Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Why can't I see what the others have seen?

So I am going to go against the grain here and say that One Night Ultimate Werewolf did not hit it out of the ballpark with me and my gaming group. I have heard and read a lot of reviewers and reviews and everyone seems to be raving about it but it just did not do it for me and my groups. This is really surprising because one of the groups which consists of my cousins really loved Resistance and Avalon and I had thought this will be a hit but alas, it was not meant to be.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf, published by Bezier Games, is a super condensed version of ultimate werewolf where players now have only 1 night, discuss and then have someone eliminated. Players then see who has won and that will be the end of that game. Quick, easy and touted as a micronized version of Ultimate Werewolf. It has a free iOS application where Eric Summerer voices the narrator and will instruct players when to close their eyes and all that, thus allowing all players to play.

So why did it not work for us?
For starters, I do feel that you need the right group to appreciate the game. A group that discusses, throws accusations around and lies like there's no tomorrow should like the game a lot. I feel this is similar to my experience with Coup. Some like it a lot, others just cannot take to it.

The roles are also new to me and my groups. I have not played Ultimate Werewolf yet so perhaps these roles already exist but they create a steep learning curve, especially some of the more advanced ones. I feel its because the nature of the character and their special actions need to be first made known to everyone and then that person who has gotten the character must remember what to do when he/she is being called. Some of the actions seem counter productive and leaves us wondering how to play it properly.

Surprisingly the win conditions was also slightly convoluted and I had to explain the rules several times before we gotten it correctly. Even I missed some rules (i.e. some roles' actions are optional) so surprisingly for a short simple game it can get more complicated than necessary.

So for our play, it was over pretty quickly and quietly because we did not discuss as much and I felt most of us randomly pointed at someone at the end. We tried playing it again but it still did not click with us and we moved on after that.

I am very grateful to Ted for this review copy and I will be willing to try it again with the right group just to make sure it is what I suspected, that there is definitely a game in there but needs the right people to make it happen.


  1. Yah, it does not seem as fun as Avalon.

    To be fair, the way I've tried to make it fun was to emulate what I saw on boardgamelife and encourage people to claim roles for themselves before they start accusing others of lying. I like it more when I moderate the game (although the whole idea of the game was not to have a moderate the game, maybe I should get ultimate werewolf instead) But I also played the game once as the Tanner and it was very exciting to put up a convincing show to let people think that you are acting suspicious enough to be the Tanner. The drunk seems a bit out-of-place and throws the game a bit. And there were two occasions after the troublemaker admits to swapping the tile of the guy who was the werewolf, and the villagers won immediately since the ex-werewolf was able to accuse the new werewolf. Kind of like letting the air out of the balloon, after spending a few minutes setting up the game only to end it within minutes.

    I've also tried teaching the group by showing them the basic roles of villagers, werewolf, troublemaker, seer, robber and insomniac first and moderating a 6-player game before eventually expanding the game. It was fun to watch the game and it was so quick that it didn't matter to those watching the game and everyone had a good laugh. It definitely needs an extremely social and open group and I look forward to testing it with another of my 6-player group.

  2. yea agreed... the Drunk seems to make everyone apprehensive about what they have originally seen so no one dares to commit.... it really requires the right group. My group that loved avalon and talked so much during the game was surprisingly silent during werewolf. Its mostly because they aren't sure of who they are so not making any action is safest i guess...

  3. I have yet to introduce Doppelganger, Hunter and Minion though. I just read the Hunter role and it might seem interesting as well. I would like to see what happens if the robber takes the Werewolf card and see how he turns the game around to actually win it.

    For me, Avalon brought the Resistance to another level with the additional roles and that I like very much. I guess its Avalon > One Night > Resistance for me. But I am actually quite excited for One Night still, partly because my copy of Avalon is not with me.