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A re-imagining of the best-selling werewolf game: a new design, dozens of roles, and a brand new expansion for up to 75 players.
The best-selling party game that supports up to 75 players, with more than 40 unique roles!
The best-selling party game that supports up to 75 players, with more than 40 unique roles!
2,350 backers pledged $137,973 to help bring this project to life.

What? No girl villagers?

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Here’s a little background that I thought you might find interesting, and provides the reason you don’t see any girl villager artwork in Ultimate Werewolf. 

When I created Ultimate Werewolf back in 2006, one of the reasons I did so was because of the limitations of other commercial versions of Werewolf at the time, and because of repeated plays with those versions showed some of their flaws, which to me indicated a lack of playtesting with the final artwork/design before it was shipped out.

One of the more egregious examples of this is in the Lupus in Tabula set from DaVinci/Mayfair (which has largely disappeared from store shelves at this time). I picked this up because I liked the idea of all the different pieces of artwork for villagers (I had to write "Villager" on each card after the first round of play when no one could figure out what role was on their card):

After all, I thought, why should everyone have the same picture of a villager on their card? It turns out, because giving each player a different picture of a villager breaks the game! It only took a single play of the game (after the initial "What role do I have" aborted one) with those cards to figure this out: one person said “my villager is a girl with a green apron” and suddenly everyone was describing the unique villager on their card. Except the werewolves, who were pretty much screwed. So in order to play with that set, a new rule had to be added - not only can you not show your card to anyone, you can’t describe it either.

I learned an important lesson that day: For werewolf, the card design/artwork should never be a factor in who wins or loses. Well, actually I had already learned that from repeated plays with the Miller’s Hollow version of the game, where countless games were stopped part way through because players couldn’t figure out their role (there is no text on those cards, just highly stylized artwork that can be misinterpreted easily), just like the first game of Lupus that had to be stopped. But it also underscored the importance of playtesting with the final artwork (I find it hard to believe that this was done with Lupus in Tabula, ever, because if it was, they would have at least included a sentence or two about this in the rules to help players avoid breaking the game).

This is just one of the factors that has influenced the direction of Ultimate Werewolf, and is why you’ll see that even though we have sixteen different artists, every villager is a guy with a green hat and a blue shirt:

And yes, that one in the lower right is from Doris Matthäus…hopefully we’ll have the rest of her artwork shortly (I’ve seen a preview of her werewolf, and it’s awesome…in a hedgehog kind of way, as you might expect).

Files (except for Doris’s artwork) have been sent to the printer and are being scoured over by the crack prepress team. So far, things are on schedule…

Ted

ArchGeek, Jeff A, and 5 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Purification Ritual on February 19, 2014

      This is the weakest explanation of why women aren't part of the village, as there are other women roles on the villager side. They too can wear the same outfit, hat and all for the village idiots that can't read "villager" on the card. Having an all male village works well with my meet-up, as I play with my gaymer friends. Not having female villagers is a running joke, but this reasoning is lame. Include us!

    2. Jason on February 15, 2014

      Update # 34 - Female Villager Pack announced! Lol, that would be nice, but having read over the update, I was going to comment earlier, and it seems some people agree with what I think. The cards themselves have the Roles written on them, so there should be no confusion. The role's ability, noted at the bottom of the card, would be the same regardless of the Art Work. When I play, it seems the games I've been in are a bit like @weregrrl's games where people know what's going on, the cards we've used however so far are generic and feature no art on them at all. In a game that does have cards with Art Work, and then people playing who are first timers or very inexperienced, there is no reason why the Moderator can't say to them before the game to not discuss the cards Art Work or Roles. Yes, an Art Pack with Male Seer, Female Villagers and some other reverse gender role would definitely have gotten my attention.

    3. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 14, 2014

      @weregrrl they know they choose wrong when the parson killed reveals their role. Of you play your games non reveal then that changes things completely.

      I'm not saying the werewolves are only claiming non villager roles but any werewolf that does would be sacrificing himself essentially.

      Either way we'll have to agree to disagree because our play experiences obviously differ. And to be clear I'm also against using different villager art packs in the same game it's not because the art would be female.

    4. Cuturcu River on February 14, 2014

      For me the explanation is very simple and I understand the reason very well. And thats why all the roles, not only the villagers, have a similar description. Anyway, all this is very secondary, especially when you pick a card and that card is not going to choose the gender because your gender, and contribute with nothing to the gameplay.

    5. Missing avatar

      Brandi Wilson on February 14, 2014

      I don't really understand why half the cards can't be female and half the cards male. Moderators could choose how many of each gender to play with or just evenly divide the cards. The only time I can imagine this would be a problem is with reveal and the players know how many female/males are in play. And this could easily be solved by randomly picking x amount of villagers from a shuffled stack of villagers. Then again, I guess if you're playing with all the villager cards this could be a problem if someone bothered to keep track of the male:female ratio after every reveal. But arguably, this same problem could happen if you were using villagers split between two art packs.

    6. Rik Spruitenburg on February 13, 2014

      I actually had something similar happen while playing Resistance. One of the players referenced that their card was a female, and another player chimed in that their card was also female. Since I could see my card also was female, and I was pretty sure that we had only three female cards in play, it caused me to guess that those two players were on opposite teams. While I applaud diversity in games, I also applaud play testing and trying to make things fool proof. Good work, guys.

    7. Missing avatar

      weregrrl
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      @Phil If the werewolf plays well, then how would the village know they chose wrong? (Just as an aside, it's odd that you keep assuming some odd devolution such as werewolves only claiming non-villager roles or only playing the game with all/mostly special roles...that assumption seems to muddy the waters.)

      @Adam You're correct: I'd been going with the idea that either no one had the cards memorized, or they all did. If it's a mixture, though, then unless it's just a poor lone werewolf who doesn't have them memorized, then the player who "knew" what was what still has to convince everyone else...and might become a yummy target.

    8. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      I do think that he could have had an artpack with female villagers. That way if a group wanted to play with them instead of male villagers they could. It wouldn't have been difficult to do.

    9. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      @weregirl granted calling them idiots was harsh but because someone is intelligent or well educated does not stop the fact they may do stupid things or mean that they will be good at games. And the reason why in general unless the roles included are unknown, that claiming a special generally fails is this.

      Werewolf: hi I'm roles x (insert any special singular role)
      real role x: Well that's false because I'm role x.

      Village knows one is lying and the he should die ... sure you have to guess but if your wrong you know who's next to go.

      Also having special roles with unique art doesn't break the game because there is only one role like that and should only be one so even if someone claims that role, as soon as a second person does the village knows there's an issue regardless of the art on the cards. Villagers are in numbers and bland to blen in. That's why they should all be the same. If you play a game with all specials you see right away that things devolve fairly quick because there's nowhere to "hide"

    10. Missing avatar

      BamSplat on February 13, 2014

      I agree with Hockey Mask. A simple rule stating "do not discuss the artwork on your character card" would not over complicate the game at all. The rule works just fine in games like The Resistance / Avalon and we all get to enjoy unique character art (including female characters) as a result. Werewolf also has the bonus of moderator who is (presumably) knowledgable about the rules and can let the players know when they're speaking out of line.

      @weregrrl while I agree with most of what you have to say I don't think that describing your role and describing your artwork are the same thing. It's much easier to remember a role than it is to remember the intricate details of its artwork. Players that haven't memorized the artwork can be known to be bluffing by a player that can, and I don't think that's realy what this game is about.

    11. Missing avatar

      weregrrl
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      As it is, the seer is female, for example, so that gives extra information right there... It seems that by the logic given in the update, having the special roles have unique art for the role "breaks the game" just as much as having different villager art. Funny thing is, I'd noticed the no-female-villager thing but shrugged during the campaign, but now that some attempt at "logic" was laid out--especially since it flies in the face of having unique art (including women) for other roles, and that the very foundation of the game involves bluffing--I'm miffed.

    12. Missing avatar

      Stephen Pauly on February 13, 2014

      Couple of comments. First why couldn't one of the art packs had reversed gender roles a male seer and female villagers that way if people wanted a all male or all female village that could be accomplished. Second I have always played with you can't discuss the art on the cards as it is to cheep a trick I thought the logic was awesome the first time someone came up with the idea subsequent games I banned it. I can see the issue of having a split village aka 50/50 male female village ratio as that give extra information to the village team as werewolf's would have to claim male and female roles but you could just as easily ban asking about your cards gender and problem is solved. Now personally I does not bother me that there are no female villagers though I think if would of been a nice option. However some people clearly wanted this option and its a shame that their request was unable to be met.

    13. Missing avatar

      weregrrl
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      @Phil Wow, your games play out completely differently than mine. Werewolves in my games lie & claim roles (including villager) all the time, and often win. And I'm playing with literal rocket scientists, not idiots. Claiming a role--whether by name or by describing the card--is conceptually the same. There's no reason not to have female villagers.

    14. wolfkin on February 13, 2014

      ahh well at least that mystery is solved. My Lupus set does have variation but doesn't look like that at all

    15. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      @Hockey but there are women they're just all more special than you lol

    16. Hockey Mask on February 13, 2014

      If I lived in a village without any women I would throw myself at the wolves.

      (Interpret that how you like)

    17. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      @weregrrl Villagers are in the game for the werewolves to hide amongst. The rules state to include almost half if not half the players as villagers. Werewolves that claim to be special roles generally won't last long unless that other player is an idiot. The only way werewolves claiming specials works is if players aren't sure what roles aren't included due to random role inclusion without announcing which roles got selected.

    18. Missing avatar

      weregrrl
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      @Phil, I'm still confused. How is that different from the werewolf claiming they're any non-werewolf role, without describing the card?

    19. Darren Miguez on February 13, 2014

      I agree with the request for a female villager pack, though I understand the issues outlined in this update. It would be nice and look well on Bezier Games to have a pack of female villagers (even if they have blue shirts and green hats).

    20. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      @weregrrl if someone describes their card and the werewolves do as well (lying of course) it'll come down to 2 people and one being a werewolf. So the werewolves aren't much better off for lying.

      @Chris it's a lot more elegant to have it like this no question. Werewolf is a party game which means your more than likely going to play with people that may or may not be regular gamers. They may not realize they're "breaking" the game and adding a rule saying you can't describe your card isn't needed this way which would undoubtly be required the other way around.

      What I'm surprised is none of the art packs included a group of female villagers.

    21. Missing avatar

      weregrrl
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      Wait, I'm confused. Who cares if people start describing their card? Werewolves could just, you know, lie and make up a description. And couldn't the Seer (or any role) "prove" they were that role by describing their card? And consistency is fine, but why not have 1/2 girl villagers (maybe even all in blue shirts with green hats)? There are so many villagers, having half female shouldn't be a discriminator. (Though as I wrote above, I don't see how the art on a card is a discriminator anyway.)

    22. Missing avatar

      Chris Luong
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      So basically you're saying that because you played in a group that was incapable of not trying to break the game, you went ahead and eliminated the female population, EXCEPT for special roles, from the game? That pretty much sounds like not giving the people the benefit of the doubt or choice to engage in stupidity if they wanted to.

    23. Hel Gibbons on February 13, 2014

      You could have had all the villagers be women ;)

    24. Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      A rule 63 art pack would be a welcome addition sometime.

    25. Michael Rooney on February 13, 2014

      Thanks for the write up. I had wondered about this previously. Great to hear that there's a good amount of thought behind that decision :)

    26. Joseph Le May
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      Relax. Within a given art pack, ALL the villagers are identical. Why every art pack needs to be a guy I don't know.

    27. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      @all the idea with the different art packs was to use the different art packs in isolated games not in the same game.

      His argument is weak on why there are no female villagers in the art packs but in the main game it holds.

    28. Matthew
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      Fun fact, first time I played Ultimate Werewolf we were playing with showing your roles upon your death. First person who died was a villager and one of the players started laughing because of how stupid the villager looked. As I had a villager card, I knew that that person wasn't a villager so I went after them immediately.....turned out they were the Seer and not a werewolf and I think the villagers lost that game. Rest of the games that night had many jokes over how the villagers looked.

    29. Eugene Png on February 13, 2014

      Actually this is the first time I noticed that they are all with green hat and blue shirt...

    30. Lisa Manglass on February 13, 2014

      I mean, really, look at these cards, these are just as subject to "ihave a male", "i have a female" could be easily replaced by "what direction is your male looking?" "i have the man with the feather in his cap" if you were really that worried about consistency, they'd all be the same.

    31. Missing avatar

      John Teserovitch
      Superbacker
      on February 13, 2014

      That's right! How dare you call a cartoon female printed on card stock a girl? My wife sometimes refers to herself as a girl. She is 48. I will make sure she reads this stuff so she knows how wrong she is and so she can get a good laugh.

    32. Lisa Manglass on February 13, 2014

      REALLY? THis is the weakest argument i've ever heard. 16 distinctively different artwork styles isn't confusing but ZOMG women are too confusing? Oh and btw if you're trying explain why your game isn't sexist, please use the word "women" not "girls" to describe adults.

    33. Missing avatar

      Phil on February 13, 2014

      @Richard the confusion wasn't part of the girl/boy villager thing. IT's the fact people could identify themselves as a girl villager or a boy villager in the game. Having any kind of mix in any roles breaks the game.

      That being said I think one of the art packs could of featured all female villagers to have something unique.

    34. Richard Pasquale on February 13, 2014

      A nice mix of male and female villagers shouldn't be confusing. I just played Lupus in Tabula a couple of weeks ago and everyone easily understood that villagers have a pitchfork symbol in the corner. It looks like your version is going to have the word villager, so there shouldn't be any confusion.

      Why don't you take a poll on this and see if the majority of backers want a mix of girl and guy villagers.

    35. Hockey Mask on February 13, 2014

      I appreciate the post. This had been something bugging me for a bit. Although I don't think adding a sentence to the instructions is making it overly complicated I think you found a decent compromise. Can't wait to have some unique villagers with this set. Well, unique except for their clothing.

    36. Yani Kalafatis on February 13, 2014

      Very thoughtful and interesting post Ted. Thanks for sharing.