EPIC Werewolf time!!!

My parents were deeply worried that I was doing too much again. Specially after what happened to me with mybrushwithdeath almost two and half years ago. I can tell you and them that my blood pressure is normal…

So what have I been up to…? Because my blog has also suffered due to the hectic schedule.

On Tuesday 30th Connected Social and 31st EpicWerewolf…!

EPIC Werewolf


The concept of Epic Werewolf was to run werewolf in two rooms.

One room would be kitted out with cameras and a normal game of werewolf would be going on. In the second room would be an audience watching live and some physiologists, behaviour scientists, experts watching along live and giving a running commentary on top of the live video. The people in the first room (the players) wouldn’t be able to hear the second room (the audience) but the second room would see and hear almost everything. All those little comments, subconscious ticks and obvious body actions would be exposed to an audience in a way which has only been seen in TV poker.

Great concept I thought and the Manchester science festival were interested too. However not interested enough to put any serious money behind it for a number of reasons. Because of this the idea had to scale down quickly. The interesting part is the game was originally going to be quite small to allow everyone a chance to have a go but we had to change that due to the amount of people who signed up and wanted to be players not the audience.


We switched venues quite a bit and thought about a place with internet connectivity so we could broadcast it live to the internet. In the end we settled on Islington Mill in Salford because of the great spaces they have and how creepy it would be to go to deep dark Salford on Halloween.

Anyway the challenge which was worrying me was how to setup the cameras and computers. I had imagined using something like Ingex but we didn’t have resources or cameras. I came up with a number of solutions including using Skype, Hangouts, Bambuser, etc… but in the end I settled on the much easier streaming multiple Videolan’s VLC on my quad core i7 laptop to the weaker dual core Dell xps machine I still have. Everything was fine except I couldn’t get any of my decent cameras (Sanyo Xacti’s) to show up correctly. Meaning I only had 3 webcams including the build in one. I swear I had 2 at home but couldn’t find them even when searching the whole flat.


On the day I setup 3 VLC services streaming and Vee from Larkin About used her macbook’s built in camera with Bambuser. On my Dell, I took advantage of the overview mode in Ubuntu 12.04 to show all cameras views and one of them being a browser window with Bambuser running from the Mac. However the problem seemed to be the mac would drop the wifi signal every 20mins or so. This was a pain but to add even more pain to the setup, my Dell laptop would get upset with the Flash plugin and throttle the CPU to death.

We pushed ahead anyway and by 6:30pm we had our first players. By about 7pm we had quite a few but no bar… We delayed while we tried to find out what happened to the barman and it turned out the barman was booked for 7:30pm not 7pm. So we started a 25 person game in the bar room and the another one next to it 10mins later to catch people who were running late. It was noisy and hard to hear people talking but it kind of worked out ok.

Those games came to a end about 8:30pm where we revealed what was so Epic about the night. Everyone was given a raffle ticket at the start of the night and between Larkin about and myself we pulled 12 numbers out of a cup and announced them over the pa system to the 50+ strong crowd.

The lucky 12 were lead to the 2nd room which was cold and slightly unnerving to play out a game of werewolf in front of the cameras. Our experts watched from the room and then came into the main room to talk through some of the things which were happening in the game. The problem we had was for the audience the cameras were not exciting enough in part because the of technical difficulties but also there just wasn’t enough to view. So instead we quickly had the experts give a quick overview of what they had seen and then a small Q&A about what not to do when playing werewolf. This was fascinating and made it clear there was more than just luck going on in a game of werewolf.

Massive thanks to Ben, Penny and Liz for being our experts for the night and giving us great insight into the silly things we all do without even noticing. Thanks also to Martin Rue, Mark Kirschstein and Larkin About for support through the night.


After the Q&A we kicked off a series of werewolf games right through till the witching hour of midnight. We even had the barman involved in the last game.

It was a excellent night and I was amazed with the turn out of people. So many people and such a great vibe throughout. I only wished we could have got the epic part working smoothly. Well theres always next Halloween I guess?


A bit of funding and who knows what we could great? Multiple rooms many cameras and many more types of sensors? Possibilities are endless! This is certainly not the end of #EpicWerewolf

Manchester Werewolf Chapter – June

manchester werewolf

Its werewolf time again! This Wednesday June 20th at Barcelona Bar

…we are very excited to be back at Barcelona Bar on Wednesday 20th June for another meeting of the Manchester Werewolf Chapter, for an evening of deception and accusation in classic social game Werewolf from 7pm onwards. It’s a free event, but it’s thirsty work so bring money for the bar. If you’ve never played before, it’s easy peasy and the rules will be explained as we go along, so please come and have a go.

Manchester Werewolf Chapter with Larkin about at Barcelona bar

Manchester Werewolf chapter

Wednesday we had a very successful night of werewolf

I didn’t have my DSLR with me, so I only captured a few low rez photos of the action. Almost everything just worked…

Working with Larkin About (remember that ARG) was a great success and I’m sure the reason we got different players is simply because they were involved. The Location was great because the bar owner really wanted to help make it a successful event. He (Mike) even said next time he will happily do service to the circle, so people don’t even have to leave the game to get drinks. Its also staged happy hour when we’re playing, so cocktails start off at 2 for £5 and rise to 2 for £9 a few hours later. And to be honest the cocktails are actually not bad at all. I was drinking Cosmopolitans (as I do) and they were actually much better than average. Not quite the quality of NoHo, Scho Rehab or Aphotica but not far off.

Barcelona bar is a great venue with the slightly raised platform where we were playing werewolf and the space around it for people who were dead (as such) or just people not playing… The raised platform isn’t exactly round but its good enough to fit a good number of people looking at each other.

Playing the Thing to start the proceeding was a inspired thought, because it meant as people joined us, they could also just join the next round. In the end we played the thing then 2 different games of werewolf.

Everyone really enjoyed themselves and we played till bar closing time…

Werewolf closing stages

Only two slight negatives

  1. Not having food and consuming a ton of lovely cocktails (yes someone had to do it). Barcelona bar is due to start doing pancakes, and I had thought they were doing them already. So assuming I would be able to grab a sandwich somewhere I thought a savoury pancakes might work. Next time I’m sure they will be up and running in this area
  2. A lot of the regular players from MadLab, BarCamps, etc… didn’t turn up, which was a shame. However we did have a ton of new people and we even roped a couple in for a small drink, into the game actual game.
Anyway we’ve decided to do Werewolf on a bi-monthly schedule. So look out for details of the next game in January 2012… Thanks to everyone who turned up, and remember I am never the werewolf…

Manchester Werewolf Chapter: PlayEverything special – 15th May

Lady with Candle next to face

Been looking forward to doing this for a long time. Imagine playing werewolf but instead of playing it in the well lit area of a bar. Imagine playing it out doors within a circle of small candles which flicker in the slow moving wind. Well dream no more, its going to happen on 15th May as one of the FutureEverything events at the Contact Theatre. Spaces are limited to 35 maximum so if you are interested please add yourself to the Werewolf group and signup for the attached event.

Werewolf: Extra Materials

To be fair to Wired magazine, they did a good piece about Werewolf in the most recent UK wired. I never expected so many pages dedicated to the game which some call the modern social crack. There’s also a huge sum of the variations of werewolf on the Wired site too.

Here’s a couple of the ones not even I’ve heard about…

The Fool: The player who gets this card immediately reveals himself to all the other players as “the village fool/idiot”. He does not speak again for the rest of the game and can’t focus enough to join any debates or lead any suspicions. He watches mutely, helplessly. At the beginning of each new day, while he is alive, he may reassign his vote to another villager by pointing – that newly entrusted voter might be an innocent villager or a werewolf in disguise. If the Fool or the Moderator should forget to reassign his vote, his vote remains with the prior assignee. (So if a prior assignee is a werewolf, it is to the werewolf’s advantage NOT to remind the Fool or Moderator to reassign the vote.)  In his confusion, the Fool wears a ring of garlic around his neck, thinking it will repel the werewolves – when in fact, garlic is used to repel vampires. (If the vampire character is in play, of course, this garlic will protect him.) As a variation, in an attempt to control an unruly villager that speaks out too much or speaks when dead, the Moderator may instantly assign that unruly villager to be the village fool, either immediately during that game or in the next game if that player is already dead.

Not so sure about this one, but we’ve had newbies act the fool before, shouting out or making it too damm obvious what player they are.

The Coroner: Often, there is confusion in the village as to a cause of death or what just happened the night before. With certain character combinations the actual happenings just can’t be deduced – with certainty. As long as the Coroner is alive, the Moderator explains the causes of death and the nighttime happenings. The Coroner, however, does not actually play an active part in the game. Once the Coroner is out of the game, the remaining villagers must deduce everything themselves without any help from the Moderator.

This might be useful for some games instead of relying on the moderator, whos actually not meant to say anything in this issue

The Grave-Robbing Thief (created by Viki Kind, Ed You and our “Uber” Werewolf players): In this variation the Thief is still offered two other villager cards on the first night. If both cards are werewolf cards, he must chose one and become a werewolf. Otherwise, he may refuse both identities and wait till another night in the game to steal the identity of a newly dead villager on the first night following that villager’s death. In this variation the Moderator will ask every night if the Grave-Robbing Thief wants to steal someone else’s identity, fully reactivating that stolen identity and character. Example: if the dead Witch’s identity were stolen and reactivated, both of the Witch’s potions would be renewed as well. A dead werewolf identity may also be stolen and reactivated. The Moderator will have to again announce any activities of the newly stolen and reactivated identity and character.

I had a idea like this a while ago but never really played it out, oh well. I think its good but makes the game quite complex for newbies. You’d only want to play this with pros.

Theres lots more characters but to be fair a lot of them cause the moderator a lot of headache, make the game too complex or too random to get a balanced result to either side.  I tried doing the probability maths a while back and got very confused, but I bet if you could do the maths behind it, you will find a lot the extra characters screw up the game for the werewolves or villagers. The standard pack of villagers, seer, healer and werewolves  seems to be about right.

Manchester Werewolf starts again: Wednesday 3rd February

Werewolf Manchester (March)

Its that time to look for those shifty feet and false smiles, because Manchester’s Werewolf chapter is back in town (Facebook group).

February 3, 2010 711pm : Manchester Werewolf Chapter at Pure Space, 11-13 New Wakefield Street, Manchester

Be part of the game, beginners to pros its all good fun. Werewolf is a game that takes place in a small village which is haunted by werewolves. Each player is secretly assigned a role – Werewolf, Villager, or Seer (a special Villager). There is also a Moderator player who controls the flow of the game. The game alternates between night and day phases. At night, the Werewolves secretly choose a Villager to kill. Also, the Seer (if still alive) asks whether another player is a Werewolf or not. During the day, the Villager who was killed is revealed and is out of the game. The remaining Villagers then vote on the player they suspect is a Werewolf. That player reveals his/her role and is out of the game. Werewolves win when there are an equal number of Villagers and Werewolves. Villagers win when they have killed all Werewolves. Werewolf is a social game that requires no equipment to play, and can accommodate almost any large group of players. For more information about the game

I may just have the next werewolf

I have playing with playing cards most of the night. Seems while I was sleeping that I came up with a card game which seems to be like werewolf/mafia but very different. I was reading up about game theory to see if it fit in one of the categories and it seems to fit into reciprocal altruism which is nicely exemplified with file sharing.

Another potential example would be the Internet file sharing communities. The ability to download (receive) a given file (an economic good) directly depends on other people who already possess the same file and share it through allowing uploading it to those who want it (a process which is also called seeding). Those who receive the file and later refuse to share it with others (through seeding) are known as leeches. However, there are methods to ban leechers, ie to deny them further participation in the file sharing network.

I don't want to come across like its totally tied down but the game seems pretty fun and could work with groups as big as 40 or as small as 12. Some other people have spoke to in the past have talked about the notion of a 3rd entity like the vampires. Well although we've not tried it out, I do worry it will just be chaos and there not enough to go on to make it worth doing. Plus vampires would be like a 2nd team of werewolves.

So forgetting vampires, my game is like werewolf as in there is a night and day phase but its more like a change of location with certain characters not being able to see or hear. The moderator/god/voice of the game is required to do a lot more in this game in regards to whos who. It may even require two or a piece of paper. The social notion of cheating and saying whatever you like is still there and is a major part of the game but now there's more emphases on altruism. You also don't need special cards for this game, a standard pack of 52 will scale up to 44 players I worked out. The suits, numbers and royality cards are very important for the game. And I did consider upping the numbers using the joker cards but it got very constrictive. Of course the game works well with drink too. The closes game I can find to the core idea of the game is this invented game called anandis.

I tried to do some probability calculations on who would win depending on how many of each character but it was beyond me. No what I really need is a Card game simulator. Maybe once I get a feel for the maths behind the game, I will write up a complete set of rules and release it to the world under a creative commons attribution licence or something.

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I am not a werewolf

Next year I'm to make sure I get in there early and get a ticket for Hide+Seek on London's Southbank. I missed the conference part again this year but boy oh boy did everyone have fun playing werewolf afterwards. I believe at one point there were 4 games of about 15-20 people playing at once. Maybe they were a bit too close so you couldn't hear very well what was going on but there were tons of new people to play with and even some of my friends joined in who have never played before. Talking of which, a special award goes out to Hannu for picking two werewolves on his first ever game and in such a important role as the seer. So amazing that a mature player took this as werewolf tactics and almost voted him off. I also took part in a game when we almost got rid of all the werewolves without killing any villagers. Every night the werewolf would try and kill the seer (aka myself) and the healer would heal me. Ok to be fair the werewolves were new to the game but only after 3 rounds of no one dying on the nights did the werewolves start picking off other players. By which time the game was almost wrapped up for the villagers

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Werewolf night yesterday

Sheila vs Sheila, but are they both werewolves really?

So yesterday I setup the first Werewolf only night in London. It started badly, with me running late. I should have factored in 40mins from White City to Moorgate not 20mins. Plus work demands meant I was running late full stop. Turned up and the bar had set a-side a area, but it was right next to the main bar and it simply wouldn't have worked. However what had happened was a mixup on the bar's part. They had booked the wrong area. So after 15mins of drinks and talking, we moved to the private suite which held about 25 people. There was a large table which made things tricky, so our circle looked more like a squashed triangle. Anyway once a few of us had explained the rules and run through a few tatics, we were off into the 1st game.

I don't remember all the games (think we ended up playing up to 6?)but I certainly remember the one when I was a werewolf with Tiff and Frances. Sheila (australian sheila) pointed the finger at me early on because I had pointed the camera at the victim of the first night attack. I think it was a guess but she was right, so I came out as the seer. Then someone else did and after a while Sheila (aus) did too. But it started to work, I got off and started to pretend to check people every round. People started to believe after a while. And my thoughts about killing myself off to keep the werewolves winning, didn't need to happen. We won and I believe the other werewolves never got fingered once. It was certainly an adrenalin rush and couldn't help but stand up and put my arms up in the air at the end. Harry was gutted because he never believed me as the seer then slowly started to believe and so got taken in by my lies. Oh well thats the way it goes… Deception is such a great thing.

So without going into more detail about the games played, we had roughtly at one point 17 or 18 people enough for 3 werewolves, a seer and a healer. The smallest game was 14 people with 2 werewolves and a seer. Everyone enjoyed the night and would happily go to another one. So I'm going to speak to the venue about removing the table next time and maybe getting a large food order at the start of the game instead. Maybe it might also be worth spending money on getting all our drinks delivered to the room, so the breaks between won't be so long? As usual there's my pictures here and public pictures here.

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Statistics and hints for Werewolf

Werewolf at BarCamp

A Game of Deception, Paranoia, and Mob Rule

I was looking around for more information to link to on the upcoming werewolf night. And anyway found one of the best resources for Werewolf playing. But what I found very interesting was the statictics page.

one wolf)
3 players: humans win 0
4 players: humans win 0
5 players: humans win 0.334
6 players: humans win 0.250
7 players: humans win 0.466
8 players: humans win 0.374
9 players: humans win 0.544
10 players: humans win 0.453
11 players: humans win 0.593
12 players: humans win 0.508
13 players: humans win 0.630
14 players: humans win 0.548
15 players: humans win 0.659

two wolves)
5 players: humans win 0
6 players: humans win 0
7 players: humans win 0.133
8 players: humans win 0.083
9 players: humans win 0.229
10 players: humans win 0.157
11 players: humans win 0.299
12 players: humans win 0.215
13 players: humans win 0.352
14 players: humans win 0.264
15 players: humans win 0.395

On the tactics front, I was reading lots of stuff but it seems like this all makes sense to any player. Notice who supports certain people when voting and debating. Notice who doesn't say anything and who speaks a lot during the daytime. Consider who acts differently and under what conditions.

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Who’s game for Werewolf hunting on Friday night?

Me pointing the finger

While I delay my rather large post rounding up BarCampLondon, I've been thinking about Werewolf the game. I'm thinking about doing a game at the next geekdinner, as I think it could go down really well. Check out the Videos I posted from BarCampLondon and one from FooCamp by Tara Hunt 5 days earlier. Honestly the game is as adictive as Poker but can be played with more people and has that key thing I love about poker. Reading people…

So who's up for it after d.construct on Friday?

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