The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow
Humanity is the most complicated thing to explore, that's the reason why the Werewolves of Miller's Hollow is so fun to play. It explores all the unexpected possibilities that are less likely to happen in the real world.
As my favorite board game, the Werewolves of Miller's Hollow gives players different identities. The "God card" masters the key information to identify who are the werewolves; the "Werewolf card" needs to the subtle facial expressions through the player's speech content, kill important characters, and master the game initiative; the "Townsfolk cards" with the least information needs to identify which side is the werewolves and which side the gods in order to prevent picking the wrong side. Everyone has the chance to pick a powerful card to get more information, on the other hand, everyone also has the chance to become the normal civilian and analyze the situation as a bystander.
There are so many different characters inside the game. Depends on how difficult you want the game to be, you can put as many identity cards as you want. The basic two groups are the werewolves and the villagers. For the werewolves, their goal is to eliminate as many villagers so that werewolves and villagers alive are of equal number. For the villagers, their goal is to eliminate all the werewolves. Identity cards include werewolves, ordinary townsfolk, seer, little girl, witch, hunter, cupid, thief, and sheriff. The key of the game is to find werewolves before too many townsfolk or gods die.
Different combinations of identity cards will lead to different strategies. This game brings my friends and me physically together. Whenever there is a large group of friend gathering together, we always want to play the Werewolves of Miller's Hollow because there are a lot of debates and discussions going on. We might know other people well in daily life but we never know their behavior at lying or logic reasoning. In this game, everyone has a subset of the information, no one can see through. If a person seems to know everything, then he must be lying. This game is well designed with rigorous thinking and the players could always be creative at the combination of different identities, I always find the gameplay surprising, challenging and exciting. During the game, there are a lot of tensions and emotions going on. I always feel nervous and scared when my identity is going to be revealed by other's derivation, and I always feel satisfied when I help my group win the game.
I didn't realize that playtest also happens after the game is being in use until I played this game. Because there are numerous combinations of identities based on the player's preference and the number of the group. It can be played with a group of 6 -18. As a result, every time we want to add a new identity into the game, we are not sure whether the game will be balanced or not at the beginning. We need to go through a few rounds of playtesting to see whether it is biased to the good or bad people. I didn't know how this kind of board game was designed at the beginning, but I bet it has to go through a long term of playtesting and I always get fascinated by the game with strong logic behind it.
In China, many streaming platforms have TV shows about professional gamers playing the Werewolves of Miller's Hollow together. The professional gamers could be Dota gamers, LOL gamers, or even Hearthstone gamers. Because they have high techniques in their specialized games, their strategy at Werewolves is also very challenging and unique as well. The TV shows become so popular that they promote this board game becomes more popular among the community.