This game there was one thing which dominated my game design: the number of players. With 17 players we usually have four wolves (I may mix this up in the future by adding special roles for wolves and giving them one less player). However this game we only had 15 players so I was forced to reduce the number of wolves to three. To counter this I experimented with giving the wolves special roles, something I've rarely done before.
Wolf Special Roles
The sorcerer is a role seer, but with wolf alignment. Additionally when the sorcerer dies he can drag someone down with him - effectively directly reducing the size of the human team by one.
Daemon Psyker (King_Cosmos)
This is a new role I was testing out and I quite like it. Each night the psyker could select any complete post in the thread and scry it - if it's completely true then I reply TRUTH and if there's even just a single lie then I reply FALSE. This sounds extremely powerful but it's actually a very difficult to use and I'm not sure the wolves actually got anything useful out of it.
Another obvious feature of this game was the exterminatus countdown. The idea was to keep up the pressure even if the humans felt they were winning (e.g. if they had a confirmed wolf kill through an autopsy). The fleet was controlled by two rules:
- Countdown is stopped every time a special role/wolf player dies.
- Countdown skips a day if two or more humans die in a single day.
Rule one takes precedence. This is why the fleet never made a lot of progress: you guys were killing off your own special roles left and right! I'm not sure anyone even noticed when the clock skipped a day after the slaughter in the barracks?
People requested that I try to encourage more role playing this game and this was an important factor in my role selection. I prefer subsystem style games as they encourage a lot more discussion about systems and how they interact as well as giving all players a chance to swap between multiple different roles (perhaps simultaneously). However, I felt that a simpler selection of roles with a larger number of vanilla players would limit the chaos in the game and give people more opportunity to roleplay.
Tech Priest (TerranAmbassador)
This is the jailer role which i have used before - a guardian angel which also acts as a role blocker. It's a slightly nerfed guardian angel to go in line with having less wolves.
Targets another player and (if the player survived the night) gets a list of everyone who targets them. This one will never catch wolves, but does act as a good way for humans to find other special roles and make contact with them. This one never came into play since Juno died on day two.
Inquisition Acolyte (cybercritic)
Targets another player and spies on them. The role message contained no more information about this role... and that's because it does nothing! This one was purely intended to sow a little confusion. I admit this may be a somewhat cruel/unusual role to give someone, sorry
I didn't actually expect this role to have much game impact but it did generate a fair bit of discussion (based on the assumption it was a seer role) which makes me feel it was actually not a bad idea.
Just a medic - dissects a player who has died in the last 2 kills (most recent lynch, or most recent murder) and then privately discovers if they were wolf or human. I've had to move away from the classic medic role I used to use (public reveal of dissection results) because if the medic ever discovers a wolf then the medic is almost guaranteed to be a confirmed human (it could be a wolf play, but I doubt anyone would ever do that) and confirmed humans ruin games! Of course Tjafaas was killed before he could conduct any useful autopsies so this role was lost the human team which was a serious blow to their chances!
Triggered Psychopath (Arkenbrien and Xamino)
This is another new role I was experimenting with. A psychopath is a third party which must kill someone each night (unless role blocked), their aim is simply to survive to the end of the game so they can choose to side with wolves or humans as they choose. A psychopath from the start of the game would annihilate the human team so I made this a triggered psychopath based on the vaguely lovers mechanic I have used before - two people have this latent role and when one of them dies the other is informed of the role they now have.
As the name implies this role simply means that your daytime votes don't count. Obviously I can't give this role to someone for the entire game (I guess I could if they had some other insanely powerful role to compensate) so I made the role move around to a totally random player each night. The first two nights it went to dead players which is why no one could confirm the existence of the role when abystander2 claimed to have had it day 1.
Similarly to the acolyte I didn't expect this to have much game impact but it did bring the heat onto abystander2 and generated a fair bit of discussion in the early game.
I quite like these new roles. None were brokenly overpowered and none were uselessly underpowered. The scryer probably needs a little more work, but I think it's definitely a concept I can bring back in future games.
I chose the WH40K universe as one that I assumed everyone would be somewhat familiar with and has plenty of opportunity for a variety of roleplay. Obviously that didn't really work! We did have a little more RP this game, but it kind of fell off late game. What do you guys think about the RP - was this enough? Should I do more to encourage RP?
Low player numbers and low activity from a fair few players crippled the start of this game. I think the first three kills were on players who were almost entirely inactive and then the humans were very unlucky to lose their medic when he hadn't had any useful bodies to dissect yet. I could take a much harsher line on inactivity, do you think I should?
Do you have any suggestions for my future games? Even if they're not concrete ideas feel free to throw out things you like/dislike about the game and I'll see what I can do in the future