Released: In 2014, I think?
Now, I know this isn’t a video game and in my first post on this blog I outlined a statement saying that I would write about video games. That’s what I have done up until this point, but recently I have been very intrigued by table top games. I saw some comments floating around the internet about a certain game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf, which caught my attention. I did a bit of research and it is based on the party game Mafia, which was created in the USSR in 1986. People who have played Town of Salem (2014) will also recognise the format of ONUW as it is essentially the video game version of the full game, Ultimate Werewolf.
The setup of the game is quite simple, all players are dealt a card and this is the role they will assume for the round. Three extra cards are placed face down in the centre (for this reason the maximum number of players is three less than the number of cards in the box to account for these centre cards). The aim of the game is to identify who within the group are the Werewolves and to ‘execute’ them by majority vote at the end of the round. There are two phases during the game, the night and day phase. During the night phase, players must close their eyes and the narrator/moderator announces certain roles to ‘wake up’ and perform their night actions, such as seeking one another out if there are more than one of the same card (eg. Werewolves and Masons), switching cards around, viewing other players’ cards etc. It must be noted that not all roles have a night action, such as the Hunter or Tanner. The day phase consists of the debate where players must try and discern who everyone is before the time runs out, after which players must point at the person they think should be executed. Depending on who is executed determines which team wins. There are three teams: team Werewolf, team Villager and team Tanner.
Team Werewolf – Werewolf (x2) and Minion
- The Werewolves and Minion work together in an attempt to deceive the other players. The Minion knows who the Werewolves are, but the Werewolves do not know who their Minion is. If there is only one Werewolf, they may look at a card from the three face down centre cards and use this to their advantage. The Minion draws suspicion to themselves and acts as a pawn, and so if the Minion is voted to be killed, team Werewolf wins. However, if even one of the Werewolves is executed, team Villager wins.
Team Villager – Doppelgänger, Mason (x2), Seer, Robber, Troublemaker, Drunk, Insomniac, Hunter and Villager (x3)
- The Villagers’ jobs are to gather as much information during the night phase of the game to determine people’s roles and to catch others out in a lie. The Seer is important as this role allows the player to look at either one player’s card or two of the three centre cards. The Robber and Troublemaker are the only two roles that allows them to switch cards. The Robber switches their own card with another player’s and then views their new card (A/N: The Robber does not assume their new role during the night phase. If they switch with anyone who wakes after the Robber they do not then also awaken for a second time) and the Troublemaker switches two players’ cards but does not view them. If a Villager is voted to die and there is an active member of the Werewolf team in play, team Werewolf wins.
- The Doppelgänger is a confusing role and should only be put into play when everyone has a good understanding of the game. The Doppelgänger awakens first, views any one player’s card and then assumes that role. For example, if they view a Werewolf card, they then also wake up with the other Werewolves.
Team Tanner – Tanner
- The Tanner is a one-man-team whose goal is to die by any means necessary (though not literally). They must try to convince the other players to execute them by the end of the day phase, however without being too obvious. If the Tanner dies, the Tanner wins.
(A/N: I recommend reading this http://onenightultimate.com/ for in depth descriptions of all the roles, including the ones from the Daybreak expansion pack as I have only covered a few of them here. The page also goes over basic strategy, which is always useful to know if you plan to buy or are playing the game.)
I did consider buying Ultimate Werewolf, but the game could last hours and can host up to 75 players according to the box. It sounds absolutely crazy and I would love to try it at some point, but One Night is great as a party game with a group of friends or family. I first purchased the game for entertainment on Father’s Day after watching a few videos on YouTube of how to play and it looked like a lot of fun. With Amazon providing its usual brilliant service, the game arrived quickly and in time for me to explain the rules and roles to my family. We used to play a lot of card and board games when my brother and I were younger, and so I thought it would be fun to bring back that element. At first when explaining the game my parents and soon to be sister-in-law had confused facial expressions plastered onto them (I had explained to my brother beforehand), but after one or two trial runs they understood perfectly. I can honestly say it was one of the funniest evenings I have spent with my family. The game, while overwhelming at first, is very easy to understand after a couple of tries and with the rounds only being around 10 minutes long, it becomes quite addictive. Everyone has new roles after each round and the chaos begins once again.
I organised a Werewolf night with a group of friends a few weekends ago and I had a similar experience with them. Everyone was confused but were soon getting the jist of it within minutes and were lying like I’d never seen them do before. I’m talking about a group of people who I have known for between 7 and 18 years, and yet some of them really managed to fool myself and everyone else. I was in a few heated arguments with one particular friend during the games as he knew I was lying through my teeth but no one would believe him for the longest time. I think we played until 2am and it was just a really hilarious night of lying, laughing and drinking. There were many more Team Werewolf wins than I had experienced before and that was a nice change. As the first few times that I had played, there were only 4 or 5 players and so having two Werewolves in play at the same time was usually very unlikely. However, with my friends there was a group of around 9 of us and so I was able to experiment with different card configurations (at one point we took out the Seer and the game became infinitely harder). We also had a very good Tanner win, with only a handful of Villager wins. It was interesting to see how much the game changes when more or less people are playing and when certain cards are used or not.
I do highly recommend this game if you’re after a quick and fun party game. Bezier Games has also released a free app that you can download onto your mobile device to serve as your narrator. It was brilliant when playing as no person is left out to be a moderator, though that can sometimes help when moving cards around as a moderator can shuffle cards slightly to throw players off. The app is useful to have as the narrator announces each role in order and explains what they do during the night phase, with sufficient time for players to perform their night actions. It is also customisable, with a selection of background music to choose from (I recommend Fantasy or Horror), the ability to increase or decrease the amount of time during the day phase and you are also able to select which cards are in play (including ones from the expansion packs and One Night Ultimate Vampire as they are all compatible with one another). The way the narrator says ‘Robber’ had myself and my friends in stitches almost every time, so that was amusing in its own way.
I also bought the Daybreak expansion pack, which has 11 new roles, including three new Werewolves that now have unique night actions, so I am excited to test these out at some point. It will make a good Christmas game as it’s a great way to get the family together and with such a quick turnover, people can step in and out of the rounds as they please. It’s addicting, it’s fast-paced and, most importantly, it’s fun.