Werewolf Game Rules & How to Play with Playing Cards

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Need a reminder of the Werewolf game rules, or wondering how to play it without the official game? Look no further! Here, we will take you through the Werewolf Game rules and teach you how to play it with playing cards.

In short, Werewolf is a fun game about tricking others, thinking smart, and working together.

Players are split into two groups: werewolves and villagers. The werewolves try to secretly get rid of the villagers, while the villagers try to figure out who the werewolves are and kick them out of the village.

Your Game Information

Number of Players: 8-18

Equipment: character cards or playing cards

Duration: 20-40 minutes

Area: indoor

Tabletop: no

Drinking: no

Werewolf Game Explained

In the Werewolf game, each player gets a random card that represents a different role, but they must keep their role secret until they’re no longer in the game. The main roles are villagers and werewolves, with some villagers having special abilities.

The villagers’ goal is to figure out who the werewolves are and kick them out of the village. Meanwhile, the werewolves aim to secretly eliminate the villagers.

Each night, while the villagers “sleep,” the werewolves choose someone to remove from the game. The next morning, everyone except the chosen victim wakes up. The villagers then look at each other, trying to spot any werewolves hiding among them.

During the day, the villagers go about their activities, all the while thinking about the recent elimination and watching everyone closely to decide who they can trust and who they suspect is a werewolf.

After dinner, everyone gathers for the village council. Here, they talk about what they’ve noticed and try to agree on who they think is most likely a werewolf. They vote, and the person with the most votes reveals their role as they leave the game.

The game ends when either all the villagers are gone or all the werewolves have been found and removed.

How to Play the Werewolf Game

Before starting Werewolf, there are a few key decisions to be made for setting up the game.


To play Werewolf, you need at least 8 players, but the game can accommodate up to 18 players. It’s typically played in rounds, each consisting of a night phase and a day phase.

  1. Choosing a Storyteller: First, select a good storyteller. This person will lead the game, managing the day and night cycle and overseeing the village council.
  2. Determining Roles: Next, decide on the number of werewolves, villagers, and special villagers. This varies based on the number of players and their experience level.

Number of Werewolves

There aren’t strict rules for the number of werewolves, but a good guideline is to have 1 werewolf for every 5 villagers, rounding up if necessary. For instance, with 9 players, include 2 werewolves; with 14 players, have 3 werewolves, and so on.

Always include one Seer in the game.

Special Roles

The number and types of special roles can vary. More players mean more roles. Here’s a rough guide:

  • For 8-10 players: Include 2-3 special roles, counting the Seer.
  • Add one more special role for every 2 additional players.

Note that the role of Mayor is not considered a special role and is part of standard gameplay. Experiment with different numbers and types of roles to find what works best for your group.

Werewolf Game Roles

an overview of all eight werewolf game roles and the playing cards that can be used as alternative.

Werewolf features a variety of roles for players, each with its own unique abilities and goals:

  1. Werewolves: The main adversaries in the game. Their objective is to eliminate villagers without being caught.
  2. Villagers: Ordinary townsfolk who need to figure out who the werewolves are and expel them from the village.
  3. Seer: A special villager who can check one player’s role each night, gathering crucial information to assist the villagers.
  4. The Hunter: If killed by werewolves or banished in the council, the hunter has the power to take another player with them in revenge.
  5. Witch: Possessing a healing potion and a killing potion, the witch can use each only once per game. She can use them on the same night, and can choose to heal or eliminate herself as well.
  6. Innocent Girl: She has the risky ability to peek at the werewolves during their turn at night. However, if caught, she is instantly eliminated by the werewolves.
  7. Cupid: On the first night, Cupid links two players in love, who remain bonded until death. If one dies, so does the other. Cupid can choose to be part of the couple. If the couple consists of a werewolf and a villager, they must work together to eliminate all other players.
  8. The Mayor: Elected during the first council, this player’s role is unrefusable, and their vote during banishments counts as two.

Playing the Werewolf Game With Playing Cards

If you don’t have the original Werewolf game set, no problem! You can still enjoy this exciting game by using a standard deck of playing cards to represent the different characters. Here’s how you can assign the roles:

  • Villagers: Use card numbers 2-5 for villagers.
  • Innocent Girl: The 8 card represents the Innocent Girl.
  • Cupid: Assign the 9 card to Cupid.
  • Seer: The 10 card is perfect for the Seer.
  • Hunter: Use the Jack to represent the Hunter.
  • Witch: The Queen card becomes the Witch.
  • Mayor: The King card symbolizes the Mayor.
  • Werewolves: Aces are used for the Werewolves.

This simple method allows you to enjoy Werewolf without needing the official game, bringing all the fun and excitement with just a deck of playing cards.

The Gameplay

A. Prequel:

  1. Distribution of Character Cards: The Guide (or Storyteller) randomly distributes a character card to each player, making sure they’re face-down.
  2. Private Viewing: Once every player has received a card, they each quietly look at their card to learn their role. This is done in private to maintain the secrecy of each player’s identity.
  3. Preparing for the Game: After everyone has seen their card, players place their cards face-down on the table. The cards should be positioned within easy reach for the Guide.

This prequel phase sets the stage for the exciting and mysterious world of Werewolf, where each player’s secret identity shapes the course of the game.

B. Start of the game

The Guide begins the game with a brief narrative about the villagers’ daily routine, their return home for dinner, and their preparation for bed. For example:

“As the day ends, all villagers return to their homes. The village grows darker under the setting sun, and an eerie wind whispers through the streets. An owl’s hoot marks the onset of night. The villagers finish their dinner and get ready for a peaceful sleep. By 11 p.m., every villager has closed their eyes, drifting into slumber.”

  • With this cue, “The villagers have fallen asleep,” all players close their eyes.

C. The First Night’s Preparations

This phase only happens during the first night when Cupid is part of the game. If not, continue to the main phase.

  1. “Cupid awakens and selects two players to bind together in fate.” – Cupid opens their eyes and quietly chooses two players to be lovers, then goes back to sleep.
  2. The Guide silently indicates to the chosen lovers who they are.
  3. “The lovers awaken, exchanging glances that seal their shared destiny.” – The lovers open their eyes to identify each other, then return to sleep.

Now continue to the main phase of the night.

D. Night’s Main Phase

This phase happens every night and proceeds as follows:

“The Seer awakens to seek knowledge of another’s true nature.”

  • The Seer Awakens: silently points at a player whose role they wish to know. The Guide discreetly shows the Seer that player’s card, and then the Seer goes back to sleep.

“Under the full moon’s glow, the Werewolves stir to select their prey.”

  • The Werewolves awake: decide together who will be their next target, then go back to sleep.

“In the quiet night, the Witch awakens to make her critical choice.

  • The Witch opens her eyes. The Guide points out the Werewolves’ victim. The Witch then decides to use her healing elixir, poison, or do nothing. After her decision, the Witch returns to sleep.
    • A thumbs-up indicates using the life elixir, saving the night’s victim.
    • A thumbs-down signifies using the poison to eliminate the victim or another player.
The night and day cycle of the werewolf game rules. At night time: first the seer awakens, then the werewolves, then the witch. During daytime: First the council begins, followed by a voting round.

E. The Next Day

“The sun rises, heralding a new morning.”

  • Dawning of a New Day: The Guide announces the morning’s arrival.

“All villagers awaken, except for [name the victim(s)].”

  • Revealing the Fallen: Players who were eliminated during the night reveal their cards and are officially out of the game. They must refrain from communicating with the remaining players.
    • If one of the victims is the Hunter, they have the opportunity to take another player with them in their fall.
    • If a victim is one of the Lovers, their bonded partner also meets their end.
    • Should the Mayor be a victim, they must quickly nominate a successor before exiting the game.

The Guide continues the story, describing how the villagers spend their day, leading up to the pivotal moment of the Council.

F. The Council

  • Electing the Mayor: The first task before the council begins is to elect a Mayor. The Guide counts to three, and at that moment, each player points to the person they want as Mayor. The player with the most votes receives the Mayor card, signifying their new role.

“The Mayor calls for a council to deliberate over the recent tragedy. Villagers gather, bringing with them a mix of suspicions, theories, and observations. ‘Did anyone act oddly?’ ‘Was there any unusual noise in the night?'”

  • Debate and Accusation: Now, players engage in the core of the game’s interaction. They discuss, argue, and share their thoughts on who they believe the werewolf might be. This is where the game truly comes to life, filled with intrigue, deception, and the unfortunate reality of innocent people falling under suspicion.

G. The Voting

“The council reaches its critical moment as villagers ready themselves to cast their votes. Every villager raises their index finger, poised to identify the suspected Werewolf.”

  • Casting Votes: On the Guide’s count of three, all players simultaneously point to the person they believe is a Werewolf. The player receiving the most votes is then banished from the village.

“The banished villager stands and reveals their true identity.”

  • Revealing the Role: The banished player reveals their identity. This moment is pivotal as it determines which side gains an advantage:
    • If a Werewolf is banished, the villagers move closer to victory by ridding the village of another threat.
    • Conversely, if a Villager is wrongly accused and banished, the Werewolves edge nearer to their goal of overpowering the village.

This phase of voting and banishment is a turning point in each round of Werewolf, because it can dramatically affect the balance of power and strategy in the game.

H. The Cycle Continues

“The Council has made its decision. The villagers, carrying the weight of their choice, return to their homes, bracing themselves for another night.”

  • The Onset of the Next Night: As indicated by the Guide, all players close their eyes, signaling the beginning of a new night phase.

The game now cycles back to “D. The Main Phase of the Night” and follows through the subsequent steps:

I. Ending the Game

  • Conclusion of the Game: The game persists in this cycle until one of two outcomes is reached:
    • All Werewolves are identified and banished, leading to the villagers’ victory, or
    • The Werewolves succeed in reducing the villagers’ numbers, either through elimination or wrongful banishment, resulting in their triumph.

This cyclical structure of Werewolf makes it a game of evolving strategies, shifting suspicions, and unexpected twists, keeping players engaged and on edge until the very end!

Werewolf Game Rules

To ensure that the game of Werewolf runs smoothly and remains fair for all participants, it’s important to adhere to the following standard rules:

  1. No Talking or Peeking During the Night: To maintain the integrity of the game, players must remain silent and keep their eyes closed during the night phase. This prevents any unfair advantages or accidental revelations of identity.
  2. Role Secrecy: Players are not allowed to disclose their roles to others until they are eliminated from the game. This rule is crucial to preserve the mystery and suspense of the game.
  3. Seer’s Investigation: Each night, the Seer has the opportunity to investigate the role of just one player. This is a key strategic element for the villagers.
  4. Werewolves’ Choice: The werewolves have the option to not eliminate a player during any night phase. This can be a strategic decision to create confusion or suspicion among the villagers.
  5. Seer’s Discretion: If the Seer identifies a werewolf during their investigation, they can choose whether to share this information with others. However, they are strictly prohibited from directly revealing their own role by saying, “I know this because I’m the Seer.” This rule is in place to prevent the game from becoming unbalanced and to keep the Seer’s identity a secret for as long as possible.

Adhering to these rules is essential for a fair and enjoyable game experience for everyone involved in Werewolf.

Tips and Tricks

Creating the right atmosphere is crucial in enhancing the Werewolf game experience. A spooky and immersive environment can significantly improve your experience. Here are some tips to make your game creepier and more engaging:

  • Creepy Background Music: Set the mood by playing eerie music in the background. There are many playlists available online with themes perfect for a spooky night. This subtle addition can greatly enhance the suspense and tension of the game.
  • Dim the Lights: Lowering the lights during the night phase adds a sense of mystery and apprehension. It helps players get into character and feel the thrill of the game more intensely.
  • Narrative Storytelling: The Guide should embrace the role of a horror storyteller. Narrating the game’s progression and describing scenes as if reading from a horror novel can captivate the players and keep them engaged in the story.
  • Candlelight for Special Effects: Lighting candles can provide an additional spooky effect. The flickering candlelight creates shadows and an eerie ambiance, perfect for a game based on mystery and suspense.

Wrap Up

Werewolf is an exceptional game that skillfully blends strategy, deception, and social dynamics, making it an ideal choice for gatherings of friends and family. It’s not just a game; it’s an opportunity to see a different side of each other and yourself. You might be surprised to discover who among your group is an adept liar or a strategic thinker!

Each session of Werewolf promises hours of entertainment, largely due to the variety of roles and the ever-changing dynamics among players. Every round is unique, keeping the game fresh and exciting.

It’s important to remember that while accusations and suspicions are a fundamental part of the game, they are just that — part of the game. They should not be taken personally or spill over into real life. If someone accuses you of lying or being deceptive in the game, it’s all in the spirit of fun and doesn’t reflect real-life perceptions.

For those looking for other engaging and conversation-starting games, there are plenty of alternatives out there, including games similar to Cards Against Humanity. These games can also serve as great icebreakers and ways to add laughter and lively discussions to your gatherings.

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