Well… it appears I have been typecast. Here I am, reviewing another hidden traitor game. I can’t complain though, social deduction games are one of my favourite genres. Either I get to don my ultimate detective hat or I can become the Ultimate Imposter… well or die trying anyway!
Compared to the strategic behemoth that is my last review, Battlestar Galactica the Boardgame, I present to you, One Night Ultimate Werewolf by Bézier Games, a game that is almost impossible to strategize in! But that's ok, this game is aiming for a different crowd and a different type of games night.
Players: 3-10 Ages: 8+ Game Time: 10 mins
You may have heard of the game Werewolf before? Or its other name of Mafia? Where all the players are handed a single role card. They could be innocent civilians or they could be bloodthirsty beasts or criminals, trying to kill off the whole town before they are discovered!
The usual game would alternate between two stages. Stage 1 the “townsfolk” would, as a whole, vote for someone who they thought to be the murderer. If the majority agreed, that person would be killed/arrested or whatever. If they find the actual guilty party, hurrah, the town is saved! If however, they voted off an innocent, that player is now dead and the game continues to the second stage. This is where everyone closes their eyes and the killer secretly kills off one of the other players. Everyone opens their eyes again and Stage 1 begins again, will they find the killer before they run out of people?
Now depending on the number of players, regular Werewolf can take a while, and there is a common problem. What happens if you get killed early? Maybe even the first turn before you’ve even spoken? That’s no fun and can be frustrating.
Enter One Night Ultimate Werewolf!!
The Ultimate game of Werewolf played in, well… one single night stage! Game rounds are about 5-10 mins maximum and there is no player elimination until the very end of the game! Sounds great right?
Well, sort of! It kind of depends on what you’re looking for. This is a game not to take seriously, with a range of fun, wacky characters for you to play as for a very short time period. This is a game that you may find utterly hilarious as you have no idea what is going on, or alternatively you may find it utterly horrifying as you have no idea what is going on!
Everyone draws their character card, which depends on the various game setup options. Examples could either just be a normal villager with no special abilities, a werewolf who is trying to stay hidden, or they could be a Mystic Seer who can peak at someone's card. Once everyone has their cards and has done their actions in secret (if they even get an action), then the group has 5 minutes to vote on who they think is a werewolf. If they correctly vote out a wolf, the humans win! If they vote out a human, the wolves win! There could also be a situation where no-one is a wolf, in which case the only solution for everyone to win is for everyone to agree to not vote for anyone! If anyone gets evicted and there were no wolves at all, everyone loses!
...add chaos to the game.
However... there are many roles that simply are there to add chaos to the game. There’s the Troublemaker who switches two other players' cards while their eyes are closed. You could look at your card, thinking you are a werewolf and acting accordingly, only to find out at the end of the game when the cards are revealed that you were actually a Villager! There’s also the Drunk character who draws another card from the centre and isn’t allowed to look at it, they literally don’t know which team they're on!
Now, depending on your gaming group, this game can be either extremely hilarious or frustrating. I find this game a great choice for a chillout game with a few drinks. This is not a game to take seriously. If you are the kind of player that would expertly analyse the trail of clues, correctly fight through the lies to find one of the wolves, then it might upset you to reveal the cards at the end and realise you are now also a wolf and have therefore just lost the game for your new team... if this upsets you, then this might not be the game for you! If, however, you find that hilarious and demand a rematch, maybe this is your cup of tea!
Component wise, the cards are simple and sturdy and the artwork is great and they all fit into one little box. Plus there are tonnes of expansions and character combinations that add a lot of replayability and even more chaos!
Well handily there's an app for that!
Remember that issue with Werewolf, you know the one where a player ends up sitting out when they die early on? Well that can sometimes happen here too if you feel you need to have a narrator to instruct all the hidden roles. I mean why shouldn't that person get to be part of the fun too? Well handily there's an app for that! Hilariously voiced by Eric Summerer, which will guide you through the night-time antics and make sure that none of your game group are excluded.
However, due to its polarizing nature, I think this is the type of game you really need to be in the mood for. I would not recommend it to people wanting a serious games night and I wouldn’t recommend it to complete newbies of the hobby as well… it's so chaotic it can be a bit overwhelming!
However, if you want a fun warmup game or a more dedicated drinking game, give it a shot! Go eat some villagers!
Therefore, I give One Night Ultimate Werewolf a solid…. 4 out of 6!
Please let me know your thoughts. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go howl at the moon for a bit. Laters!