This is a version of Werewolf in which everything happens over a single night, if you are unfamiliar with Werewolf, then I guess I had better explain it!
Werewolf was originally called Mafia and was created by a Russian dude, Dmitry Davidoff in the late 1980s. In it people are assigned a role in secret and the game them works in two phases, the night phase in which people carry out their roles in secret, and a day phase in which people attempt to root out the werewolves in their midst.
In normal Werewolf, to win, the Villagers must rid the village of all evil doers, whilst the Werewolves must reach parity with the villagers.
There are lots of different roles which can change up how the game works, for example Tanners, whose win conditions is to be killed.
This version was originally designed as One Night Werewolf by Akihisa Okui and further developed by Ted Alspach and is published by Bézier Games.
So in One Night Ultimate Werewolf, it strips it right down and does everything in one night phase and one day phase, with the villagers needing to kill a werewolf and the werewolves needing to kill a villager.
You are randomly given a card, which has 1 of 12 different roles on it, but what I am going to do here is tell you about the roles used for a standard 3 player starter game.
In this you will create a deck of 2 Werewolves, 1 Seer, 1 Robber, 1 Troublemaker and 1 Villager, you then hand a card out to each player, who looks at it, and then places it face down on the table. The remaining three cards are placed in the centre of the table.
Players then close their eyes, and an announcer reads out what happens, but you won’t need an extra player for that, as Bézier Games have developed an app which does it all for you.
The Werewolves will then wake up and look for each other, they then close their eyes and the Seer wakes up and can either look at a players card, or two of the centre cards, they then close their eyes.
The Robber then wakes up and can then exchange their role with another players role and view the card, they then close their eyes. At this point the Troublemaker wakes up, and then exchanges cards between two players.
Then everyone wakes up and you try and figure out between you, who are the Werewolves and therefore who should die.
There are other roles, for example the Drunk who wakes up and swaps their card for one of the centre cards, but doesn’t look at their new role.
You have five minutes to debate between yourselves who are the Werewolves and who must die, after which you all point at the player you wish to kill after a countdown.
In the box you get 16 cards for the various roles, plus 16 chits for each role along with a rule book.
The cards and chits are punchboard as opposed to simple game cards, and so are very durable, we have had our copy since not long after publication five years ago, and it’s seen a lot of play, sure now some of the cards are showing a little wear and tear, but they still hold up pretty well.
The App obviously isn’t in the box, but I can’t mention components without talking about it, it’s great and means that your group doesn’t need an extra person to be the announcer which means everyone can play, and that is brilliant. You load it up, select what roles you are using and set it away, simple but brilliant.
And all of this fits in a super small box so it’s highly portable.
The art is really fun, it’s not as serious as other Werewolf games and is in a cartoon style by Gus Batt, great artwork and suits the more simplistic, fun version of Werewolf this is.
I love this game, it’s a real favourite of mine, I love a good hidden identity game and this really ticks a lot of boxes for me.
It really gets your heart beating and the way you have to navigate the social dynamics of whatever group you are with adds a new twist to every game.
It’s wonderful to see a group think they have secured victory, only to have it snatched away from them by a sneaky werewolf who convinced them that they were an innocent villager.
Werewolf had a lot of different roles for it, if you put a gun to my head and made me say something bad about this game, it would be that in order to get a bigger Werewolf experience, you need to add expansions, I mean I personally think Daybreak is an essential.
I love this game, it’s one I can pull out again and again and again.
I love to play a full game of Werewolf, but this comes pretty close to that.
I give this game a solid 7.5 out of 10
I will not lie I have looked at other reviews to get an idea of how to write this, I am no pro, but there is a possibility that I may have been influenced by reading them and some stuff may have filtered through to this review.
If you do spot anything that could be seen as heavily influenced by what someone else has said, let me know and I will be sure to credit and link them.