Frequently, you will correct yourself as you say “One Night,” I mean, “One Week Ultimate Werewolf. One Night Ultimate Werewolf has been a fantastically successful Kickstarter game series. The original and Daybreak Edition are a great combination and are frequently played/spotted in people's collections/board game bags. Of all social deduction games, the One Night series is my favourite.
The Resistance: Avalon has a legion of fans, I find it comes down to the final quest challenge, and instead of multiple back-to-back games (lasting 30 mins) I can have multiple games of Werewolf, Alien (cow prod/tip is fun, please do not do this in real life) and Vampire, which is a bit more involved/fiddly, in the time of one Avalon game. Plus, you can use your abilities straight away, you can interchange roles and swap up characters if one team, e.g. villagers, are doing too well (you can’t in other social deduction games that I’ve played).
So, for those fans, as I would recommend One Week Ultimate Werewolf for those familiar to the characters and strategies of the One Night series, this is what the game entails…
How it Plays
One Week Ultimate Werewolf is fairly different from the other games. I would describe it as One Night meets Good Cop Bad Cop, or maybe Mafia de Cuba. At the start, everyone looks at their secret role and is either a Werewolf (x2), Tanner or Villager (one added per play). The three middle cards are, in this version, staff. They are different to the base game as they move around throughout play.
The setting is the castle of mad King Ludwig (of course, as the designer also created The Castle of Mad King Ludwig). The castle may or may not be haunted. The aim is to end the game on the winning team.
Regarding of who you start with, everyone (except the NPC staff) can choose what role/ability they will be every day/night until a (working) week is up (in 5-7 player mode you play Mon-Thurs, then vote).
Starting with the first player (determined via spinning a massive arrow) they choose a room in the castle to begin in. There is a first game set-up for rooms to use, then a suggested set-up (like the One Night games). We opted to choose the first game set-up when I ran the game with two different groups (some hadn’t played One Night - and quickly grasped the game. Additionally, the first game set-up is simpler). The first game set-up has a room called the sitting room (with a variety of seats), the kitchen (can re-use the roles you have used - see next paragraph), the workshop (lets you play two roles) and in the four-player game, the great hall (lets you play the Robber, Seer and Troublemaker on adjacent rooms).
Everyone starts with five role cards, 2x Insomniacs (to find out who you are), Seer (to view two others), Robber (to see and become someone else), and Troublemaker (to swap two people). You can only do these roles in the same room (except Great Hall, see above).
The aim of the game is to move around to where someone is, then, at night, find out something. So:
Daytime - First player chooses a room (one staff goes there too). Second player, same method, same for third, anyone else is the same, but no staff are left to place. When a player moves there, they do the day action on one of the five cards (which is a movement action). Moving adjacently zero rooms with Insomniac, one with Seer, two Robber, and three with the Troublemaker. Then, you may be in a room with (many!) other people.
Next, it's night time, everyone closes their eyes. The first player opens their eyes and selects a role. They say a role (can lie/bluff) but the must do whatever card they play (added face-down in their player board's discard pile), rinse and repeat.
I installed the app, but there was no area for One Week Ultimate Werewolf, despite the booklet saying a four-minute timer is there. No automation is used here and unlike One Week, there is no single/unique “role” - it is good or bad. So, I asked everyone to pre-select what card they want then say when they have closed their eyes after performing their action.
Day 2 - You will now have two fewer cards, so movement is restricted and you may end up with fewer options (if this means you go to an empty room, this is suspicious!), especially if you bluffed what card you said you had and can’t move somewhere “friendly”.
After the final night, the group have up to four minutes to decide to point and shoot the person with the most votes. Villages win if a werewolf is shot, the werewolves win if the opposite occurs and the Tanner wins if they are shot as they hate their job.
What you can do
The staff move at the start of every day, so if you discover a certain member is a Werewolf or Tanner and you have looked suspicious accidentally, consider reaching them in the day to swap...but manage your movement carefully!
Advanced rooms include the armoury, shields prevent others from finding information out about you, but that might appear suspicious!
The thick, matte finish on the One Night range are excellent, as is the app (voiced by Eric Summerer, who I had the pleasure of meeting at Essen).
Those pieces are absent from One Week Ultimate Werewolf; the cards are thin and are not great. The rooms have great art and those are good (but are slightly thinner and not matte like One Night). There are pieces to keep track of who might be who (handy, but you can’t figure more than a few out, so I find it generally unnecessary), in the third and fourth group I tried it in, nobody used, or even needed to use those pieces.
The throne pieces which are the player containers (holding your role) are very good, the original set is wooden, I tried both these and the resin ones. The resins are indeed superb, no dents, smoother, but more than twice the weight and the game is considerably heavier. The one comment everyone gave was that they were weighty (although the wooden ones were lighter than expected).
The container was not top heavy, but you don’t want to knock and reveal the identity (and you need something to keep track of who is who).
Final Thoughts on One Week Ultimate Werewolf
The replay-ability is there with One Week Ultimate Werewolf, you may choose a different first role/movement and subsequent role. You might opt to choose a different room ability as well. Having said that, others weren’t up for a second game after (whereas I have witnesses 7+ back-to-back Avalons and 40+ One Nights.
The Tuesday group had some hardcore One Night fans skip a second play (played the intro room as there were Werewolf virgins). However, those, including the newbies who stayed really ended the recommended rooms. I changed what we used, asking for suggestions which rooms they would like. We tried out the Laboratory (lets you switch out and in an empty room), the Dynamite Room (explodes/removes an empty room), Armoury (stops others viewing you, Archives (lets you look at a “file” and you may now become a Werewolf, Tanner (they work independently) a Villager or nothingness...you stay as you are. So, using various combos we tried out a total of three set-ups then someone was up for trying Codenames.
The engagement is strong, you must know where people have been and this the best trait of the game. The interaction is also better than One Night as you can choose based on who is next to you. Do you want to rob, or just see...or check you haven’t been switched? The components are a shame, the resin is a decent touch but all anyone said was that they were heavy, but the core game pieces and boards were neglected.
Should you play and get One Week Ultimate Werewolf? Well, as mentioned, if you like Good Cop, Bad Cop, I think you will like being in control more, there are many rooms to try, although you will have gone through all of them at some point in about four games. Mixing up the recommended layout is something I would like to keep note of and try out. With more downtime and in the redundancy of the app, the flow was sorely missed.
One Week Ultimate Werewolf isn’t as light, but you might like the thought of strategically planning a win (whereas One Night you have a set...and only set idea, i.e. If I am the Robber, what do I say and when). Give the game a go and see what works, if you haven’t played One Night, this could be an interesting introduction to the group, especially as some have only played Werewords as their first foray.