Critical play – One-Night Ultimate Werewolf


I played One-Night Ultimate Werewolf. This game was designed by Ted Alpasch and published Bezier Games. I chose to play this game because the first time I played it was during our class last Thursday. Our group didn’t have an amazing discussion then so I wanted to give it another try with my friends. The target audience of this game felt like people of any age that understand social interactions and deceit. I think a group of people who are familiar with each other will be more suitable.


One-Night Werewolf is interesting because the number of players can vary between 3 to 29 people and different sizes of groups change the game dynamic drastically. Each player who is not the moderator of the game can talk only during the “day” of the game. Players can say whatever they want. For instance, they can choose to reveal their roles or lie about it or accuse someone of being the werewolf. However, players cannot look at other peoples’ roles (tokens) or show theirs to others. Each round of the game consists of a night and a day. During the night, everyone “goes to sleep”. Under the moderator’s command, werewolves (if there is more than 1) can wake up and look at each other. Likewise, special roles like seer and insomniac can open their eyes at appropriate times following the moderator’s commands. Once it becomes the day, every player “wakes up” and discusses who they think is the werewolf (werewolves). Once suspects are nominated, everyone votes and the person that gets over the majority vote is accused as the werewolf. If the accused person is an actual werewolf, the village wins, if not, the village loses. 


This game exhibits unilateral competition between players as one or two werewolves are fighting against the rest of the group. The objective of this game is to outwit as players strive to gain and use knowledge to defeat other players. Players that are not werewolves will gain knowledge through observing others’ behaviors during the night and day and use that knowledge to find suspects and defeat werewolves. Werewolves, on the other hand, try to defeat other players by using their knowledge against them. This version of the game doesn’t have any specific resources. 


I think Mafia and One-Night Werewolf are very similar. Mafia has a different narrative in that players are trying to find the mafia rather than the werewolf in the group. Additionally, Mafia has fewer roles and is simpler. In contrast, the Resistance and One-Night Werewolf are moderately different. The Resistance is team-based – the players get placed either into the blue team or the red team. Additionally, each round of the Resistance has very differently structured rounds. Rather than having a night and day, each player takes a turn to go on a mission. Each player can select the players that they want to send on the mission. Once approved by the entire group, the players going on the mission anonymously and individually decide whether the mission failed or succeeded. If there was at least one failed card, the mission fails. The goal of the Blue team is to succeed in at least  3 out of 5 missions and the goal of the Red team is to fail in at least 3 out of 5 missions. Players that are a part of the red team also don’t want to expose themselves. Players on the blue team try to deduce who is on the red team throughout the rounds and elect people appropriately to send on a mission to fulfill their goal. I think One-Night is better than the Resistance because it is easier and simpler to pick up. Also, you don’t need any equipment to play the game. However, the game can get fairly repetitive if played by the same group of players multiple times. Therefore, putting a little more twist like the Resistance could help prevent that problem. 


I enjoyed this game a lot and I think a big reason was that I was very close with everyone that I played with. We felt comfortable accusing each other of being a werewolf, making jokes, and over-reacting. The moment of success came when we were able to tell that one of our friends was lying (he keeps his lips open when he’s lying) and identified the werewolf correctly. On the other hand, I was accused by my friends because I was silent but I was a normal villager, which was an epic fail. 


Despite being a very fun and enjoyable game, One-Night has room for improvement. Majorly, I think the game relies too much on the players and the moderator to build the game. However, if it is people’s first time playing the game or people are not close friends, it feels difficult to advance conversations and find werewolves. I think this can be a big flaw in players’ experiences as the conversation and deceiving is the essence of the game. Just like my experience, it might feel gruelingly awkward in certain situations. I think something I’d change to solve this problem is adding some guided questions for the moderator. This way, even if players are not familiar with the game, it will help them start a thinking process. In addition, it will help start a conversation, which can be helpful for groups that are not close. I think another design I might change is to add descriptions of the roles on everyone’s tokens so they have a good grasp of their roles. I would also apply time limits to pressure players to start conversations as soon as possible and fire them up.  


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