I love board games. I’ve wasted quite a bit of time surfing Amazon and watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop on YouTube for the latest (and greatest) board games. I came across One Night Ultimate Werewolf on Amazon and saw that it had high ratings and great reviews. It sounded like a fun game, so I ordered it right away. I only played it a few times with friends, both small and large groups. Each time, everyone starts off a bit skeptical about the game. However, mostly everyone catches on after the end of the first round. The game has been a huge success, with pretty much everyone enjoying it every time we play.
One Night: Ultimate Werewolf
The way the game plays is pretty straight forward. There is the village team and the werewolf team. The villagers have to catch at least one of the two werewolves and the werewolves have to avoid getting caught. There are several different characters on the village team, many with special abilities. At the beginning of the game, everyone will get a card. Each person secretly looks at their card to figure out their character. Then everyone will leave their card face down in front of them and close their eyes. There will also be an additional three community cards in the middle, face down.
Once everyone has their eyes closed, the “night phase” begins. For this part of the game you need a speaker that announces the game. Or, if you download the One Night: Ultimate Werewolf application on your phone (it’s free and it works really well!), this is where you start it. The night phase is when specific characters will wake up (in a specific order announced by the speaker or app) to play out their abilities. Most of these abilities involve switching other players cards, looking at community cards, or checking your own card to see if it has changed. When a character is done with their ability, they will close their eyes and the next person will start their turn, and so on. When everyone is done, the night phase is over and everybody wakes up.
Then the fun begins: the discussion. Normally, the discussion should be (roughly) 5 minutes. The group must talk and figure out what happened at night by giving information as to what each person did throughout the night. Keep in mind, the villagers want to find the werewolves, so team werewolf has to be sneaky, lie, and try not to get caught. Once the group has decided (or time runs out), everyone must vote on who they think is the werewolf. There is a countdown and then everyone votes at the same time by pointing at who they think the werewolf is.
Whoever has the most votes is “killed” and reveals his/her card. If there is a tie, the players who are tied with the most votes are both killed and must reveal their cards. If at least one werewolf is killed, the village team wins. Should a villager be killed, the werewolves win. If there is a tie and both a werewolf and villager are killed, the villagers still win (they just need to find one werewolf). There are other cards that have exceptions to a few of the rules and some can greatly help the werewolf team and change how the game is played.
Here’s the catch though: You may not have the same character you started with. During the night phase, cards can be switched around and changed. When you wake up, you do not look at your card again. So you may have started out on the village team, but someone else may have switched your card with a werewolf, and know you are the werewolf, and you didn’t even know it.
Here are just a few of the cards and their special abilities:
If you have this card, you are the enemy of the villagers. When the werewolves wake up during the night phase, they look around for the other werewolf. When both players acknowledge each other, they go back to sleep. However, if there is only one werewolf (with the other werewolf card in the middle), you can play the lone werewolf option. The lone werewolf player may look at one of the community cards in the middle. This helps out the lone werewolf quite a bit.
The seer is a very important role. When it is her turn, this character may look at another player’s card or at two community cards in the middle.
She does exactly that folks; causes trouble during her turn. The troublemaker may switch the cards of two other players, but does not look at those cards. The players who were switched are now their new roles but they do not know what role they are until the end of the game.
There are also other cards that add a slight twist to the game, like the ones below:
Whoever plays the role of the minion is secretly on the werewolf team, even the werewolves don’t know who the minion is! During the minion’s turn, he will wake up. Then the werewolves, with their eyes still closed, will raise their thumbs in the air to show the minion who they are. If the minion dies instead of the werewolves, the werewolves and the minion win. If there are no werewolves, the minion wins if someone else is killed. This greatly helps out the werewolf team because now they have someone on their side who could take the fall for them.
The tanner is, for some reason, everyone’s favorite card. The tanner hates his job, so much so, that he wants to die. He only wins if he dies. If the tanner dies and no werewolves die, then the tanner wins, not the werewolves. If both tanner and a werewolf die, then both village and tanner win. The tanner is a member of the village, but is not on the team. So if the tanner dies when all the werewolves are in the center, the village team loses. This adds a twist because you could have someone who says they are the werewolf, and could actually be the werewolf or they could be the tanner wanting to die.
From my personal experience, it is incredibly hard to play as the werewolf, especially at first. You have to know and understand the other players roles and have a good poker face and alibi in order to be successful. Also, from what I have experienced, it might be best to wait and withhold information. Depending on your actions and roles, you shouldn’t always be the first to confess who you are and what you did. Sometimes the perfect opportunity will play out if you just be patient.
Also, depending on how many people you play with, you can mix and match the cards every time you play, which gives this game great replayability. I have played with groups of 5-6 and I have also played with up to 12 people. The game is only supposed to be played with a maximum number of 10 people, but it worked out well, and everyone still had a blast.
This game is so much fun and super addicting! It is also super short. A group of 10 people could play multiple games in an hour. And each game varies, especially if a group is switching out and playing with different cards from round to round. I bought this game having never heard of it before and now it is easily one of my favorite games. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves board games, especially with the holidays right around the corner.
Well that’s all for now, nerds!
Til next time,