I had proposed it to a friend and colleague, who in turn, presented it to the Social Committee and it came to fruition, my first Game Night at work. Many games were brought and played; Ticket to Ride, Fluxx, and Unstable Unicorns among others, but I was not only excited to introduce my coworkers to my favorite of games, Carcassonne, but also present the showstopper for the evening. I had based the structure of game night after the common way my board game club would run one of their events; a variety of tables playing several light and mid-weight games, then bringing the group together at the end for a game group social deduction or party game. The game of choice at this event, Ultimate Werewolf, and it would be my first time moderating.
I had played versions of Werewolf numerous time before and had experienced a variety of roles, but I was never comfortable lying, making accusations of attempting to defend myself from elimination; it just was never my style. I built it up in my head, this time would be drastically different, I would be moderating the game. Considering my past experience, I was both excited and terrified of this role. I didn’t have to be a villager or werewolf, I didn’t have to defend myself, but I was responsible for the setup and ultimately the experience of those that were playing. I did not take my role lightly.
I scoured write-ups and videos with tips for new moderators; cards to include and to avoid. I consulted my board game group for their experience. Through all the tips, recommendations, guides, videos and experiences, I built and refined a build of roles. I toiled over the balance and necessity to accommodate an approximate but not definite quantity of players. Not only was my build needing to be interesting, and attempt to limit the heavy actions / roles, but be flexible in the case of a fluctuating size of the group. I continued editing the lineup even up to the start of the event.
Games went well and, as expected, it was difficult to get all the varying tables to align on when their games concluded to easily move the group to playing Werewolf, but we eventually got there.
We had set up a semi-circle of chairs and a moderator’s table to easily transition people from their small group games to Werewolf. Players took their seats, I randomly passed out roles. I hurriedly tried using a moderator app for tracking players and roles to help streamline the night / day cycle and potentially avoid rookie moderator mistakes. Unfortunately, it did not help. The very first round, the werewolves chose a victim and I unceremoniously noted them to have been killed upon open of the day; they were the Cursed and should have become a Werewolf. I did not disclose the role to the group to avoid derailing the flow of the game. I did profusely apologize to the player I relegated to an observer far too early.
The remainder of the game flowed smoothly. Players developed a variety of theories of who was a werewolf and who was playing to other particular roles. In the end, to my surprise, no only did the villagers win, but only the Masons were left standing. Overall, the players expressed a very positive response to playing and many asked when we could play again. I am thrilled with the outcome from my first outing as moderator. While I do need to pay better attention to roles and their functions, I am quite pleased directing the game rather than playing in it – I have found the role best suited to me and it is the one I would have least expected.