The party game Mafia—invented by Russian psychology student Dimitry Davidoff in the late '80s as a teaching tool—has been shared and played all over the world (it's called Loups-garous in France, for example), simply through word of mouth. It's a game of inside knowledge, lying in the face of accusation and persuasive speeches, and has become a classic for summer campers and adult parties alike.
Interactive fiction writer and hacker Andrew Plotkin (aka Zarf) developed this murder-in-the-dark concept into Werewolf, with more culturally relatable characters—and it's become especially loved within the tech community, as spending hours accusing each other of being a werewolf turns out to be a pretty good no-frills bonding experience. Now Boulder, CO-based designer Mathew Sisson has put together a purchasable set of cards so friends can transition effortlessly from dinner to gameplay.
"I [saw] some problems with Werewolf after I discovered it late one night during SXSW. (That Werewolf session in particular was being led by Icanhascheezburger's Ben Huh.) After SXSW I started playing it much more with friends back home, and noticed some people were timid about playing," Sisson tells CH. "It can be scary to go into a game that the majority of the people know, and you don't. My goal was to fix these things I found that were holding the game back. More specifically: reaching new players outside the role-playing demographic." Now, newbies and veterans of the game have tangible signposts to jump into the entertaining game—but only your skill-set can navigate you from getting eaten by a werewolf, or worse, witch-hunted by your fellow villagers.
Pre-order a Werewolf set, which comes with a handsome carrying case, for $22 online.
Images courtesy of Werewolf Co