Werewolf as an aid for language study

Ana and I are both working as social organisers for a group of Japanese art students currently studying on a Summer School at the Bournville department of BIAD. Basically the job involves organising a few events each week to show the students a few slices of British culture outside of their lessons.

After teaching them how Sainsbury’s works; taking them for a curry; and showing them the Back-to-backs etc, we decided we should take it easy on Monday night, take over one of the flats in the halls of residence and have a gathering over some shared food.

It seemed appropriate to round off the evening with a game of werewolf, which we sold to them by describing it as a) my favourite game and b) a good way of studying English.

We had 17 players and every one of them did us proud: from trusting my half-mimed explanation of the rules through to how they chose and remained in their characters. All in English – which is where the language study came in!

Werewolves choosing their victim

Werewolves choosing their victim

I was occupied with taking care of the moderation and trying to keep track of who was what but, aside from nearly being in tears from laughing so much at all the great characterisations and alibis, part of me must have been observing and analysing because today I’ve been thinking about the way in which knowledge was passed around the group.

I’m not talking about seers and werewolves, but rather how the mechanics of the game were explained to those who weren’t sure what was going on. I’m wondering if it’s possible to track down the diagram I saw one of the girls drawing for a recently-deceased villager. I didn’t get a clear view of it, but I think it involved different-coloured circles representing the players and a lot of arrows going backwards and forwards between them.

I also wish I could understand more Japanese and therefore know how the verbal explanations were interpreted and passed on.

"Villagers! Go to sleep..."

"Villagers! Go to sleep..."

Anyway, it seems that not only did the basic instructions get understood, but that the group also started to understand what makes werewolf a really interesting game to play (as well as being absolutely hilarious when people introduce themselves as being various maids and madams and you have pikachu lying dead in the middle of the village!)

RIP, Pikachu

RIP, Pikachu

We had to leave after 3 games, but it was reluctantly and I hope we get the chance to play again at a reunion event or something in Japan next month.

Update: before they went home, we asked the students if they had played werewolf after the party. One of them told us she had! (Although it was very difficult with only 5 players!)

Yohmoh makes some new friends

Yohmoh has been out and about meeting new people as a prelude to Emergent Game: Call and Return.

yohmoh + friend

yohmoh + friend

Things to do & people to see

Throughout September myself and Ana will be in Japan working on the Call and Return iteration of Emergent Game.

Our time will be split between Tokyo/Yokohama and Kyoto, but we still have a little flexibility in our hectic schedule. If anyone has any recommendations of places/organisations we should go to, or people it would be good to link up with, then please let us know either in the comments or by emailing us.

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