Werewolf and werewolf-style games have their roots tracing all the way back to the 80s. One by one, villagers are killed until the wolf is executed or until the wolf is the last one standing. Due to the nature of its gameplay, it’s been a go-to game for many when playing with a large or very large group. Heck, there are versions of this game that support dozens of different players at once! Having said that, the common knock on this formula is that completing a game can take a really long time, especially with large player counts.
Enter One Night Ultimate Werewolf. This standalone game takes the core concept and condenses all of the action in one night, which translates into about 10 minutes per game. Does it still deliver the thrills in a much shorter time?
This 3-10 player game comes a number of different role cards. Then, during nightfall, everyone closes their eyes. Depending on your role, you may open your eyes at a specific time to complete an action while everyone is asleep. For instance, the Seer can look at someone else’s role card and the Troublemaker can swap two players’ cards. There are many different roles Once everyone has completed their moves, everyone wakes up to determine who the wolf is. At the end of deliberations, players vote on who to kill and that person reveals who they were. If a wolf is killed, the villagers win. If a villager dies, the wolves win.
Depending on the roles in play, it can be confusing to remember what order each player wakes up and takes their turn. The game gives you numbered reference discs that are displayed in the middle as a guide. One player who is designated as the narrator is also given a script to memorize and announce when each player should take their turn. However, the game also has a free app you can download on your phone that can do the narration for you. The app makes the game much easier to play and I highly recommend playing with it downloaded onto your phone.
Since the whole thing takes place in one night, a game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf only takes about 10 minutes. You still get time to squabble among your group about how you’re a villager when you’re really a wolf and when it’s done, simply start again. Another benefit to this particular version of the game is that it can be played with a smaller player count, as standard Werewolf usually requires a much larger group to work. The trade-off here is that the short play time takes away the satisfaction that comes with the long con.
I don’t think that One Night Ultimate Werewolf replaces the original, nor is it the ideal place to start with the Werewolf games, but it works well as a fast-paced or small group variant. If you’re already a fan of Werewolf, this is probably worthy of a spot on your shelf.