Large group games: Werewolf and Attribute

I spent Wednesday and Thursday on a cruise to Stockholm with the other writers from Enter magazine. There was some official programme, but the evenings were reserved for games. I was asked to bring games, as was Hanna, the other board gamer in Enter writers.

I had underestimated the size of the group, so we ended up playing the two games mentioned in the entry title. Not that I mind, though: Werewolf, which I’ve had for a long time but have never played, turned out to be real riot. In most games, we had 12 players and a moderator, which was obviously too much for anything else.

Hanna had some home-made cards (which looked nice). We used the standard lineup of werewolves, villagers and seer, and in some games used the anonymous informer. He or she blames someone in the night — with absolutely no good reason for it, but hey, even a random accusation helps to push the daytime blaming along.

How good time a game of Werewolf is depends a lot of the players. We had good players, I think: both the silent types and the loud-mouthed meddlers. Some people had a bent for psychology and analysis, others complained and whined a lot. For some reason, I was often considered highly suspicious, even though most of the time I was a mere villager. Life’s not fair, I guess, and fortunately the games were fun to watch, as well.

I’ve had a Lupus in Tabula set a long time, but perhaps it’ll see some use now. Werewolf is certainly an entertaining game and my number one choice with 9+ players.

Attribute was another favourite. The first time I explained the rules, it got some blank looks and doubt, but when we got the game moving, it rolled along just fine. It also got some converts from people who watched, figured out the rules and wanted to play.

I can also confirm that eight players, which is listed as a maximum, is bollocks: the game works just fine with 10 players. Most of the time we had seven or eight, though. Unlike Werewolf, Attribute does have somewhat strict limits for the number of players, as there’s only so many people you can fit around one table, but not being able to reach the cards at the other end of the table is a smaller problem than you’d expect.

I don’t know why, but I’m pretty good at the game. Once again I won every game, but as usual with just small margin to the second best player. Some people get it and others don’t, but everybody has fun.

Other games played: I won a Samurai tournament played using the Klear Games computer version. I thought the computer version was pretty nifty, even though I didn’t quite think the graphics matched the elegance of the board game version.

We played so that everybody could see the pieces other players had collected (the games were displayed on a big screen with a projector). Peeking at other players’ tiles wasn’t a problem at all, but the information about pieces added an extra level of analysis which I didn’t like too much.

Still, it wasn’t a big deal — I won, after all! Despite everyone’s expectations (everyone though I would win hands down, like I did win in the first round), the final was an exciting game I wasn’t at all sure I’d win. Samurai scoring is pure genius and in a very large part responsible for the enjoyment I get from the game. Winning the tournament was extra sweet, as I collected over 20 euros worth of ship company money, which was right away spent in a bottle of very nice wine (after all, the main reason to go on a cruise in Finland is to buy cheap alcohol).

I also played few games of Fluxx. It’s not a bad game, but it’s a very silly game. The first game we played ended on the first round, before one player had her turn. Oops.

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4 responses to “Large group games: Werewolf and Attribute”

  1. I am really suprised you have never played Werewolf before. Isn’t it a fantastic game? There is no other feeling like being the last werewolf with only two other villagers.

  2. No, for some strange reason I haven’t. It’s great; even if it’s more a framework than a game, it’s a bloody good entertainment. I don’t even mind playing a villager all the time.

  3. Regarding your session report on Attribute, I’m interested in reading further commentary on why table size / arm reach wasn’t a significant issue with your large group size. I have had concerns about that issue and the couple times that I played, using cards from Apples to Apples to sample the game, found reach issues to be a focus of in-game and post game comments. The game was better received playing with a smaller group of 4 around a picnic blanket where reach issues were eliminated by group size and absence of a table.

  4. First of all — Attribute is better, when everyone can reach all cards. However, I didn’t think it was such a big deal, if some cards were too far away. It was a topic that someone mentioned every now and then (“I’d taken that but it was so far”), but I don’t think it was really a huge problem in this context. With more competitive situation it would’ve been bigger issue.
    Besides, instead of touching the cards, it’s always possible to call out which card you want.