If you've been playing tabletop games for any amount of time, you've likely played, seen, or in the very least heard of Werewolf.
The quintessential party game, Werewolf exploded onto the tabletop scene several years ago from developer Bezier Games, and quickly entrenched itself not just on our gaming shelves, but also across gaming culture.
Bezier has gone on to create several spin-off games of a similar ilk, such as One Night Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Alien, One Night Super-Villains and of course the phenomenal Ultimate Werewolf Legacy which debuted at GenCon in 2018.
The most recent addition to the Werewolf family brings the familiar themes and play style of the previous titles to the fore, while adding in the use of secret words to create and experience that is wholly unique from the rest of the catalogue, despite the similarities.
Werewords is a hidden identity word game. Much like previous editions of Werewolf, the premise remains the same: We're in a village. Someone is a werewolf. We need to out that person to keep the village safe- but of course, the werewolf wants to cling to their anonymity, and will do their best to subtly sabotage the village's investigation.
What makes Werewords different is the addition of a secret word.
The Mayor of the village has discovered a magic word that, when uttered, will reveal the identity of the werewolf. Unfortunately, as magic often does, there has been a drawback- the Mayor cannot speak!
It's up to the villages to ask a series of yes or no questions (within a time limit!), to correctly guess the magic word- if the time runs out, then the werewolf goes on to hunt again.
What makes the dynamic so interesting, however, is the inclusion of the Werewolf and Seer roles- both of which also know the magic word.
The Werewolf is in disguise, so will be attempting to ask questions just like the villagers, but must subtly ask questions that divert the line of questioning- the Werewolf doesn't want the rest of the players to discover the word, but if the Werewolf is too misleading, they may out themselves!
Because the Seer also knows the magic word. She needs to help as best she can, while looking out for who may be the werewolf- but she cannot be too direct with her questioning, as if the Werewolf correctly guesses who the Seer is, then they win the game!
There are indeed a number of layers to this small party game that I wasn't expecting. The tactics and strategy come out very quickly.
A session of Werewords only takes 5 minutes- which is remarkable given the amount of rules and components that come in the tiny box.
Part of what makes the game so seamless is the companion app- free to download to any iOS or Android device, the app essentially runs the game for you. Speaking in a loud and booming voice to the players, and explaining clearly step-by-step the setup, the selection of the magic word, and revealing it to both the Werewolf and the Seer in secret, all with just the tap of a finger.
The app also handles all the timing and countdowns, accompanied with some deliciously stress-inducing music as the timer nears it's end. It's also super user friendly and has a handy 'whoops!' button for when you need to reset something without having to start the entire game over from scratch.
Werewords is a fantastic party game, but also doubles as a perfectly fine family game, teaching children about hidden identities, deductive reasoning, time management and intelligent questioning (such as beginning with questions that narrow down possibilities).
Playing Werewords repeatedly with the same group of friends is my ideal suggestion, as over time, you'll be forced to change your strategies as your fellow players note your tells and tactics as the roles change form game to game.