- This is a card game!
- Team size: 1 designer, 1 artist.
- Duration: 12 months. (Ongoing)
- Tools used: Pen & Paper, Word, Publisher, and Google sheets.
- Role: Designer.
The original Werewolves has a bunch of issues in regards to the amount of information available to players. Often, the players can sabotage the game if they wish to do so by mentioning their roles to each other. These reasons led my friends to lose interest in the game.
My aim was to fix these issues. While working on the project I found some more. This resulted in the following list:
- The game needs more cards that deny information
- More roles are required to keep the players interested.
- Roles that are unable to interact with other players often end up feeling boring.
- The effects of each card are not written down on the card itself.
The first thing to do was take a look at the existing cards to figure out how they affect each other and influence the game as a whole. A fun thing to note here is that Werewolves is inherently unbalanced. Some cards have a considerably larger influence on the game than others.
The new cards would have more "one time use" effects to allow for greater player influence. I also added conditions to most of the "every night" cards to stop the stronger cards from feeling too important.
Next, I looked at the core roles currently exiting in the game, Villagers and Werewolves. I decided to add more types/groups to the game to keep things more interesting. Thus the Neutral and Vampires roles were added to the game. This allowed the game to feel more dynamic in bigger groups.
The last issue was easy to fix. Simply adding the effects to the card as a description solved the issue. I decided to also show the alliance on the card to ensure players always knew who to trust.
I designed more than 120 unique roles for the game.
Once I started playtesting the game with various players we noticed some previously unidentified issues:
- Some cards had interactions that would break the game.
- The game master would often forget to wake up roles during the night.
- Good players could still break the game by following the normal rules of the game.
As a result I made a series of changes. various cards lost parts of their abilities or received extra restrictions on how to use them.
Solving the Game Master issue has proven difficult. A more structured approach was needed to ensure Game Masters could keep better track of the game. I eventually made the Game Master Sheet, which you can find below, to help the Game Masters run the game smoothly.
Lastly, I needed to solve the issue with expert players breaking the game. To do so I introduced a new game mode. In this game mode the players would not know what roles are in the match, nor would they know what roles are called since each player will receive a number at the start of the match that would be called instead. The only info available to the players is the location in the turn order. This made figuring out the game considerably harder for players and fully solved the issue.
The playtests really helped shape the game. As a designer, I really learned from this. Rules, game modes and tools often seem intuitive to the creator but end up causing a disaster once the players get their hands on it. With Werewolves I had the chance to playtest often with various groups. Their perspectives and insights allowed me to quickly identify flaws with the systems I was creating.