This is the question we asked ourselves when One Night Ultimate Werewolf was brought to the table for the first time.
We had been dealt one card each, telling us which roles we played in the little village haunted by werewolves. We had
closed our eyes and listened to the very clear instructions read to us by the free
Some of us had, unknowingly to the others, fiddled with the cards according to the instructions.
With that, the night phase had passed and the day phase began, but we were still left in the dark.
What were we supposed to do now? The goal was clear to us all: we had five minutes to find and hang one of the up to two
werewolves among us. Success would give the victory to all non-werewolf players while failure would give the victory to
the werewolves. But how could we possibly find the players with the werewolf cards? How could we even know our own cards
after they had possibly been fiddled with? We were all acquainted with games like
Avalon, but there you
knew your role for sure and you could observe the actions of the other players to draw conclusions. In this game, we
had nothing to work with. Or did we?
Cautiously and gradually, we began to put together the jigsaw puzzle of the past night. Player A revealed that she was the
seer and had indeed seen the werewolf card with player C. Player B revealed that she was the troublemaker and that she had
switched player C's card with player D's card.
The case seemed clear, player D was now a werewolf and we only needed to vote him out to win. But then player D
claimed that he had robbed player C and left his card there so if the cards had been switched, the werewolf card should
still be with player C. Player C firmly denied this, admitting that he had indeed started as werewolf but claiming that
player B also had started as a werewolf and not as a troublemaker. Hence, she couldn't have switched the cards and hence,
player B and player D should now be werewolves. What seemed like a simple deduction game turned into a blame game as people
started accusing each other for lying and it wasn't until the end that we found out the truth.
No, it's an Addiction
Our first game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf was immediately followed by another game and another and another.
Let's look at what made this such an addictive experience for us.
The Limited Information
The purpose of all good social deduction games is to give only pieces of the truth to the players and let them use
their social and deductive skills to find out the rest. In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, the only information you can be sure of
is the card you started with and that may very well have changed during the first night phase of the game. If you accumulate
the information of all the players, you will have perfect information about the past events and the current state.
The werewolves get to see each other.
The minion is on the werewolves' team and get to see who they are.
The masons are on the villagers' team and get to see who they are.
The seer role gets to see one other player's card (or two cards not belonging to any player).
The robber gets to switch cards with another player and look at the new one.
The troublemaker gets to switch cards between to other players.
The drunk switches his card without looking at it.
The insomniac looks at her card after all cards have been switched.
The tanner must be killed to win.
The hunter, if killed, kills the pointed at at the end of the game.
The doppelgänger takes on the role of another player.
But will this information be readily shared among the players? No.
The Uncertain Teams
A good mechanic of a social deduction game is that you have to cooperate with the members of your own team but not reveal
yourself or your teammates to the other team. In One Night Ultimate Werewolf, there is a "good" team (the Villagers) and a
"bad" team (the Werewolves) but since you don't know which team you belong to, you can't give away all the information either.
Instead, you have to tread carefully to find which the teams are and which team you are in. Give away too much information and
it may help your opponent team but give away too little and it may distance you from both teams.
I've seen games where players openly share all the information they have, only to end up proving that the werewolf
card ended up in front of themselves. I've also seen games where players wait to the very last to share the final piece
of information that finally reveals the truth, only to be distrusted because they kept quiet so long.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a highly interactive game. Whether your current situation makes it best for you to
talk or to be quiet, you will have to listen to what everybody else says and chime in to steer the arguments towards the
conclusion that you think is the right for yourself.
The Variable Setup
There are many roles that you may mix and match in One Night Ultimate Werewolf. This not only adds variation to the game
but also let you adjust the balance if one side tends to wins more often than another.
The Time Limit
A game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf lasts only ten minutes - five minutes for the setup and the night phase and five
minutes for the day phase. This means that it's easy to play several times in a row and although each session stands alone,
there is a sense of progress over the sessions as the players see patterns in the interaction and bring on experience of
previous sessions into the next ones.
The Player Count
Whereas most social deduction games shine at higher player counts, One Night Ultimate Werewolf plays well with as few
as three players. In my opinion, it's best with five to six players (less may feel repetitive when players learn the
interaction pattern of the group, more may feel too chaotic during the argumentation) but it certainly works with all
Although the app is not strictly necessary in One Night Ultimate Werewolf, it makes the gameplay smoother by
instructing the players who does what during the night phase and keeping track of the time limit during the day phase.
It's a good example of apps used right during games.
In a time where many games believe that big is better, One Night Ultimate werewolf comes in commendably small box
that's easy to bring to a game night and get to the table, whether it be as the main game or just a filler.
No, it's an Activity
This said, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is certainly not a game for everybody. There are many session reports where
the players simply never get past the first question about what they are supposed to do. Others dislike the fact that
you have to lie to succeed or that you basically have to point out the least trustworthy player in the end.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is not a game for the controlling player either. You have no control over which role
you're dealt at the start and what happens with it afterwards. Victory doesn't come through skilful use of your own resources
but by reading and convincing other players.
Finally, One Night Ultimate Werewolf may even be too quick for some players. Unlike a game like
Avalon, where the story
unfolds gradually over several rounds, during which you can deploy different strategic maneuvers to accomplish your goal,
One Night Ultimate Werewolf only gives you one short round to do what many other games give you an hour or more to do.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is not the deepest social deduction game you can play. The hidden information can only
be revealed through the social interaction, not through the player actions, and the game needs the right group to shine.
However, if you have a gaming group, preferably consisting of long time friends that you know well, that are able to lie
in a game and laugh at it afterwards, One Night Ultimate Werewolf should be brought to every game night.
The Quest for the Perfect Game is an endeavour to play a variety of games
and review them to extract the essence of each game. What you typically will
find in the reviews include:
What does the game want to be?
How does the player perceive the game?
What does the game do well and why?
What does the game do less well and why?
Is it fun?
What you typically will NOT find in the reviews include:
A detailed explanation of the rules.
An assessment of art, miniatures etc. with no impact on gameplay.
Unfounded statements like "dripping with theme" and "tons of replayability".
Unless stated otherwise, all the reviews are independent
and not preceded by any contacts with the game's stakeholders.
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