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.

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