A quick and dirty guide to playing Werewolf by email

Jun 13 · 3 min read

Photo Credit: SkyNoir

Most everyone who has attended a con in the past 10 years has played the Werewolf game. The idea is that players are secretly assigned roles of players or villagers, and each day, the group decides on one person to hang. This is followed by a day of pleading cases over which use should be hanged the next. There are two werewolves. Each night, the werewolves (and bad guys) decide who to kill. If both werewolves are hanged, the villagers win. If there comes a time where there are as many or fewer villagers than werewolves, the werewolves win. There are more subtleties and nuances to the game, and you should read the original document on the game.

This game is super fun, but as we grow up, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to engage with interested friends in real life. This is where Play by Email comes in to play. There is a service already in place which allows such Play by Email, but it might have a bit of a learning curve to start.

While none of this is complicated at all, I thought it might be easier to distill the rules and procedures into only those you need. Feel free to explore the detailed instructions as you become more familiar with the ideas.

When you want to dive a bit deeper, and it really isn’t that deep, check out the original documents.

For now, we’ll just give you the steps you need to get moving.

Signing up for the service

The Play by Email service, which hosts a vast variety of games, is run entirely over email. To use the service, you must first send an email to the service requesting to join.

Send an email to pbmserv@gamerz.net with the subject:


Where USERID is the id you want to use in the games (have fun with this) and the PASSWORD is the password you will be using every time you make a request. Make your password easy to type, and do not lose it. You have to contact the system owner to get it back. He’s already done so much for us, don’t bug him.

Joining a Game

There are several games being played on the server. The game that we’re currently starting for our group is game 494. To join the game, send an email to pbmserv@gamerz.net with the subject:

werewolf join 494 USERID PASSWORD

You’ll get an email from the system informing you of the status of the game.

Playing the game

Once you’re all set up, you should probably take a peek at the original document, but it won’t take more than 5 minutes to figure out. The idea is, you can send messages during the game to everyone, make the case on who should be killed next, etc., by sending:


if you are a werewolf or


if you are a villager, voting on who to kill.

Further reading

I have only covered the very basics of the game. Enough to get interested parties on board with a Play by Email system. If you join one of my games, I will help you along each step.

While playing the game, there are several roles you can play (other than villager and wolf), and you can do other fun things such as:

  • Talk to other dead players once you’re dead.
  • Howl to other werewolves.
  • Get info on other users if your role permits it.

For now, make sure you read the full document for all of the options.


Written by


rubyist, smalltalk dork, entrepreneur, music dork, cooking/food dork, travel dork. just plain dork!

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