News article

3 simple ways a game of Werewolf can teach you about effective communication

The first thoughts to pop into your head when you hear “werewolf” might be supernatural fables, classic Hammer horror movies, or – if your children or grandchildren have pushed you to watch Twilight – shirtless teen hunks. But it’s unlikely to have been Werewolf, the roleplay game.

At our most recent Yardstick staff party, we had a private room booked out for after-dinner drinks and board games. One of the newest members of our content team, Adam, introduced a few of us to a lycanthropic roleplay game. It tasks a group of villagers to try and survive each night, while a werewolf lives among them — picking them off one by one.

Here’s what this thrilling game of whodunnit can teach you about the importance of effective communication.

A clever game built around reading people and making strong arguments in your favour

Firstly, you’ll want to know a bit more about how to play Werewolf. It’s a relatively simple game with a few core rules.

Players are randomly drawn a card each, which is kept secret from the rest of the group and indicates their character’s identity. Our office games involved a dozen or so players and featured several roles, but to keep things brief, the main two were the:

  • Werewolf or werewolves
  • Villagers.

The designated game master narrates a story of a cosy little village with a recurring deadly issue every full moon. They indicate to the group to close their eyes as night falls.

They then ask the players with the werewolf card to open their eyes, the rest of the group oblivious to their identities. The werewolves silently indicate which player they’d like to turn into their evening meal before closing their eyes again.

The players awake to learn who was murdered the previous evening. They then have a chance to discuss their suspicions among the group before collectively voting on who they suspect is the werewolf and putting them to death.

The game ends when either the werewolves equal the number of living villagers or the villagers catch all the werewolves among them.

In a game of mistrust, being able to effectively communicate your argument and convince others to side with your point of view is key to victory.

3 simple ways Werewolf can teach you about effective communication

  1. Pay attention to your audience

The game, much like marketing, is about understanding and reaching people. You need to gauge your audience, in this case the group of players, and try to learn:

  • Their objectives, both those on the surface and those they keep close to their chest
  • The kind of communication style that is effective in reaching them.

If you pay attention to your audience’s interests, fears, desires, and their communication style, you’ll likely be able to reach them in a more effective way.

It might help them come to view you as someone knowledgeable, trustworthy, and capable of looking after their best interests.

For the villagers and werewolves, it could be the difference between successfully spotting a potential shapeshifter trying to bluff their way to victory or sneakily avoiding the suspicions of your fellow players.

  1. Know when to speak up

Frequency is important in both the game and marketing.

Among the villagers, there will be a lot of voices going back and forth making accusations and coming up with theories.

As a werewolf, this is your chance to cast suspicions elsewhere and paint yourself as a calming voice of reason. As a villager, this is your opportunity to bring the group together and closer to rooting out the werewolves.

However, speaking up too often or in the wrong moment could lead to your voice getting lost among the group or even worse, have the collective ignore or even turn against you. Suddenly, you’ve been riddled with silver bullets and left to begrudgingly watch on from the sidelines.

Conversely, if you’re a werewolf and stay silent too long, people might start to notice how quiet you’ve been and start to mistrust you.

In marketing, effective communication also benefits from knowing when to speak up. To use a bit of a Goldilocks analogy, you don’t want to bore or overwhelm your audience by drowning them with content and you don’t want to provide so little that they forget about you altogether.

You want to get it just right and build upon regular, consistent communication to develop strong, trusting relationships.

  1. Choose your words wisely

Words hold power. The wrong words can turn people against you, the right ones can win their trust and confidence.

In the game, the right words can help you win people to your cause. When delivered in the right way, they can help villagers convince the group they are onto something with their werewolf suspicions or help a werewolf convince villagers to turn on each other.

However, the wrong words might give others doubts and build mistrust – casting you in a negative light and pointing pitchforks firmly in your direction.

In marketing, the right words can help you portray you, or your firm, in a positive light. It can help you sell yourself to current and prospective clients, build trust, and share information that you think might be valuable. But the wrong ones might have the opposite effect.

If you know what you’re talking about, don’t let louder voices drown you out. Choose your words carefully and communicate with your audience in a clear and confident manner to ensure you get your message across.

Don’t wait for the next full moon, get in touch today

Werewolf is a game about people working together and learning to communicate with each other effectively. If you’re considering ways to improve your marketing, working with others to achieve your goals could be a smart first step.

At Yardstick, we have a talented team of content creators ready to help you communicate your message in a clear and effective manner. So, people sit up and pay attention to what you have to say.

To discuss how we can help get your message out there, please reach out to us by email at or call 0115 8965 300.

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