Welcome to day 5 of my 12 Days of Holiday Gaming Suggestions. Let’s briefly talk about a game I don’t like. I’m not a fan of Are You a Werewolf aka Mafia aka Ultimate Werewolf (among many, many other names),which some people might find unusual of me. After all, I really enjoy hidden traitor games, and games with asymmetrical player roles. The above games are best known for those features. A feature nearly unique to those games that I really like is how the traitors aren’t able to directly communicate with each other even though they know each other’s identities. But there’s one deal breaker for me: I don’t like games where players are eliminated without getting to do anything, and quick elimination of clueless players is critical for the Werewolf/Mafia/etc experience.

So imagine my surprise when I played a game that manages to capture a good chunk of the Werewolf experience without the player elimination. And I should mention that it’s a party game that’s easy to breakout at those family gatherings that include non-gamers. And it integrates an app for an experience that can’t be replicated without the physical components.Today’s game is Werewords, by Bezier Games, Inc.

Werewords is a party game for 4 to 10 players (or more with the Deluxe edition). I’m going to talk about the basic game, which breaks the players down into four roles:

1: The Mayor. The person playing the Mayor gets to choose a Magic Word from the game’s app, and has to get the Villagers to guess it before the time runs out. But there’s one complication; the Mayor can’t speak!

2: The Seer. The person playing the Seer gets to see the Magic Word, and can help the Villagers guess it before the time runs out. But the Seer must be careful to not be too obvious who they are, because if the Werewolves find them out the Villagers lose.

3: The Werewolf. The person (or people in larger games)playing the Werewolf gets to see the Magic Word. They can then try to sabotage the Villager’s attempts to guess it. But if the Werewolf is too direct in their deductive vandalization, the Villagers can suss them out at the end of the game for victory.

4: The Villagers. Everyone not assigned to the above three roles is a Villager. Villagers can either win by guessing the Magic Word, or the identity of one Werewolf.

The game begins by randomly assigning roles to all of the players. Once everyone knows what they are playing the Mayor (and only the Mayor) reveals their role, and starts the app. Everyone else puts their heads down while the Mayor selects a Magic World. Then the Mayor puts their head down,and the Seer gets to see the word. Then the Seer puts their head down, and the Werewolf gets to see the world. (In games with multiple werewolves, this is where they get to see who their teammates are.)

Now the guessing game begins. Players ask the Mayor yes-or-no questions in an attempt to figure out what the Magic Word is. Because the Mayor can’t speak, they give Yes or No tokens as answers. (They can also give a Maybe or So Close token when needed.) Villagers (and the Seer) are trying to guess the Magic Word before the game’s timer runs out, and the Werewolf is trying to stop them.

If the Villagers guess the Magic Word, the Werewolf must show themselves. They now have 15 seconds and one guess to figure out who the  Seer is. If the Werewolf identifies the Seer, the Villagers lose. Otherwise,there Werewolf has lost.

If either the game’s timer, or the Yes and No tokens run out, the players get one minute to try to figure out who the Werewolf is. (The Mayor is now allowed to speak.) After one minute, everyone points to who they think the Werewolf is. The person with the majority of the vote reveals their role. If they are a Werewolf, the Villagers win. If that person is anyone else,the Villagers have lost.

There’s one more complication that I didn’t mention above:The Mayor themselves could be the Werewolf! To find out how that works, as well as reading about all of the other optional roles, check the link to the game’s full rules below. (I’ll link to the deluxe version, because that’s what I’ve played.)

Werewords is an excellent game that does a great job bringing together people with different tastes in gaming. It’s a great compromise between the full Werewolf/et al experience without the player elimination. It’s easy to teach to fans of casual party games, and could be used to bring them into more complicated games. And the app integration makes it a truly unique experience, and makes it a potential combo gift for anyone getting a smart device over the holidays. If you’ve been at all intrigued by my suggestion, give the full rules a look over.

About the Author

James Nettum started playing RPG’s while in fourth grade, sneaking in sessions of AD&D on the playground of his Catholic school. He went pro at the age of 25 when he took a position at Pegasus Games in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been there 10 years and plays every sort of game, except collectibles.

James started posting a 12 Days of Holiday Gaming via Facebook on Black Friday in 2016. I enjoyed the recommendations and wanted to share them. With his permission, I’m reblogging the series here at Chicago Geek Guy.