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The Making of & the Making of More, SO Feedback please!

April 4, 2010

Yippee-yay, 200 downloads of my iPad Werewolf game are amongst you all now!!  (for future readers, its only the day after Opening Day, 200 ain’t bad)

So about the game: Werewolf (aka Mafia) is something that caught on among my extended family in the past few years. Its A TON of fun, and as long as none of your family carries a side-arm or has a piece in the living room, than everyone will usually want to play again and again. Its probably a hard game to sell people on until they play it, so if you are reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir. You already know how great Werewolf is, so let me keep writing directly to you…

As someone trying to bring this to the iPad, I wanted to do three things:

  1. Not F-up the card-based (or at times napkin-based) version.
  2. Get the moderator playing too.
  3. Add new elements to make it even better.

Point 1 is obvious, and in the Settings of the game, you can disable just about everything mentioned in point 3 to make it resemble the card-version as close as possible. One difference though, wolves and villagers vote at the same time. Otherwise when the iPad got passed to a wolf , the rest of the group would see “oh that person is using the iPad, he/she must be a wolf”. So every one votes when it is their turn (wolves for who to kill and villagers for who to lynch). And this also takes care of one problem I’ve always had with Werewolf, which is the “no peaking honor system.” Because I’m sure everyone has a cousin or nephew or friend that totally cheats and looks at who the wolves are when they shouldn’t be.  The iPad version has no closed-eye shenanigans, because everyone keeps them open the whole time.

Now about point 2, why get rid of the moderator?? Because I always feel sorry for this person (usually my Aunt Peaches). Yes, they get to play God a little bit, but often times the moderator gets stuck modding for a few rounds and they don’t really get to play. So on the iPad version, the moderator does get to play, and the Mighty Machine does all the work of figuring out who lives, who dies, and so on. The moderator role only exists in that the first player has some read-aloud duties at the end of each round.

Point 3, why NOT add stuff!?  Werewolf on a computer can be SO much more. The big thing I’ve added is an inventory aspect. With a quick swipe from one inventory icon to another, you can try to pair up items. If you do, the benefits are…

  • Definitely not being lynched
  • Definitely not being killed by a werewolf
  • Possibly not being lynched or possibly not being killed by a wolf
  • Getting revived from the dead (Afterlife Play must be enabled for this, see the option in the image below)
  • Peaking on someone else’s card
  • Proving you are NOT a wolf with a Sound-Reveal (Sound must be enabled). For example church bells will ring if a Priest or Nun pairs the right item.
  • And in rare case, you can even turn into a Wolf or turn back into a Villager if you pair the right item.

Other new features are, Ghost Voting (Afterlife Play must be on). With Ghost Voting, dead players can still cast votes, but they only count as half. And Special Powers can be read in the character cards blog entry.

Last note about the gameplay: I WANT FEEDBACK. Or even better, lay some stuff on me to add to it. I would love to hear from people that have actually tested it in a group, because in all my days developing it, I couldn’t do that! So leave comments below.

Finally,  now that the iPad is officially out, I guess my ban on speaking from a developer’s point of view about the iPad are lifted…. So here goes… “blah, blah, blah, technical jargon, etc, and in summation, SCREEN REAL ESTATE!!”… Oh boy it feels good to have more than just a 320 by 480 screen to work on! The iPad is 1024 by 768 or vice versa. As far as laptops and desktop computing goes, thats still relatively small, but compared to the iPhone it feels like I’ve discovered the Grand Canyon of application layouts. So for any budding developer that found there way to this blog post from (my “real” job), or the CartoonSmart Blog (er, my “real” blog I guess), please consider the opportunity that is out there now developing for the iPad.  Its practically free to get started (so long as you own a Mac) and working with Xcode and Objective C is not that hard.  And now with the increased space to work in, you can do so much.


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  1. Joe permalink

    Looks great, and I’m dying to play with friends. We all play the card based ‘Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow’, so this should be a hoot.

    Unfortunately, I find myself curious about the paid “full” version in app purchase. I can’t seem to find anything detailing just what those unlock able features /are/. Care to shed a little light on them? It’d be appreciated.

  2. I’ll let kids play this between classes today and let you know what they think. Me? I think you should go to wp-admin > Appearance > Extras and kill mShots (possibly the most annoying “extra” ever activated by default). 😛

  3. Thanks Mike! I didn’t know what that “extra” was called. I hate it too, disabled now!

    And thanks for downloading the app Joe. Right now, there’s not a lot of difference between the full and non-full version. I’ll go into those differences in the blog soon, but the real difference will come in the next update. And of course, updating now would also include any future updates. So to be totally honest, there’s really no urgency in upgrading today, but I’ll make it worth it very soon.

    And that’s also why I’d love to get some fresh ideas from hardcore Werewolf players. Keep in mind, I’ll need to steer things away from the Miller’s Hollow version, so if your idea is something similar to that, please note Miller’s as a reference. I don’t want to get in any trouble with existing versions.


  4. Joe permalink

    Justin: I’ll poll the friends for thoughts. I /love/ that you’ve built in moderator play. As it is, we already have the moderator play (I’ve just gotten VERY good at moderating with my eyes closed for some of the game, lol).

    One thing that would be nice, would be a way to browse through the cards and inventory items outside of play so that folks could get an idea of them before they just popped up in game. As well as the obvious ability to exclude certain special folks (sometimes its just fun to play with nothing but villagers and werewolves).

    I’ll let you know if anything else pops up.

  5. Excellent job! Although I, too, was wondering just exactly what I was paying for with the “full” version. Regardless, we played this solidly with 10 kids on a camping trip and had a blast (my kids were veterans of the card-based game). Most of the things I’d like to see have been brought up already:

    1. Ability to play a “vanilla” game — all villagers and werewolves, with the ability to choose which characters to bring in seperately (most of the kids who played found this a bit difficult, all the extra character info)

    2. Took the kids about 4 plays to even begin to understand the inventory, therefore, not enough “turnover” in cards and very few matches. Needs a tutorial or info sheet. For reference, check out the way “Small World” is presented on the ipad — perfect app!

    3. Have you tried TWO inventory items on each side of the equation? Might lead to more matches and more “turnover”, more trading. Even a lucky pair to grab from time to time.

    4. We found that some of our games with the card game (Miller’s Hollow) were more enjoyable because we KNEW at the start which characters were in play. Adds a level to the strategy, when players can pretend to be characters they’re not etc, gives the Wolves an idea of targets out there etc. Perhaps there should be a way at the start to see which characters are in play.

    Also — Seer aside, it would also be fun to find out what characters are NOT in play, then you can pretend to be them without it being an each catch (especially if you are bad at “Back-down Bluffing”!). Some sort of character ability to do this?

    5. The infected hunter is awesome, how about making the Twins really twins by having two players be them (or at least, it seems it is only one player currently). Bit like the Lovers in Millers Hollow, but I’m sure you can give them a different slant!

    6. Even more variety in the narrative “results” would be great.

    7. Occasionally, the card-hiding slider seemed to stop working, leaving the card permenantly revealed (or am I hitting some kind of “trigger” for this?

    Anyway, a great app, my kids (ranging from 8 to 15) couldn’t get enough of it and we played marathon sessions at the pool (and my iPad survived!)


    Phil C

    • Thanks Phil, Excellent suggestions! I’m a couple weeks away from the next update, and adding two inventory items is definitely on the list.

      Man, an ipad at the pool! That is brave. You know someone makes a waterproof case. I’m tempted to try it out =)

  6. Cynan permalink

    Very nice download. A few comments:

    – It would be nice to be able to customize which roles were allowed in the game. For example, you can already play with just wolves and villagers, and with all of the built-in roles available…but what if I just want wolves, villagers, and a seer, as an example?

    – Speaking of the seer, it seems that the seer is allowed to use his/her power before voting. Is this true? This is weird, to say the least, compared to traditional games based on cards and a separate moderator. In games that I have played, the seer is usually allowed to use his/her power only after the voting to lynch a villager has taken place. That way, the power is not wasted on the one being lynched.

    – If someone is a thief, but all inventory-related features were shut off, the thief has the ability to “use his power” when it comes to voting time. This is misleading, as the thief should have no power.

    – The first wolf seems to have a lot of power deciding who to kill, unless there are more than 2 wolves. How exactly are ties resolved for (1) the wolves’ nightly kill, and for (2) the villagers’ daily lynching?

    Keep the updates coming. This is a steal for $0.99, and I can’t wait to see what will be improved and/or added next. /me flashes thumbs up.

    • -Yeah in a future version I’d like to add a feature where you can pick who is in the game with ya. Right now if you have 8 people, you’ll get a random sampling of 6 or 7 of the non-default villagers.

      – About the Seer, remember that this version doesn’t have an eye-closing time like every other version of Werewolf or Mafia. So the actions each player takes while using the iPad can really be scrutinized by other players. So they need to be quick and simple. And definitely their can’t be anything asked of another player out of turn (like pass back the iPad to this player just wouldn’t fly). But I do know what you mean, in most traditional versions all that extra stuff like Seer and Little Girl roles get done before the vote.

      – That thing with the Thief is probably a missing If statement =)

      – If there are only two wolves voting, its a coin-flip basically who’s choice wins out. The code just randomly picks one.

      And thanks too! I just made the 2nd update ever to it, and it was one I planned on doing months ago but never got around to it. Now its FREE but the extra features are all locked.

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