One Night Ultimate Werewolf: Review

WHITNEY'S REVIEW

My Rating:

Likes

  • Quick, making it a great filler or travel game (as long as you have the app).
  • SmartPhone app, and a smooth experience using it.
  • Fun card illustrations.
  • Easy to learn and play, and accessible for all ages.

Dislikes

  • It's all guesswork. There's really no deduction here, just simple BS.
  • If you don't have the app or something goes wrong with it, you can't play.
  • The game consists of one round only.
  • It's almost too simplistic.

First Impressions

We hear a lot about the Werewolf series games on Instagram, and it seems like most people rave about it. We're huge fans of social deduction, so I was excited to try this game out. There are hidden roles, creatures of the night, different villagers and tons of group interaction--so many elements we love!

Thoughts

We had a third party explain the game to us and walk us through one round to get a feel for the game. When I found out you need an app to play, I wasn't overly pleased. I don't want to rely on external elements to make a game complete, but I understand why the app is so effective and important. It's one of the cons I've learned to work around when playing Avalon. Reading role instructions aloud while trying to keep your eyes hidden and not give yourself away by voice deflection or muffling? It's hard. One Night Ultimate Werewolf uses an app to dictate the pace and actions of the game, completely removing player error. It's awesome in that regard. But, you still have to download an app and rely on a phone to play this game.

Four-player layout with revealed roles.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is quick and easy to learn, especially if you've played other social deduction games before. The game adapts to the number of players, and can accommodate 10 or more. Many adapt their rules or game play for larger groups. It's literally a 10 minute game, with five minutes of that dedicated to the "deduction." In the 1800s, your village is being attacked by werewolves, and it's up to the villagers to figure out who the werewolves are, which destroys them, saves the village and wins the game. If you leave even one werewolf in the village, the villagers lose and the werewolf wins.

​Setting up the game.

Everyone gets a secret role, and then you simply follow the directions of the app. Everyone at the table closes their eyes, and werewolves find each other to work together. Depending on which roles are in the game, the app will activate each role as is necessary. This is why the app is awesome. You can select the number of players and select the roles included, and the app automatically adjusts for those factors. There's no searching for scripts or trying to review what roles do what. There are a few basic roles to use when you're first playing, but you can include any of the roles including some from expansions and other games: village idiot, the drunk, alpha wolf, seer, doppelganger, etc. Each has their own unique trait or power which can alter the game significantly. For instance, the drunk trades his role, but doesn't get to learn his new role. The idiot mixes everyone's roles up and nobody gets to look at their new roles. The seer can look at someone else's card, and so on.

​Some of the roles available.

After each role's action is complete, everyone "wakes up" and has five minutes to figure out what happened in the night and who the werewolves are. As I mentioned, if one werewolf is left, the villagers lose. If all werewolves are identified, the villagers win. Done, and next game. You can see why the game works so well for people of all ages. It's hard to mess up clear instructions (though I'm sure if anyone can do it, it's us!). This game is simple, easy and quick. For those reasons, I get why people like this game. And for those reasons, I get why people don't like this game. Unfortunately, we count among those who aren't One Night Ultimate Werewolf fans.

Conclusion

This is not a game to introduce people to social deduction, because (in my opinion) this isn't a true social deduction game. Everyone is taking a stab in the dark and there isn't enough player interaction to form any kind of relationship. Werewolves know each other, and perhaps another role or two knows who someone else is, but it still all feels like guesswork instead of hunting and deducing. In games like Avalon, you play a few rounds and everyone gets the chance to see whether there are good or bad players in smaller group missions. This is where deduction comes into play, and this is why this game is so much fun for us. (We also like to throw each other under the bus, of course.)

One of the basic werewolf roles.​

I see the potential for One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and maybe we'd feel differently with a larger group, but I also see too many limitations to this game to invest much more into it. If you want a good social deduction game, don't start here.  If you like social deduction, investigate the simpler Ultimate Werewolf or Coup games.

Disagree? Have a great social deduction game we should play? Comment below with your thoughts!

About the author

Whitney

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