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Wolves of Mercia Review


Quick Look: Wolves of Mercia

Wolves of Mercia
Designer: John Ecker-Leo
Publisher: BryBelly 
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 5–16
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 45 minutes

Review
The howl of wolves can be heard at night in Mercia - an omen. For some, it is the sign they have been waiting for, while others see its evil spilling across the land. During the day the townspeople carry on. Some, however, are more watchful to see what others are doing. Then night comes, passes, and in the morning the remains of the nightly events are found. It is clear there is more than one person who is relishing the light of the blood moon.
Wolves of Mercia is a party game designed for a larger number of players. We first played Wolves of Marcia with a smaller group and recommend that it should be played with more people. More players means more characters, more secrets, and more actions taken.



In Wolves of Mercia, the player works to complete their personal goal to win the game. Some require actions on their part, others require actions taken by other players. As soon as a player reaches their goal, they show the winning condition and win the game. More than 1 player can win a game.



Setup
Players start with a character that defines a daytime activity they can do. Everyone also has a secret, which usually grants an activity at night. The activities can also change as the game unfolds.

The characters in play during any given game can change as there are 17 different characters to choose from, or use randomly. The character’s daytime actions are based on helping themselves and others. This allows for alliances to be negotiated, which, again, works better with a larger group.
There are 12 different secrets and some players will have the same secret. Secrets direct the activities taken during the night. Night actions are taken in secret and those who share the same secret will be able to recognize each other, but are not allowed to talk. They can use non-verbal communication. Like the daytime actions, the secrets characters have can lead players to create alliances.


All of the characters are available at the start of the game and character cards are face up, because everyone in town knows each other, just not their secret. The secrets have a couple of predetermined cards, a werewolf and a predetermined number of cultists based on the number of players, and random cards to fill out to the number of people in the game.

Once everyone has a character and a secret, you are ready to start the first of 5 days.


Gameplay
Wolves of Mercia takes place over 5 days and nights. Play is broken into the 2 phases and goes in separate initiative order, which is located on the upper left corner of the cards.
Day actions are seen by everyone. While people are taking action conversation can be made between the players. This again works best when everyone is playing in character and dealing with the omen that has been heard. As you progress through the game, conversations can be had about what is happening. When they are complete, the night phase begins.

Everyone starts out asleep when night falls. They close their eyes and a caller counts 1 through 12 giving each one time to complete their action during on the count based on initiative. During this time players are not to talk to each other. Those who are “awake” during the same initiative (cultists and lovers) can communicate non-verbally. After the count is done and everyone has had their chance of taking an action, dawn arises on the next day.

It is expected that at least one player will be killed during a night activity, either by the werewolf, or by the assassin if they are in play. To keep people playing, there are phantoms that can replace characters who have night actions.

Because some of the actions create a “time-limit” for other players, actions need to be taken to keep another from winning.

This continues for 5 turns, or until someone declares they have met their win condition.

Theme and Mechanics

This is a Middle Ages town stricken with a werewolf and other troubles. There are people working to make things better, while others would rather watch the buildings burn.

There is some bluffing, and misdirection used in the strategy of some of the players along with the hidden actions taken during the night phase.

Artwork and Components

Wolves of Mercia has a wonderful look with high quality components and artwork. Art was by Katrina Turk and graphic design by Brandon Smith. The game’s look is carried through all of the pieces, cards, rulebook, and box.




The Good
  • Plays up to 16 players

The Bad
  • Some secrets have no real action for the player to take and they are left waiting and watching

Final Thoughts

There are times when there is a larger group of people looking to play a game. There are few games that work for those times. Wolves of Mercia provides an alternative for when you have more people show up and everyone want to be involved playing the same game.

Players Who Like
  • Large group games like Salem (Salem 1692) and the assorted Werewolf group games

Check out Wolves of Mercia on
  


Daniel Yocom - Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel's reviews HERE.
Wolves of Mercia Review Wolves of Mercia Review Reviewed by Guild Master Gaming on June 19, 2019 Rating: 5

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