Monthly Archives: December 2023

Compare/Contrast: Werewolf and Blood on the Clocktower

The games Werewolf and Blood on the Clocktower are both excellent social deception games, though they both offer unique upsides and downsides to prospective gamers who may be considering playing them. Werewolf, at its core, is a game that does not need unique materials to be played, and I have played it on some occasions using a deck of cards to assign roles, as well as having the moderator choose roles secretly on other occasions. I learned the game of Werewolf around the time I began middle school, and this lack of any barrier to entry was very beneficial, as it made the game easy to set up and play. It was also quite easy to bring new players into this game and teach it.

Blood on the Clocktower is similarly easy to teach, though it definitely does take more time for a newcomer to really understand and get a handle on it. It does have a high price for obtaining the game, but its increased complexity and modularity makes it valuable for those who want more of these things in a social deception game. It can still be played simply at its base scripts as well though, these are still well balanced. One major benefit to playing BOTC over Werewolf is player interaction. In Werewolf, there is often decreased player interaction due to two major differences between the games. Once a player is eliminated from Werewolf, they do not impact the game, and, in Werewolf, players can not speak privately to others in the game who are not their neighbors, making interactions with these players less likely.

Although Werewolf does not require complexity to function, there are variants which add many additional roles that add more depth to the game, and there does exist a Legacy version of the game, which does not exist for BOTC. If players enjoy this campaign style of playing where choices in one game impact the next, they would have to make their own custom rules for BOTC, where there already is a premade version available for Werewolf. In more complex variants of Werewolf, there are additions of roles that would be similar to BOTC’s minions and outsiders, though BOTC never has additional demons like Werewolf has multiple werewolves, except in certain custom scripts.

I would definitely recommend Werewolf as something a person new to social deception games should try, as I would recommend that they also try playing BOTC afterwards. From this experience, a person could choose which style they prefer. If they are interested in more party games or word games, there are many variants of Werewolf that have these elements added. The spin off games people have made of it scratch entirely different niches from BOTC, Werewords and One Night Werewolf are both great games that are not currently replicated with a connection to BOTC.

Personally, I still enjoy both games, though I do not know so many people who hold this opinion once they play BOTC, I find many gamers will move on to what they perceive as the superior game. For a person who plays many games, the increased complexity of BOTC will certainly make it superior for replay value, but the simplicity of Werewolf will always make it valuable to me when the materials for BOTC are not available. And in the end, these games are more similar than different, they both are social deception games with unique player information that rely on team cooperation and leadership to dominate a voting phase which ultimately determines the outcome of the game. The game I ultimately prefer would have to be BOTC though when it is available, primarily for the reasons of player engagement, increased complexity, and the opportunity for a more deterministic solve as compared to Werewolf. This better chance of a solve is the result of another benefit of BOTC, that being, more information is given to individual players through each player always having unique roles. All of this adds up to a greater feeling of player agency which I have not seen surpassed in a social deception game of this kind.