The Elder: Werewolf + Democracy = Mayhem


On Day 1, the village votes to elect a powerful Elder, who leads the hunt against Werewolves with the help of a trusted Executioner, who they secretly appoint on the first night.

This game has a very different lynch system than other Werewolf games. Rather than voting or trial system, the Elder alone decides who will be lynched.

A wise Elder should devise a system for involving the village, or that is too hilarious to end, otherwise their reign will be short indeed.

When the Elder announces their decision, the day ends. However, the person chosen for execution does not immediately die... Instead, the Executioner wakes up at night and either enacts the Elder's will by killing whoever the Elder selected, or defies the Elder by killing someone else. 

The Elder and the Executioner both retain their original role, so it is possible that one or both could be Team Evil... And that seems to happen a lot. A cunning Werewolf can win that way, but they must be careful, or the village will eventually figure out what they're up to. 

There is a mechanic for overthrowing the Elder, and there are several special roles that can be mixed in to make it even more interesting.

Powers of the Elder

  • Lynch Selection: During the day, the Elder decides who should be executed. They may handle this any way they please, with votes, discussion, paper-rock-scissors, reading of the entrails, cage fights, etc... But the decision is ultimately left to the Elder, and if the village doesn't like the Elder's performance, they can always do a vote of no confidence the next day. 

    The Elder can also opt to Nightfall and end the day with no execution. The only requirement is that they have to wait at least one minute to prevent a Team Evil Elder from constantly Nightfalling, which would be broken.
  • Immunity: Until there are 7 or fewer players left in the game, the Elder is protected and cannot be killed at night. This includes Werewolf kills, witch potions, and every other method of night kill.
  • Executioner Selection: On the first night after election, the Elder chooses an Executioner. They are also awakened on each subsequent night in case they want to fire the current Executioner and select a new one. The Elder cannot choose themself as Executioner.

Once elected, the Elder remains in office until overthrown. The same Elder cannot be chosen two times in a row. 

The Elder retains the abilities and alignment of whatever role they started with, so you could have, for instance, an Elder Lone Wolf.

If the Elder dies and there are 7 or fewer players, there is no need to elect a new Elder. In that case, revert to whatever voting style your group normally likes.


Overthrowing the Elder

Once per day, the village may call for a vote of no confidence. This requires a nomination, a second, and then a majority vote.

The Executioner

Each night, the Elder has a chance to choose or replace the Executioner. 

The Executioner wakes up at night and the moderator may optionally remind them who the Elder said to kill. The Executioner points at who they want to eliminate from the game, and that person dies. 

The Executioner can technically choose not to kill anyone.

The identity of the Executioner is secret, and is known only to the Elder, unless the Elder reveals it.


Tyrant: Team Good. You must be Elder for at least two days to win with the village. Optional: once elected, you can only be removed by unanimous vote, but removing you will kill you and the current Executioner.

Revolutionary: Team Good. At least two Elders must be overthrown for you to win with the village. If the Elder is overthrown while you are alive, they die.

Castro Triangle Cupid: Team Good. Choose two players to become revolutionary lovers, along with you. If one of you dies, you all die. You must overthrow the government twice, and survive to the end of the game, to win.

The Militia: Third Party. There are two of these who know each other's identity. Like Nostradamus, at the start of the game they choose a team to align with. They wake at night. Once per game they can execute the Elder and seize control of the government, putting the militia member of their choice in power as Elder. 

Anarchist: Team Good. If you are involved in a vote of no confidence that results in an Elder being overthrown, no more Elders can ever be elected, and the voting system becomes Mob Rule, where there are no trials and if anyone ever has the majority of the village pointing at them, they die.

Brutus: Team Good. To win with the village, you must be chosen as the Executioner. If this happens, you will automatically betray the Elder and kill them at night. 

Eulogy Wolf: Team Evil. If an Executioner dies and you are still alive, there will be no execution that night, as everyone is too moved by your speech to kill.

Defender: Team Good. On Night 0, choose a player. If that player is killed by the Executioner, you cannot win with the village.

Anarcho-Lupine: Team Evil (Werewolf). At least two Elders must be overthrown for you to win with the village.

Vampire Politician or Vampire Enforcer Politician: Team Evil. You must be Elder for at least two days to win with with your evil team. If Enforcer: Once per game, during the day, you may reveal your card to the village and kill three people of your choice (only appropriate for large games). 

    Game Flow Cheat Sheet

    On Day 1, elect the first Elder...

    First thing on Day 1, call for Elder nominations.  Anyone who is nominated and seconded has 30 seconds to speak. You can nominate yourself. It may be wise to limit this to three candidates.

    Once all candidates have spoken, the village votes for each candidate by a show of hands.  Whoever has the most votes is the Elder.

    If there is a tie, call for a re-vote where only the tied candidates are eligible for election. If there is still a tie, settle it with paper-rock-scissors.

    Each Night...

    Wake up the Elder. If there is no Executioner (they died, or it is Day 1) they must choose one. Otherwise, silently ask the Elder if they want to replace the current Executioner.

    Wake up the Executioner. Tell them to execute someone.

    When there are seven or fewer total players...

    The Elder loses immunity. If the Elder dies, no new Elder can be elected and the village reverts to whatever trial system you normally use.

    Moderator Notes

    This game is a lot of fun to moderate, and is best with 15+ players. Quite often a Werewolf becomes Elder, murders the Seer, and runs the village into the ground. 

    Speaking of Seer, there should really not be a Seer in this game since a smart village would just elect the Seer and create a Super-Elder. PI is probably better.

    Make sure everyone has a printout or link to this article! Otherwise, this can be a confusing game. In particular, the Elder/Executioner dynamic is hard for people to wrap their heads around at first.

    Thoughts? Concerns? War stories? Leave a comment below!

    Brian MacKay

    Brian MacKay

    Brian MacKay is a software developer, entrepreneur, chess nerd, kick boxer, musician, writer, and father. He likes games of all kinds, but especially social games, and Werewolf in particular.