20/07/2016 07:23 BST | Updated 20/07/2017 06:12 BST

Eat Your Friends

'Are You a Werewolf?'


Looney Labs

We were all sat around the campfire totally bushed after a day of hard kayaking on the river Wye, so it was with some trepidation that I pulled 'Are you a Werewolf?' from my backpack and asked if anyone fancied a game.

Getting a big group of mates to all concentrate and play a boardgame is a hard sell at the best of times, and I had my work cut out adding 'a bit drunk' and 'cold' to the already established 'tired'. However, in the flickering light of the bonfire, framed by the creeping shadows of the riverside, something miraculous happened - everyone got right into it.

'Are you a Werewolf?' is deception party game where one or more secretly selected 'werewolves' set about trying to eat unsuspecting villagers. Everyone sits in a circle and takes a card that reveals their role - you will either be an innocent villager, one of the bloodthirsty werewolves, the action narrating Moderator, or the 'Seer' - the village mystic who can look past the fabric of reality to see who the werewolves really are.

The game follows alternating night and day cycles. During the night the tension is palpable as the Moderator tells the villagers to close their eyes and then under the helpless gaze of the Seer, the werewolves come to life, silently pointing to the sleeping villager who'll be their dinner that night. As soon as the sun rises, the villagers awaken to discover their chewed up neighbour, and then a tense meeting is held to decide which familiar face secretly masks a werewolf.

As accusations of guilt and protestations of innocence flew about under the star filled night sky it felt like we'd been teleported back 400 years to the Salem Witch Trials. It was staggering how a simple card game can provide such a fascinating looking glass into the human soul - evasion, persuasion, suspicion, suggestion you'll see it all here. Friends you previously believed to be honest upstanding individuals can be transformed into shady Machiavellian manipulators, leading the crowd to lynch an innocent rival. Our 'butter wouldn't melt' pharmacist friend Nia stood in the circle and delivered a tear jerking 10 minute protestation of innocence only to be unmasked as a prolific cannibal once she'd won the game. I'll never look at her the same way again.

If you want to see your friends in a totally different light then this is the game for you. There's no board, zero set up time, and it's super easy to explain so it wont scare off the boardgame cynics - you'll have your buddies eating each other in no time at all.