Don’t turn out the lights, the Boogeyman is coming! Orphanage of fear is a hidden role/social deduction game by Thomas Hornemann, published by Slightly Offensive Games and bringing a new level of creepy to Kickstarter on September 27th, 2016 (for more information about the Kickstarter Campaign, fast forward to the bottom of this preview).
Orphanage of Fear is for 7-18 players and takes about 45-60 minutes to play.
Orphanage of Fear adds a twist of horror to the Werewolf/Mafia genre, along with some neat roles and items that provide specific powers to players each round. The game pits two sets of characters, children and boogeymen, against each other and is played in phases of day and night.
The Set-up ^
One player is chosen as the “Caretaker” (aka moderator) and everyone else sits in a circle around him/her. The Caretaker assembles a deck of roles to be handed out that include poor orphan children, Boogeymen, a Bully, and Twins (only higher player counts). The children have the goal of killing all of the Boogeymen and the Boogeymen want to finish the game with more Boogeymen than children.
A deck of item cards is also assembled. This deck includes toys like a porcelain doll, a blanket, and a Spirit Board.
Once players have received their items, it is time for the nightmares to begin and for the Boogeymen to terrorize the poor, helpless orphans.
The Game play ^
Game play is broken up into two phases: night and day.
- The Player with the Blanket reveals himself or herself to the moderator and Boogeymen. This player is immune from the Boogeymen this round.
- The Boogeymen wake up and choose a victim (anyone other than the child with the blanket).
- The Bully wakes up and can swap his/her item with any player of their choosing.
- The moderator looks at the item held by the child chosen by the Boogeyman. If the item is activated by being chosen by the Boogeymen, the moderator wakes up that child and activates the item.
- While players keep their eyes closed, night progresses with the moderator finding items one by one amongst the children and resolving their actions.
- The Caretaker first reveals which child was taken by the Boogeymen during the night. That child is out of the game.
- Players then discuss who they think the Boogeymen are and if a person gets nominated, the nominated player selects one other person to bring up to the chopping block with them.
- After the two accused argue why players should vote to remove the other, a vote is held and if a majority votes against one of the two nominated players, that player is removed from the game.
- The moderator then collects the toys, shuffles them, and redistributes them randomly among the remaining players. Night then begins again.
The Closing Remarks ^
As a fan of horror movies, the theme really excited me. The Boogeymen with their burlap sack masks reminded me of the horror movie, El Orfanato (which also involves a creepy burlap sack hooded child/spirit terrorizing an orphanage). I also really enjoyed the items. The items were quite clever and added a nice touch to game play (similar to how some werewolf variants include abilities based on character roles). It was also interesting that the items received varied each round, so players would receive different abilities or clues each round.
The lows: ^
It seemed to be an overall consensus that the night rounds felt very tedious. Every player kept their eyes closed as the moderator went through items one by one, calling out the player controlling them to reveal themselves, resolving the action, and then moving on to the next item. We played with only seven total players (6 active in game) and felt it made night last too long, I can only imagine how long night felt with 19 players involved. If you are patient and do not mind some extended periods of inactivity, this should not be an issue for you. Part of the problem was that the moderator couldn’t smoothly resolve the items as they changed hands every round and some of the items were not always included.
Final Thoughts: ^
If you are a fan of werewolf/mafia games, Orphanage of Fear definitely brings it more into the horror spectrum. The addition of items made night phase a little busy but if that is something you are okay with, you’ll definitely appreciate the charm in the abilities received. It is hard to find games that support up to 19 people, so this will be welcome at cons and parties with attendees looking to send some chills down their spines.
More information about the KS campaign:
- Launch Date: September 27th, 2016
- End Date: October 27th, 2016
- Cost for a copy of the game: $15
- Goal: $4,500
- KS Link: