There’s a ‘Werewolf’ on the prowl


The New Afterhours Game For Poker Players

Poker players are known to indulge in mental strategy games off the felts and one such strategy game making the rounds among the pros is ‘Werewolf.’  It is strategy game that does not involve cards, a board or game accessories. It is a traditional game involving role-play, acting, deception and yes, the reason why the pros play it: people-reading skills.

The game initially surfaced under the name of ‘Mafia’ (might ring a bell for a few now). A Russian high-school teacher named Dmitry Davidoff invented the game in 1986. He decided to teach the game to his students as a way to distinguish right from wrong. Seeing its popular response he pitched the game to the Psychology Department at Moscow State University as a perfect blend of psychological examination and team-building strategy.

However, Andrew Plotkin, an influential interactive fiction writer, felt that the name was holding the game back. The theme had a cultural disconnect for 1997s and therefore he came up with an even more appropriate theme. The game he suggested would be played out over ‘night’ and ‘day’ phases and would be all about hidden enemies, who while seemingly innocent at day, become evil at night like a werewolf. Now that’s a context we can all relate to and the game adopted its new name ‘Werewolf’.

The game is simple; players are split into “villagers” and “werewolves”. The villagers try to kill their enemies, the werewolves, before they are outnumbered. Through heated debates, false accusations, blatant lies and devious manipulations, the werewolves must learn to survive. Their objective is to kill enough number of villagers by turning them on one another and survive till they are outnumbered.

Based on the description it’s not hard to wrap your head around the fact that the game has made its way into professional poker circles. A lot of elements key to being a good poker player are part of the game. Both poker and werewolf help you to observe people’s body languages and mannerisms to detect patterns. It is a game of strategy and deception and the perfect game for poker players to unwind into.

Here’s a quick summary of the rules you need to know before you play: You may also download the app that can help easily allocate roles as the moderator incase you don’t want to go the card route.