One Night Ultimate Werewolf has become my new favorite party game. I wasn’t looking for a new game, but much like a werewolf by night, it snuck up on me without warning. Now when someone asks me, “What game should we play?” I have my go-to answer: Werewolf.
When I first heard about One Night Ultimate Werewolf, I was a bit skeptical. I’ve played a variety of games that require secrecy and deception and admittedly they have all fallen a bit flat. Why would this game be any different? Well, I’m happy to admit my skepticism was wrong.
Werewolf shares one hallmark with other great games: it’s simple. You take on a hidden roles, werewolf or villager, take a few actions, then try to deduce who the werewolves are (or deceive others about your role). Heck, it is so simple you hardly need to buy the game to play it. The box itself merely contains instructions and role cards, but you could easily construct those yourself. You can’t get much simpler than that.
But one thing that is incredibly hard is to make a great game that is also a fast game. Werewolf succeeds on both fronts. Each game of Werewolf takes no more than 10 minutes. The night phase length varies depending on which roles are in play and the day phase is a flat 5 minutes (this can be modified by playgroup). This is great for new players, because you can quickly understand the rules after a game or two. It also keeps things fresh and doesn’t let the game overstay its welcome.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the indispensable app for Werewolf. It is 100% customizable to your game and walks you through everything you need. It’s such an amazing tool at no extra charge. I can’t imagine playing Werewolf without it.
Where wolf? There wolf.
Okay, so mechanics are great and all, but what makes the game fun? Undeniably it’s the various role cards that flesh out the game itself. The basic gist is to figure out who the werewolves are, but often you don’t even know if you are a werewolf or not. Roles like the Troublemaker and the Robber move roles around the table, placing extra doubt into everyone’s minds. Or perhaps you value straight-up chaos. Throw in a Drunk or Doppelganger. Now you don’t even know what roles or how many are in play.
Each game ends up being its own story. I’ve played games where I began as the werewolf, thought I was the werewolf the entire game, then flipped my card at the end to find out I had been swapped. I have played games where I had to convince my wife I was on her team, only to vote for her in the end. One memorable game was a small 4 player game in which the 3 other players were all werewolves (2 Werewolves and a Doppelganger). They toyed with me for a few minutes until they (confusingly to myself) voted for me midmatch.
Sometimes the story is straight forward and the werewolves can’t hide themselves. Other times the clock ticks down to the final second and you still don’t know how you are voting for. There is so much variety at such a fast pace, you can’t help but play the game over and over. It’s addicting in such a good way.
If you are looking for a fun, fast paced game to play with family or friends, you can’t go wrong with One Night Ultimate Werewolf. Do it already.