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Werewords is a chaotic version of 20 Questions

Is it larger than a breadbox?

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Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

You’ve probably played a variation of our latest Overboard game, Werewords. It’s based on the classic parlor game 20 Questions: One player comes up with a word, and everyone else asks them yes-or-no questions to figure out the word. As the name implies, they only have 20 questions to do it.

In the original game, everyone asking questions is working toward the same goal, and the answerer must tell the truth. What Werewords proposes is this: What if they could lie? And what if everyone else could, for that matter?

In Werewords, players are given hidden roles, much like in Werewolf or Mafia (or any of these games), that place them on one of two teams: the Villagers and the Werewolves. The key is that no one knows who is a Werewolf. One player also gets to be the Mayor — i.e., the person answering the questions. The Villager team is trying to figure out the word, while the Werewolf team is trying to prevent that from happening without being detected.

That task is made easier because the Werewolf players know the Mayor’s magic word from the start, which allows them to push the line of questioning away from the correct answer. But the Villager team isn’t completely in the dark, either. A special Villager, the Seer, also gets to peek at the Mayor’s word. This player wants to help their team guess the magic word, but just like the Werewolves, they have to do it subtly.

Should the Villager team prevail and guess the magic word before time runs out, the Werewolves get one last chance at snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. They reveal their cards and quickly hazard a guess as to which Villager is the Seer. This is why the Seer must be subtle about how they help their team. If the Werewolves sniff them out, they win the game!

Similarly, if the Villager team fails to guess the magic word, they get one last shot to win the game. This time, no one reveals their characters; instead, everyone spends one minute discussing whom they think are the werewolves among them. Then they take a quick vote. If the majority finds a Werewolf player, the Villager team wins! But if they choose poorly, the Werewolf team wins the round!

We had a fantastic time yelling questions and breaking our brains trying to figure out magic words without looking suspicious. Werewords games are quick, so it’s easy to play round after round, and there’s plenty of potential to mix things up by throwing in additional special characters. If you enjoyed our Let’s Play, check out the rest of Overboard, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more great videos.

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