keep an eye out for derailing questions. That might be the Werewolf trying to goof on you.
- Keep an eye on the number of tokens. There aren’t THAT many. Like 36?
PROS, MEHS, AND CONS
- I vastly prefer the app to Insider’s theme cards. It’s easier to see the word, it’s well-implemented, and there are more words available. Plus, there are also difficulty levels, allowing you to scale the gameplay to fit your group. I tried Ridiculous difficulty once and Spiro Agnew was an available option, which certainly would have been an interesting one. That or Gainesville.
- The app has One Night’s Disco music. It’s my favorite.
- Very easy to learn. I mean, it’s 20 questions, but 36 and a couple people already know the answer and we’re trying to find them. Essentially.
- Plays very fast. The app helps with that.
- Very portable. I currently have it in my One Night Collection box with the other One Night series games.
- The game’s lore is … there. Werewolves and magic words and saying everything together and it’s not my personal cup of tea. Whatever. This impacts my enjoyment of the game very little.
- Running out of tokens is a bummer way to end a round. I’m intrigued as to how they arrived at that number as the right number. Not out of a desire to disagree, just intrigued at the design process. Still a shame if that’s how it ends, though.
- You might occasionally see some repeat words. I hope they add updates to expand the word lists!
- The art is not my particular style preference. That’s all I’m going to say about it. That, and I kind of get it if they’re saying it’s a lighter game than ONUW, and so the art style is a bit more whimsical.
- I don’t really get the Minion. It just seems like a worse Werewolf, since they don’t get to see the word and the Werewolves don’t know who they are. Maybe it’s a Village Team buffing role?
OVERALL: 9 / 10
Overall, Werewords is just great. It captures a lot about what I like about Insider and pivots on it slightly to make it a bit more deception-heavy. If you like the casual nature of Insider, I’d probably recommend going that route since this adds in a few more phases in which you can accuse people of lying (and, honestly, you have to lie a bit more to get through Werewords as a Werewolf, since you’re specifically trying to block the Villagers), but if you’re looking for something between Insider and the One Night games, I think that this is a very strong contender. Plus, like I said, it fits in my One Night Collection box, so, it’s a great addition to the collection!