One Night Ultimate Werewolf Review & Board Game Guide

Your peaceful village has trundled along for generations undisturbed. But one day it becomes apparent that a werewolf is among you (don’t ask how).

Not satisfied with waiting for the next full moon and seeing who starts sprouting hairs, you decide to catch and kill them in an act of ruthless mob vigilantism not seen since the Salem Witch Trials. Let’s just hope you don’t accuse the wrong person…

One Night Ultimate Werewolf
  • Each player gets a unique role: A Werewolf, Seer, Troublemaker,...
  • After a secret night phase that includes changing roles, players...
  • Includes a free iOS/Android app that makes playing incredibly...

Brief Overview of One Night Ultimate Werewolf 

One Night Ultimate Werewolf 6-Player Board Game

One Night Ultimate Werewolf (or Werewolf, as everyone knows it) is a social deduction game for between three and ten players. It’s the job of the villagers to hunt down and kill any werewolves hiding in their ranks. If they catch just one, they win.

With just one Night-Time and one Day-Time phase, the villagers don’t have much time to make their pick. What’s more, with a bunch of special characters in the mix, it’s not going to be as simple as picking the person that starts panting heavily each time someone says ‘walkies’.

Versions & Expansions

Expansion of One Night Ultimate Werewolf

One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak

The one expansion to the original Werewolf is Daybreak. It adds in 11 new roles to the original game, and can also be played on its own. There are new wolf roles, such as the Alpha Wolf, Mystic Wolf, and Dream Wolf, all with their own special abilities. While you can also play a Witch, a Paranormal Investigator, or a Village Idiot, among others.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak
  • Each player gets a new, powerful role: A Mystic Wolf, Curator,...
  • After a secret night phase that includes changing roles, players...
  • Includes a free iOS/Android app that makes playing incredibly...

Deluxe Edition

Ultimate Werewolf: Deluxe Edition features all-new artwork, a comprehensive new rulebook, and an improved moderator scorepad. Best of all, this version supports up to 75 players! You can now play with the whole neighborhood. 

Ultimate Werewolf: Deluxe Edition
  • Players are assigned secret roles on either the Werewolf (stay...
  • Includes more than 40 unique roles on 78 role cards, a 24 page...
  • Bonus expansion may vary: “Wolfpack” with several engaging...

Ultimate Werewolf Legacy

Werewolf even has a legacy version with multiple chapters that can be played over time. Players can now make decisions that will affect future games, allowing for different paths and consequences. No two games of Ultimate Werewolf Legacy will ever be the same!

Ultimate Werewolf Legacy
  • 80 plus page Diary, which walks the game moderator through every...
  • The Diary has been designed so that players with no previous...
  • The Diary is structured into 5 distinct chapters with 3 game...

Other ‘One Night’ Games

Unboxing One Night Ultimate Werewolf 

Unboxing One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Werewolf is a nice small box with only a few cards and tokens inside, making it super portable! In all, you get:

  • 16 role cards (3 villagers, 2 werewolves, 1 seer, 1 robber, 1 troublemaker, 1 drunk, 1 tanner, 1 hunter, 2 masons, 1 insomniac, 1 minion, 1 doppelganger)
  • 16 role tokens
  • 1 rulebook

The rulebook is written so concisely that a group that has never played before could quite easily be up and running by halfway through the third page. The remaining five pages flesh out some of the additional characters you could play, and all have some nice illustrations to go with them, too.

That said, I think the rulebook could have done more to draw you into the theme of the game. There’s no scene-setting or story (there’s more in my intro than in the whole rulebook). Instead, it’s just a list of characters with a tiny bit of a backstory (the tanner hates his job, don’t you know), but absolutely no context. This would have helped a lot with engaging people with the game in the first place. Instead, you’re pretty much left to your own devices.

When it comes to the artwork on the box, tokens and cards, I actually really like it. It’s pretty standard werewolf stuff, but it looks high quality and goes at least some way in bringing out the theme.

How to Play One Night Ultimate Werewolf 

How to Play One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Setting up

To set up the recommended first game of Werewolf for three players, take the following cards:

  • 2 werewolves
  • 1 seer
  • 1 robber
  • 1 troublemaker
  • 1 villager

There should always be three role cards more than there are players. So, if you’re playing with four or five players, take an additional villager for every additional player. If you have more than five players or just fancy mixing up the game, then you can use the additional roles. I’ll explain these later.

Shuffle the cards and deal one to each player face-down. Put the three remaining cards in the middle, along with tokens representing all the cards. After looking at their card, players should place it face-down towards the middle of the table, but so that it is clear it still belongs to them.

Night Phase

This is when the action happens. First, choose an announcer – the announcer tells everyone what to do. Then, everyone closes their eyes and the following happens:

  • Werewolves open their eyes and acknowledge each other.
  • Werewolves close their eyes.
  • Seer opens their eyes and looks at any card on the table.
  • Seer closes their eyes.
  • Robber opens their eyes and can exchange their card with one other player.
  • Robber closes their eyes.
  • Troublemakers open their eyes and may swap two players’ cards, without looking at them. 

Finally, the announcer (keeping their eyes closed) moves things on the table around slightly so that when people open their eyes they can’t claim they know someone’s identity because a card is in a different position. Then, everyone opens their eyes. And remember: do not look at the card in front of you!

Day Time

Now it’s discussion time. Players discuss who they think the werewolves are. You can say anything you like, including which role you are and what you did at night. Or – likely if you’re the werewolf – you can make it up entirely. Thanks to three roles being in the middle, it can be very hard to prove someone wrong. The debate can get chaotic, to say the least.

Voting and Game End

After a few minutes of discussion, each player points at someone they want to kill. In the case of a tie, all accused players are killed. 

The player(s) that were killed now reveal the card in front of them:

  • If a player killed is a werewolf, then the villagers win.
  • If none of the players killed is a werewolf and the only werewolf cards are in the middle, then the villagers win.
  • If the villagers didn’t kill a werewolf and someone in the group is a werewolf, then the werewolves win.

Additional roles

You can mix and match the roles how you like into the game. Some of the roles not already mentioned include:

  • The minion, who knows the identity of the werewolves, but they don’t know who the minion is. The minion wins if the werewolves win.
  • The doppelganger, who copies another person’s role.
  • The drunk, who takes a card from the center without looking at it.
  • The tanner, who is on no one’s team and only wins if they die.

Your First Game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf

First Game of One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Werewolf is an easy game to play, so it won’t be hard to get a game going quickly. However, there is a lot of responsibility on the announcer to keep it running properly and to avoid any silly mistakes that could ruin the integrity of the game.

In particular, the Night-Time phase involves a lot of moving and switching of things – a lot more than most other social deduction games, like Avalon, Deception or Secret Hitler. The announcer should therefore do everything they can to ensure everyone is clear about what they need to do, and to ensure no one hears anyone moving anything. The rulebook suggests them making some noise on the table, for example. Although if they’re the one doing something, it might not quite work…

The announcer may also find it hard to remember everything they have to do. They are allowed to peek at prompt cards, but this needs to be done wisely to avoid them seeing something they shouldn’t.

One great feature is that there is now a Werewolf app that will play the role of the announcer for you. This is a great bit of innovation that helps plug some of those potential muck ups.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • One of the easiest social deduction games to learn and play
  • Lots of roles mean high replayability
  • One of the few social deduction games for three people
  • The Werewolf app

Cons:

  • Quite basic
  • Loose theme

For those looking to get into social deduction games, One Night Ultimate Werewolf is definitely one of the simplest. The announcer script makes it very clear what each player has to do, so you can dive in with a bunch of newbies straight away. The rulebook makes it very easy for the announcer even if it’s their first time – they have the hardest job – or you can just download the free app so that no one has to do it!

And while it is incredibly simple and quick to play – you could easily knock out 10 games in an hour – I was impressed, too, with the replayability of Werewolf. The many additional roles make for a load of combinations, while everyone will want to try each one at least once.

No More Third Wheel

Werewolf is also one of the few social deduction games that can be played with only three people. This solves a real bugbear for me as I’m a big fan of social deduction games, but the likes of Deception and Secret Hitler need a group of at least five, so finding a time to actually play them can be difficult.

Too Simple

The simplicity of Werewolf though is also a drawback. I found the gameplay to be a little lackluster compared to others in the genre because the werewolves themselves don’t actually do anything. After all, for a game named after a mutant, blood-thirsty wolf beast, there’s a surprising lack of murders with pawprints left on them. It begs the question, why kill the werewolf in the first place if they’ve not done anything wrong? Perhaps the rulebook could have cleared this up.

For me, Werewolf could use something extra during the Night-Time phase – such as the werewolves killing someone – to properly draw people into the scenario. While, with only one Night-Time phase, the drama and intrigue of each game don’t really have enough time to get going.

Transforming Roles

It was also a little frustrating that you could spend a whole game playing one role, only to find out your card got swapped. I mean, can a werewolf actually suddenly not become a werewolf? The discussion and reveals at the end were certainly fun, but I just didn’t have a real buy-in to what we were trying to achieve.

TL;DR

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a social deduction game for three-to-ten people. Someone among you is a werewolf and using each of your players’ special abilities, you must try and work out who.

As social deduction games go, this is a straightforward and easy-to-pick-up option, great for parties of mixed interest/ability. And, with lots of roles to play, it can be brought out time and time again, too.

The simplicity, though, does drag a little on the depth of the debate. So, if you’re after a more engaging social deduction experience, perhaps consider some other options, too.

Conclusion: Verdict?

Werewolf is one of the most well-known and popular social deduction games for a reason. It’s a simple and swift party game that groups of all types of character can easily pick up and play. It’s got a lot of replayability, too, with so many different character combinations, and also isn’t as aggressive in its interrogation as others in the genre. 

However, for me, as social deduction games go, the Night-Time phase (or, whatever happens when everyone’s eyes are closed) doesn’t provide enough intrigue to really get the juicy discussion flowing. Perhaps this is something an expansion could fix.

If you want an alternative party game to the likes of Cards Against Humanity, then you’ll have a lot of fun with Werewolf. It will easily get a group mixing and laughing. However, if you’re after a truly engaging social deduction experience, I think you’re better off going for something with a bit more depth.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf
  • Each player gets a unique role: A Werewolf, Seer, Troublemaker,...
  • After a secret night phase that includes changing roles, players...
  • Includes a free iOS/Android app that makes playing incredibly...

Have you tried One Night Ultimate Werewolf? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!

Stats at a glance

Players: 3-10

Ages: 8+

Easy

10 Mins

Publisher: Bézier Games

Published: 2014