Werewolf

I used to play a game on internet forums called Werewolf.

The premise is simple. Thirteen people. Two of whom are, secretly, werewolves. Each “day” everyone votes for someone to be eliminated (“lynched”) and the idea is to get the wolves. Each “night” the wolves get to eliminate one of the villagers.

Manage to lynch both wolves and the village wins. If you get down to the end with a wolf still alive, the wolves win.

It’s a bit difficult to explain how the game is played out but the key concept is each day the villagers are discussing with a view to rooting out and eliminating a wolf. The wolves are merely pretending to do that. They actually want to eliminate another villager. They are lying and the villagers are not.

The game can spin in all kinds of crazy directions. It is a psychosocial game that is sometimes anything but. Played on forums the day/night cycle is over 24 hours and the games can take a week to complete. They can be epic.

Played with a similar group of people over time you get to know their habits and tells, quirks and susceptibilities which (if you are a wolf) can be exploited. It can become an intense and naked unveiling of psychological traits and responses. It can sometimes all be a bit…too much. You can become very exposed. Calling someone a liar has an impact even if it is in the context of a “game”.

My most memorable game lasted the full week. There had been over a 100 pages of argument, counterargument, accusation, recrimination, blackmail, and people getting generally down and dirty in the business of trust.

We were down to the last three players. Me, Ken and Hibou. The other two were both American, and Hibou is a woman. This game had been particularly bruising. We were emotionally exhausted. Hibou had lost half a stone and was struggling physically. I was just worn out, as was Ken. But we had one final day to get through to catch the final wolf. One of us was a wolf and a liar.

And it wasn’t me. I’m a terrible liar and everyone knows it. If I’m a wolf, I get caught easily and early. When I play I’m the obvious villager and no sane wolf tries to vote me out, its not credible. So as has happened many times, Ken and Hibou just sit the whole of that last day with their votes on each other, and the arguments rage on with a particular focus…them persuading me that it is the other, and not them, that is the wolf. I have the casting vote and the fate and outcome of the game all rests on me alone. All damn day we toss it over, going back and forward, running over the who-said-he-said-she-said, and where the voting fell each day, who defended who and all the rest of the hoop-la. My vote is on Ken for most of the day and he is pleading with me that it’s not him, Hibou is the wolf. It’s Hibou.

I think. We are down to the last hour and running out of time. I run over and over in my head everything that has gone down over seven long days and am caught in the emotional crossfire from both of them.

I’m here. Last night the wolf could have killed me but did not. They knew it would be on my shoulders. They know I hate that. That I worry about letting the team down. They thought they could fool me today and didn’t care what it would do to me to have that on me. Who would do that?

I know people are watching. There’s a side commentary from spectators and there’s over a hundred people glued to their PCs watching the drama unfold and the final denouement. Praying that I get it right and win the day.

SIXTY SECONDS

I’m still thinking. Analysing.

They know I overthink and analyse and they thought I would get the wrong answer….

THIRTY SECONDS

The paranoia is seeping up my fingers from the keyboard and it’s getting frantic. They are yelling and I’m reeling.

Quit overthinking. What does your gut say. Stuff all the detail…foronceinyourgoddamnedlife who…do…you…trust.

FIFTEEN SECONDS

I know they are watching.

I know they are wanting.

I want to get it right.

Damn it all. I know what my gut says. I know where my trust is right now. Quickly i typetype type

[vote Hibou]

“Nooooooooooooooo!!!” Paul, no, its Ken its Ken dear god man don’t throw it all away after all this. After all we’ve been through. I’m not the wolf itsKenitsKen MOVE YOUR VOTE!!!”

It’s degenerated into begging.

I screw my eyes shut. I don’t have it in me to change again. My decision is fixed. I…don’t…trust…her.

DUSK

NO MORE POSTING.

VOTES ARE BEING COUNTED

There’s a silence while the moderator prepares the announcement. A hundred people hold their breaths. Did I get it right? We all hunch forward. I can hardly look…

YOU KILLED HIBOU

SHE WAS…

A VILLAGER

THE WOLVES WIN

Shoulders sag everywhere. He blew it. I blew it.

“Noooooooo” screams Ken. NO NO NO.

Yes, Ken.

I am the wolf.

 

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