It is the first week of class and we play Ultimate Werewolf. Coming into this class time I had played Werewolf before, but mostly with extended family. This time was different as some individuals had never played and others were experts by comparison. We had not met before and that was another challenge to overcome as we did not necessarily understand each other’s personalities. In this game, we talked about being the first follower. The first person to start something will get all the credit, but without the first follower, it will go nowhere.
Our game consisted of many different roles including the Werewolves, Wolf Cub, Bodyguard, Minion, Cupid, Sorcerer, and more. I was the minion and was tasked with trying to protect the werewolves. For context, this session had the two linked by cupid voted out first, the bodyguard who became a spokesperson and leader in the group, and a werewolf who latched onto the bodyguard and became the first follower for a lot of the decisions, and some individuals who used logic to make decisions but were killed off anyway.
The bodyguard decided to announce themself early on which could have been either beneficial or detrimental to the game depending on the truth of the statement. There was some logic pointing to him as a werewolf that I quite agreed with, and by being the Minion I knew it would not hurt to vote out a strong player and personality like them. Boy was I wrong! The second I cast my vote for the bodyguard, another individual cast their vote on me. This is the moment I realized I had saved the bodyguard and put them in good standing.
If I had pointed to a werewolf I could have diverted attention and made them look innocent as I got voted off, but instead, I made the bodyguard seem even better if that’s possible. I got voted off as the first follower and then another and then another all cast their votes for me. I was killed off and saved someone else in the process too bad it was not a werewolf.
In the end, the villagers won as a werewolf sacrificed themself for no apparent reason. Another werewolf had been killed off already in the night as someone had used a once-a-game ability. And the last werewolf, the most vocal, got caught in a lie as they mixed up stories they had told. However, throughout the game, I saw leadership in action as people were vocal and others would follow gathering more and more votes until the majority was had and someone was out.
Seeing this leadership and first-follower concept in action was both amazing and scary. It was challenging to figure out how to get the first follower on your side and not be the target of the majority. This is where I struggled and what ultimately led to my demise. The challenging part of the majority decision had voted me out which was good from the perspective of the villagers. However, it could also very well be used negatively as well.
I think this game is one where some may feel more comfortable taking risks when they know the people and personalities they are playing with better. I would recommend Ultimate Werewolf to large groups of people like this class, extended family, or a corridor of students in a resident hall. It shows leadership from different perspectives and is also an interesting bonding experience and get-to-know-you activity that could be utilized more often.