One Night Ultimate Werewolf
review by Alapai
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a hidden identity/social deduction party game for 3-10 people from Bezier Games. In it, you play as a villager in a village beset by werewolves. As a regular villager, you are trying to figure out who is secretly a werewolf and as a werewolf, you're trying to go without being discovered.
To start a game, each person is dealt one face down role card and three more role cards are put face down in the middle of the table. Everybody looks at their role card, then the night phase begins. The night phase starts with everybody closing their eyes. One at a time, roles will be called out and the player(s) whose role is called opens their eyes and takes the action associated with their role, then closes their eyes again. For example, the Seer looks at a player's card as their action while the Troublemaker swaps two players' cards without looking at them. Once all the roles have completed their actions, everybody opens their eyes and starts the day phase. During the day phase, players discuss what they did or learned during the night phase and then vote for what player they think is a werewolf. If the group successfully picks out a werewolf, the village wins. If the group fails to pick a werewolf, the werewolves win.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is the product of many things that came before it. First, there was Mafia which became Werewolf, both being public domain and able to be played very easily. Then people built upon the basic idea and made various versions of the game that included special roles, including The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow and Ultimate Werewolf. From there, there have been lots of other hidden identity party games such as Avalon, Secret Hitler and Blood on the Clocktower. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is actually a reimplementation of One Night Werewolf, a Japanese iteration of Werewolf that used only a single night phase and a couple additional roles. Bezier took the game and combined it with their Ultimate Werewolf and made a version that took the best of each to make a fantastic game.
Like in Ultimate Werewolf, there are a lot of different roles. There are 10 special roles in the base game other than the basic Werewolf and Willager. Because of this, there's a lot of variety that can go into any given game and if a team is winning more often, you can swap in new roles that are more beneficial for one side or the other. For example, the Minion is a great add if the Villagers keep winning too often as the Minion is on the werewolves' side, trying to be suspicious and get killed which counts as a werewolf win. On the other hand, the Mason is really good if the werewolves keep winning, as it adds a set of players who get to see each other during the night phase, giving more information to the village team.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is my favorite iteration of the hidden identity genre, as it is, I feel, the hidden identity game that works for all players. The regular versions of Mafia and Werewolf have player elimination in addition to a player being the moderator, meaning that one player doesn't get to play throughout the entire game and that players along the way will get taken out and no longer get to play until the next game. One Night Ultimate Werewolf fixes both those issues by having an app that runs the game, taking the place of a moderator, and by not having player elimination. Once somebody is voted on by the village, the game is over and you get to continue playing in the next game. In games like The Resistance and its spin-offs, while there isn't player elimination, if you act suspicious early, the group can often dismiss you for the rest of the game. While you can try to contribute, if the group as a whole believes you're a bad guy, you basically can't do anything even if you're still technically in the game.
Another great thing about One Night Ultimate Werewolf is that there's more content! In addition to the base game, there's Daybreak, One Night Ultimate Vampire, One Night Ultimate Alien and the Bonus Roles. While Daybreak and Bonus Roles are just meant to be additions, Vampire and Alien are stand-alone games with a separate non-village team that can be combined to have games with werewolves, vampires and aliens.
I highly recommend One Night Ultimate Werewolf if you want a great hidden identity game, especially if you want a shorter game without player elimination.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is available now from our webstore.