Reviewer: Stuart Holden
Developer: Bezier Games
Publisher: Bezier Games
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a multiplayer hidden identity board game for 3-10 players. Each game lasts about ten minutes and consists of two teams: the Village team versus the Werewolf team. The purpose of the Werewolf team is to be “undiscovered” by the Villagers throughout the entire game play, until everyone is required to reveal their character’s identity at the very end. If the Werewolves are able to do this, they win, but if the villagers can figure out even who just one of the wolf players is and successfully eliminate them, then the Villagers win. That means that there’s a lot of bluffing in this game; the wolves can’t say out loud who they are, and often times will pretend to be a villager in order to keep their identity safe.
At the start of the game, each player is randomly given a character card from a shuffled deck. That player is allowed to look at their card, but not allowed to show anyone else. Then all players are required to close their eyes, and a designated player reads a turn sequence for specific players to do certain actions while everyone else has their eyes closed. For example, “All Werewolves open their eyes and look for other Werewolves”. This command is required during game play in all versions of it, so that all Werewolves know who their fellow teammates are without the other players knowing. Then other players follow with actions including: being able to look at another player’s character card without them knowing, or swapping two other player’s cards or trading another player’s character for your own, meaning that you could very well end up on another team.
There is a large pool of characters available in the game, more than can be used for a single playthrough; different ones can be picked and inserted as well as removed to make each game different, because every character has it’s own sets of rules/abilities. Not all characters are used at once in a single game; only as many are needed per players playing.
There are two phases during the game: Nighttime and Daytime. Nighttime is when players are required to close their eyes and only open them when it is their turn to use their special ability while everyone else has their eyes closed. After everyone in the required turn sequence does their “secret” action, everyone one opens their eyes and Daytime begins.
During Daytime, everyone opens their eyes and has a few minutes to argue over who was who. The Villagers will try to figure out who the Wolves are, and the Wolves will pretend that they are actually Villagers. When the time limit runs out; everyone will point to an another player in the game that they want to eliminate. The goal of the Villagers at this point is to team up and eliminate at least one Wolf. Majority vote in most circumstances means that that player is eliminated. Then everyone flips over their cards to determine if the eliminated player is indeed on the Wolf’s team. If at least one member on the Wolf’s team is killed, the Villagers win; if not, the Wolves are victorious.
So overall, I think this game does pretty well against the others of its genre, such as Mafia and Avalon. It seems very balanced, compared to Mafia in particular; in that game, one side (the Mafia) has a distinct advantage, while in One Night it’s much closer (though perhaps the Villagers have a slight advantage here).
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a pretty short game that doesn’t involve setting up a lot of game pieces. In fact, I would almost argue that One Night is like a party game, due to the number of players, the short length, the small amount of of physical pieces involved, and the heavy emphasis on social interaction. It’s nice to have games like this alongside longer, more in-depth games, as more people can find something that appeals to them.
So overall, I think this is a pretty good game. It’s well designed gameplay-wise, as well as in the minimal physical construction of the game. And it’s moderately priced in most stores too, so that’s a plus.
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Overall Score: B+
Stuart Holden is a volunteer with Gospel & Gaming.