Hidden role games are normally about looking deep into your friend’s eyeballs, then calling them on their bullshit. Town Of Salem is an online hidden role game with no friends or eyeballs, and a whole load of bullshit.
It’s what you’d expect from an online-ified version of Werewolf or Mafia, I guess. Each game starts with you being given a role, telling you if you’re on the side of the goodies or the baddies – or if you’re supposed to get up to nonsense of your own. Every night, the baddies secretly kill someone. Every day, the goodies publicly kill someone – people are accused, waddle up the gallows, then swing if they’re found guilty.
I find real-life Werewolf far too messy. There are roles with special powers, like protecting people or privately revealing their identity, which are supposed to let people deduct their way through deception. All too often, though, those that hang are simply the ones who talk the most. Unless you’re with a group of veterans who’ve got a handle on how every special role interacts with every other special role, people just point at each other and go “I bet it’s you”. That’s funny, but it’s not that clever.
Online-life Werewolf doesn’t even have that. The servers dish out so many special roles that it’s nigh impossible to get a handle on what’s going on, and without face-to-face interaction the whole exercise feels empty.
Yet thousands of people play Town Of Salem every day, invested enough to buy flaming skull-house cosmetics and creepy elves that stand behind their characters. If you happen to be one of them, I’d love to know why.