Remote work is still popular for many, so werewolf over zoom is still a thing, and as it allows us games with people in far off countries, may be here to stay anyway.
Playing with a moderator has the downside of taking your player numbers down by one, and if you have a small group to begin with, this can make a big difference in the feasibility of your game.
Using werewolv.es to facilitate your game means you can play without a human needing to undertake the moderator position. Role distribution, vote tallying and night phase management are all handled automatically for you. However, in order to have a smooth game everyone needs to be mindful of good etiquette (more on this later).
The OpenGameBot will do the setup for you, once you have created the game, share the link with your friends.
Once they have all joined, use the $$check and $$go commands to start the game.
You need at least six players to start a game using this bot
This setup will have a ratio of roughly 5:1 or 4:1 Good:Evil players. Ideally, it will be played as role-reveal on death.
Mountainous setups are the simplest possible way to play werewolf and a recommended starting point for player's first few games as they get used to the idea of the day and night phases, and how execution voting works.
In this style of setup there are a small number of werewolves / mafia compared to the village / town, and no special roles (also called 'power roles'). The only direct information given is the alignment of the player that was executed. Everything else must be inferred from other player's behaviour, language and their voting patterns.
Because there are no intel roles to lead you, if this is your first experience of playing mafia you may find yourself at a loss of where to start casting suspicions. Begin with your gut instincts, and go from there.
If the host bot picks a mountainous setup for you on this site, it will assign the Gravedigger role to everyone so they can discover the true alignment of the executed player. Don't bother digging anyone that died during the night phase, you know they were innocent!
This setup will have a ratio of roughly 4:1 or 3:1 Good:Evil players. Usually, (especially on games hosted on werewolv.es) it will be played as no role-reveal.
Unlike mountainous, on the village side there will be some players with special roles that have actions that take place during the night phase.
The Seer will help to find werewolves.
The Protector can possibly save someone's life, which not only buys the village more time to find the werewolves, but also clears another person of suspicion.
If the host bot picks this style of setup, the werewolf players should be prepared to have one of their players fake claim the Seer or Protector. Otherwise, the village may take control of the game.
The the game starts, the automated Moderator will post a few messages letting everyone know the setup information. If you are a werewolf, you will also see an announcement of your role and your allies roles in red text, this is private to the werewolves so they know who each other is at the start of the game.
During the day everyone can speak in public and discuss who they think are werewolves. More crucially, this is when player's make their votes (via the player menu). At the end of the day phase, the player with the most votes will be executed by the village.
The first day phase includes no trial and is rather short (a minute or so in length) it's primarily used for players to make a little light hearted banter.
During the night phase the werewolves can talk in secret to each other and decide amongst them who they wish to kill that night. Although every werewolf can press the kill button, the werewolves only collectively have a single kill per night, the player who last pressed the kill button will override any prior decisions made by the team.
The game continues until one of the two sides have met their victory conditions. The village must eliminate all of the werewolves to win, the werewolves must equal or exceed the number of living villagers to win. (E.g. if there are two werewolves alive, the werewolves win if there are four or fewer players left alive.)
If you're playing without a moderator, each player should be careful to not talk (or shout!) over each other. Playing in person werewolf can be bad enough for this, but over webcam it's even more difficult to separate individual voices. This can be off putting, especially for the quieter players in the group.
Because some of the normal social cues aren't as obvious via webcam, it may be necessary to adopt a slightly more formal approach to communication in the game, here are some ideas -
It can be daunting to begin, where do you start?
It's even more terrifying to play as a wolf for the first time, and can feel like a lot of pressure
Once you've settled into your first few games, you'll hopefully be hooked. Check out the more in depth strategy guide we have to improve your game for next time you play.