Playing Werewolf Online on Zoom

Despite the glimmering hope of vaccines, face to face werewolf remains something off limits to many of us to enjoy, as sitting in a circle with twenty-ish friends, vehemently and loudly protesting your innocence isn’t the best idea in these socially distanced times.

And 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 Werewolf Without a Moderator

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).

Setting up a Basic Werewolf Game

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 bot contains basic setups suitable for people just getting used to the game. People should be familiar with the village roles Seer, Protector, Gravedigger and Lycan.

Recommended Setups for Players new to Werewolf

Mountainous Setup

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!

Basic Roles

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.

Game Phases

Setup

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.

Setup information for a small werewolf online game

Day

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.

Night

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.

Victory

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.)

Zoom Werewolf Etiquette

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 -

  • The player under the most suspicion (or with the highest number of votes) should have priority in speaking
  • When no one is under huge suspicion or look to be in danger of being eliminated, consider having each player speak their piece for 30 seconds
  • Avoid interrupting a player when they're speaking, if you wish to challenge or add to something someone has just said, raise your hand or make it clear that you wish to speak next
  • "Pass the batten" when you've finished speaking, look to see if anyone has anything they wish to add to what was said and nominate a person to speak next
  • Because there's a text chat functionality available in parallel when using werewolv.es to facilitate your game, use this to raise objections as people speak, and the group can decide which objection they want to listen to first

Tips for Playing Your First Game of Werewolf...

...As a Villager / Townie

It can be daunting to begin, where do you start?

  1. Voice your suspicions even if it's just your gut instinct, if you had to pick someone, who would it be?
  2. When you get a turn to talk, vocalise your thought process, this helps other people see where you're coming from with your accusations
  3. Don't think someone is evil just because they suspect you - everyone gets their reads wrong some times!
  4. Ask questions to other players, try to draw connections between people
  5. Always make sure you have fun

...As a Werewolf / Mafia Member

It's even more terrifying to play as a wolf for the first time, and can feel like a lot of pressure

  1. Don't kill all the experienced players at night - if one is left alive, other players may wonder why...
  2. Don't shy away from conversation - many werewolf players "lurk" in the background to try and avoid suspicion, this in itself is suspicious!
  3. Distance yourself from your evil buddies, get into small conflicts with them during the day chat and try not to make it obvious that you're working together

More Tips and Strategy

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.