Moderator’s Guide: Preparing your Deck

A good deck of cards is going to make the difference between a fun and enjoyable game and a painful game. Eventually you’ll get the hang for putting together a fun deck, but if you’re just starting out, here are some tips:

Quick Note on Terminology

The term Villager Team refers to any card that is a member of the Villager team. It does not refer specifically to the Villager card, which is the regular, everyday villager. The Villager Team includes not just the Villager, but also the Seer, Old Hag, Songstress, Aurèle, Young Politician, Twitcher and Idiot, just to name a few. Villager team cards always have a friendly green forest in the background of the character, with a green bar at the bottom of the card.

The term Werewolf Team refers to any of the kinds of Werewolves, such as the regular Werewolf (whom we refer to sometimes by his name, Wolfy), or special-ability Werewolves, none of which are currently available at WerewolfEvents. These cards are always with a dark red night forest, and dark red bar at the bottom.

There are other teams such as the the Vampires and there are special cards that can cross between teams, such as the Cursed. These cards have a black forest background with a black bar at the bottom.

Deck Bias: Indicates a Villager Team Advantage

Werewolf cards typically have a number on them, indicating the card’s relative advantage to helping the Village Team win.

Villager_FullCardWithText@2x_web This handsome Villager card has a value in the upper left corner of +1. If you put 10 of these cards in your deck, your Villager Team has an 10-point advantage that they will win. This is referred to as having a deck bias of +10.

A deck bias of 0 indicates that the game is not biased toward the Villager team winning nor losing. It is a neutral deck.

Neutral decks, or decks that are slightly biased toward the Villager team, are good when everyone who’s playing is inexperienced. (Slightly biased would be a deck that’s +1 to perhaps +4 or so.)

 

 

Werewolf_FullCardWithText@2x_web

Vlad_FullCardWithText@2x_web
Werewolves and Vampires have cards with highly negative numbers: Wolfy’s card is -6 and Vlad’s card is -8.

10 Villagers x +1 Point = +10 Points
2 Werewolves x -6 Points = -12 points

The bias is 10 + (-12) = -2. This deck is suitable for 12 players and gives a slight disadvantage to the Villager team, assuming the players are all inexperienced.

 

Seer_FullCardWithText@2x_webAside from Villagers and Werewolves, almost every game includes a Seer.

The Seer is +7, so she has as much to offer the Village as 7 villagers.

Look at how the addition of a Seer affect the deck bias:

9 Villagers x +1 Point = +9 Points
1 Seer x +7 Points = +7 Points
2 Werewolves x -6 Points = -12 points

The bias is +9 + 7 + (-12) = +4. This deck gives an advantage to the Villager Team, and would be a good deck for 12 players who are inexperienced or don’t know each other well.

 

YoungPolitician_FullCardWithText@2x_webSome Villager Team Cards have Negative Values
Not all of the Villager team cards have positive point values. The Young Politician, who always votes for players to not be banished, makes it harder for a village to banish a suspected werewolf, so his value is -2. (Note: The screen shot and cards list him as -1, but he’s actually -2).

His opposing card, the Idiot, is +2, because the Idiot makes it easier for a banishment to occur, since he must always vote for banishment. If you put the Young Politician in your game, consider adding the Idiot to counter the influence of the Young Politician.

Using the Deck Bias

As a moderator, you use the deck bias to create a game that’s challenging for your players. If they are new, keep the bias around 0.

If they know each other and have played many times, people will know how other players have previously played, and they’ll start to say things like “I’ve seen you be a Werewolf before and you played exactly like you’re playing now, so you’re probably a Werewolf.” Player experience is a strong intrinsic advantage for the Villager team to win, so you counter that by preparing a deck with a negative bias. If your players are very experienced, such as groups who play once or twice per month, you might consider a bias of -10 to -15.

If your players are mostly inexperienced, it will be hard for the Villager team to win with a strong negative biased deck, and that’ll be discouraging for your players.

“How many Werewolves?”

One bad guy for every 4-5 players is a good rule of thumb. “Bad guy” could be a Werewolf or it could be a Vampire. 20 players? Try 4 Werewolves. 25 Players? Try 4-5 Werewolves or replace a werewolf with a Vampire.

Sample Decks

Here are some sample deck configurations to inspire you and get you started:

10 Players, Novice, Deck Bias: +3

1 Seer (+7)
2 Werewolves (-12)
8 Villagers (+8)

Note: This is a good deck for introducing the game. It’s easy for new players to remember the roles and get a feel for the game before moving to a more complex deck.

15 Players, Novice, Deck Bias: +1

1 Seer (+7)
3 Werewolves (-18)
1 Twitcher (+4)
1 Idiot (+2)
1 Young Politician (-2)
8 Villagers (+8)

15 Players, Intermediate/Experienced, Deck Bias: -3

1 Seer (+7)
3 Werewolves (-18)
1 Twitcher (+4)
1 Idiot (+2)
1 Young Politician (-2)
1 Old Hag (+1)
1 Cursed (-3)
6 Villagers (+6)

15 Players, Experienced, Deck Bias: 0

1 Seer (+7)
2 Werewolves (-12)
1 Vampires/Vlad (-8)
1 Twitcher (+4)
1 Idiot (+2)
1 Young Politician (-2)
1 Old Hag (+1)
1 Cursed (-3)
1 Aurèle (+4)
1 Huntress (+3)
4 Villagers (+4)

As your player count increases, add more Werewolves (basic and intermediate games) and consider adding Vampires when you’ve got experienced players. Vampires (Vlad) are not recommended for games with inexperienced players, because figuring out what’s going on can become overwhelming.

The Songstress is a fun role to add, particularly if your players are experienced in musical theatre or are drinking, in which case you might introduce it in the second game of the evening.

Other roles may be substituted with roles having similar point values.

Complexity Scales with the Number of Characters

Just about every player hopes they get a “special card”. By that, they’re saying “I hope I don’t get a regular villager card.” You can help your players and your game by reminding your players how important the Villagers are, even without special abilities. For you, as a moderator, the game becomes must more difficult to track as the number of special roles increases. The more difficult, the more moderator errors you might create.

Next: The Characters


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