So I've done a lot of thinking and consulting with others on the whole
question of adding more characters to Are You A Werewolf? and to get right
to the point, I'm not in favor of adding anything except perhaps for blanks.
First, there's the practical reality: We won't be revising the product
again until we sell through what we've got, which is going to take awhile.
We currently have over 7,500 copies in the warehouse, and having sold just
2,258 in the last 12 months, those are going to last us for at least 3 more
years (given the current sales volume).
Secondly, I don't want to revise the product again anyway. We made a whole
bunch of little changes to it for the 3rd printing, and I've very pleased
with how it stands now. We've talked over the years about adding other
characters, and we've even playtested a bunch of them, but as I've said
before, I believe the game is best when played in its pure original format.
Yes, I know "the game is best when pure, with 15 players," but that's
just not how it goes down at conventions...
Well, it can be, if Authority Figures insist. During the sessions I was
running at GenCon, we had as many as 8 villages going at once, all with 15
person villages and no extra characters. The games continued all night,
every night, and we've had bigger crowds than that at Origins, again
sticking just to the basic game.
I hate sounding like a stuffy old fuddy-duddy, but after playing this game
a LOT, I remain convinced that the pure game is still the best way to play.
I understand that players crave more secret roles, and the novelty of
adding new stuff can be powerfully attractive, but that doesn't mean doing
so is a good idea.
I'm reminded of the classic card game Hearts. Some people like playing with
various optional rules, such as making the Jack of Diamonds worth -10, or
giving a -5 bonus for taking zero tricks, or even the really wacky rule
that says your score resets to zero if you hit exactly 100 points. I know
some players like these rules, since on the face of it they seem to add
more fun to the game; however, I strongly dislike those extra rules, and
refuse to play Hearts using them. For me, they really mess up the basic
action of the game, in a way that can be really annoying for those who take
it seriously, i.e. players who like trying to Shoot the Moon.
OK then, if changing the core product is out, what about releasing a few
new characters as either promos or an expansion pack?
Again, the problem here is that I've yet to find a new character which I
think it really benefits the game to have added. I've seen the Lovers
really ruin the gameplay, and I really don't care for the Little Girl. Even
the Vigilante messes up the dynamic for the serious hunter. Given this, I
could imagine us doing a promo card or two, but I'm pretty skeptical about
an entire packet of new characters.
Lastly there's the idea of issuing blanks. I could see this happening,
though not soon. As I said, I'm sensitive to the fact that there's demand
for more characters, but my devotion to quality won't allow me to create
something which I think is a bad idea. That said, if people are so
determined to add more characters to the game that they're doing so by
writing on existing cards with Sharpies, well, then I guess we ought to
make it a little easier on them by making AYAW? blanks available. Doing so
will create an open system, allowing people to take our core game and
customize it, but without us having to approve or sanction any new
So those are my thoughts on that.
-- Andy Looney