Bring Your Own Character: Day One

bring your own character byoc

Welcome to The Bookish Games, a variation of the game most commonly known as Mafia or Werewolf. If you want to know more about The Bookish Games, including How to Play, please check out the links in the menu.

NOTE: Only players who have signed up for the Game should comment on this post. If you are not a participant but want to talk about the Games, please contact us on Twitter and we’ll send you access to the Spectator chat.

The Players


Game Master’s Notes

Some final tips and reminders before we start:

  • Please make sure you have read your Role email prior to commenting in the game. Remember, there is a requirement to be included in your first comment on Day One’s post. If you do not include it, we’ll know you haven’t read things completely. Please don’t let us down.
  • It is also assumed by now that you have read and agreed to The Rules. Any violation of the rules will result in a warning, followed by a disqualification. (Don’t forget, you can get a pass if there’s a certain week you need to be excused from the participation rule. Just contact us!)
  • Because it is Day One, you really have nothing to base your votes or suspicions off of yet. Our main advice is just to have fun and vote however you want in the beginning. Even if Day One ends with someone on your team getting voted off, you will still learn a lot of valuable information by observing who defends who and how people respond to being voted against.
  • When voting, please type your vote in ALL CAPS and on a separate line from the rest of your text so it is easy for Inge and me to spot. Votes are not final until the deadline, so you can choose to switch who you vote for throughout the Day. You can also choose not to vote. Votes can be canceled anytime by commenting CANCEL VOTE.
  • There is no option to “reply” to other comments on this blog. This is to ensure that all comments appear in chronological order. If you want to respond directly to someone else’s comment, we recommend starting your message with “@PlayerName:”.
  • We are currently using Greenwich Mean Time for game deadlines. A countdown has been added to the blog menu to assist players in knowing how much time they have left to vote. During the last 24 hours of a Day, it will transition to hours left instead of days. (You can also use this link to see when the deadline occurs at your local time, just add your location!)

As always, don’t be afraid to contact us if you have any questions or concerns during the Game. We are here to help and want to make this as fun of an experience as possible!

It is now Day One.

You have until Saturday 8pm GMT to discuss suspicions and cast your votes. Once the deadline has been reached, the person with the most votes will be eliminated.

Good luck!


Bring Your Own Character: Welcome Cult Leader!

byoc edition

Hello Cult Leader and welcome to your site! You have been granted private access to this site in order to discuss gameplay and strategy with your Cultists after you recruit them. Here you can speak freely and brainwash them to your heart’s content. Enjoy!

How It Works

This site will operate in a very similar way to The Bookish Games site, with a focus on Night activity instead of Day. Each Night phase (Saturday 8pm GMT) a Night post will go live. Once published, you are allowed to comment on it freely with the Cultists you recruit, discussing the events of the Game so far, coming up with strategies for survival, and determining who you would like to recruit next.

(Note: These Night posts will not go live until you manage to successfully recruit a member to your Cult.)

Once you determine which player you would like to recruit, please submit the Night Action form. Only you, the Cult Leader, can recruit members to the Cult. If you are eliminated, the Cult cannot recruit additional players but may attempt to win the game without you.

Each Night phase ends Monday 8pm GMT. Your form must be submitted at this time in order for the recruitment to be completed and all discussion on these pages must come to an end.

Once the game is completed, these Night posts will be imported into The Bookish Games blog so that we have all relevant posts in one place. In the meantime though, this place is all yours. Have fun (but don’t forget we’re always watching…)

Good luck!

The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character Sign ups

bring your own character byoc

The Bookish Games

Welcome to The Bookish Games, an online version of the party game Mafia that has been floating around the internet since 2013. If you haven’t participated in the Games before and what to know what it’s all about, be sure to visit the links provided in the menu (to the left on computers, top of the page for mobiles). There you will find a rundown of how the game works, the rules all players must follow, and archives of the previous editions of The Bookish Games.

The main thing to be aware of if you are thinking about participating in The Bookish Games and haven’t played before is that this game requires a major time commitment. At the very least, you will have to dedicate an hour or two each week to The Bookish Games if you want to play it properly. The Bookish Games involves reading comments left by other players (generally over 100 comments per game Day), analysing information from comments and player deaths, contributing to the Day discussion, and submitting the Night Action form for your special power (if any). Please take this into consideration before signing up to play.

(But also, don’t let that warning scare you off because these games ARE are a lot of fun. Don’t believe me? Check out this page of testimonials where players from the past discussed why they love The Bookish Games.)

Bring Your Own Character Edition

This edition of The Bookish Games is unlike the rest. Instead of being prepared in advanced and themed around one specific piece of literature, we are handing the power over to the players. While we might implement some twists to the set-up here and there just for fun, the characters and roles that exist within this edition are entirely up to you. That’s right, we’re hosting a “Bring Your Own Character” edition of The Bookish Games.

When you complete the sign up form for The Bookish Games below, you will be asked to submit your top three choices for a character from a book you’d like to play as and what role you believe should be associated with that character. The list of possible roles you can choose from can be found on The Roles page.

Once the deadline has arrived, we will look go through all the sign-up forms and assign players one of the three character/roles they requested and organise them into different team(s). Warning: We will do our best to make this a balanced game, but if every player wants to be a Serial Killer there is only so much we can do. Prepare for chaos.

Sign-Up to Play!

The deadline for sign-ups is Saturday, January 5th with the games starting on Tuesday, January 15th. As this game does not involve a premade set-up, there is no limit to the amount of players who can sign up to play. Anyone and everyone is welcome, as long as each person agrees to follow the rules.

To sign up, please fill out the form embedded below. We will be updating the sign-up list with confirmed participants below as we receive the forms.


Confirmed Players

  1. Rashika (@RTheBookOwl)
  2. Val (@InnocentSmileyx)
  3. Harker @ The Hermit Librarian
  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
  5. Dana Jan (@DanaBartelt)
  6. Megan (@Megan_Roze)
  7. Anne (@amengelhart)
  8. Kerys (@kerys_howarddd)
  9. Jenn (@bookish_ginger)
  10. T
  11. Crini (@xcrini)
  12. Charli (@charli_c_)
  13. Sana (@artsymusings)


  1. Asti @ Asti Stenning (mod)
  2. Inge @ Of Wonderland (mod)
  3. Maraia (@maraiazoo)
  4. Beth (@ArtemisHi)
  5. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence
  6. Greg (@GregsBookHaven)
  7. Joséphine (@wordrevel)
  8. Jade (@bedtimebkworm)
  9. Flynn Bantau (@ChibiHako)
  10. Kritika (@spidersilksnow)

If you would like to be added to the Spectator Chat, a place where you can share your thoughts about the game with the moderators, eliminated players, and other spectators, please leave a comment below. 

Thanks in advance to everyone who signs up! We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

The Bookish Games: Feedback Results

Now that a couple of weeks have passed, it is time to discuss the results of the feedback we received!

Thirteen people were kind enough to submit the feedback form with each person having played at least one edition of The Bookish Games in the past. While that’s not a massive number, I’m happy with it. We’ve had over 100 people participate in The Bookish Games since its launch five years ago, but many of those players have been inactive since the relaunch. I’m assuming everyone who chose to fill the form out is still following along with the games, even if they’re just spectating, and as those are the people that will be affected by any changes that take place as a result of this feedback their opinions matter most to me right now.

Oh, but if you DID want to submit the feedback form and just forgot over the last few weeks, don’t worry, it’s still open and accepting responses. Visit this link and provide your input.

Twitter Account

I’m glad to see that the addition of The Bookish Games Twitter account has been appreciated by players so will definitely continue utilising Twitter for future editions of The Bookish Games.

Annoying players by tagging them in status updates on Twitter was one of my main concerns with the account, so I’m glad to see such a positive response for this question. I will continue to tag players during future updates, unless a player is using an alias. (As Beth mentioned in the comments of the last feedback post, tagging Twitter accounts connected with aliases would sort of defeat the point.)

As you can see, the responses to this question are a bit spread out with an equal percentage of players for and against blog post promotion. I think as a compromise I will take the middle option: I will promote the blog posts of The Bookish Games participants, but only if they mention The Bookish Games or relate to the theme of the current edition.

If you would like to keep up with what fellow participants are posting, I do create a public Twitter list at the start of each edition of The Bookish Games with all participants as members. Follow it! I devoted a section of my Tweetdeck to the Vicious list last game so I could keep track of all participants and see what was going on, I found it helpful.

I feel like I’m still at a little bit of a lost when it comes to this question. I have had concerns brought up to me in private, which is why I decided to include it in the feedback form, but it seems the majority of players aren’t bothered.  As I still am not convinced it’s the best option for the game, I’m going to sit on this one a bit longer.

Alias Option

As two-thirds of the respondents voted for some variation of “yes”, I will offer aliases as an option for the next edition of The Bookish Games. It might not be a permanent option for all future editions of the game though, we’ll give it a test run and see how it works first.

Inactive Players

Thank you to all who provided feedback to this question, as I know open-ended responses require more effort than just ticking an option!

Based on the responses above, I will double the comment minimum to four comments per Day and include an emphasis on the actual amount of time this game requires. I will also include some kind of tick box for prospective players to mark confirming that they are aware of the time commitment prior to signing up.

I also really like that last suggestion of posting player interviews in the lull between games in which players are able to candidly share their thoughts on The Bookish Games. It might not happen during this break as I’ve been busy with other projects and it’s almost time to launch sign-ups for our next edition, but I do plan on implementing it in the future. So whoever suggested that, thanks!

Replacment Players

I’ve always felt like players who were eliminated from the game shouldn’t be allowed to re-enter the Game, but it seems a majority of players would prefer that over anything else. As a result, I think there will now be a new option when players are eliminated from The Bookish Games: you can either choose to join the Spectator chat as usual where you can discuss the events of the game with spectators, other eliminated players, and the moderators OR you can be added to the replacement waitlist.

I like this option because I do believe it is better to return to the game without access to the Spectator chat page as discussion often revolves around things not noticed or commented on within the daily game chat. It also means that those who were eliminated during the first few Days or Nights would have a better chance of returning to the game, if they so desire.

Players who return to the game would be required to use an alias though, just to help limit confusion.

Smaller Games

I’m glad to see that for the most part players are happy no matter what the size of the player base. I think we will continue planning games with a similar player base for now, but may explore a smaller game option in the future.

Day/Night Lengths

As the game currently stands, I only have twelve hours to sort out everything between the end of a Night and the start of the following Day (update the graphics, write the blog post, contact elimianted players, let players with special powers know the results of their actions, update the current edition game page, schedule tweets, etc.). It can all be a bit much, especially when those twelve hours typically fall over the time I prefer to be sleeping. As a result I will be taking twelve hours from the Day, as suggested by a handful of players above, and shifting it to that “Twilight” phase to make it a little easier for us moderators.

With a full day devoted for mod-work, I am open to the idea of shifting the Day/Night phases to different days of the week. The actual deadline times will have to remain the same as they’re the easiest for me to ensure that I’m around when all the action happens, but if shifting the days would make it easier for players I’m down. Think about what day you’re most likely to be available for a chaotic deadline and vote in the poll below (all times are GMT):

The Next Edition

As mentioned in the previous post, Inge and I are planning a Nevernight edition so expect that in the near future, but thanks to your votes we will be launching the Bring Your Own Character edition first! I have a feeling it’s going to be super chaotic but also a lot of fun so am looking forward to it. Start brainstorming your characters/powers now, if you haven’t already…

It looks like the next edition of The Bookish Games will be here before you know it. We’ll start sign ups for The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character edition the first week of January with the games launching the week of the 13th.

And for those of you who submitted interest in and ideas for co-hosting a future edition of The Bookish Games, stay tuned! As we only tend to get through four games a year with our current player base, it might be a while before I can take you up on your ideas, but I have them all saved for future reference. You won’t be forgotten!

Until Next Time…

Thanks again for taking the time to fill out The Bookish Games feedback form, for those of you who did. I appreciate any and all feedback in order to make this the best experience it can be. And oh yes, I can’t wait for the madness to start all over again. It ended much too quick last edition.

If you haven’t joined our mailing list yet, be sure to sign up! I’ll be sending an email out with information for when the sign-ups for the next edition go live when it’s closer to the time, so it’s the best place to be if you want to get involved. (Or, you know, just follow The Bookish Games twitter account. I usually post everything on there too.)

The Bookish Games: Feedback

We would love your feedback in regards to The Bookish Games went and what you would like to see in the future. Please let us know what you think regarding the following points (and anything else!) using the feedback form provided.

My current thoughts and concerns in relation to each section of the feedback form can be found below.

Twitter Account

The Bookish Games Twitter account was created early 2016, but I didn’t actively use it until the Vicious edition. During the game I used the Twitter account to provide voting updates, remind players of deadlines, nudge inactive players to meet the comment minimum, and highlight shifts in discussion.

I personally felt like the Twitter account was a beneficial tool in keeping players engaged. Unless a player is signed up for email notifications, they may not be aware when sudden shifts occur within the game so regular tweets help players keep track of voting patterns and changes in discussion. I also personally liked that I could use Twitter to send out information regarding player inactivity and Night player actions, as I find DMs a lot easier to manage than emails.

Of course, there have been some flaws with the Twitter account. I originally stated that responses to the account’s tweets were fine as long as they were general or vague in nature. Unfortunately I do believe that at times these responses, usually in GIF-form, were a bit too specific to gameplay. It was hard for players not to interpret those GIFs as possible indicators of a player’s alliance one way or another and that extra information doesn’t seem fair for those players who did not have access to or regularly visit Twitter. As a result, I am considering enforcing a “no comment” rule in regards to the Twitter account if a player is alive in the game, but would love to hear your thoughts.

I also wondered if players would like me to promote their posts while the game is going on. I did create a Twitter list for players who were signed up to the Vicious edition of The Bookish Games which anyone could follow and use to keep in touch, but I didn’t actively attempt to promote any posts. Would that be something you would be interested in as a player of the Games? Or would you like the account to be limited to game updates?

Alias Option

The alias option was discussed quite a bit in the spectator chat (so no worries if those who participated do not want to repeat themselves in the feedback), but in case you missed it: I’m considering giving players the option of using an alias when playing future editions of The Bookish Games. It will not be required, but there as an option for those interested.

There are a couple of reasons why I like the option for players to use an alias. For one, I think players are almost always impacted by previous editions of The Bookish Games. For example, let’s take Greg. He played great as a mafia member during the Vicious edition, escaping almost all suspicion until the end. When the next game starts, if Greg decides to join, it is almost guaranteed that no one will trust him. He may not get voted out right away, but everything he does will likely be scrutinized moreso than ever. And sure, that is part of the game so some may just think “you made your bed, lie in it”, but you’ll all really regret having that built-in bias if he turns out to be your Town’s only Cop or something like that.

Pretty much any player who has played a previous edition of the Game is facing an uphill battle from the start. Sure, newbies do get their fair amount of suspicion, but usually this revolves around inactivity moreso than anything else. For veterans, it’s anything and everything. So I feel like allowing the options for aliases would allow veterans to enter the games with a clean slate.

Of course, the other reason why I think aliases would be a good idea is because I find it so exhausting when players try to use “What Would Asti Do?” when playing the game. They look at what I’ve assigned players in the past, try to determine just how many newbies I would actually put on the mafia team, and so on and so forth when making their arguments for who to vote for. And don’t get me wrong, those are all valid strategies to figuring things out. I don’t blame you for using them. But sometimes it takes a little bit out of the fun for me? Because then it’s less about players playing the game and trying to figure each other out, and more about the players using what they know of me and how I set up the game to “crack the code”. (I then also feel bad when players get eliminated as result of this logic as in the end it reflects more on me than them.)

So yes, I am thinking of including the option for aliases in future editions of The Bookish Games and would love to know your thoughts. So far the consensus seems to be that it may be helpful for those who use it, but those who don’t may find themselves in even more of a sticky situation as there’ll be less vets in the open to analyse.

Oh, and it would also require more work as each player would have to remember to comment under their aliases, and who knows just how long it would take before someone inevitably messes that up.

Inactive Players

I always struggle when it comes to inactive players. It’s rare that such a player actually reaches out to me to be replaced. Usually they wait until disqualification is inevitable, and then they toss me a half-hearted apology and that’s that. And I don’t hold that against them, I understand The Bookish Games requires a lot of commitment and things happen, but I wish there was a way I could deter inactivity from being such an issue.

I’ve been brainstorming a couple of things I could try to do to help limit this issue with inactive players, but the only things I could think of are adding a time disclaimer to the sign-ups and possibly increasing the comment minimum.

When it comes to the time disclaimer, I thought maybe I could warn players in big bold writing when signing up that The Bookish Games would require at least a hour of their time each week in order to play effectively? Obviously some players spend much more time than that reading through everything, analysing  comments, and typing out their thoughts, but I feel like stating a time minimum such as a hour might be a better indicator for players to gauge just how much of a commitment the Games can be versus two measly comments.

The other option is to increase the comment minimum. I’m not sure what I would increase it to (four comments? five?) and I’m not sure how much it would change anything (as players may just pop in and post five generic comments not contributing anything and that’d be that), but it would at least provide a little more to work with that the current two-comment minimum.

So yes, I would love if you could share your thoughts on this. There may be another solution that I’m just not thinking of that could make a load of difference. Any feedback you have would be appreciated.

Replacment Players

To go along with the inactive player problem, I also wanted to ask your opinion on replacement players. When a player is disqualified, I put out a couple of tweets asking if anyone would like to join the Games as a replacement player and that’s that. Unfortunately, I usually don’t get much of a response as the Games can be quite overwhelming to come into once they’ve already started and usually since I can’t confirm disqualifications until the last minute I have a small time frame to find them.

I am curious what players think should be allowed when it comes to replacement players. Do you care if a player has had access to the Spectator Chat prior to joining The Bookish Games? What do you think about a player returning to the game after previously being eliminated?

Obviously players who are following along in the Spectator Chat are the best option for replacing an inactive player. They’ve showed active interest in following the Games and as such it wouldn’t be as big of an ask to have them join in since they already know what’s going on. The only issue I have here is the fact that those in the Spectator Chat may be influenced by what is being discussed prior to joining the game. No confirmation of any roles or actions is provided in the Spectator Chat so everything they have access to prior to joining in is pure speculation, but it’s still things that might not have been discussed within the game itself. Does that bother people? Or no?

The other option for replacements is players who were previously eliminated in the game. (I know Jeann would’ve jumped right in when Kait was disqualified, if given the chance.) Of course, not only would the issue above still exist with eliminated players, we’d also have to consider which eliminated players would be allowed to return and how. I don’t think players with active special powers should be allowed to return to the game as those player would have extra knowledge influencing their decisions that others wouldn’t (how their Night actions were impacted by others each Night). I also feel like since players were eliminated for a specific reason, bringing them back might be… an insult to players still in the game?

I guess if we were to go the eliminated players as replacement route, my ideal would be to limit to Townies who had no special powers or information, offer it in chronological order (so offer it to Day/Night One eliminated players, then if they’re not interested Day/Night Two eliminated players, etc.), and require players who return as alias. Thoughts?

Smaller Games

One option that might help with the replacement player problem is setting up games with a smaller player size. Would you still be interested in playing the game if there were only ten spots available to sign up?

There’d be less going on within the game set-up due to the limited player size (less special abilities, less twists, etc.) and it would mean games would not take as long with only ten players to sort through and limited people available to contribute to discussion, but the basics would all still be there. It would also mean that we’d have a lot more people sitting out or following along in the spectator chat, available to jump in if/when a disqualification occurs.

My main concerns with a smaller game size, apart from the fact that we wouldn’t be able to add as many fun twists, are that it may be harder for new players to sign up and the Day/Night lengths may need to be shortened quite a bit (maybe cut in half so 2.5 days in a Day and 1 day for the Night?).

Day/Night Lengths

Speaking of Day/Night lengths, if we keep the larger player size are you happy with how the Day/Nights are currently split up? Sometimes I wonder if the Day portions are too long since all the action mainly happens during the last 48 hours anyways, but I feel like as people are busy different days/times of the week it’s better to have those days there when needed.

I wouldn’t mind shifting the Day/Night phases to cover different days of the week (so making the Day phase last Monday through Friday and the Night phase Saturday and Sunday, or something like that), but again that is up to you. My main concern is ensuring that I am available to update things for whatever deadline we choose as a lot has to happen behind the scenes during each transition from Day to Night and Night to Day, but as long as I think I can make the time work I am open to suggestions for change.

The Next Edition

Lastly, the feedback ends with thoughts on the next edition(s) of The Bookish Games.

I am currently reading Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight thanks to Inge’s encouragement, so once completed we will probably start discussions for possible set-ups in relation to it. (I mean, it revolves around a school of assassins. How is that not perfect for The Bookish Games?) I’ve teased the possible idea here and there online and there has been some excitement in response, so I’m excited to see what we can come up with.

I did have another thought for a possible edition of The Bookish Games: Bring Your Own Character. If we were to go this route, each player who signs up for The Bookish Games would be allowed to submit two or three character/power combinations they would be interested in playing pulling characters from any book they so desire and powers from those listed on the Roles page. Once submitted, I would do my best to divide all the players into teams and assign them character/powers from the preferences provided to create as close to a balanced game as possible. (This would be a Role Madness version of the game though with almost everyone likely having special powers so balance would be near impossible to ensure.) Then the game would continue on as normal, with teams working to eliminate their threats through votes and Night kills.

I think this edition could be fun because it’d give players a chance to involve themselves in the set-up by choosing roles they’re interested in playing and would remove the requirement to know about a book to understand possible twists and turns, but it could also be quite chaotic and unpredictable with so many power roles involved.

So yes, please let us know which edition you would like to see next! And if you have your own idea for other editions you’d like to see in the future, there’s an option for that too. Inge and I will likely be set in doing one of the two (if not both) options above, so it may be a little while before we get to your suggestion. But I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you have and possibly working with you to set-up an edition in the future.

That’s it! Feel free to submit all your thoughts in regards to The Bookish Games in the feedback form and share any others you may have in the comments below. I’m excited to read your responses and work with you on making this silly little game the best it can be.