A New Iteration of Werewolf and an Interview with GROWL Designer Joey Vigour | Casual Game Revolution

A New Iteration of Werewolf and an Interview with GROWL Designer Joey Vigour


Social deduction / hidden identity games have been seeing a rise in popularity in recent years. Some of our favorites include One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Good Cop Bad Cop, and Coup. While there are several of these types of games that we already play regularly, we're always open to fresh ideas.

We recently caught up with Joey Vigour, an independent game designer who created the game Chaosmos, as well as the Werewolf variant GROWLwhich is launching on Kickstarter this week. We set out to discover more about this game and the designer behind it.

CGR: Hi Joey! Could you tell us a bit about your gaming preferences and background in gaming?

JV: I've always preferred socially interactive games, whether they're light casual games or heavier games. I got into hobby gaming through Cosmic Encounter, but I was a pretty hard core 'Mafia/Werewolf' player back in college.

In 2014, I launched my first Kickstarter as a designer, and that introduced me to the very active Southern California game designing scene.

CGR: How did you decide to get into game design and publishing? What has your experience been like so far?

JV: When I was a kid, I was a fan of a book called Interstellar Pig, which is all about a 16-year-old boy who plays a mysterious sci-fi board game. I created many iterations of my interpretation of this game over years. It formed the basis of some of my first designs. 

My friend Matt was a fan of my first game Chaosmos and together, after an experience at the GAMA Trade Show, we decided to Kickstart the game and have control over the publishing, even though some publishers were interested. Later I partnered with Jeff Siadek to publish Battlestations, the second edition of a game from 2004.

Doing Kickstarters is not a very good permanent business model, but it's an amazing way to get into the publishing world. My most fun experience was finding myself driving a stick shift rental car between Amsterdam and Essen, destroying the clutch on our way to the Spiel convention.

CGR: Congrats on your new campaign for GROWL. Could you tell us a bit about the game?

JV: GROWL was born as a "faster Werewolf" — sort of Werewolf meets Munchkin. You draw a card and decide who to give it to. Each player's hand secretly reveals to them which team they are on. Three active Bites turns you into a wolf, and instead of trying to survive, you are now trying to eradicate the humans! Charms cancel Bites and Salves cancel Wounds. 

GROWL has since grown into a very interesting and constantly evolving game, with an infinity of possible Night card powers and Hex cards (cancels Charms) and all kinds of interesting player interactions. It's worth a look. Happy to send a print and play to your readers if they reach out via our group at Facebook.com/GROWLgame


CGR: What is the most challenging aspect of game design that you have encountered and why?

JV: With Chaosmos, I had the huge challenge of adapting a game I had designed as a simple roll-and-move Monopoly-style game into a modern game system, with action points, and complex card interaction. The difficult element was maintaining the feel of the game from the initial prototype through 10 years of revisions. Luckily, I succeeded in this case!

CGR: Do you have any advice for aspiring game designers or publishers?

JV: My number one advice would be, that you are a long way from being able to compete with major games from established publishers. Even if your game is very innovative, you still have a massive struggle ahead to establish credibility to the numerous gatekeepers in the industry. Definitely start with a less ambitious project, and don't make any assumptions of any kind, ever. 

Meet as many people as you can at conventions and ask as many questions as they'll tolerate. I recommend trying to sell a game to an existing publisher first. You can pitch to them very easily by going to a convention, and setting up a pitch meeting ahead of time. Once you've sold the game, you'll have learned the process of design, so you'll be more ready to tackle the whole new world of publishing.

CGR: Could you give us a sneak peek on future games? What is the best way to stay up to date?

JV: Next up for me is Battlestations: Dirtside, a new standalone game I'm producing with Gorilla Games. There's a sequel to Chaosmos that's finished — I hope to launch it this year. I also have another great social game called Skeletons that I can't wait to show off. 

The best way to stay up to date on what I'm up to is to join my mailing list is at: growl.launchrock.com