Playing a Forum Game: "Werewolf" (aka "Mafia")

This is a bit off topic, but I want to suggest playing a game on this forum. In the past, I’ve had fun playing the game “Werewolf” (aka “Mafia”) on another web-forum, and I think it would be fun to play it here as well. Here is more information about the game:

Basically, it’s a social deduction game where some of the participants are secretly “werewolves” that periodically “kill off” (eliminate) a “villager” (all of the non-“werewolf” players). The villagers are trying to work as a team to uncover and eliminate the werewolves, while the werewolves work as a team to keep their identities hidden and try to eliminate the villagers first.

There are a lot of different variations to the rules, and we can discuss what those might exactly be before we start. However, right now I just want to poll whether people would be interested, and how fast they could play. The game is broken down into “day time” and “night time” phases. To really participate fully, people would have to be able to log onto the forum and check in on the game at least a couple of times per phase.

Are you interested in playing?

  • Yes
  • Maybe
  • No

0 voters

Which time settings would work for you?

A cycle comprises both the in-game “day time” and “night time” phases, with the breakdown for each phase given in parentheses. Note: multiple choices can be selected.

  • 2 day cycle (1 + 1)
  • 3 day cycle (2 + 1)
  • 4 day cycle (2 + 2)
  • 5 day cycle (3 + 2)
  • 6 day cycle (3 + 3)
  • 7 day cycle (4 + 3)
  • Something else (please comment)

0 voters

For the first game, I would be happy to help act as game director (not playing, but overseeing the coordination).

The first game happened in this thread:

Please do not post, vote, or like in that thread if you are not a player
The first game is now over, so please feel free to discuss and analyze that game as you wish.

Non-players and eliminated players should not attempt to influence an ongoing game by any means.


This sounds like fun!

Way more difficult than playing it with friends in a room, since it’s quite difficult to discover a lie over the internet.

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Sounds fun! I didn’t vote on cycles because I’m not really sure how it will work with timezones.

Edit: In @yebellz I trust, I voted.

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I’d be down. I used to be a huge fan of warewolf/mafia. Haven’t played in ages, but it’ll be interesting to see how this might work on a forum.

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The game is broken down into a cycle between two phases: “day time” and “night time”

At a bare minimum, a player would need to login at least once per day time phase (in order to vote on the day time elimination that everyone participates in), and if they were a werewolf or had some other special role (besides just being a plain villager), they would also need to login in at least once per “night time” phase as well (in order to vote on who the werewolves kill or decide on some other special action).

However, the game is also best played with a good amount of discussion among all of the players during each day time phase, before votes are cast. Thus, ideally, one should be able to log in at least a few times during each “day time” phase to interact and discuss with others.

I’ve played this game on another web forum and we found that it works quite well, even with people across many different time zones. There’s a lot of nice features about this particular web-forum (missing from the other forum that I used), which would make running this game even easier, namely, the poll and private group message features.


Rules of the First Game

Players will be divided into three factions: “villagers”, “werewolves” and “lunatics”. For a game with 7 or 8 players, there will be two werewolves and one lunatic. The rest will be villagers.

Each player will be told which team they are on. The werewolves will also be told who else is a werewolf and who the lunatic is. Additionally, one villager will be selected as the “seer” and another villager will be selected as the “protector”. They will be privately told about their special roles. Otherwise, the assignment of the affiliations and roles will be secret, although a player may reveal it and other information related to it during the public discussion.

I will set up a game thread to manage the public discussion. The werewolves will also get a private group message that they can use to discuss during the night phase. I will converse with the seer and protector via private message to handle their special roles.

The game cycles between day and night phases. Each phase will last 48 hours.

During the day phase:

  • Public discussion is allowed between all of the players, but it must only occur within the game thread that I will set up. Discussion of the game over any other channels is not allowed.
  • Every player can cast a vote to eliminate a player or to not eliminate any one. A player may vote for their self.
  • A player is eliminated at the end of the day if they received a strict plurality of the votes, otherwise, no one is eliminated.

During the night phase:

  • Public discussion is not allowed. The game thread should be silent during the night phase, except for logistical notices.
  • For most villagers that do not have a special role, that means they are essentially inactive during the night phase.
  • The werewolves may discuss who they wish to eliminate in their private thread, and will cast votes on which player they wish to eliminate or if they want to forgo elimination. A player is eliminated at the end of the night if they received a strict plurality of the votes, otherwise, no one is eliminated.
  • The seer is allowed to choose one player to investigate during each night phase. They will tell their choice to me (via our private message) and I will privately reveal the affiliation of that player to the seer.
  • The protector is allowed to select one player (possibly their self) to protect during each night phase. If that player was selected by the werewolves, then their elimination is cancelled and both the werewolves, that player, and the protector are notified about what happened. If that player was not selected, then that player and werewolves are not notified, and the protector is only told that their selection was not targeted. The protector may not protect the same person on consecutive nights.

When a player is eliminated, that player leaves the game and must not attempt to influence the game any further by any means. Upon elimination, I will also reveal the player’s true affiliation and whether they had a special role.

The game continues until:

  1. All werewolves are eliminated. The villagers win, and everyone else loses.
  2. A lunatic is eliminated. The lunatics win, and everyone else loses.
  3. The number of werewolves is equal to or greater than the non-werewolf players. The werewolves win and everyone else loses.

Condition 2 takes precedence over condition 3.


I don’t play mafia so I’m just an idiot. But there’re Russian mafia championships on youtube, I watched those, looks fun. They have their own federation and everything.

The way this competitive version is played have these most notable differences to what’s written above.

Mafia discusses their plans and elimination order only before the first day during meet-and-greet. The rest of the nights they “shoot” their target blind and have to all name one target to not miss.

When a player is eliminated at morning they have their last word to the rest of the players. Player’s true affiliation is not revealed.

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There are definitely a lot of variations and possible house rules to this game. I’ve only played the game in person at some parties, and online in some web forums, so none of these were organized, competitive contexts. Correspondence games via text-based forum posts has a very different dynamic than live, face-to-face games. Reading people and the stamina/concentration to maintain deception are very different between the two. With a text-based game, there is also automatically a written record (of both the chat and the votes) that can be very helpful.

The exact rules varied each time I played. I’m certainly open to adjusting the rules based on people’s preferences. The sketch that I put up above worked well in forum-based games that I played in the past, and I’ve leaned toward decisions that aim to make the game a bit more beginner friendly, but those could still be tweaked.

Everyone, please let me know if you have any preferences/suggestions.

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A role that I really like in werewolves is that of the lunatic:

The lunatic forms their own faction and can only win the game if he gets killed. The villagers and the werewolves lose if the lunatic is killed. Apart from the lunatic, the werewolves will be told who the lunatic is.

It’s an especially fun role, since it gives a lot more freedom to the werewolves: without a lunatic it is essential for werewolves not to be suspicious, but with a lunatic there will be at least one player who will try to seem suspicious while not being a werewolf, so the werewolves themselves can be a little suspicious at times too.


Ooohhhh, I’ve never played with a lunatic before. That sounds really interesting!

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I really like the idea of adding a lunatic to the game. Let’s do that, since it seems that several people have “liked” that suggestion and I hear no objection.

I really hope a few more people sign up. Six (or maybe eight) would be a bit close to the bare minimum to start a game. I think it would still be worthwhile to play, since maybe it could be a relatively quick pilot game that would generate more interest for another larger game in the future.

By the way, the smallest games of werewolf that I played was during a long car ride. There were only four passengers (while another was busy driving), so we played 3 player werewolf among the 3 people in the back seat, while the passenger in the front seat served as moderator that would select one of us as the werewolf (by tapping on our knee, while our eyes were closed). Basically, the entire game boils down to just a single day phase, and it’s all about reading people and trying to convince the other players that you are not the werewolf (whether or not that’s a lie). It was actually a lot of fun, and great to play many games back to back (we kept a running score, two points for winning as the werewolf, or one point each for winning as the villagers). Of course, for such an extremely small game, it completely depended on the close face-to-face interaction to make things interesting.


Perhaps we could just start and see how it goes?

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Ok, how would people feel about starting on:

Player list (so far, not too late to sign up!):

  1. @Vsotvep :white_check_mark:
  2. @Gia :white_check_mark:
  3. @RubyMineshaft :white_check_mark:
  4. @KAOSkonfused :white_check_mark:
  5. @Brianvy
  6. @S_Alexander :white_check_mark:
  7. @Eugene :white_check_mark:
  8. @fiddlehead :white_check_mark:

Please confirm with me if you that would still like to play and that the parameters of the game work with you.

Would a 4 day cycle (2 days for each “day” phase and 2 days for each “night” phase) work for everyone? It seems that everyone that voted either selected that cycle or something faster. However, some people did not vote.

I’m thinking that we will do 2 werewolves, 1 protector, 1 seer, and 1 lunatic. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions on the rules.

Ouch sorry, I thought it’d take more time to prepare.
I can’t play for the first game, but will be able to join 2nd game :stuck_out_tongue:

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2 days seems good for the first time.
I’m not 100% confident I understood everything, but I hope to get it as we go.

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Sure, I’m in.

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Sounds good to me!

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Yes, I’m in. :slight_smile:

Although I had hoped for more players. Maybe there’ll be more next time.

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I just realized that I forgot to discuss the precise end game conditions. The game continues until:

  1. All werewolves are eliminated. The villagers win, and the lunatic and werewolves lose.
  2. The lunatic is eliminated. The lunatic wins, and everyone else loses.
  3. The number of werewolves is equal to or greater than half of the remaining players.

Condition 2 takes precedence over condition 3. Players are allowed to vote for self-elimination.

It looks like we may at least six, but up to eight players, since @Eugene signed up after my last post and @Vsotvep seemed to be ready to start.

However, just to be sure, can I get a confirmation from @Eugene, @Vsotvep, @Brianvy, and @benjito as you whether you are in? The game is scheduled to start in a little under 24 hours.

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