Lupus in Tabula
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Werewolves haunt the secluded village known as Tabula: every night some villagers turn into werewolves and slaughter an innocent victim to satisfy their hunger. Surviving villagers gather every day to discuss the problem: at the end of the discussion, they lynch one person among them, thinking he could be a werewolf.
Can you survive the massacre? Can you solve the mystery of the full moon?
Players: 9 - 25
Time: 20 - 40 minutes
Ages: 8 and up
Weight: 285 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are printed in multiple languages, including English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English). This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.
- 24 character cards:
- 3 Werewolves
- 12 Villagers
- 1 Seer
- 8 Other Special Characters
- 1 Summary card
- 22 Ghosts
- 2 Werewolf evidence tokens
- 24 voting tokens
- 1 Welcome! token
- 1 Wise Old Man token
- 2 blank cards for your own creations
Average Rating: 4.8 in 4 reviews
Lupus in Tabula is a rather nice edition of the 'Are you a Werewolf?' party game. There are many variants of this game, one such being 'mafia'.
The card quality of this version is a bit nicer than the black&white version. The artwork is nice and creepy, the cards are fairly durable. This version has a variety of special cards. Often we make up our own variations to the game.
This game often ends up being the highlight of game night with my group of friends, sometimes the only game played. It's that addicting.
I played recently in a TWENTY-ONE player Lupus game where every card was used. I didn't know half the people there.
It was one of the most incredible times I have had playing a game.
There is so much strategy to each of the roles. Even your standard villagers have a ton of play value. No one will be dissapointed while playing this game, simply because even when killed you still have a major influence in who dies after you.
A very twisted and humorous game, you are sure to enjoy this. Just ask any of the other 20 people I played with on that night.
Also, Da Vinci games, the manufacturer, has expanded rules on their website along with a whole forum system dedicated to the game. How many companies do that for their own games?!
Buy it now. Seriously.
This is another addictive game from daVinci games publisher (see Bang! also).
Again the theme is great, again the game is fast and funny!
Again you are playing in a team, but you are not really sure which other players are by your side!
The interacion between players are really a big point of this game. You must hide you role if you are a Wolf, and you must be carefully to reveal something that you know (if you are a medium for instance).
It's so really funny and so fast that you can play several times in less than one hour!
Moreover it's so cheap!
If you find in a big group (more than 7) even in a pub, even if people do not like to play 'serious' games, this will be a success for sure!
When I need a game for my classroom, there is absolutely no better candidate than Werewolf. I’ve NEVER had a game not enthusiastically received, and it is certainly a huge success in the classroom, at parties, and with my youth group. For a long time, I had simply used the practice of some homemade method to choose who the werewolves were, but I was pleased to pick up a commercial version of the game Lupus in Tabula (DaVinci games, 2004 - no designer credited).
There were several reasons I liked this version. One, I didn’t have to go to the trouble of making up a homemade deck of cards; and besides, I like professional versions of games better. Also, the cards are of extremely good quality - not to mention fit in a very, very nice little card box. The artwork is excellent, if a little disturbing (but then again - so’s the theme, I guess!) The best reason for getting a commercial version is all the special roles that can be added to the game, and this one has a good assortment.
For those who don’t know how to play the game of Werewolf, the game itself is quite simple. One player is chosen as the Moderator, who is in charge of the game and doesn’t win or lose. A deck of role cards is shuffled, and cards are randomly dealt to each player. In the basic game there are three roles: Seer (one person), Werewolves (two or three people), and Villagers (everyone else). The game begins with the first day (round) made up of two parts: night and daytime. During the night all players close their eyes, and the moderator asks the Seer to open their eyes and point at a player. The Moderator then affirms or denies whether that player is a werewolf by shaking their head silently. The Seer then closes their eyes, while the Moderator calls upon the Werewolves. They open their eyes and silently come to an agreement on who dies (usually is the Moderator on the first night.) The werewolves then close their eyes, and the night comes to an end.
The day then begins, with all players opening their eyes and finding out who is dead. The player who is dead is out of the game, and may not talk or make any kind of communication for the remainder of the game. All the players then have three minutes of time to discuss who they think are the Werewolves; with the Werewolves trying to plant suspicion on others, and everyone else trying to guess who are the guilty parties. The Seer has some limited knowledge, but he must take care not to reveal too much, as to not become the next victim. After three minutes, the Moderator asks each player, starting with the one next to the last player killed, who they want to lynch. The Moderator gives an “Angry Mob” card to each player every time they are chosen by another. The two players who get the most cards are “nominated” and have a moment to make a desperate speech, pleading not to be killed. All other players then vote, with the winner being lynched, dead, and out of the game. Any time a player is killed, they are given an “Angry Mob” card, which is flipped over to its ghost side, showing to all that the player is no more. After the voting and lynching, another round begins, with all remaining players closing their eyes. If, at any point in the game, all the Werewolves are killed, then the Villagers and Seer win the game! But, if the number of werewolves is equal to the number of remaining villagers, then the werewolves win the game! Dead players still win if their side wins.
There are other special characters who can be added into the game with this set (along with a couple of blank cards where one can design their own character). Here’s a listing with each, along with my opinion, and how often I use them in my games.
Medium - He has his own phase in the night, before the werewolves. He can ask the Moderator if the last person lynched was a Werewolf or Villager. I rarely use this one when I play with kids, since I almost always reveal whether the dead person was a Werewolf or not (they usually scream it out anyway.) With hidden roles, this becomes more useful but minimally so.
Possessed - He is a human who is on the side of the werewolves, winning if they win. This is an interesting concept but doesn’t seem to work that well in theory. I use this one, but very infrequently.
Bodyguard - This is another human who has his own phase during the night, before the werewolves. He points to another player, “protecting” them. If the werewolves try to murder that player, nothing happens. I use this one quite often. Despite the slim chance the Bodyguard and the Werewolves picking the same person, when it does happen, it’s pretty dramatic; and it gives a player something interesting to do.
Owl - This player also has a phase during the night, where they can choose one of the two nominees for the lynching the next day. This is a fascinating role, and one I enjoy using often. This adds some tension to the game for the Owl character who has a lot of power but must be careful not to draw too much attention to themselves.
Freemasons - these are two different humans who know who each other are. They have one phase during the first night, only to discover who the other is. I almost never use these guys; they’re fairly boring and don’t have anything special to add.
Werehamster - This character is on its own side, fighting both the Werewolves and the humans. During the night phase, he has his own phase and can kill someone just like the Werewolves do, causing two deaths in one night. If the werewolves try to kill him, he’s safe; but if the Seer points to him, he dies. The Werehamster wins only if he is the sole remaining person in a game. I love using this guy, if I have enough players (the game recommends 15). Everyone I’ve played with loves having the third, tense side in the game; and it gives the Seer more power. Having two deaths a night also speeds the game up a bit and allows one player to really feel “powerful”. Plus, the artwork on the card is hilarious!
Mythomaniac - On the second night, this player has one chance to point at another player. They gain the same role as that player if they are a Seer or Werewolf; otherwise, they stay a human. This is an okay role; but I don’t like using it, because four werewolves are just too powerful.
Of course, there are hundreds of roles and variations that can be found on the internet, but this version from daVinci certainly satisfies me. I like how I can carry this game with me or pull it out when I am subbing a class at school and am at a loss of what to do. Werewolf is a tremendous game with terrific results, not to mention an excellent study of people. The daVinci version of the game is the best one I’ve seen; and for it’s price, you will certainly get your money’s worth. Lupus in Tabula is one purchase that has paid for itself dozens of times over and provided hours upon hours of enjoyment!
“Real men play board games.”
Some years back whilst my wife and I were sitting having dinner the door was suddenly flung open to reveal two figures, both brandishing stenguns, who without more ado proceeded to shoot us stone dead.
Not really, of course, otherwise you'd not be reading this. They were two of our son's friends and were taking part in the then highly popular game of 'Killer'. Because Gavin was playing, and knowing what a games playing household ours was, they couldn't believe that we would allow ourselves to be left out, so we were marked down for elimination (the aim of the game). But, unfortunately for them, they were wrong. We weren't playing. So their glee at seeing us face down in our shepherds pie quickly turned to despair when they realised they had killed two innocent bystanders and, as per the rules, were themselves both out of the game.
'Killer' has now retired to its place in folk memory but others have from time to time replaced it in popular gaming culture. If you are up to date on these things (and I admit that I wasn't until Lupus in Tabula dropped through my letter box) you'll know there is currently a game called 'Werewolf'. Whilst, unlike 'Killer', this doesn't range all round the neighbourhood, it is one that can easily be played by a large assembly of gamers.
However, there are those amongst us who, assuming the price is right, much prefer to buy a specially designed pack in order to play a game even though it could just as easily be played with standard playing cards. Should you be among that number read on.
Lupus in Tabula comprises a deck of 26 good quality nicely illustrated playing cards, and comes with rules in Italian, English and German (fromage dure Frenchies). It is described as being for 9-23 players but 9 should, I feel, be regarded as being the absolute minimum, and would suggest 11 or 12 would result in a better game.
The number of cards used each game equals the number of players minus one. That 'one' is the 'Moderator' who is a sort of referee and, unfortunately, has to be excluded from the actual play. Of the rest, one player will be the 'Seer', two (or three with 16+ players) will be 'Werewolves', and the rest will be 'Humans'. Cards representing these characters will be extracted from the full pack, shuffled, and dealt around by the Moderator. He glances at each card as he hands them out and notes which players are the Werewolves. Once all have secretly examined their cards and learned their characters the cards are no longer used and may not in any circumstances be revealed.
In the scenario, the players are inhabitants of the village of Tabula and the game is played in alternating phases of 'Night' and 'Day', starting with 'Night'. (I envisage groups turning the lights off and playing this section by candlelight - or even moonlight should the moon be obliging.)
All players are told to shut their eyes and bang the table or whatever - the banging being to disguise any noise that might give the game away. The Moderator calls for the Seer to open his eyes. The Seer possesses a sort of second sight that enables him to detect werewolves. The Moderator asks him to indicate a player whose soul he'd like to peer into to attempt to sniff out the odour of lycanthrophy. The Seer responds with a glance or a pointing finger and the Moderator gives him either the thumbs-up or thumbs-down. He is then told to close his eyes again.
It is then the turn of the Werewolves to "Open their eyes and agree on whom they wish to kill". This means that they recognise for the first time who are the Werewolves and silently agree which of the other players will be on that night's menu - always hoping to pick their mortal enemy, the Seer. The Moderator mentally notes the victim and the Werewolves go back to sleep.
The night is then over. The Moderator informs the unfortunate victim that he or she is, in fact, dead and is no longer in the game. Apart from feeling aggrieved these victims, as they are gradually eliminated, must under no circumstances reveal any information about themselves, of course. Impaling would be too good for any who attempted to do so.
The players, who all now look human (hopefully!), are understandably somewhat perturbed to learn that they have Werewolves in their midst and discuss amongst themselves which of their number is a most likely candidate and would be better off being lynched. Following discussion each player in turn announces a nomination and the two most highly nominated are allowed a final appeal. Following a vote the party will agree on somebody who is for the big drop and that player, too, goes out of the game.
Then out go the lights and it is 'Night' again. Shudder, shudder.
This Night/Day sequence goes on until either the Werewolves have all been successfully lynched (and the Human team has won), or the Humans have been reduced to a number equalling the remaining Werewolves (resulting in victory for the Werewolves). The Moderator knows when this stage has been reached.
Now, if you've been paying attention you might spot what appears to be a weakness in the rules. Let us assume that the Seer does his stuff and correctly spots a Werewolf. He could, of course, attempt to say so in highly persuasive terms. He could even say "I am a Seer and I know that Bubbles is really a Werewolf". But by so doing he would instantly reveal his identity to the Werewolves so would most certainly be promoted to the top of the menu for supper on the following night. What is more, would the party really believe him? What if he was really a Werewolf pretending to be the Seer and thereby direct the Humans to lynch one of their own. Furthermore, maybe the Seer is already dead because the Moderator will, each night, still go through that phase of the game whether or not the Seer is still alive. All clever stuff of bluff and counter bluff.
There are a few minor rules I haven't mentioned and also some lovely additional characters (with special 'qualities', of course) that can be introduced if there are sufficient players, the requisite number being shown in brackets. These are the Medium (9), the Possessed (10), the Bodyguard (11), two Freemasons - they come as a package (13), and the Werehamster (15).
I have always liked interactive games where players attempt by persuasive argument to convince/deceive others into taking (or not taking) certain actions. Lupus in Tabula is clearly in this category and me - I can't wait until I can assemble a party of fifteen so that we can include the Werehamster.