Critical Play: One Night Werewolf

For this critical play I played One Night Werewolf with a group of 5 other friends. Designed by Akihisa Okui and Ted Alspach for Bezier Games, One Night Werewolf is made for 3-10 players and exists as physical cards that outline player roles in addition to a mobile application that functions as the game’s narrator. 

One night werewolf consists of a single “round” made up of night and day. During the night, the narrator carries out the procedures by instructing players to conduct actions associated with each role. Once the daytime begins, players must discuss and ultimately vote on who they believe the werewolves are. Because this game only consists of a single round (~10-15 minutes) and can easily be replayed, it is suitable for groups looking for a fast-paced game and unilateral gameplay. Because the game is mystery themed, and hinges on a narrative, I believe that anyone can play together whether it’s a group of strangers or close friends. 

While this game is similar to Mafia, I found it interesting how the werewolves don’t actually “kill” any of the villagers in the same way that the mafia does. Instead, the game simply revolves around the objective of outwitting one another and discovering who are the werewolves based off of the knowledge of who has what role. 

I personally enjoyed the game and thought that it was pretty fun. At times though, conversation wouldn’t feel super fruitful if people were being too cautious/skeptical of the other players. There were certain rounds where no players wanted to confess what their roles were in hopes of catching someone in a lie before they revealed the truth. 

To improve the game, I would implement some sort of system to avoid the paralysis that occurs at the beginning of discussion. For example, there can be a rule requiring that each round a random player must begin the discussion. Similarly, there may be a rule such that after a certain amount of time a random player must reveal what their role is. 

Because some of the roles have actions that involve switching players’ cards around, there were times where players heard each other moving around. In these cases it was not as difficult to figure out the roles of the other players. Because of this, it might be nice for the narration app to play extra loud music during this time or to instruct all players to make some sort of noise such that it is not possible to isolate the noise coming from a single person. 

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