Moderator’s Guide: Before the Game

So you want to moderate a game of Werewolf? Great. Here are some guidelines that should help you host a fun game.

Types of Games.
What kind of game do you want? There are two broad types: Traditional and Canadian.

Traditional Format
A traditional game involves players sitting in a circle and staying seated for the entire game. These games will move quicker than the Canadian version, and are often played at gaming conferences.

Canadian Format
The Canadian format treats Werewolf as a framework for a social party. Mingling and socializing is encouraged, players are encouraged to bring food to share at a communal table, and during the day cycle, players are given an opportunity to get up and talk to each other.

Werewolf is a game of social deduction and a large part of it is how information is moved among a group of people. By getting out of your seat and mingling, it’s easier for the players to strategize and form alliances. You can use a timer to control the length of the mingling, although often it’s more fun to play a song from a prepared playlist. When the song is done, players return to the circle. These games can take twice as long to play as the traditional format, but players often find them more fun and make more friends.

Choose a venue that can accommodate your players, and if you’re using the Canadian format, double the amount of space so people can move off in groups to mingle and strategize. Ensure there is a large table for the “Great Village Feast”, to which you’ve invited all of your villagers to bring the best food from their harvest (or whatever chips are on sale at the convenience store.)

Some bars have party rooms that you can rent, and if you meet a minimum liquor consumption, the party room is free.

Hotels often have conference rooms that you can book for a game, likewise community centres also often have rooms available for rent.

Condo and apartment buildings may also have a social room that can be booked by occupants.

Your Village Census
Decide how many guests you’d like to participate. Ten is a good number for a quick game, but you can have 30 or 40 if you like. The more people, the more special roles, and the more work you have as a moderator.

A game with 30 people using the Canadian format will likely run about 3-4 hours.

Before your guests arrive, print out the Village Census and as people arrive, check them off the list. This will help you determine your actual player count, and help you give away confirmed seats when their player hasn’t arrived on time or at all.

Make a Facebook Event Page or even an event here on WerewolfEvents, and let people pre-register for your game. Then they know they have a seat for sure; You know how many people to expect, and you can begin running a waitlist for people who want to come but didn’t get a confirmed ticket in time.

It’s not uncommon for a moderator to charge for a game. These charges often go toward the work of preparing for the game and can often go toward paying for a venue. At minimum, you might suggest that players contribute $5 and provide a bucket they can put their money into. Usually you know the people who are coming to a game (or they are friends of someone you trust), so you might let them make their own change.

If your venue is charging you, you might charge more and explain that the money goes toward the venue rental fee.

You can also allow people to pre-pay using PayPal. When people pre-pay for a non-refundable ticket to your game, they are more committed to the game and more likely to turn up. When people don’t pay in advance, they are more likely to skip the game if something else comes up, and give you no notice, which can hurt the game especially if you turned people away after your pre-registration list filled up.

The Canadian format can be quite enjoyable for many players where alcohol is allowed. If you’re going to allow alcohol, you need to plan to provide ice, disposable cups, plenty of garbage receptacles for those cups and bottles, and probably a wet mop, such as a Swiffer mop. If you have surfaces you value, get some coasters, such as a 100-pack of cardboard coasters that many beverage stores will sell, or most beer reps will give you for free. You’ll need to allocate more time for clean-up at the end of the game. Consider providing water.

Plan for guests who chose not to drink, by being clear that alcohol is optional and not applying any pressure, and not asking why people chose not to drink. If you’re charging, consider a discounted rate for those who identify themselves as designated drivers, to encourage designated drivers for the safety of your guests.

If you plan to allow your guests to bring alcohol, consider the licensing and insurance of the venue. If it’s a party room in a bar, they probably can’t bring their own liquor but would need to buy it from the venue. If it’s a party room at a hotel or at a condo, double check with the hotel.

If your games become quite successful, consider hiring a bartender, whose secondary job is to serve drinks, and primary job is to look out for the safety and well being of your guests. You can call the bartender your Village Tavern Bar-Wench and include him or her in the theme of the game.

Warning: Allowing alcohol in your game will significantly increase your work as a moderator. Players will be less likely to listen, less likely to be quiet (particularly at night and when they are in the after life), and some players may be more inclined to cheat and it’s more difficult to deal with players who do cheat. You’ve been cautioned.

Consider whether you want to ask players to dress in costume or not. A costumed game is a lot of fun, but players will be reluctant to dress up, in fear that they would be the only one. You might have a couple costumes or props available for those players who show up with no costume and then realize they are the only ones without costumes.

Next: Preparing your Deck

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