If you’re a fan of classic social games such as Werewolf or Mafia, you might be interested in Town of Salem, a new multiplayer adaptation currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.
Developed by just two people under the name of BlankmediaGames, Town of Salem is set in an alternate-reality version of Salem during the infamous Witch Trials. The game allows players to get together and plot, murder, lie and deceive their fellow man. So it’s rather like the Continue Play offices during a deadline period then, only with less alcohol and more vanity pets.
Players take on one of 29 different roles, each assigned to an alignment – Town Members, Mafia or Neutral/ Unaffiliated. Town Members are tasked with identifying and hunting down members of the Mafia; Mafia members attempt to murder town members; and neutral roles have their own agenda. The catch is neither player knows which role another player belongs to, and so gameplay becomes a balancing act of trying to work out who to be suspicious of, while attempting to mislead everyone and not give yourself away.
Gameplay is divided into two phases – by day, players gather in the town square and discuss amongst themselves what role they think the other players have taken. Then by night, players attempt to carry out their assigned roles – Serial Killers will kill, Doctors will heal, etc.
BlankmediaGames has made a number of tweaks and changes to the original ruleset while also adding in a number of modern gaming tropes. 300 Achievements are currently present in the game, and while the game is launching with a free-to-play business model, an in-game shop will allow players to purchase cosmetic items. Fancy being followed around by a black dragon, while having your footprints spontaneously catch fire? Well, if that’s your bag then you’ll be able to do so. Want to dress up like the Grim Reaper? You can do that too. With a wealth of customization options, BlankmediaGames claims that players will have complete control over their appearance; in theory, no two players need ever look alike. The developer is also adamant that an item will never give a player an advantage over any other.
Achievements will be awarded for everything from winning or participating in games, to more obtuse feats. Eventually, the plan is for these achievements to also reward cosmetic items.
As a social party game, new players may find themselves thrown in at the deep end against more experienced players. Thankfully, the developer has stated that they will implement a skill-matching system that should allow players to ease into the game gently. And while the need to lie convincingly makes programming believable AI a challenge, BlankmediaGames is also looking at ways they can introduce a tutorial with CPU-controlled opponents.
The game is currently sitting at just over a third of its intended $15,000 goal, with 19 days left to go. Given the extensive popularity and cultural success of Mafia/Werewolf (the game is listed in about.com’s list of the 50 most culturally important games of since 1800), it would be a crying shame if it doesn’t reach its goal.