Werewords is a combination of One Night Ultimate Werewolf, which I’ve never played, and 20 Questions, which any kid who’s ever gone on a family road trip has played. The story goes that a werewolf is threatening your village, but don’t panic! Your mayor knows a magic word, and if everyone says it together, you’re saved! So save those silver bullets and start asking questions! He can’t just tell you the word, hence the questions part. Don’t think about it too much.
To start the game, everyone is dealt a secret role, and an additional role is dealt face down in the middle of the table. Whoever is the Mayor announces themselves and then takes the additional role. They’re done talking now. Literally. Load the app on your phone and follow its instructions: Everyone close your eyes; it’s bedtime. Mayor open your eyes and choose a word. Close your eyes. Werewolf, open your eyes to see the word, etc. Finally, wake up. It’s now daytime! The timer starts. Everyone begins talking over each other, drilling the Mayor with questions trying to get to the correct word. As stated above, the Mayor is done talking, instead flicking chips across the table answering, “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “so close”, and “correct”.
How to lose: Run out of yes/no chips, or don’t guess the secret word in time.
How to redeem a loss: Pull out those silver bullets and vote to kill one person at the table, hoping they are the werewolf.
How to win: Guess the secret word.
How the werewolf can redeem themselves: Guess and attack the Seer (a role who knows the magic word but must remain undiscovered).
The game is straightforward and easy to understand when you play through a round. Unfortunately the game suffers from the same barrier that other hidden traitor games (like The Resistance: Avlon) do; explaining roles and end game redemption voting gets a little convoluted. That’s where the app comes in. Once you get past explaining that all roles (besides the Mayor) are secret, hit play on the app and everything else plays out like a tutorial.
If you’re the werewolf, you’re trying to eat up questions that won’t help the villagers. If you ask the same question twice, wasting a chip, you’re pleading memory lapse to avoid accusations of being the werewolf. The words can get pretty tough, and it’s sometimes difficult to discern if the Mayor is also the werewolf, or just doesn’t know what they’re talking about. No, the Mayor being the werewolf doesn’t make sense thematically, but having it as an option makes the game more exciting, so go with it. The Mayor exposing major common knowledge gaps is really not what you want during the life or death situation your village is in, but it does lead to entertaining moments of laughing with your friends.
Werewords isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s fun, quick, and cheap. It also plays well with fewer people than The Resistance: Avalon which is a big plus for many groups. Needing an app for any game makes me less excited, however it is definitely a fun filler for game nights, and great for seeing non-gamer friends discover a game they want to play over and over. When debating after a loss who the werewolf is and then finally voting on who to shoot, you will immediately see a change in one of your friends’ faces as they shift into a grin. They’ve duped everyone and gotten away with it. Since it’s only a five minute game, you are going to want to exact vengeance in another round.
Marne is a friend of the site and our first guest reviewer. Please check out her BoardGameGeek profile for more of her reviews!
|Kalen: Insider is in my top 50 games of all-time, and Werewords is Insider with a fantastic app and a virtually limitless word list.
|Neilan: I love Insider, and Werewords basically replaces it for me. It’s a great, different sort of experience to share with non-gamers, especially if they don’t have the time or inclination for something like The Resistance.
|Mark: Of the quick playing werewolf themed social deduction games (how’s that for a specific niche!) I prefer One Night Ultimate Werewolf. That said, I really enjoy Werewords as well and for some new to the hobby (or fans of word games) having the 20 Questions foundation makes it their preferred choice in that admittedly specific field.