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I’m just a villager.  Wait wrong game!

Social Deduction and Hidden Role games are great to play with a wide range of different people.  Get a dozen or so people together, and watch the shenanigans commence!

The most common examples are Ultimate Werewolf (or the Werewolves of Millers Hollow!) and Mafia, and while they are great to play they share some fundamental problems.

So common problems with these types of games:

  1. Player Elimination – these games can go for over an hour, so if you are the first one out you are going to be really bored for a while.
  2. Little initial information – the first round is normally along the lines of “Hey, you’re wearing a red shirt.  We vote to eliminate you!”.  It takes a few rounds to start getting some real information, so the first few people eliminated are out for no real reason.  This can put people off playing.
  3. It’s a commitment to play – These types of games tend to not allow people to join later or leave if required as it can harm ‘the balance’.  Even if you do just throw someone in, they tend to be the next victim just because they can be which isn’t fun.

So all this in mind, why play these games?  Because once you are in the game, they really are a lot of fun.  But you have to be into the game.  If you are in a group that knows the negatives, having people prepared to sit or play filler games like Love Letter means no one is really put out.  Also, if you do play as an end of the night game, eliminated players can leave without guilt if they so choose.

Newer games like WitchHunt and Two Rooms and a Boom have come a long way in trying to address such issues.  But today I am interested in Blood on the Clocktower, a game by Steven Medway and his Sydney Australian Based team currently being demoed at Origins!

So what makes me so excited about Blood on the Clocktower?

  1. No player elimination – even when you ‘die’, you are still in the game.  And the dead break ties!
  2. Drop in mechanics cooked in – someone gets stuck in traffic, or a random sees you playing and asks what you are doing?  No problem!  Each new player is a Traveller with fixed powers, but if they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is to be determined.
  3. No role reveal – experience werewolf players, for example, have an idea of how many werewolves are in a game based on player numbers.  When someone is eliminated and confirms their role, the card counter players get more and more of an advantage while playing.  Not anymore!
  4. Almost all players can bluff that they are someone else – everyone has a ‘cheat sheet’ of all roles, so you can refer to the rules at any time instead of having to try and memorise a bunch of roles immediately.
  5. Drunk and Poison mechanics – I already play this way a little bit when moderating Werewolf, but it’s great to see it actually in the ruleset.  Basically, if you are drunk or poisoned, the moderator can lie to you.  This allows the group to have fun poisoning their teammates (or giving them drinks to get them drunk), and the moderator then has the power to lie to those players.  Personally, I know a few players I will be buying drinks for, just to add to the realism of course 😀
Blood on the Clocktower Contents
The game definitely does a great job of setting the mood. And simple components!
Blood on the Clocktower Townsfolk
Some of the 'good' townsfolk
Blood on the Clocktower Demons
Some Demons from Blood on the Clocktower, or the 'evil' team

So if you have played Werewolf or Mafia type games, you basically already know the basics of how to play the first game Trouble Brewing.  But here is a video of the game being played and their reactions, which really sells the game more than my words ever could.

Wait you said first game?  What are you talking about John?

There will be multiple editions or essentially expansions for the game, with Trouble Brewing as seen in the video being the first or three planned editions.  The expansion titles are ‘Sex and Violence’ and ‘Bad Moon Rising’, so they have my pun vote at the very least!

Altogether, the three titles will give players around 90 characters to play, so changing up games will not be an issue.  And all three editions will be available when the game is released on Kickstarter!  The downside is the Kickstarter looks like it won’t be running until December, so patience will be required.

Or will it?

If you check out the Blood on the Clocktower website, there are regular game sessions in Sydney that you can play now!  These sessions are in Surrey Hills and run on the first and third Thursday of the month.  Check out their Facebook page for more information if you would like to attend.

I may see a Thursday night flight down to Sydney one long weekend in the near future…

Be sure that I will be posting more about Blood on the Clocktower over the next few months, including when the Kickstarter is available.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Author JohnHQLD
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